Digital inclusion and data profiling

  • Seeta Peña Gangadharan Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation; Information Society Project, Yale Law School
Keywords: digital inclusion, digital divide, data profiling, surveillance, online privacy

Abstract

In the United States, digital inclusion policies designed to introduce poor people, communities of color, indigenous, and migrants (collectively, “chronically underserved communities” or “the underserved”) to the economic, social, and political benefits of broadband lie in tension with new practices and techniques of online surveillance. While online surveillance activity affects all broadband users, members of chronically underserved communities are potentially more vulnerable to the harmful effects of surveillant technologies. This paper examines specific examples of commercial data profiling against a longer history of low–tech data profiling of chronically underserved communities. It concludes by calling for issues of online privacy and surveillance to punctuate digital inclusion discourse. Until this happens, digital inclusion policies threaten to bring chronically underserved communities into online worlds that, as Gandy (2009) argued, reinforce and exacerbate social exclusion and inequalities.

Author Biography

Seeta Peña Gangadharan, Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation; Information Society Project, Yale Law School
Seeta Peña Gangadharan is a senior research fellow with the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation and a visiting fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. She is broadly interested in the conditions for democratic communication policies and democratic communication practices. Her most recent work examines the nature and meaning of inclusion in digitally mediated societies.
Published
2012-04-13
How to Cite
Gangadharan, S. P. (2012). Digital inclusion and data profiling. First Monday, 17(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v17i5.3821
Section
Articles