The Glass Room: Technology Is inherently political

Technology is growing faster than our awareness of digital rights

“This room is about the rise of technology. And technology is inherently political. And politics is power”

These were the words of Andrea Figari, Director of Community Engagement at Tactical Tech during the Activism in the Quantified society workshop at The Glass Room. Technology is growing at a rapid pace, and our awareness of our digital rights and privacy aren’t growing at the same rate.

That’s why The Glass Room has come to London. For those of you who don’t know, The Glass Room is a tech pop-up exhibition. Walking around it, you feel like you’re in an episode of The Black Mirror as statistics and toy models and books about how much data huge companies have on you litter the room.

As The Glass Room put it, they are a “disruptive intervention that urges visitors to reevaluate how we use technology and offers a space for reflection”. And it’s completely necessary.

It’s especially necessary when we think about tech in relation to civil society. As activists across the globe are being subject to greater scrutiny and surveillance, where has our right to digital privacy gone? It was only this year that 10 human rights defenders in Turkey were arrested whilst attending a conference on digital security.

These are topics that must be addressed if we want to live in a world that promotes freedom and democracy. However, some of these changes can happen from within.

The question of data protection and privacy does not only apply to the corporate sector. The charity sector is also responsible for ensuring the data of their supporters is adequately protected. Often, it’s even more important in the charity sector, who may be dealing with marginalised communities, to protect the data of their supporters or beneficiaries.

Charities are doing a fantastic job of protecting people’s civil liberties and providing huge amounts of people with a route to speak to power. But there’s been a growing amount of mistrust between charities, the public and decision makers, and trust is essential in mobilising people to create change.

Technology, data protection and digital privacy are all intertwined in digital campaigning, and we need to address this problem creatively and collaboratively.

That’s why, on 7 December 2017 we’re running a hackathon to address these issues. We’ll be gathering politicians, the charity sector and the technology sector, to work on creating a solution to this problem.

This event is a chance to hash out all of the challenges and layers of mistrust that have developed over the years between the charity sector, politicians and the public, creating a space where we can genuinely move towards creating an inclusive digital democracy that works for everyone.

To book your free place on this event click here.

The Glass Room is only open for a few more days! Make sure you check it out this weekend before it shuts on Sunday 12th November.

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