If you’re a developer and you cannot make an app without riddling it with surveillance-based components and APIs by Google, Facebook, etc., you’re a really bad developer.

Stop being so careless, lazy, and thoughtless and learn how to make apps that respect people’s rights.

@aral either that or your job depends on doing it.

@zensaiyuki In which case, find a different job. “Just following orders” didn’t fly at Nuremberg and it doesn’t fly here. We are highly skilled and highly privileged people. Our only choices aren’t a six figure salary and stock options or starvation.

@aral maybe that’s true for you and if so, good job. not all of us do have choices. or six figure salaries for that matter.

@zensaiyuki If your only other option to making surveillance-based software is being homeless or starving then this doesn’t apply to you. You’re not being criticised here. And I hope your situation improves so you are no longer forced to make unethical software to survive. Until then, no one can blame you for doing what you have to in order to eek out an existence.

@aral @zensaiyuki There's something else I thought a lot about when I left the company I was working for (that turned to surveillance at that time and now they are closed haha I won this time):

I left a 23k€ salary in a city where houses are more than 300k€. I was paying 750€ rent.
I wasn't rich.

I thought at that time, and I think about it still, that if my life was in risk I would work in a different job rather than coding for surveillance capitalism, and there are few reasons for that:

@aral @zensaiyuki
1) I don't like to see my passion and being perverted and used to make this world a worse place.
2) Being a programmer (or an engineer, like my case) sometimes makes us have a larger ego than we should: other jobs are also important and can be even more fulfilling than ours.
3) If you can code, I'm sure you can do many other things that don't hurt anyone

Mostly I was just answering a question: If I just can avoid hurting people, would I let my ego prevent me from doing it?

@aral @zensaiyuki DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying this is anyone's case and I don't know about personal experiences: i'm just sharing my own.

@ekaitz_zarraga @aral @zensaiyuki I like the sentiment, but of course there's always complications. I work for a company that has some very principled privacy advocates working for it, that is, due to recent changes to legislation, required to implement processes that are really hostile to customer privacy.

I do not want to build this. My colleagues don't. But the choice for us is to build it in a minimally-compliant way or to let a competitor build it in a much more harmful way.

@kameleonidas @ekaitz_zarraga @aral exactly, at the end of the day if market pressures or the law want something to be built, it will be built by someone and shaming devs will do jack squat about that. if, as an individual you conscientiously object to say, building software that ICE uses, refusing to do work for them is admirable. but it won’t stop ICE from doing what they do.

@kameleonidas @ekaitz_zarraga @aral meaningful change happens somewhere else. refusing unethical work is only about feeling better about yourself.

@zensaiyuki @kameleonidas @aral I strongly disagree with this.

If *all* developers say they won't do that, that will never be done or they would have less resources to do it, or problems to hire people at least. Doing it just because others will do it if you don't *is* what makes you feel better in the short term while you are harming people.

Fighting against the reasons is not incompatible with telling developers to choose who they work for.


@zensaiyuki @kameleonidas @aral Doing both things at the same time is the most efficient way to change. Changing politics is a slow process, but if we can push them from the basis, everything will go faster.

There's also another battle to fight: as customers, demand only software that respects human rights. That's a really powerful vector for change too.

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