The shock doctrine 2.0 – will internet platforms assume the role of critical infrastructure for the time of the crisis?

The WHO opened its pandemic hotline on WhatsApp. The British government uses the logistic aid of Amazon when distributing medical tests. Localising the infection outbreaks via contact control with the help of smartphones would be impossible without cooperation with Apple and Google. Asian governments use the facial recognition technology without remorse for crisis management.

These are just a few examples showing how contemporary governments and international organisations are dependent on global corporations and their technological solutions. Are the GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) companies and their Chinese equivalents taking over the role of public service? Have they or will they soon become as necessary as the providers of water and electricity? Will wealthy corporations beyond any democratic control organise our (remote) work, certify our health, and regulate our access to public spaces? And finally, will our relationship with those corporations have a protective or supervisory character? Will „big mama” arrange a more comfortable life for us, or an Asian style electronic surveillance? And, in this new reality, does the state have a chance, or the will, to protect the rights of its citizens? Or maybe it is the state and its authorities that will become the number one client of technological megacorporations, and us, citizens – its supervised subjects?

Projekt dofinansowano ze środków Narodowego Centrum Kultury w ramach Programu „Kultura w sieci”.