The Need For Solidarity Among All Workers
Cory Doctorow writes about „Bossware and the shitty tech adoption curve”:
The theory of the shitty tech adoption curve predicts that vendors use resistance from low-status subjects to find and remove rough edges from abusive technology, then move the smoothed-over tech up the social power gradient to higher-status workers.
Work-from-home (AKA „live at work”) is a perfect opportunity to refine the shitty technology of bossware, a bonanza for collaborators like „ActivTrak, Avaza, VeriClock, Boomr, Hubstaff, TSheets, StaffCop, Time Doctor, DeskTime Pro, TrackView, InterGuard and Wiretap.”
Pre-lockdown, these tools were already logging keystrokes, intercepting email, logging clicks, capturing still images and videos of workers at their desks, and transmitting workers’ locations in and out of work hours.
Bossware like Office 365 (which gathers exhaustive data on workers) deliver proprietary commercial intelligence to Microsoft – control-freak bosses trade the store to a convicted monopolist in exchange for worker surveillance.
Unsurprisingly, bossware is key to union-busting, with bosses using it to discover and punish union organizers in the workplace – at the very moment that tech workers are using digital tools to join unions.
Abusive tech starts with asylum seekers, prisoners, parolees; moves up to kids, people on benefits and mental patients; then to blue-collar workers, then white-collar workers, then everybody, even first class fliers being watched by seatback cameras.
Solidarity is the preventative and the cure: not just in empathy, but also in self-interest. We have to fight abusive tech wherever we find it, because if we don’t, we’ll have to fight it when it reaches us – and by then, there may be no one left to fight it with us.