No Place to Hide – Digital Sovereignty and Surveillance in the Data Economy

with Marleen Stikker and Payal Arora

  • Debate
  • Lecture

Date: Thursday 10.09.20
Time: 20:00 (doors: 19:30)
Location: Hofpleintheater, Benthemplein 13, Rotterdam
Admission: € 10,00 (€ 6,00 for students)
Language: English

The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed, and will continue to impose, drastic changes in how we work and live. But whilst the long-term implications remain uncertain, it is already clear that it is accelerating some existing economic trends. Perhaps most striking is the exponential growth of the data economy, and, with it, the rapid expansion of the digital giants who dominate it. Since the pandemic began the value of the six big tech firms has soared €1.6 trillion – a total increase in their market capitalisation of 38 per cent – further entrenching their monopolistic positions and systems of digital surveillance.

So what are the implications? How is the rise of the data economy transforming our democracies, societies and cities? What are the mechanisms, interests and power dynamics behind modern day surveillance capitalism? And how do issues of online privacy, digital tracking and data governance manifest themselves beyond the West?

Waag founder and internetpioneer Marleen Stikker is the author of ‘Het Internet is Stuk’ (The Internet is Bust), a recent bestseller on how we lost our digital sovereignty and what we can do to reclaim it. On September 10 Stikker will engage in a conversation on the global dynamics of the data economy with digital anthropologist Payal Arora, author of the acclaimed The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West, a book that reveals that many of the assumptions we have about Internet use in the Global South are wrong.

Science journalist and presenter Geert Maarse will moderate the evening.

Marleen Stikker is founder and managing director of Waag, a social enterprise in Amsterdam that consists of a research institute for creative technologies and social innovation, and Waag Products, that launched companies like Fairphone, the first fair smartphone in the world. She is also founder of ‘De Digitale Stad’ (The Digital City) in 1993, the first virtual community introducing free public access to the Internet in Amsterdam. She was a guest in VPRO Zomergasten in 2018 and the author of ‘Het Internet is Stuk’ (The Internet is Bust), published with De Geus in 2019.

Payal Arora is a Full Professor and Chair in Technology, Values, and Global Media Cultures at the Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is the Founder and Executive Director of a digital activism organization Catalyst Lab. She is a digital anthropologist and author of several books including Dot Com Mantra: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas (Ashgate, 2010), The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0 (Routledge, 2015;), and, The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West (Harvard University Press, 2019). Much of her research focuses on digital cultures, global inequality and data governance in the Global South.

This is a live event in a spacious, coronaproof venue with limited capacity. Taking into account the 1.5 metre rule – at this time – only duotickets are available for people from the same household. A video registration will be made public after the event, but we hope to see you in real life!

This programme is kindly supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL and the municipality of Rotterdam.