TECHNOLOGICAL SOVEREIGNTY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: EXPLORING THE INTERSECTION OF FREE SOFTWARE AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
Keywords:Digital Sovereignty, Data Sovereignty, Indigenous People, Free Software, Social Justice
Questions of independence and sovereignty have long been present with regards to the Internet. In 1996, for instance, John Perry Barlow published his now well-known “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”. Twenty-five years later, notions like “digital sovereignty”, “data sovereignty” and “technological sovereignty” are increasingly used in public debates. This presentation will explore “technological sovereignty” but through the lens of Indigenous perspectives as well as those of social movements inspired by free software activism. These two perspectives seem to share what can be called an anti-hegemonic perspective on technological sovereignty. While they may reinforce each other, they also differ on many perspectives. It is noted for instance that the philosophy of information sharing in free and open-source software might foster the usage and misappropriation of knowledge held by Indigenous communities (Christen, 2012; Gida, 2019). This analysis will prolong a previous study by the authors which identified different discursive trends around sovereignty (anonymous reference). Methodologically, our approach is grounded in discourse analysis and reviews of academic and activist literature that has mobilized metaphors of digital sovereignty. What is the role of the metaphor of “sovereignty” in reconfiguring Indigenous and social justice activism, in relation to the Internet? What are the commonalities between these perspectives? How are they reinforcing or contradicting each other? We intend to contribute to the theme of this year’s AOIR conference – Independence – by looking at the critical discourses of Indigenous people and social activists through the lens of the metaphor of digital (technological/data) sovereignty.