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Human rights groups are turning against tech

Posted by / November 30, 2018

You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain––so goes the old saying.

Many of us remember when the “tech industry” was new––some of us even remember when it was a proto-version of itself. When Bill Gates launched Microsoft, he was hailed as the hero who would bring down the evil empire of IBM. The same was said of Steve Jobs––who can forget the epic Apple 1984 commercial?

But the tide quickly turned on Bill Gates and Microsoft. It took a little longer, but Apple is increasingly consider an “evil empire.” As the article just cited makes clear, Google––once the most exciting company on the planet, with it’s refreshing “Don’t Be Evil” motto––has long since slipped into the techno-authoritarian mode––and the public sees it.

This past month marks a turning point in the nation’s relationship with tech. For one, Amnesty International has called on Google to cancel Project Dragonfly, which would create a censored search engine for China. Google Employees called on the company to do the same, saying that the company is putting profit over values.

Additionally, the ACLU is concerned with how and why the federal government demanded Facebook build a backdoor into its Messenger app. Facebook has already taken major hits in its reputation, and the ACLU’s lawsuit reminds us that Facebook is not only capable of evil on its own, but it can be used for evil by other institutions.

The king is dead. Long live the king.

More tech.

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