The digital age has completely revolutionized our lives both positively and negatively. Information is easily accessible, people are reading and writing on a much larger scale, and it is easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family no matter their geographical location. However, with the spread of the digital movement comes increased xenophobia, discrimination, and hate. The Euro-centric, heteronormative systems of oppression which have been woven into the fabric of American society are becoming digitalized. The internet began as predominantly a space for upper-class white men and now, they hold sway over the information that gets released and the people who get “red-flagged” through the development of algorithms which closely monitor those who are viewed as socially threatening due to their race, sexuality, or income status. Virginia Eubanks warns us of the hidden algorithms which monitor every decision we make and illustrates how this contributes to the spread of legal and financial inequality. These algorithms are not only an infringement of our civil rights, but are inherently immoral. Everything we buy, view, like, or post is recorded and used as information to sort out potential threats to American society. There is no doubt in my mind that prestigious elites utilize these algorithms in order to maintain the economic immobility of capitalism and to secure their place at the top of the financial food chain. Eubanks elaborates this idea as she states, “digital tracking and automated decision-making hide poverty from the professional middle-class public and give the nation the ethical distance it needs to make inhuman choices. (15)”
In other words, people are getting taken advantage of by the immoral programs designed to restrain social mobility. We have abandoned any ethical notion of eliminating poverty and racism and have actually taken steps in the other direction in order to ensure that it never is eliminated and invisible. If these systems of inequality are not acknowledged or released to the general public, then it allows for them to continue to function. Yet, the more light that is shone on this topic will force people to deal with it, and maybe some social change could occur.
- In what ways do you feel that you are being “spied on” and through what social media/websites?
- What are some alternatives insurance agencies could use in order to secure against fraud without discriminating against people of low-income?
- Do you think people on Welfare should have their purchases monitored? Why or Why Not?