Monday, 13 April 2015

Holographic Protests

In response to recent changes in the law of Spain, widely seen restricting the rights to protest, an innovative group of opposition has started a way to use technology to try and avoid penalties imposed by law on protest. The group called Holograms for Freedom holographic images, collected from the web, to 'beam' a virtual protest to a site, allowing people to participate without breaking the law.

Though this seems like an innovative idea, it seems more troubling than promising. Firstly the law could be easily be revised to extent to holograph representations. Also, as we have seen all too often, it would probably be easier to the state to track virtual presence than real presence at an event. And as I have noted with 'troll bombing' it is now possible for the state to use technology to create its own counter virtual protests, and now that they can use holographs.

It remains my conviction that the best roll of technology in protest is to extend, not try to racially replace existing forms of communal engagement. The web can give everyone a printing press, but if democracy is going to enter the virtual world it gives the advantage to existing power structures.

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