Google/Facebook are to the health of our human rights and democracy what Philip Morris is to the health of our bodies and what Exxon Mobil is to the health of our habitat.
If you’re a doctor, you do not get sponsored by Big Tobacco. If you’re an environmentalist, you do not get sponsored by Exxon Mobil. If you’re a privacy advocate, a human rights activist, or a democrat, you do not get sponsored by Google, Facebook, or any other surveillance capitalist.
It’s that simple.
OTOH, as far as I know, the platform cooperative movement has never taken a stand against surveillance capitalism. So it is what it is. Afaics there’s nothing in being a platform cooperative that stipulates you must have an ethical business model or bars you from being a surveillance capitalist. It’s just a flatter structure for sharing profit.
@pettter @aral @ntnsndr @scholzt_newschooledu
That's all true, but my worry with this project is that the dev kit will include Google software/tracking BS, and thus any co-op using the kit will automatically be brought into the Google fold. There are a lot of good people, who I trust, like @FreeScholar on the consortium, but I've seen too many good projects and good people get co-opted by big corporate money to not be worried that this deal with the devil will have issues in the details.
I'm not directly involved in the project in any way. But my understanding is that Google tech is not involved in it, just Google.org $. Also it is focused on labor platforms more than data platforms (to the extent there is a difference).
My work on #platformcoop is full of attacks on surveillance capitalism. That has been a critical aspect of this community's concern.
@ntnsndr @GuerillaOntologist @pettter @scholzt_newschooledu @FreeScholar Hey Nathan, thanks for the reply. I’m not going to get into the Google.org thing as my views on that are well known (and Exxon Mobil should start ExxonMobil.org, they’re missing a trick).
Re: platform coop and surveillance capitalism: is there any rule that says you cannot setup a platform coop that is an adtech/tracking/profiling company?
1) Trebor's (very labor focused) 10 principles include rejection of excessive surveillance: http://www.rosalux-nyc.org/wp-content/files_mf/scholz_platformcoop_5.9.2016.pdf
2) In my view, adtech/tracking/profiling can have very different meanings when the participants have meaningful access to co-ownership and governance. E.g.: https://midata.coop
big bad companies are easy to spot, but what also is happening is like in 1980s/1990s movies and TV produced by "cool" young directors where everyone (especially rebellious young characters and "action man" types) were still lighting up cigarettes on screen in spite of increasing health concerns, and often the brand names were prominent in the shows and got round other bans on tobacco advertising..
"It’s just a flatter structure for sharing profit."
There's a nuance here concerning the difference between "profit" in a capitalist firm, and "surplus" in a co-op. Since a co-op returns surplus to users on the basis of use, rather than capital investment, it's not a "flatter" way of sharing profits, but a way to deliver a service at-cost with what's functionally a rebate if there is a surplus.
@mattcropp @GuerillaOntologist @scholzt_newschooledu @ntnsndr (The reason I want people to have ownership over their selves is not because I want to profit off of a system in which their agency comes from selling that ownership. This is about protecting personhood and human dignity, not profiting off of a system where people are still seen as property.)
But if it's not generating returns on capital, should it be called "capitalism"?
I think #SavvyCoop is an interested example. Members who are patients join, and researchers who want to study particular conditions are connected to the members for studies. The proceeds of the members' participation/data covers the co-op's operating expense, with the remainder remitted to the members pro-rated by the revenue they produced.
@aral @GuerillaOntologist @scholzt_newschooledu @ntnsndr Right now, #surveillanceCapitalism tramples on folks authentic consent and creates all sorts of horrible power dynamics. When people have self-ownership, freely marketing data about themselves, individually or collectively, is a different dynamic. Possibly also problematic for some reasons, but for different reasons if so.
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