Technology researcher and thinker Evgeny Morozov believes the entire discussion around cool, new innovative technology is a giant distraction from the most important issues.In this film, Morozov unravels the digital landscape and shows us the real processes that are leading the huge transfer of power away from ordinary people.We meet him in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is researching the digital history of the world.Morozov shows us how cutting-edge biometric and facial recognition technology leads to a world without privacy. He argues that instant identification leads to over-discrimination.Morozov views data as a «new powerful weapon». «It plays an important role in generating value for those companies and we have to understand where it comes from. And it comes from us – the users,» he says.»One has to be very naive to believe that this data is not going to shape how we live the rest of our lives, especially when insurance companies and banks are so eager to incorporate it in their decision-making,» says Morozov. »
Unless we change the legal status of data, we’re not going to get very far.»We also look at the reality of the so-called «sharing economy», where people pool their assets, such as houses or, cars and their time and labour. Is this really as friendly as the word «sharing» might imply or just another business? We meet the lawyer representing Uber taxi drivers in a nationwide law suit against the company. The drivers have found the «flexible working» conditions are so detrimental to their business that they’ve now had to fight against the company for their basic employment rights.
We also see how self-trackers who use health-focused technology like Fitbit end up handing over large amounts of their data. But what does it mean when people begin monitoring everything about themselves? We examine the broader consequences for everyone. With data-harvesting companies collecting our social and financial information and selling it on to other companies, we head to a start-up in New York that is encouraging individuals to reclaim control of their personal data.
Yet, as Morozov argues, this is another way in which the poor and disenfranchised are marginalised even more. And such start-ups mask this exclusion. «What you hear from start-ups on this matter is that – it’s a political decision, it’s not up to us. We’re here just to empower people,» Morozov says. (Published on Dec 7, 2015)