This week, the public continued to grapple with the revelation that Facebook disclosed more than 50 million users’ account information to the right-wing political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. LPE contributor Frank Pasquale has previously described how we should understand the big internet platforms as exercising a form of “functional sovereignty,” a description seemed as apt than this week as ever, when people realized how little government regulation restricted Facebook’s use of their private information. Here are three recent pieces that have caught our attention with an LPE take on the issue:
- Beware the Big Five – the U.S. military and intelligence sector’s venture capital funding has fostered the tech sector’s consolidation and permitted the growth of private empires on the back of publicly funded R&D.
- Facebook Isn’t Just Violating Our Privacy – Facebook is insistent on seeing its failures as harming individuals, never society as a whole, but we must insist on using collective questions to challenge Silicon Valley’s libertarian perspective.
- The New Military-Industrial Complex of Big Data Psy-Ops – Silicon Valley’s behavioral science research has been critical to the military and intelligence apparatus.
Elsewhere on the web:
- Banking Against (Black) Capitalism: On “The Color of Money” – LARB reviews LPE contributor Mehrsa Baradaran’s new book The Color of Money, which shows how black-owned community banks have been held up as a way to create a parallel economy, even as they have systematically served the financial interests of white America. This racial capitalism analysis of our financialized economy shows why racial justice demands a structural approach, rather than the promotion of a “separate but equal system of black capitalism.”
- Why Democrats Should Embrace a Federal Jobs Guarantee – Democratic Presidential contender Kirsten Gillibrand endorsed a national guaranteed jobs program, following policy papers from CBPP and CAP.
- The Battle for Paradise – Puerto Ricans and the Ultrarich “Puertopians” are Locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island – Naomi Klein on how debt and Hurricane Maria have subjected Puerto Rico to a double-shock treatment
- Against the Technocrats – Pundits fretting about a “tyranny of the majority” would do well to remember that democracy has always been a precondition of liberalism—not the other way around
Nick Werle is a student at Yale Law School.