Governments and cooperations are abusing the new culture of tl;dr. A culture that can be described as the acceptance that terms and conditions of any kind are too complex and too long for us to deal with. A culture of acceptance, that we have no choice but to trust the ones that represent us.
But we are now realizing that there are serios costs to tl;dr as the modus operandi.
So where do we go from here? And more importantly, are we ready to do what it takes to reverse this course?
tl;dr can be considered the crystallising culture of acceptance that the terms and conditions we are expected to review before accepting to use some of our favourite platforms are too damn long and too technical for us. tl;dr is the shortcut to playing the game, and hoping that the rules are fair, or at least that we will thrive regardless. tl;dr can be understood as the signal to institutions - which represent us in various dimensions - that we trust them to have our best interests at heart and to break things down for us in simpler terms. If so, why does it seem like the signals are being misinterpreted, and even abused by some?
For some actors, the normalized culture of tl;dr has handed them a powerful tool of obfuscation: read these hundreds of pages of legalese, in which we’ve packed the true cost of plugging into our offering. It is the space to tuck away all the potential risks and tradeoffs, yet you have to dig deep to find out how you’ll really be affected. This is true with tech as it is with politics!
I will reflect on this during my talk starting with the tl;dr around the terms and conditions /privacy tradeoffs and will extend it to the tl;dr around informational superhighways, breaking down technical and political dimensions.
But where do we go from here? I will speak about the need to revisit how we negotiate spaces of representation, and reinvigorate as well as redesign our institutions and governments at local, regional and global levels. It is about the role of citizen collectives, such as cooperatives, unions and others to work on behalf of our interests and to convene, collaborate and co-create the futures we want. It is very much about how to reinvigorate our civic engagement, our active cultivation of discourses, terms and conditions, laws and policies that govern the offline and online spaces in which we exist. It is about reclaiming our power and agency to fight back against the growing sense of helplessness creeping upon us all.