La “Primavera araba” ha messo sotto gli occhi di tutti la forza dei social media nel favorire e creare dei movimenti civici di massa. Il fenomeno nostrano delle “Sardine” ne è stato un altro esempio: organizzarsi per scendere in piazza per protestare non è mai stato così semplice.
Oggi, mentre in alcuni Paesi i cittadini protestano contro il lockdown, in altri le tensioni sociali e culturali detonano, creando scompiglio: l’uccisione di George Floyd, un afroamericano, da parte di quattro poliziotti bianchi ha incendiato il clima politico degli Stati Uniti come non succeva più dai tempi della guerra del Vietnam.
E in tutto questo, la tecnologia ha gioca un ruolo fondamentale.
I filmati girati con il telefonino, da diverse angolazioni e a momenti differenti, dell’uccisione di George Floyd hanno permesso ai responsabili dell’inchiesta preliminare di identificare con precisione le persone e le dinamiche dell’accaduto.
La frase divenuta simbolo della protesta, “I can’t breathe”, non nasce dalla penna di un copyrighter: è la frase che milioni di persone hanno potuto sentire con le loro orecchie sui media tradizionali e su internet, mentre Floyd agonizzava: “Agente, non riesco a respirare”.
E non appena identificato il principale indiziato, hanno cominciato a girare le sue foto e decine di informazioni anche di carattere privato che, naturalmente, venivano dai social network. Dando adito, paradossalmente, a un linciaggio mediatico che, a prescindere dalla gravità dell’atto, non dovrebbe trovare spazio in uno stato di diritto.
Supporto digitale alle proteste
Da quando sono partite le proteste negli Stati Uniti, Signal Private Messenger, applicazione di cui abbiamo già avuto modo di parlare, in una sola settimana ha avuto in incremento esponenziale (si stima fino a 120 mila volte!) del numero di scaricamenti.
Numeri decisamente inusuali per una app di messaggistica semisconosciuta o prevalententemente di nicchia. Tuttavia aveva conosciuto lo stesso effetto di “sovrascaricamento” nel momento dell’elezione di Donald Trump, con un aumento del 400%. Perché?
Il fatto che l’applicazione sia dedicata interamente alla possibilità di chattare in maniera sicura e privata è risaputo, ma gli ultimi aggiornamenti hanno aggiunto una funzione fondamentale: è ora possibile inviare foto tramite Signal ai nostri destinatari, oscurando i visi di chi non c’entra nulla con lo scatto (o delle persone la cui privacy va salvaguardata, tipicamente).
Partecipare o evitare le proteste?
Se da una parte c’è una grande richiesta di privacy con Signal che se la gioca da padrone, dall’altra ci sono molte persone che vogliono sapere dove si trova in quel momento il “punto caldo” della città, dove si tengono manifestazioni e disordini, per partecipare o per starne alla larga.
Esiste un’app che è letteralmente esplosa (in download) proprio per via di tutti questi fattori e che individua, grazie al supporto degli utenti, i luoghi in cui ci sono forti tensioni, ma anche problematiche come incidenti, incendi, ritrovamenti di animali scomparsi, furti, ecc: si tratta di Citizen.
Quindi con Signal abbiamo una protezione efficace delle nostre chat mentre Citizen permette di sapere esattamente dove si trovano le proteste in tempo reale. Ma questo quanto incide sull’anonimato dei partecipanti?
La svolta delle aziende Tech sul riconoscimento facciale
A dir la verità non del tutto, visto che sono presenti ormai ovunque le telecamere di sicurezza con software per il riconoscimento della persona.
In questo campo si sta osservando un fenomeno degno di nota: alcune aziende importanti della tecnologia stanno facendo un passo indietro sulla disponibilità delle proprie risorse e software per il riconoscimento facciale.
Il caso più emblematico è quello di IBM, storica azienda di tecnologia, il cui CEO Arvid Khrisna ha inviato una lettera al Congresso degli Stati Uniti, indicando punti chiave importanti e che esprimono il pieno dissenso all’uso di queste tecnologie in favore di discriminazioni da parte della polizia locale:
“IBM non offre più software IBM di riconoscimento facciale o di analisi per scopi generali. IBM si oppone fermamente e non condonerà l’uso di qualsiasi tecnologia, inclusa la tecnologia di riconoscimento facciale offerta da altri fornitori, per la sorveglianza di massa, la profilazione razziale, le violazioni dei diritti umani e delle libertà fondamentali o qualsiasi scopo che non sia coerente con i nostri valori e principi di fiducia e trasparenza”. (Traduzione da Deepl)
Questo di fatto ha un effetto domino che ha visto le grandi aziende Tech seguire a ruota l’intenzione a non rilasciare i software per il riconoscimento facciale alla polizia americana, come ad esempio Microsoft, in un’intervista del presidente Brad Smith al Washington Post.
Il futuro della protesta
Gli sviluppi in questo ambito si stanno facendo sempre più caldi e ci permettono di capire due fattori importanti:
- La tecnologia in mano ad un determinato potere può essere motivo di sicurezza ma anche di abuso; il male quindi non deriva dallo strumento in sè ma da come lo si utilizza.
- Le grandi Big Tech stanno assumento un ruolo chiave nel panorama mondiale, culturale e sociale e sarà sempre più importante comprenderne i passi futuri.
Quali saranno i futuri sviluppi ovviamente non ci è dato saperlo, avere invece una mentalità aperta e pronta a tutte le evenienze permette di proiettarci direttamente verso un futuro dove scendere in piazza non sarà solamente motivo di protesta ma di vero cambio culturale e generazionale.
Woody’n You, Coleman Hawkins
Cosa ne pensi?
Padre di Violante e marito di Tania. Divido la mia vita tra l’insegnamento di informatica e lo studio universitario. Amo follemente la tecnologia di cui ne seguo quotidianamente le nuove uscite, le novità ma sopratutto l’impatto che questa ha nella società. Non mi parlate di motori e gioco del pallone, vi guarderei senza capire una virgola del vostro discorso. Infine mi piace fotografare il caffè, in tutte le sue versioni e situazioni, oltre che a berlo ovviamente.
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