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Don’t Be Evil


From Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks, which was published last month by OR Books. The conversation from which this is excerpted took place in 2016 and was moderated by Joseph Farrell, a journalist. Renata Avila is a human rights lawyer. Sarah Harrison is a journalist and human rights advocate. Angela Richter is a theater director, activist, and writer.

Renata Avila: The intervention of Silicon Valley in not only Washington politics but global politics is seemingly unstoppable. Its scope has moved far beyond facilitating communications. Silicon Valley is pushing hard to take on functions that used to be performed by national governments, but globally and at a cost that local providers cannot compete with. The leaders of the major tech corporations are received by governments with the honors that correspond to a head of state.

It happens the other way around as well. You see politicians stopping by Washington and then flying on to Silicon Valley. The wealth that these companies have is larger than that of many countries put together. It’s a new form of global oligarchy.

Technology is creating a dangerous divide in wider society. Jobs in the most unstable and fragile countries and in the most precarious sectors of all societies are going to disappear soon. So even though they will be able to connect to the internet, the marginalized won’t be able to use it to effect meaningful change in their lives. They will simply be connected to devices that control, measure, monitor, and predict.

Angela Richter: We don’t have government, we have Googlement.

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