Virginia Eubanks is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor; Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in The American Prospect, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. She’s worked in community technology and economic justice movements for the last couple of decades. She’s a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a Fellow at New America.
Our conversation focuses on social technology and policy. Her book Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor explores how advanced data technologies are used in programs associated with poverty, with three case studies involving applications for determining eligibility for benefits and housing, and preventing child abuse and neglect. While arguably intended to provide better and more efficient services, these applications are deployed in ways that can support surveillance, profiling, and punishment.
Virginia is also participating in a two week conversation on the WELL.