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a Communist plot for world domination. Although prima facie a healthcare issue, the COVID-19 pandemic can easily and rapidly evolve into a humanitarian tragedy in Brazil.5 In contexts like this, government authorities and technology companies, but also ordinary citizens, become more open to fast solutions and uncritical experimentation with all kinds of technological fixes. Faith in science and technology increases, and everyone is thirsty for quick answers for either entirely resolving the crisis (e.g. a cure for COVID-19) or creating amenities that provide a sense of normality (e.g. home office solutions). It seems that we are at the crossroads of three disputed paths involving territory, inequality, and technology: the exception, the acceleration, and the rupture.

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The exception is based on the belief that everything will be as it was once the virus is no longer a threat, and that normality is not just what we want to happen but in fact that this return will be materially possible. This is the view of the president Jair Bolsonaro and most of his ministers,6 who have been emphasising the lack of need for any urgency in policy. This is mainly based on conspiracy theories that the virus is either too weak to be concerned about, or that it is a powerful weapon against the Christian foundations of Western civilisation. In either case, when confronted with the devastating number of deaths, faith in quick fixes grows, and Bolsonaro is betting everything on the yet-unproven efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as permanent cures7 for COVID-19. His allies flood social media (especially WhatsApp groups) with daily waves of distorted articles on the alleged efficacy of this medication for tackling the pandemic. These include manipulated news of the supposed low efficacy of quarantine and social distancing measures. The strategy of spreading misinformation through social media is a powerful tool, used by Bolsonaro’s supporters during and following the 2018 general election.8 The acceleration of certain technological practices is also evident. A strategy of Silicon Valley-style companies around the world but also of China (although perhaps in another way or with other emphases), this path treats the current crisis as an opportunity to accelerate technology-driven

Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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