Are we all being turned into jail birds?

Digital Prisoners

Have you got your Aadhar card? Have you linked it with your

  • bank account(s), credit card(s)
  • voter ID, ration card, gas cylinder account
  • cell phone number(s) through which to facebook account, your what’s app profile
  • life insurance, car insurance

digital-prisonNow you are a virtual prisoner of corporates and the state. They own you, can control you, shape and even ruin your life.

What you say, where you go, what you buy, watch, whom you are friends with and whom you have disputes with will decide whether you get a loan (home, personal) or not and what interest you pay –  30% of 9%. (“Your loan can be denied if you rant on social media!” says a Time of India news item.)

Online lenders like InstaPaise, GoPaySense, Faircent, CaschCare and Vote4Cash and online credit market places like CreditMatri, and do their due diligence on borrowers not just using payslips and bank statements but also metrics like
1. phone location data (of place you visit)
2. SMS alerts you receive
3. your social media behaviour

Their impenetrable algorithms can run through tonnes of data in minutes to assign a personality score. If the bank or company does not like your personality (nationalist, religious, non-religious, atheist, anti-ruling party, anti-opposition party, member of union, communist), you will be denied loan.

corporate-prisonerIt might go further than denying loans to denying employment, refusing to sell celphone connection, refusing to give airline ticket, preventing entry into a movie hall etc. We are being put in a digital prison and will be forced to behave and act as desired by the wardens (corporates and the state).

Followers of Ambedkar, or Phule or Periyar; those criticising the government; those involved in conservation efforts which goes against corporate interests all can be profiled and targeted.

mechanical_prison“We can look at the history of Google keywords and websites visited. Our algorithms run on sentiment analysis. Emotions like anger, people raging on Twitter do get captured.” says CEO if InstaPaisa, Nikhil Sama.

“We can also verify PAN, Aadhar database, date of birth and use of their registered phone number. GPS coordinates and Facebook and LinkedIn data are used to build a machine scorecard.”

They consider applicant’s Facebook followers and LinkedIn connections. “How many likes ore comments you get for what you post, how long you have used this medium. all this information gets fed into our systems and a algorithm takes final call.”

Some players tie up with e-commerce sites and telecom providers to find out whether a customer pays phone bills on time.

debtors-prisonWhatever may be the justifications offered by them at present, in essence they are trying to reduce our lives into mere numbers and destroy us by a set of algorithms. These algorithms are designed exclusively to maximize profits of these finance monsters and will be tweaked for political purposes as needed.

There is no scope for any democratic decision making or audit or control or protest by the people over these algorithms.

Suggest, you resist building of your digital personality – (i.e do not link everything to Aadhar)

  • Don’t give in to the digital (jail) wall building around by you by the corporate state.
  • Act before it is too late.

If you can digest some hard analysis – read this paper titled The Virtual Debt Factory by Vincent R Manzerolle of Unversity of Western Ontario, Canada (published in 2010)

Some excerpts
1. the Consumer Debt Factory – this industry comprising financial institutions, consumer database companies, and credit rating agencies – has created a highly detailed body of information to stand-in for the corporate self [individual].

2. The far-reaching credit apparatus at the heart of the debt factory... support and ultimately undermine, contemporary capitalist economies.

3. By substituting data for flesh [individuals], the credit industry has created an antagonism between the material and informational forms of the self, resulting in the construction of a virtual debtors prison.

4. The mass production, and resulting commodification, of consumer debt is an important lever in the reconstitution of the labor force [including salaried employees] through the creditor-debtor relation.

5. … called such mortages “neutron loans” because “they killed the people and left the houses“.

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