#rp24 speaker Zara Rahman: We’re more than our data

15.04.2024 - On solidarity for data justice.
Image
Zara steht draußen, trägt einen Mantel und lange Haare.
Photo Credit
Briony Ridley

Data about who we are is gathered from all angles, and used for purposes that seem beyond our control. This narrative can make it seem like resistance is futile, but according to Zara Rahman it’s not: Standing in solidarity with each other in an intersectional and empathetic way gives us the power to decide our own futures.

What does it mean if we’re being categorised and labelled, by someone else, without our knowledge or control? In today’s society, we appear in all sorts of databases controlled by others, and these representations of us can have big consequences on our lives. From police databases, to digital welfare systems and biometric data gathered at borders – often we don’t even know data is being collected, let alone how to change it. 

But that’s not the whole story, Zara says. “Contrary to what Big Tech might want us to believe, we’re not just powerless data points, we’re people with our own hopes, dreams and rights, and together, we have more power than we know. By standing in solidarity with each other, caring about each other, and taking a stand against unfair representations and uses of our data, we actually can make a real difference.”

In her session at re:publica 24, Zara will discuss how our lives are impacted by data about who we are, showcase examples from around the world of how people have stood up against unjust uses of their data – and talk about how we can all start to claim our own collective agency.

Zara is a British-Bangladeshi writer and researcher whose interests lie at the intersection of power, technology and justice. Her book, Machine Readable Me: The Hidden Ways Tech Shapes Our Identities was published in October 2023. Over the past 12 years, her work has focused on supporting the responsible use of data and technology in social justice advocacy. She has held fellowships with the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, the Harvard Kennedy School, and Data & Society. She serves on the Board of Saheli, a UK-based non-profit providing support and refuge to women of colour fleeing domestic abuse, and on the Advisory Board of A People’s Guide to Tech.

Since 2022 she has worked as a freelance research and strategy consultant within civil society on technology, movement building and social justice, and she is a Visiting Research Collaborator at Cornell University.

At #rp24, we’re looking forward to Zara’s inspiring input on data justice.
 

We're More Than What They Say We Are: Solidarity for Data Justice

Zara Rahman

Summary
Data about who we are is gathered from all angles, and used for purposes that seem beyond our control. This narrative can make it seem like resistance is futile, but it’s not. Standing in solidarity with each other in an intersectional and empathetic way gives us the power to decide our own futures.
Activism
Stage 3
Talk
English
Forum Digitalpolitik
Conference