About the TUGAFAM Empire, Uptrennd and Gilles Deleuze
Dear fellow Uptrenndians,
Today, more than ever, private companies and States (which, in many cases, behave as private entities disguised in a “common wealth spirit” outfit) are boosting their mining capacities. But do they mine in order to be rewarded in BTC, in Monero, in DigiByte?
What they increasingly mine are… our lives.
Each one of our movements, of our expressed ideas, of our contacts, of our tastes and preferences.
And in that respect, this novel coronavirus crisis is becoming a datamining paradise.
A couple of recent examples of this growing trend:
- In Spain, the Health Ministry now uses the citizen’s mobile phones to geolocalize them and check if they’re really implementing the confinement measures (source: https://www.autocasion.com/actualidad/noticias/el-gobierno-usa-tu-movil-para-saber-si-cumples-el-confinamiento);
- Google plans to offer their users (i.e. their products) bank accounts, pursuing the same objective as Facebook with their Libra fake cryptocurrency: exploit all of our instant messaging activity, all our cloud computing files and even the school results of our children (through “Google Classroom”) to even more forecast, predetermine and register our purchases, be it online or in physical outlets (https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/13/20962745/google-checking-account-citigroup-stanford-pay-banking-financial-services-cache);
- Micro$oft, through the skyrocketing “Zoom” use in this quarantine period, collects information from our Facebook profile (if we use Facebook to sign into it) and any “information (we) upload, provide, or create while using the service.” – the latter meaning the whole content of our most intimate conversations. Moreover, even in case we don’t have a Facebook account, the Zoom iOS app sends to Facebook a significant amount of our data (https://dt.gl/zooming-in/)
Shifting from the disciplinary societies to the societies of control
This phenomenon has begun quite a long time ago, so much that in 1990 the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze could write a groundbreaking short text explaining the very mechanisms we’re now confronted with: “Post-scriptum sur les sociétés de contrôle” (here’s its English translation: https://thefunambulist.net/history/deleuze-foucault-and-the-society-of-control). Let me quote two steps of his analysis, so vividly applicable to our situation, 30 years later:
“[The disciplinary societies] reach their height at the outset of the twentieth [century]. They initiate the organization of vast spaces of enclosure. The individual never ceases passing from one closed environment to another, each having its own laws: first the family; then the school (“you are no longer in your family”); then the barracks (“you are no longer at school”); then the factory; from time to time the hospital; possibly the prison, the preeminent instance of the enclosed environment. It’s the prison that serves as the analogical model (…)”
“In the disciplinary societies one was always starting again (from school to the barracks, from the barracks to the factory), while in the societies of control one is never finished with anything–the corporation, the educational system, the armed services being metastable states coexisting in one and the same modulation, like a universal system of deformation. In The Trial, Kafka, who had already placed himself at the pivotal point between two types of social formation, described the most fearsome of judicial forms. The apparent acquittal of the disciplinary societies (between two incarcerations); and the limitless postponements of the societies of control (in continuous variation) are two very different modes of juridical life, and if our law is hesitant, itself in crisis, it’s because we are leaving one in order to enter the other”.
Our Resistance has two names
Immersed in such a permanent communicational prison – a prison where we’re not prevented from communicating but on the contrary we’re summoned to do so at every second (Edward Snowden always reminds that our cell phones are constantly shouting out “I’m here” to the telecom companies and, through them, to the State), which are our options ?
Gilles Deleuze, some time before he committed suicide (1995), proposed the most logical – and radical - form of resistance: silence. When we stop expressing ourselves, even our spying cellphones are converted into a useless chunk of industrial garbage. Nowadays, the easiest way to practice that personal direct action against the theft of our lives is to leave our mobile phone at home when we go outside. Or, as more and more people do, to plainly choose to give up using a mobile phone.
The second path we can walk along is to gradually shift from the TUGAFAM and proprietary platforms and protocols towards the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) tools, among which we find…
That other option will be the focus of my next article.
Cheers to all Uptrenndians who’ve actually read this entire publication (without its title containing the words “give away”, “airdrop” or “contest” ;-) ).
A community passionate about technological advancement, from AI, to 3D printing, to bio-hacking, and beyond!