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videoconferencing platforms intensify surveillance vulnerability along a number of different dimensions. Platform purveyors typically collect large quantities of data about their users and may also store copies of intimate conversations. Zoom in particular incurred sustained public scrutiny for these reasons, but its privacy practices do not differ materially from those of other services. The rush to scapegoat Zoom has largely deflected attention from the more general default condition of inadequate privacy and data protection in the US. Meanwhile, tech giants Google and Facebook have moved to compete more aggressively in the videoconferencing space.4 The shift to teleworking has also exposed employees and students of all ages to intensified surveillance by employers and providers of distance education services and tools—even as it has sparked calls to ‘reimagine’ education under the guidance of private-sector technology entrepreneurs.5

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Countering misinformation and disinformation The fear, uncertainty, and economic dislocation that have accompanied the pandemic have exacerbated public vulnerability to misinformation and to targeted disinformation campaigns. The business models of dominant socially networked platform companies have allowed such campaigns to flourish. Major information platform providers have taken some measures to limit misinformation about the pandemic—for example, by linking to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization and posting warning labels on information flagged by fact-checkers—but none has done anything significant to rein in the advertiser-driven processes that target misinformation and disinformation to receptive audiences or the socially networked processes that amplify such flows.6

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Perceiving that misinformation and disinformation work to its benefit, the incumbent administration has worked to amplify toxic information flows rather than to counteract them. The President and his closest allies have tacitly or explicitly encouraged minimisation of the health threats that the novel coronavirus presents and have worked to infuse discussion of those threats with nativism and racism.7 Public perceptions

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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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