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Disrupting the Gospel of Tech Solutionism to Build Tech Justice

A more just tech future requires deep investment in people

Consider the video camera outside your window. Does it give you a sense of safety or of being watched? The wearable tracker on your wrist—will it help you instill better health habits or sell your private information to insurers and ad-tech companies? Will your child’s online schooling help them connect with teachers and friends or expose you and your household to surveillance?

Virtually every new technology tied into the massive, interconnected web of data and machine power undergirding the global internet has the potential for both social benefit and social harm. And communities that have been over-policed and surveilled are more likely than others to experience the negative capabilities of new technology.

As Simone Browne demonstrated in her book Dark Matters, contemporary tech-enabled surveillance practices are an extension of the long history of policing Black life in the United States from slavery onward.

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