Act Two: Resistance — Democracies Have Been Hacked. We Can Hack Back.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 7pm

Act Two: Resistance — Democracies Have Been Hacked. We Can Hack Back.

Bureau de Crise

HEAD – GenèveBoulevard Helvétique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor

Two examples of Russian-backed ads posted on Facebook (about 80,000 posts) over a two-year period (2015-2017) in an effort to sway U.S. politics. Source: U.S. House of Representatives.

One of the lessons the Cambridge Analytica scandal has highlighted is that “surveillance is the business model of the internet”, as the security expert Bruce Schneier said. The researcher Shoshana Zuboff puts it even further, naming surveillance capitalism as “global means of behavioral modification for business and/or political purposes”. Data-mining, profiling systems, and neuro-marketing are, among others, the very opaque and secret operations powered by our daily digital data, that we provide free from our first click. We are tracked and spied; Internet companies know who we are and extract priceless information. Surveillance capitalism operative systems constitute a direct assault on human rights (privacy), as well as on the notion of individual sovereignty. Democracies, as well as our freedom and our psychological balance, are at stake. As counter-intuitive it may seem in the Facebook, Instagram or Twitter era, anonymity, privacy, and right to opacity should be considered as far from an outdated concept. Data is power. The utopian internet of yesterday, a place of horizontal knowledge sharing and global community, has evolved into a slightly dystopian digital present and tends to a dangerous future. Hence, the conference will map out the contemporary issues about privacy and the way surveillance capitalism operates as a business model that reshapes our political landscapes, through psychographic micro-targeting and data weaponization, data colonialism and power manipulation by far-right movements. Stressing the notions of resilience, collaboration, and autonomy at the core of our philosophy, we will thus situate the work of Bureau de Crise in the context/frame of artistic research/practice, and we will address some broader strategies of resistance.