Disrupting surveillance: critical software design-led practice to obfuscate and reveal surveillance economies and knowledge monopolies [article]

Hadi Mehrpouya, University Of Edinburgh, Chris Speed, Craig Martin
Big data collection, behavioural economics and targeted advertisement are changing the dynamics and notions of our individuality and societies. By mobilising critical design methods, I made a series of critical design works to reveal and disrupt surveillance and knowledge monopolies. The aim of this practice-led investigation is to challenge surveillance and knowledge practices within internet search and advertising industries and through this contribute to surveillance debates and critical
more » ... gn practice. The four critical design practices that I developed during the course of this investigation namely Zaytoun, Philodox, Maladox and Open Bubble all interrogate humans' relations to technology and more specifically their transformations as objects and subjects of surveillance capitalism. Zaytoun challenges notions of data consumption, quantification and distancing. Philodox reveals and critiques some trust issues and algorithmic biases of internet search engines. Maladox, is an anatomical engine of fictional speculative cyborg dis-eases, creating a critical space to reconsider our relationship to technology. Finally, Open Bubble is a counter surveillance browser extension that obfuscates and challenges knowledge enclosures imposed by search engines. Based on a review of philosophy of technology and especially as it relates to Science and Technology Studies (STS), I reflect on some of the underlying conditions that made possible the existence of modern technology in its current form. I analyse the contextual background of this body of work and its take on technology as a central lever for governance and for shaping of human subjects. This thesis investigates the taken for granted ways our interactions with surveillance capitalism infrastructures are transforming our individual and collective beings and in turn the new cyborg ontologies that we are being integrated into. The four critical design works included in this investigation offer alternative possibilities for critical engagement with, and interpretation of, [...]
doi:10.7488/era/1188 fatcat:dqzfuxychfafdabx4yhz3c5ioe