Why citizens need to understand computing

Very good Guardian column by Cory Doctorow about employers snooping on employees.

Besides, there are plenty of contexts in which “company property” would not excuse this level of snooping. If you met your spouse on your lunchbreak to discuss a private medical matter in the break room or car park, you would probably expect that your employer wouldn’t use a hidden microphone to listen in on the conversation – even though you were “on company property”. Why should your employer get to snoop on your private webmail conversations with your spouse during your lunch-break?

This was what I was getting at in my essay What’s Inside the Box?: if we totalise property and elevate it above human rights, privacy and dignity, we end up in a situation where many of the devices in our lives, from the thermostats that have the power to freeze us or cook us, to the lease-purchase prostheses that let us live our lives, to the contract-subsidised mobile phones that have the power to watch our every move and record our every breath, are all designed to lock us out from controlling them – or even knowing what they’re doing.

Comments are closed.