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HomeLIFESTYLECory Doctorow: "Iceta would be catastrophic for freedom of expression online and...

Cory Doctorow: “Iceta would be catastrophic for freedom of expression online and in the media”



Cory Ducro (Toronto, 1971) is one of the most famous voices in literature Science Fiction. In his book The Radical, published by Captain Swing, the prolific Canadian writer and digital activist imagines four dystopias tainted with reality that depict political and social issues and how technology is shaping our societies.

Doctorow, a 2020 member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, attends EL PERIÓDICO DE CATALUNYA, of the Prensa Ibérica group, on a phone conversation.

In the book she describes an unequal and corporate society that punishes the poor, police abuses against minorities, and violent disobedience of citizens and insurance companies that profit from the health of others. It really is Science Fiction?

Science fiction is just a way to show what is happening in the world, not to predict what will happen. It works to monitor the concerns and aspirations we have with technology to make them clearer. Whoever says that he predicts the future is a charlatan.

Does literature permit a more seductive activity?

I hope that. I’ve made abstract arguments about privacy for 20 years, and if you do it with a digital rights story, you can draw attention to the policies being adopted and their human impact.

“The Internet makes it easier to communicate between people and can help both those who advocate for racial equality and the Nazis to organize.”

Far from the grim reality, I’ve talked about networking as an opportunity for the community to collaborate. How?

Seeing the surveillance, it is easy to believe that technology is used to control our minds, but it is not. The Internet was organized to facilitate communication between people and this could serve to organize both those who advocated racial equality and the Nazis. The internet has made these transactions easier and faster which is amazing. My fear and hope is that what has allowed the Occupy Wall Street movement to gather is what has allowed a law to spread.

In that sense, do you see what’s called “metaverse‘As an opportunity for greater regulation or suppression by large corporations like Meta?

It can be both. I think it’s a stupid idea that probably won’t work. If it works and the possibility of monopoly and abuse of control is not regulated, then this is incredible. This literally means that the company controls the virtual world. (Mark) Zuckerberg isn’t a genius, he’s a guy who created an “app” to rate girls in his high school who were hot and then they gave him loads of money. That’s it.

The Internet is a basic infrastructure but is managed by a few private hands…

We have on the Internet the same problem of highways and airports: the ideological decision to privatize and allow the monopoly of companies that do not have a public service and that it is impossible to regulate.

“Blocking ads in your web browser was the biggest consumer boycott in history”

Do you think the surveillance that governs these companies is turning their business into something corrupt?

On the contrary, they are a corrupt company and that is why they are spying. And they do it not because you don’t care, but because they act as monopolies. People don’t want to be spied on. When Apple changed its privacy policies, 96% of users did not give permission to be tracked. The decision to install ad blockers in your browser is the biggest consumer boycott in history, but it’s not enough.

In the book, she refers to monopolies by imagining hardware companies that force their users to consume only one type of product. Have we allowed companies that are now unaffected by the fines to grow too much?

GDPR has its good points, but the EU hasn’t implemented it as much as it should. Small tech companies have been under more pressure than big ones. The failure to enforce antitrust policies for 40 years has led to these abuses. The existence of monopolies makes it very difficult to work against them, and if they can get rid of them, it means that they will. You have to make these companies smaller.

More and more companies and governments are turning to what they call predictive technologies to determine credit, access public aid, or monitor citizens. Are the most vulnerable groups used as guinea pigs?

It begins against those who have no power, such as immigrants or the poorest, then normalizes and ends with its application to everyone. Predictive police systems don’t predict what people will do in black neighborhoods, but what the police will do against them. 20 years ago, if a camera scored you, it was because you were a criminal, now it’s because you bought something from Apple or Google.

The European Union It applies these AI systems to borders & mldr;

A good explanation is that they don’t know that they will extrapolate what happened in the past until the same thing happens in the future. There is another explanation: they know exactly what is going to happen and they are racist and want a machine to justify them.

You have criticized copyright laws and published your books for free online. What do you think of Spanish law that holds platforms like Twitch and YouTube responsible for content posted by users that may infringe copyright, potentially leading to an automatic ban on these platforms?

Platforms’ automatic filters don’t work, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s due to “copyrights” or something else, there are always exceptions and explanations. For example, I can use what a media has said to criticize it. Banning content is something a judge must dictate.

Also, the digital advertising system is down because most of the money goes to Google and Facebook, taking it away from the media. If both companies support the law, it is because they know that in this way they will be able to push out their competitors and become more powerful. The law would be disastrous for freedom of expression on the Internet, but also for the media.

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