Listen, since we’re figuring out now how to build a better world from whatever wreckage is to come, I might as well share a reminder of how much power we have, including over technology, including over ISP’s.
The earlier thread here about Comcast’s “Essentials” program reminded me: That program, thoroughly inadequate to meet the goals of tech equity, exists because our city government accepted it in exchange for what are essentially land rights.
In order to provide cable, Comcast and other companies have to lay fiber. In order to lay fiber, they have to open up the ground. In the public right of way.
Without the contract they have with the city, Comcast and other companies can’t build or maintain the infrastructure needed to keep us connecting through the information pipelines they control.
This is why they pour huge amounts of money into courting government officials, both in the old-school ways of capturing them financially and socially (which are still very much with us), and by glossing over how lucrative this is by convincing us that they are doing good.
They spend a lot of money financing programs designed to appear as if they are for the public’s good, when in reality it is entirely for the purpose of entrenching themselves further into government, building relationships that give them privileged access in perpetuity.
In civic technology, I was kind of an edge tentacle on this octopus arm. A lot of us got into it with good intentions, hoping we could make government more accountable, open, and responsive by using new tools.
But my position at the city was funded by Comcast, and behind the scenes, I was told to treat it as if I worked for them. By repeatedly refusing to be the shiny face of these efforts, I made a pariah of myself.
I saw through the layers — to how my boss’s mortgages were being paid indirectly by Comcast, Qualcomm and others through their donations via his partner’s political consulting firm to candidates who then made policy in their favor —
to how the powers that be were using a thin layer of “open data” to win public support for unprecedented levels of surveillance data to be collected by private companies, for the primary benefit of private companies —
how “smart cities” effectively meant the wholesale selling-off of the entire built environment and the data of every person who enters it, in exchange for ... well, figuring out how it could benefit the public (and selling it to them) was my job
and I sucked at it. I got asked to put together an event for Maria Cantwell to promote “Smart Cities” legislation that had been written by Qualcomm and passed through the back end to my office (which I was told I was not supposed to know about)
so we could enter in the justification for what would have been a federal mandate for individual cities to spend trillions of dollars with a handful of companies implementing mass surveillance.
I said no, twice. The second time I was so frightened by the implications that I drove myself into literal madness trying to figure out how I could put on a good face and plan the event while simultaneously sabotaging it.
I knew that if Seattle signed off, other cities would follow — we were cultivating that reputation. Governments had the idea that tech is hard, and so instead of doing due diligence, they would look to us to set precedent for what was acceptable in tech policy.
I would do interviews talking about our #opendata policy and how great it was, all the while seeing how flimsy it was in reality and struggling to make any good come of it. I watched us use it to evade transparency instead of increasing it.
We were also praised by our privacy efforts, which consisted of some grant work done with UW faculty and graduate students from the humanities who were unable to provide policy oversight on the technical level it would have needed — and —
it went almost completely unnoticed that our Chief Privacy Officer disappeared months into her tenure, placed on an “administrative leave” no one would would discuss until she was replaced by an old friend of the CTO — this being a person
who once said in a meeting that the extent of SPD’s surveillance powers was only scary “if you’re a bad guy.”

And of course, I went into psychosis, from where it might have been convenient for even me to dismiss me
had I not been followed shortly thereafter by another senior woman in the department who was terrified by what she found our leadership to be doing behind the scenes.
As Democrats rise to power again, it is not too early to be noticing the many ways the system will attempt to use this moment to entrench itself, aided by our relief at how this couldn’t possibly be as bad as what Trump et al were up to.
There are a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money now that they’re back in power and can start doling out privileges to their backers.
Whether it’s the fiber under our feet or the sensors on our streets, we need to be extra watchful of how these next administrations work to sell us out — and how they try to convince us it’s for our own good.
Don’t trust them.
Lol at how many bots are about to retweet this based on keywords because that’s how little criticism these “movements” have received
I almost lost my own thread — this was such a frightening thing when it happened, and I felt powerless because it felt like no one else was paying attention.

The point I most wanted to make is that these companies can’t do what they do without our permission.
We can say no.

We can demand transparency, access to our own data, and the right to govern how it is used.

We can refuse permissions in the public right of way to companies who don’t behave in the public interest.
We could even take this moment to make broadband available to all.

Ok NOW I can sleep.

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More from @candacefaber

9 Jan
So I’m annoyed by white people making fun of the people who stormed the Capitol without looking at the role they played in creating them.

It’s almost like white liberals need right-wingers to provide a foil for their own complicity.
I say this because I still remember in my body how white liberals treated me when I tried to leave the church and Republican politics.

They made fun of me for what I didn’t know even when I showed up earnest and open-hearted.
Consciousness was yet another resource they were withholding to establish their own superiority.

It was like they didn’t want me to learn. Instead I became a toy for them, somebody to make fun of, somebody to make them feel “woke” by comparison.
Read 14 tweets
11 Sep 20
Hey @PSETalk, stop calling me. I gave whatever cash I could to my landlord so I could stay housed and working during this pandemic-slash-economic crisis. But he’s evicting me anyway so he can sell it for more $$$ than I’ll see in a lifetime. Call his ass for your money, not mine.
And don’t you dare send me a link for some corny ass form or a phone number where I have to get on like 6 different calls over 3 days just to be told I don’t meet your narrow qualifications for who deserves to have basic power in these end times.
You waste more money belittling people and making them beg for assistance than it would cost to just wipe the debt, and you know it.
Read 7 tweets
27 Aug 20
Hi, I’m ready for the general strike.

I’m ready to withdraw my labor from this market.

I’m no longer going to be asking people to traumatize themselves by going to jobs where they are harassed.

Wealthy white people are OUT OF CONTROL.
The amount of harassment we are experiencing right now is next level.

And when I’m not physically there, the way they talk to brown people on my team AS IF THEY ARE PROPERTY is completely unacceptable.
It has ALWAYS been hard to be a cleaner. This profession is rooted in servitude everywhere, and in this country, in enslavement specifically.

Somebody decided white people and rich folks should be above cleaning up their own messes and it shows all over this planet.
Read 7 tweets
27 Aug 20
I am a house cleaner.

Things I love about my work:

The work! The science of it. The art of it. How I never stop learning! How every day is different! How transformative it can be for people’s spaces and their lives! My coworkers!

Things I don’t love about my work:
The work being gendered. (“Like” if you’ve ever used the term “cleaning lady.”)
The work being sexualized. (“Like” if you’ve ever seen a maid portrayed as a seductress, sex symbol, or target of sexual violence, including IRL).
Read 21 tweets
19 Aug 20
Re: the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment: hope folks who believe it’s okay to win incremental victories for themselves at the expense of other marginalized groups realize they are only diminishing their own legacy.
How embarrassing that we have to explicitly caveat that this fight gave *white* women the right to vote.

Especially when it did not have to be that way.
I’m sure the nice white women at the time thought they were doing a good thing. To this day I have heard MANY white women say that their individual pay raises and recognition are somehow a victory for ALL women, because they’ll use their power for good.
Read 4 tweets
16 Aug 20
Sample lyric from a worship song at my youth Jesus camp:

“‘cuz life is hard
and it might not get easier”

I mean they weren’t wrong but wow, programming teenagers to believe the measure of how good you are is how miserable you are is next-level generational gaslighting
Also recovering childhood memories is wild, the stuff that comes up can feel so random at first; like this lyric and melody demanding to come out of my mouth lately.... like oh, didn’t realize that y’all had literally programmed me to believe being here was supposed to suck
The next line was like a little glimmer of hope - “so don’t be afraid to know who you are, and don’t be afraid to show it” ... followed by


(Jesus is homophobic here so show it and we will pray/beat/punish the gay out of you)
Read 7 tweets

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