Who’s data? Who’s work? Articulations and resistances in the labors of everyday geographic data.

Authors: Craig Dalton*, Hofstra University, Jim Thatcher, University of Washington-Tacoma
Topics: Cultural Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: data, surveillance, everyday life, resistance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 4:55 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Colorado, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Data are valuable. Information, particularly personal information that connects an individual to a time and a place has become a goldmine for many kinds of companies from advertisers to insurers to security firms. However, the productive moments of such data are typically hidden in plain view, disappearing in the banality of everyday life. We produce data intentionally, such as in emails and social media posts, and unintentionally, through credit card transactions, turn-by-turn navigation, and geo-located games. It may or may not feel like labor, but as Fuchs and others have made clear, these data fumes are valuable on a variety of markets; and, that value compounds as data points are combined into networks that represent both ourselves and others. We labor, even as the fruits of that labor, our data, are pulled away from us, collecting elsewhere.
In this presentation, we briefly describe the mechanisms by which location data is extracted from users to be synthesized, recombined and profited. However, our focus here is upon a typology for strategies of resistance to this extraction, whether for sake of privacy or to better enjoy its fruits: acceptance, active resistance, making present, and escape. By identifying and cohesively conceptualizing such strategies, we aim to develop a series of approaches to exert more control over spatial data about oneself. Through this typology, we shed light on alternative possibilities, futures, and moments of hope to be found with and through the use of our daily devices.

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