Conversation “If we want a future in freedom, we have to re-appropriate technology”

At the end of the afternoon in Madrid and almost as a culmination of  JornadasDAR we welcomed Cinthya Rodriguez from the collective Mijente. A collective that defines itself as a new political home for the Latinx and Chicanx organisation.   

Rodriguez explained the connections between large technology companies and the US immigration department for the surveillance and deportation of migrants. If deportations grew exponentially under the Obama administration, Rodriguez said, with Trump’s victory the big technology companies also appeared. Rodriguez presented the #NoTechforICE campaign, which denounces the fact that these data corporations created the means to enable surveillance, imprisonment and deportation of migrant communities.                    

“We see that the technology that the police have used to monitor undocumented people is the technology that they have then applied to the entire population. We need to understand how the migration system and the police work, and fight against both”.

How to build a movement for a future free of surveillance?, asked Rodriguez. 

As Rodiguez explained, Mijente focuses on issues such as: 

  • who sells the data collected by the technological systems and why information is collected from migrants such as medical records, addresses, car number plates, etc.
  • which companies analyse the data and what do they do with it afterwards, what interest do they have and what do they use the findings for afterwards?
  • where the data is stored and what are the implications of public data in the cloud. 
  • how biometric data is generated and how this information is obtained. What happens to the 200,000 people in “alternative to detention programmes” and what does this mean? Immigration decides to shackle prisoners and monitor them with an app, justifying that this is a more “humane and gentle” way of detaining people. More on this in the ICE Digital Prisons report.

Rodriguez also mentioned that Mijente is working on who is investing in these data collection technologies and why they are doing so.

How do we build a movement for a future free of surveillance, how do we fight from power and take action and not from paranoia,” Rodriguez asked. Mijente is working with the student community in both the legal and technological fields, as well as with local organisations fighting for migrant justice. “These organisations are educating their communities about what is happening and this relationship is important. 

Finally, Cinthya Rodriguez launched a message of struggle and collective resistance: “The way we are going to win with the #NoTechForICE campaign is by building people’s power“.

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