THE CASE AGAINST
How law suits can force Big Tech to become Fair Tech
Location: Het Huis Main Stage
Is legal action – lawsuits, mass claims, etc – a potential strategy for digital citizens wanting to resist loss of agency and infringements of their digital rights? This panel invites experts to discuss how legal action can change existing laws and assist in establishing regulations on issues of online privacy, data-extraction and other ways in which Big Tech companies profit from their users. The discussion will also touch on ways governments could enforce existing legislation or develop rules to protect digital users. This panel will report on real legal actions taken against Big Tech, to show us how we might take legal routes to make Big Tech companies abide by the law and account for their actions.
Participants: Jan Fermon (BE), Julia Janssen (NL), Daniel Motaung (ZA) and Jonas Staal (NL)
Moderated. by: Friso Wiersum (NL)
Through its lawsuits against Amazon and a subsidiary of X (formerly Twitter), the Dutch Data Protection Foundation (Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland) wants to ensure that companies are fined for their lack of transparency and illegal use of our data. It is also working to raise awareness among the wider public through its You Are For Sale campaign. Dutch artist Julia Janssen, who is an ambassador for the foundation, will talk about the lawsuits and the campaign. Fellow Dutch artist Jonas Staal and lawyer Jan Fermon have created a campaign against Facebook called Collectivize Facebook. They ask: Shouldn’t a social network like Facebook simply be public property? Daniel Motaung has also filed a lawsuit against Facebook/Meta. He worked for Sama, a company responsible for content moderation on Facebook in Kenya. It was part of his job to ensure that explicit images of violence were removed from the platform as quickly as possible. When he and his colleagues threatened to strike for better psychological support for this demanding work, they were fired.
What else is on Friday?
Check the timetable to visit more programmes with your Festival Pass (5-days) or Day Pass (1-day). With the passes you can also visit the festival exhibition Our Terms, Our Conditions at the IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] and Fotodok/Casco.
Jan Fermon― Speaker
Jan Fermon is a lawyer at the Bar of Brussels, Belgium, specialized in criminal law, international (humanitarian) law and human rights law. Since 2005 Fermon has been a bureau member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), the biggest international organization of progressive jurists. He has represented trade unionists against attempts to criminalize collective action, victims of the genocide in Rwanda and of war crimes committed by US troops during the war on Iraq and of NATO bombings in Libya. He was the lead lawyer for the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines Jose Maria Sison in the successful case against the “terrorist” blacklisting by the EU. He was part of the legal team that successfully defended forty-one Kurdish activists accused of participation in the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). With Ties Prakken he published his book »Political Defense« in 2010 with Wolf Legal Publishers.
Julia Janssen― Speaker
Julia Janssen is an artist who researches the influence of digitisation on our society. She makes the challenges of data, Artificial Intelligence and (surveillance) technology tangible through interactive and performative installations. Janssen creates awareness for digital rights and makes experiences that make people think about their relationship with their data, digital identity and the future of the Internet. How do we deal with freedom, autonomy, equality and democracy in a data-driven society? In addition to her practice as an independent artist, Janssen is, among others. active as a public speaker, (guest) lecturer and ambassador of The Dutch Data Protection Foundation (SDBN). Studio Julia Janssen creates movement. Not to privacy – but to a digital society where you can decide who knows what about you.
Daniel Motaung― Speaker
Daniel Motaung former specialises in digital content evaluation, and performance monitoring. TIME100 NEXT 2022 Awardee (Recommended by Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen in recognition of organising workers to fight against unjust practices within the content moderation environment and for putting “a face on the otherwise invisible human cost of moderating social media.”) His activism has redefined the digital landscape, pressing for the ethical and legal responsibility of Big Tech Companies. At the heart of his mission is the imperative to champion the dignity and well-being of digital content moderators. From highlighting Meta's content moderation challenges to championing the rights and welfare of content moderators globally, his unwavering commitment serves as a reminder of the essential and, at times, taxing role content moderators have in securing our digital spaces.
Jonas Staal― Speaker
Jonas Staal (1981) is an artist and founder of the artistic and political organization New World Summit (2012-ongoing) and the campaign New Unions (2016-ongoing). Staal’s work includes interventions in public space, exhibitions, theater plays, publications, and lectures, focusing on the relationship between art, democracy, and propaganda. Recent solo exhibitions include Art of the Stateless State (Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2015), New World Academy (BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 2015), After Europe (State of Concept, Athens, 2016) and Museum as Parliament (with the Democratic Federation of North Syria, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 2018). His projects have been exhibited widely, among others at the Berlin Biennial (2012), the São Paulo Biennial (2014), the Oslo Architecture Triennial (2016) and the Göteborg Biennial (2017). Recent books by Staal include Nosso Lar, Brasília (Jap Sam Books, 2014), Stateless Democracy (With Dilar Dirik and Renée In der Maur, BAK, 2015), and Steve Bannon: A Propaganda Retrospective (Het Nieuwe Instituut, 2018). The artist is a regular contributor to e-flux journal and completed his PhD research Propaganda Art from the 20th to the 21st Century at the PhDArts program of the University of Leiden. Staal lives and works in Athens and Rotterdam.
Friso Wiersum― Moderator
Friso Wiersum (1976) is a program maker, moderator and connector. Friso works as project manager communications at the European Cultural Foundation. He also is a member of Expodium, an urban do tank which curates, teaches and publishes on art and the city. He sometimes reviews books, is a member of a dj collective, rides his bicycle and plays baseball.