During the colonial government of British India it was a relatively common practice to execute rebels opposing British rule by “blowing them from a gun”. Tying the body in front of a cannon and then firing it. The destroying of the body and scattering the remains over a wide area had a particular religious function as a means of execution in the Indian subcontinent as it effectively prevented the necessary funeral rites of Muslims and Hindus, thus the punishment was extended beyond death.
A horrific practice seemingly well understood and implemented by my British imperialist ancestors.
Where is the UK government’s mea culpa, where is our Justin Trudeau the progressive Canadian Mr Nice, inveterate apologiser and ideological counterpart to Mrs May, Mr Trump et al.
Mark Zuckerberg is the latest this week to offer up a personal mea culpa after Facebook let slip the data of 87 million users to a third party Cambridge Analytica
We may love the leviathan organisations of today’s now or never culture for the services and connectivity they provide, indeed where would we be without Facebook, Instagram and Amazon. But it would seem they are enjoying parallel monopolies to the mega companies of the past; the East India Company who screwed China and India from Elizabeth 1st to Queen Victoria and the United Fruit Company who ravaged the Banana republics of South America in the early 20thcentury.
How will history serve Mr Zuckerberg? As a pioneer of connectivity or as a heinous incarnation of Orwell’s 1984 totalitarianism, whereinthe ruling service provider wields total power “for its own sake and profit” over its users.
Will Facebook become the pejorative descriptor for a servile dictatorship that abets and supports the exploitation of its 2.2 billion and increasing guest list.
Mr Zuckerberg may not wish to throw anyone under the bus for his most recent data scandal but we the signed up public are effectively the cannon fodder that are being expended in his war for global connectivity.
Our humanly made bodies are blown from the algorithmic cannon disintegrating the semblance the private person into a mass of pixels blown by the elements of progress. Like an Anthony Gormley sculpture measuring man’s insignificance, reminding us of how vulnerable and precarious and uncertain our relationship with the data grid is.
Clearly data is already being used a to manipulate us, this requires some sort of action to own the technologies before Facebook et al own us. Cambridge Analytica’s skill at mining Facebook data and selling the psychological profiles to help May and Trump win elections is simply techno gerrymandering.
We are in the age of the deep-learning algorithm and the citizen score. Job interviews, mortgage applications, dating platforms and travel visas will soon be a thing of the past.
“War is peace”, “Freedom is slavery”, and “Ignorance is strength
George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty Four