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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 1, 2020
By Lydia Lepinski, Integrated Marketing Communications with minors in Anthropology and Live Events Design and Management, '22, FLEFF blogging intern, Metuchen, New Jersey
It was Thursday afternoon at Ithaca College. I was sitting at a table on the third floor of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at the time. A group of students were working on a project at the table besides me while professors were walking in and out of a conference room. While this was happening, I saw Dr. Ulises Mejias walks around the corner in time for our meeting about his new book The Costs of Connection.
Dr. Ulises Mejias is a media scholar and professor at Oswego State University of New York. He co-authored The Costs of Connection with colleague, Nick Couldry.
Throughout the book, Dr. Mejias and his colleague explain what is happening to data and propose it as a new stage in the relations between colonialism and capitalism. Throughout his writing he states, “What we’ve done in this book is try to apply the lens of colonialism to try and explain what is going on.” They call what is happening “data colonialism,” which he defined as “a new social order that is based on the extraction of data from our everyday lives continuously for the generation of profit.”
When asked why he thought it was important to inform people about this issue he said, “Most of what happened when we use apps on our phone or websites has remained invisible.” The way algorithms use our data to create assumptions about our behaviors is something the average person is unaware about. Companies use the data we create to build profiles to gain understanding and make decisions, such as what advertisements we see, about us every day. The Costs of Connection provides the framework to gain insight about data colonialism and how it affects our everyday lives.
Dr. Mejias will be giving a lecture about his book in which he will summarize the ideas within the book. He hopes the audience will learn something new by being introduced to the topic and the way he has framed it. He ends our conversation by saying that no individual can resist colonialism by themselves, therefore we must all take small steps into resisting and infiltrating data colonialism by urging companies to become more transparent.