On net fetishism and why Silicon Valley companies are not different


We now know that net companies cheerfully send along our data to NSA. Their perkiness about being niftily different is evasive PR fluff. “Fetishism of Digital Commodities and Hidden Exploitation: the cases of Amazon and Apple” explores net fetishism and more in an article translated from Italian. Given that Jeff Bezos has just bought the Washington Post, it’s instructive to remember the appalling working conditions in Amazon warehouses in the US. And of course Foxconn treats workers like serfs. Apologists for this say these conditions are exceptions to the rule. But that’s just more evasion.

Until we realize that Apple is like Monsanto, that Google is like Novartis, that praising a corporation is the most toxic narrative we can choose, whether we are dealing with Google, Fiat, Facebook, Disney or Nestlé—-until we realize all this, we will stay in the net like fish.

Let us ask again then: who are the bosses of the net? And who are the exploited of the Net, and by the Net?

It is not that difficult to find out: it suffices to read the “Terms of service” of the social media you’re using, read the licenses of the software you keep on your computer, digit “Net Neutrality” on a search engine—-and keep in mind stories like those of Amazon’s warehouses and Foxconn’s factories.

Only in this way, I believe, we will avoid such bullshit as the “Internet for peace” campaign.