It appears that I haven’t written a single post on this blog since July of 2018. Perhaps it is all the talk of resolutions around me but I sincerely would like to write more in this space in 2019. And the best way to do that is to just start.
In December of last year I listened to Episode 7 of Anil Dash’s Function Podcast: Fn 7: Behind the Rising Labor Movement in Tech.
This week on Function, we take a look at the rising labor movement in tech by hearing from those whose advocacy was instrumental in setting the foundation for what we see today around the dissent from tech workers.Fn 7: Behind the Rising Labor Movement in Tech
Anil talks to Leigh Honeywell, CEO and founder of Tall Poppy and creator of the Never Again pledge, about how her early work, along with others, helped galvanize tech workers to connect the dots between different issues in tech.
I thought I was familiar with most of Leigh’s work but I realized that wasn’t the case because somehow her involvement with the Never Again pledge escaped my attention.
Here’s the pledge’s Introduction:
We, the undersigned, are employees of tech organizations and companies based in the United States. We are engineers, designers, business executives, and others whose jobs include managing or processing data about people. We are choosing to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans, immigrants, and all people whose lives and livelihoods are threatened by the incoming administration’s proposed data collection policies. We refuse to build a database of people based on their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.“Our pledge”, Never Again.
We have educated ourselves on the history of threats like these, and on the roles that technology and technologists played in carrying them out. We see how IBM collaborated to digitize and streamline the Holocaust, contributing to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others. We recall the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. We recognize that mass deportations precipitated the very atrocity the word genocide was created to describe: the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey. We acknowledge that genocides are not merely a relic of the distant past—among others, Tutsi Rwandans and Bosnian Muslims have been victims in our lifetimes.
Today we stand together to say: not on our watch, and never again.
The episode reminded me that while I am not an employee in the United States who is directly complicit with the facilitation of deportation, as a Canadian academic librarian, I am not entirely free from some degree of complicity as I am employed at a University that subscribes to WESTLAW .
The Intercept is reporting on Thomson Reuters response to Privacy International’s letter to TRI CEO Jim Smith expressing the watchdog group’s “concern” over the company’s involvement with ICE. According to The Intercept article “Thomson Reuters Special Services sells ICE ‘a continuous monitoring and alert service that provides real-time jail booking data to support the identification and location of aliens’ as part of a $6.7 million contract, and West Publishing, another subsidiary, provides ICE’s “Detention Compliance and Removals” office with access to a vast license-plate scanning database, along with agency access to the Consolidated Lead Evaluation and Reporting, or CLEAR, system.” The two contracts together are worth $26 million. The article observes that “the company is ready to defend at lease one of those contracts while remaining silent on the rest.”“Thomson Reuters defends $26 million contracts with ICE”
by Joe Hodnicki (Law Librarian Blog) on June 28, 2018
I also work at a library that subscribes to products that are provided by Elsevier and whose parent company is the RELX Group.
In 2015, Reed Elsevier rebranded itself as RELX and moved further away from traditional academic and professional publishing. This year , the company purchased ThreatMetrix, a cybersecurity company that specializes in tracking and authenticating people’s online activities, which even tech reporters saw as a notable departure from the company’s prior academic publishing role.“Surveillance and Legal Research Providers: What You Need to Know“, Sarah Lamdan, Medium, July 6, 2018.
Welcome to 2019. There is work to do and it’s time to start.