Skip to main content

Tech giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta 'ensnaring' individual freedom

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* 

The history of human and social progress intertwines with the narrative of resistance. Throughout the ages, the evolution of humanity and its societies has been deeply rooted in acts of resistance. The power of resistance serves as the nucleus from which all forms of progressive transformation emanate. It is through resistance that individuals and communities challenge the status quo, advocate for change, and strive for a better future. 
From the anti-feudal, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and civil rights movements to the fight for gender equality, history is replete with examples of resistance driving significant societal advancements. Importantly, resistance embodies the resilience and determination inherent in human nature, illustrating that no force can entirely suppress the resistance in quest of peace and progress.
As the rent-seeking techno-feudalism by tech giants like Meta, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet expands its influence, it increasingly seeks to ensnare individuals, states, governments, communities, and entire societies within the confines of its digital platforms. 
Within this landscape, the algorithms of resistance emerge as a crucial force, manifesting in the daily struggles of ordinary people against the dominance of these technological behemoths. Despite facing legal barriers and biased regulations that often favour the techno overlords, individuals persist in their efforts to push back and reclaim their democratic and digital rights as well as their very way of life. 
These acts of resistance represent a vital counterforce against the encroachment of corporate power into the fabric of society, serving as a reminder that the battle for autonomy and self-determination in the digital age is far from over.
The pervasive culture of hire-and-fire within the shadow employment environment of the gig economy serves to undermine the stability of social foundations, thereby weakening the collective power of the working masses and eroding their confidence. 
This strategy is not merely a by-product of economic trends, but a deliberate tactic aimed at crippling the potential of the workforce to mobilise and assert their rights. 
By perpetuating an environment of uncertainty and insecurity, this model of employment not only diminishes the resilience of the resistance movement but also dismantles the conducive environments necessary for fostering progressive change within society. 
The constant threat of job instability and financial insecurity leaves workers vulnerable and hesitant to organise or challenge the status quo. Moreover, it hampers their ability to envision and pursue long-term goals for societal advancement. 
As a result, the very fabric of democratic principles and social progress is compromised, as individuals are preoccupied with navigating the precarious nature of their employment rather than engaging in meaningful collective action.
In essence, the culture of hire-and-fire within digital economy not only undermines the immediate livelihoods of workers but also undermines the broader struggle for democracy and social change. 
By dismantling stable employment structures and fostering an atmosphere of precarity, it impedes the potential for organised resistance movements to flourish, thereby perpetuating the status quo of inequality and injustice. Addressing these systemic issues is crucial not only for the well-being of workers but also for the preservation and deepening of democratic principles and social harmony.
The formidable power wielded by digital platforms extends far beyond mere convenience or connectivity; it encompasses the ability to capture, control, and domesticate individuals within a complex web of surveillance and security measures. 
Through the securitisation of everyday life, characterised by access controls, password requirements, and multi-step verifications, these platforms normalise and institutionalise a pervasive state of surveillance. In doing so, they cultivate an environment where constant monitoring becomes accepted as the norm, effectively blurring the lines between personal autonomy and external control.
This normalisation of surveillance not only serves the interests of techno-feudalism but also aligns with the broader agenda of creating a society compliant with its requirements. 
Under the guise of enhancing security and streamlining processes, individuals are gradually conditioned to relinquish aspects of their privacy and personal agency. In essence, while users may believe they maintain control over their own lives, they are, in fact, indirectly subject to the whims of the platforms they interact with. 
Pervasive culture of hire-and-fire in the shadow employment environment of gig economy serves to undermine social stability
This phenomenon underscores the intricate power dynamics at play within the digital landscape, where seemingly innocuous interactions serve to reinforce the dominance of techno-feudalistic structures. 
By fostering a sense of dependency and reliance on their services, digital platforms effectively entrench their influence over individuals, perpetuating a cycle of control and domestication.
To challenge this paradigm, it is imperative to recognise and resist the normalisation of surveillance within society. By advocating for transparency, accountability, and the protection of individual rights, it becomes possible to confront the encroachment of techno-feudalism and reclaim autonomy over our digital lives. 
Only through collective awareness and concerted action can we hope to dismantle the mechanisms of control and forge a path towards a more equitable and liberated digital future. 
Through grassroots movements, advocacy, and collective action, people around the world continue to resist the commodification of their data, the erosion of privacy, and the erosion of democratic principles, forging a path towards a more equitable and just digital future. Thus, while reactionary opposition may arise, the spirit of resistance remains indomitable, persistently pushing boundaries and shaping the course of history.
Despite relentless efforts to domesticate and control the consciousness of individuals, the flame of progressive consciousness persists, fuelled by the collective labour and resistance against oppressive power structures. Throughout history, resistance has proven to be an indomitable force, challenging all forms of oppression and exploitation. 
There is no doubt that it is through the resilience of resistance movements that meaningful social change is realised. In the context of today's data-driven digital society, the algorithm of resistance remains integral. Despite the encroachment of techno-feudalism, the spirit of resistance endures, transcending barriers and asserting the rights and agency of individuals. 
Digital subcultures, from piracy to open-source software movements, exemplify this ongoing struggle for the deepening of democracy and citizenship rights within the digital realm. These movements represent more than just acts of defiance; they embody a fundamental commitment to democratizing access to information and technology. 
By challenging monopolistic control and advocating for open, transparent systems, they pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive digital landscape. Moreover, they serve as a potent reminder that, regardless of the obstacles imposed by techno-feudalistic structures, the spirit of resistance remains alive and thriving.
---
*London Metropolitan University

Comments

TRENDING

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Moving towards sustainable development? Social, environmental implications of HCES data

By Dr Vandana Sehgal, Dr Amandeep Kaur*  Sustainable development, the high time agenda, encompasses economic, social, and environmental dimensions, aiming for a balance between all these aspects to ensure long-term well-being and prosperity for all. One of the crucial aspects of sustainable development is consumption patterns. Consumption patterns refer to the way individuals, households, and societies use resources and goods. Sustainable consumption patterns entail using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and considering the environmental and social impacts of consumption choices.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.