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A short note on today.

Facebook has withdrawn from the news in Australia, showing their hand and are now taking an entire democratic nation to task to prove their strength. However, this is but one of many affronts to the individual and society.

This is autocracy with Californian characteristics. Australia is being made an example of in an attempt to ward off other nations doing the same. The news bargaining code was not the answer, but a democracy chilling abuse of power from detached billionaires in California is not either.

The lesson is that if you choose to stand up…

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Democratic governments across the world are trying to keep up with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, all while being undermined by aggressive tech companies monetising the erosion of representative democracy. As they attempt to institutionalise their unsolicited overreach into the personal lives of every user, it is vital that society challenge core assumptions that are central to claims of benefit of social media companies and tech giants more generally. These companies, and the economic structures they have created, claim to aid democracy, when in fact they undermine it. …

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Governments are directed by democratic incentives to favour reaction to crises, as opposed to preventative action. Leaders should listen to the preventative advice of experts and act accordingly, Bodhi Hardinge writes.

Several months into the worst economic shock since the great depression and one of the worst health crises in modern times, the world is stunned.

The multi-trillion-dollar economic downturn it is now experiencing is but one of many potential cataclysms that democratic governments around the world in the future must attempt to better mitigate against and build resilience to.

Part of this ought to be a policy autopsy. Policymakers…

A stylised and edited version of a letter from the National Archives of Australia, from Buckingham Palace to Sir John Kerr.

In every way, we are a product of the past, and the tumult of Gough Whitlam’s dismissal in 1975 still reverberates through Australian political discussion today. No less than 45 years after the dismissal of an elected Prime Minister, the Australian public has been permitted to view the discussion that shaped the political landscape for a generation. There is ongoing and lively discussion over the contents and intent of these letters, but the central point cannot be misinterpreted; the dismissal of an elected Prime Minister in Australia was justified on the basis of a British institution. The young, the old…

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Perennially the lucky country, Australia has enjoyed decades of economic growth, diplomatic good-standing, and institutional stability many can only dream of. As a status-quo and free-trading nation, Australia has prospered under the umbrella of US hegemonic power. If 2020 has done anything, it has sharpened doubts on the future of this worldview. Like many countries, Australia’s risk is heightened by a disproportionate economic reliance on a single trading partner, China. Given Australia’s strategic reliance on the United States, Australia’s economic reliance on China is increasingly under scrutiny. …

A Facebook page claiming to be the East India Company, from one corporate state to another.

The App is here. It has access to your location; your friends; your preferences; every photo posted of you online; your conversations with others; every event you are interested in or have been to; the other apps you use; the apps your friends use; the games you play; your search history; your personal information; and even some of your voice recordings! This App is not the new CovidSafe app, it is of course Facebook. There has been an uproar in some parts of our community and a revival of privacy advocacy because of CovidSafe. There is something so repulsive about…

[Note: A version this piece was originally published on ANU Policy Forum and written in mid-late March 2020]

It appears that we are heading into a near-worst case scenario in the coming months for representative democracy. The combined disruptive nature of social media and a global pandemic is a pressure point that leads me to fear for the future of our democratic institutions. In the same way that there is an acknowledgement of the risk of this contagion to our way of life in the short-run, we must acknowledge the destabilising effect of social media in the long-run. …

Bodhi Hardinge

Interested in technology, climate, and society. Studied at the University of Cambridge and Curtin University.

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