I don’t know what’s more worrying, the fact that I could be homeless tomorrow or Telstra can see my browsing history. I think they might even be able to track my calls, which is worrying for them because I’ve had some shady conversations with Petbarn, off shore tax concessions for my shares in schmakos, pretty pissed off that they ratted me out actually.
Seriously though, we have a privacy issue in Australia, through Metadata laws passed by Tony Abbott in 2014, with the help of his good mates George (God I’m a dickhead) Brandis and Malcolm (Turncoat) Turnbull, despite the former communications minister opposing these laws when Labor was in power. Although not a lot of people are aware, companies that we consent to being our provider have relatively everything they can get before cracking into the actual content – IP addresses, time of call, time of viewing (if on browser), email address, download and upload volumes; you name it, it’s on their servers. To avoid these surveillance issues, there are things like VPN’s or Tor Browser to allow us to retain some sort of anonymity. Anonymity is important, but why on a public sphere do we need to remain anonymous? Seems counter-productive to me.
In the internet of things we were meant to facilitate conversation, facilitate access – where as through social media we’ve continually isolated ourselves from lower demographics, in which would render the whole public sphere classist. I’m of the opinion that people without access to social media platforms have no identity, due to the technological determinism our modern culture is faced with. Our devices have become an extension of our own reality, which is interesting because: if our phones are an extension of our ‘reality’, do homeless people exist? Do rural Aboriginals exist? In a modern public sphere, no and I think this is a matter of criticism for the notion that everyone is equal and has an equal voice.
My Virtual Reality project will help facilitate an online blueprint/online presence for people without access to such technology or opportunity. I did mention in my presentation that homeless people in Australia who are given mobile phones are unable to communicate efficiently: due to lack of access to charge points 24/7, no disposable income for credit and potentially no one to communicate with. As a result of Virtual Reality being a newly adopted medium (especially with Facebook’s investment), it will further engage the public in caring about these people’s stories, and ultimately solidify a tangible online presence, in which these people (even when inactive) can communicate with middle-higher class users and hence create a domino effect on closing the gap between “us” and “them”. As a result, altering conservative ideologies and oppressive policy for the better: creating a unification of Australians of all classes.