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Divided by software

Seb Schmoller notes a research project by Steve Graham at Durham University exploring how many institutions now routinely use software to sort customers/users/citizens. Stephen writes:

…in the UK, software now organise everything from call centre phone queues, the prioritisation (and stalling) of Internet traffic, the identification and tracking of those deemed ‘risky’ or ‘threatening’ on commercial shopping streets, people’s access to premium (electronically-tolled) areas of urban roads, the allocation of financial and insurance services, the geography of shops and bank branches, and the experience of energy markets.

His project will explore how software is being used to sort us, the social assumptions behind it, how those assumptions are embedded in the code, and the practice’s social and political implications.

Great topic.

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