I have written previously about activist organisations whose (in)activity is mostly, if not entirely, confined to social media/surveillance capitalism.
Online campaigning is of limited effectiveness, as it allows people to click “like” and feel they have done something. So today members of Wyndford Tenants' Union were on the streets, asking tenants to sign our petition against Cube Housing Association's planned rent increase. Talking with people, it was clear that there are many who not only are not on social media, but do not even have email. To exclude such people when campaigning is to naively fail to build a broad base, and, worse, it is classist.
I spent most of January 6 reading news updates about the attempted coup in the US. I lived there for 22 years, and was among the minority on the left who predicted that Trump would become President, but, even though I left immediately after he was sworn in, I never imagined it becoming so dystopian so quickly. I am grateful to be in Scotland.
There are activists, and journalists, and people who are both, who have blind spots about the dangers of surveillance technology even when writing about it.
In this article, Mike Small, editor of Bella Caledonia, begins: “I ‘sign-in’ to my phone with my fingerprint.”
No journalist or activist should use fingerprint (or face) recognition on their phone. While seductively convenient, it's dangerous. Police are not allowed to force you to give them your password so they can get into your phone, but they are allowed to force you to open it with your fingerprint. This exposes not only the owner of the phone, but everyone they communicate with. A strong password, entered every time you check your phone, is surely worth the inconvenience.