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Proponents of the Surveillance Dividend frame their benefits as self-evident and apolitical: we are told that informationalizing problems just makes them more knowable and more manageable. But there’s nothing self-evident or apolitical about the tools and methods of the Surveillance Dividend. In reality, they only see what they want to see and they only know what they want to know. What they often don’t know and don’t want to see is their own politics.
(…) whether health – or anything else for that matter – constitutes an “information problem” is not a question to be taken lightly. Silicon Valley, for the most part, has already answered it for us – in the affirmative. Give them any problem – and, a few apps later, an “information” solution is magically found. Recast that way, the problem inevitably leads to the invocation of the Surveillance Dividend and its unquestionable benefits. But shouldn’t we also inquire what happens once health, education, poverty are recast as problems presumed to be solvable via information?
An illegal prime is a prime number that represents information whose possession or distribution is forbidden in some legal jurisdiction. One of the first illegal primes was found in 2001. When interpreted in a particular way, it describes a computer program that bypasses the digital rights management scheme used on DVDs. Distribution of such a program in the United States is illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[1] An illegal prime is a kind of illegal number.