92/ Big Tech, Gatopardismo and Data Colonialism (With Camila Nobrega and Joana Varon)

This is a conversation with Brazilian researchers Camila Nobrega and Joana Varon about their paper for Global Information Society Watch, “Big tech goes green(washing): Feminist lenses to unveil new tools in the master’s houses.”

The research by Nobrega and Varon is part of a report launched by the Association for Progressive Communications. You can find the full report here.

Camila Nobrega is a Brazilian journalist working on social-environmental conflicts for more than ten years, fostering Latin American feminist lenses and social-environmental justice. She has worked for media vehicles in Brazil and has contributed to international media, like The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Mongabay. Currently based in Berlin, she is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science department at the Free University of Berlin. To connect journalism, academic research, and artistic languages, she develops the project Beyond the Green (https://thenewnew.space/projects/beyond-the-green/), focusing on megaprojects that affect our lives, bodies, and territories. It aims to strengthen narratives that connect the right to communication and land rights. Member of Intervozes collective that struggles for media democratization in Brazil. medium@nobregacamila

Joana Varon is Brazilian, with Colombian ancestry and a nomad heart. She is a feminist researcher and activist focused on bringing decolonial Latin American perspectives in the search of feminist techno-political frameworks for shaping the development, deployment and usages of technologies. As it is a collective search, she is the Founder Directress and Creative Chaos Catalyst at Coding Rights, a women-run organization working to expose and redress the power imbalances built into technology and its application, particularly those that reinforce gender and North/South inequalities. Believing in art, creativity and coding as tools for revolutions, she is a co-creator of several creative projects operating in the interplay between activism, arts and technologies, such as transfeministech.org, museamami.org, chupadados.com, #SaferSisters, Safer Nudes, From Devices to Bodies, protestos.org, Net of Rights and freenetfilm.org. Former Mozilla Media Fellow, Joana is currently a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She is also affiliated to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Topics Discussed:

  • Power structures, Big Tech and what kind future we want
  • Technosolutionism through feminist lenses
  • Who has the ability to consent?
  • Gatopardismo (Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui): proposing ‘changes’ while reinforcing existing power structures
  • Monocultures of minds (Vandana Shiva)
  • What are we sustaining and what are we developing when we talk of ‘sustainable development’?
  • What is ‘green data’?
  • The ‘good life’ through euro-centrism
  • Discussion about Brazil (colonialism, land rights, environmental justice, feminist movements, activists at risk, the far right Bolsonaro regime etc)
  • Extractivism and data colonialism

Resources mentioned:

Recommended Books/Other

  • A extinção das abelhas by Natalia Borges Polesso (Joana)
  • Un Mundo Ch’ixi es posible by Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui (Camila)
  • Amanda Piña (choreographer)

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Music by Tarabeat.

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