Labor And Responsibility

Are employees responsible for the effects of their labor? 1,400 Google employees believe so, and have gone so far as to demand greater control over the company’s impact on the world.

“Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment,” they said in an open letter to their employer after recent revelations regarding project DragonFly. In the letter, they detailed oversight that would include an ethical review system, the appointment of an ombudspeople, a transparency plan and a publication of “ethical test cases”.

Similar in their response to Project Maven, clearly many Googlers don’t want to become direct tools of government or military power. But can workers reasonably expect to be able to determine the fate and impact of their production? The answer may depend on the nature of the industry.

In his techno-political article, Do Artifacts Have Politics, political theorist Langdon Winner discusses the politics inherent to technologies. “The things we call “technologies” are ways of building order in our world,” Winner says. “Many technical devices and systems important in everyday life contain possibilities for many different ways of ordering human activity.”

DragonFly is a direct concession to the practice of censorship. Its implementation into public use would perpetuate and directly enforce a blinding of the public eye to any information that Chinese authorities wouldn’t want their citizens to be aware of. If Google is willing to concede to such practices for China, then one could imagine them doing so for any other country.

Winner further discusses how practicality and efficiency of operation overshadows moral obligations. However, he also highlights the importance of a strong ‘public management’, when dealing with technologies and systems that could have a significant impact on quality of life. Any control over the flow of information will always have a significant impact on the quality of life. If any of the said employees are citizens of countries that oppose the Chinese government’s intensity of censorship, and refuse to risk such practices invading their own country, then by Winner’s logic, they would have every right to invoke and enforce a public management of Google’s products and practices. Including their own labor.

While employees in the tech field are speaking against the questionable practices of their leaders and CEOs, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act to the Senate on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018. Aside from requiring business entities in the United States to holistically act on behalf of the best interest of people affected by business practices, the bill also requires that 40% of directors for business entities be elected by employees.

For as long as information is available to a citizenry, it is up to them to determine what’s permissible in their country. If access to that information is somehow threatened, then their ability to take responsibility for themselves and their country is revoked as well.

 

Habeas Data Book Signing With Cyrus Farivar!

NOTE THE TIME CHANGE. OUR MEETUP IS ON TUESDAY EVENING IN OCTOBER, NOT MONDAY.

Our speaker this month is Cyrus Farivar. Cyrus Farivar is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica and the author of The Internet of Elsewhere. He is also a radio producer and has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, The Economist, Wired, The New York Times, and others.

Cyrus will be here to read excerpts from and sign copies of his new book, Habeas Data, about 50 years of privacy law in America. This event is presented in conjunction with BookPeople, who will have staff on hand with copies of Cyrus’ book for you to buy.

https://cyrusfarivar.com/blog/2018-book-tour/
https://www.bookpeople.com/

You are being watched. Whether through your phone or your car or
your credit card, caught on a CCT camera or tracked through your online
viewing history, government agencies know where you are, and are quietly collecting your most intimate, mundane, and personal information.

Is this even legal? Habeas Data shows how the explosive growth of
surveillance technology has outpaced our understanding of the ethics,
mores, and laws of privacy.

———————————————————–

Join us for the discussion from 7:00PM-9:00PM, followed by drinks and camaraderie from 9:00PM-10:00PM at Firehouse Lounge (605 Brazos St).

Capital Factory is located at 701 Brazos Street, inside the Omni Hotel/Austin Centre. We will be in the MobilityX classroom on the ground floor. If you need help finding it, there should be someone on duty at the Capital Factory front desk to assist you.

Talk will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/austintechlive

Parking for the Omni Garage can be validated at the Capital Factory front desk, reducing the cost from $18 to $7. Details: https://capitalfactory.com/parking/

———————————————————–

Habeas Data Book Signing With Cyrus Farivar!

Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018, 7:00 PM

Capital Factory
701 Brazos Street Suite 150 Austin, TX

14 Activists Attending

NOTE THE TIME CHANGE. OUR MEETUP IS ON TUESDAY EVENING IN OCTOBER, NOT MONDAY. Our speaker this month is Cyrus Farivar. Cyrus Farivar is the Senior Business Editor at Ars Technica and the author of The Internet of Elsewhere. He is also a radio producer and has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, Public Radio I…

Check out this Meetup →

https://www.facebook.com/events/2118243351839528/

———————————————————–

cropped-EFFAustin-site-logo.png CapitalFactoryLogoBlack-300x262

September 10th Meetup – Scott McCollough: The Right to Privacy

Our speaker this month is Scott McCollough. Scott McCollough is a communications and internet attorney and former EFF-Austin board member with unparalleled knowledge and experience relating to those places where technology and regulation intersect – and often collide – all the way up the protocol stack. His clients have included competitive communications companies and Internet service and application providers, with a focus on public law and regulation relating to telecommunications, computers, Internet, privacy, procurement, electric and gas utilities, economic regulation, consulting, governmental relations, and instruction and training to individuals, groups, companies and governmental agencies. He is a past Contract Consumer Advocate (representing residential and small business consumers) with the City of Austin Electric Utility (1994-1999) and a former Regulatory Counsel for Texas ISDN Users Group and Texas Internet Service Providers Association. He is a graduate with honors of The University of Texas School of Law and currently manages his own firm here in Austin.

For our monthly meetup, McCollough will address the philosophical, ethical and legal underpinnings of the right to privacy, with specific attention to “information privacy.” As a group we will discuss what “privacy” “is” and why it is important to society. McCollough will advance the natural law, positive law and utilitarian arguments in favor of privacy. He will trace “natural law” concepts of privacy through the ages and discuss how US courts have justified finding a right to privacy based on natural law. He will show that Roman law recognized the right to privacy and British law in large part adopted and expanded the Roman law concepts. There will be a discussion of historical efforts to protect information privacy using cryptology. McCollough will then address the current means to protect information privacy and security through the Fifth Amendment and discuss compelled encryption key disclosure. He will address information privacy as a discrete privacy right under the Fourth Amendment. The talk will conclude with thoughts on the impact of recent Supreme Court appointments on privacy in general and information privacy in particular, at which point there will be time for extended Q&A and post-presentation group discussion.

————————————————————

Join us for the discussion from 7:00PM-9:00PM, followed by drinks and camaraderie from 9:00PM-10:00PM at Firehouse Lounge (605 Brazos St).

Capital Factory is located at 701 Brazos Street, on the 16th floor of the Omni Hotel. Once on the 16th floor, there should be a sign at the front desk directing you to our meetup. If there is no sign, and no one is on duty at the desk, we are usually in the room to the left of the front desk.

Talk will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/austintechlive

Parking for the Omni Garage can be purchased in advance using Spot Hero. This will allow you to obtain a QR code that allows for entry to the garage at a greatly discounted rate vs what you’d have to pay on-site. Details: https://spothero.com/austin-parking

————————————————————

The Future of Internet Freedom: Why It Will Fail, and How We Will Save It

Monday, Aug 13, 2018, 7:00 PM

Capital Factory
701 Brazos Street Suite 150 Austin, TX

39 Activists Went

Our speaker this month is Dr. Brandon Wiley. Dr. Brandon Wiley is the President of Operator Foundation (https://operatorfoundation.org/), a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization founded to promote internet freedom, open communication and global internet security through technology development, deployment, and education. Operator develops hardw…

Check out this Meetup →

https://www.facebook.com/events/510190976107456/

————————————————————

cropped-EFFAustin-site-logo.png CapitalFactoryLogoBlack-300x262