Talk: Melissa Villa-Nicholas presents "Data Borders: How Silicon Valley is Building an Industry around Immigrants"

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 1, 2024 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Event Location: 
3340 Moore Hall (Reading Room)

This lecture investigates the emerging state of borderland technology that brings all people into an intimate place of surveillance where data resides and defines inclusion and exclusion to citizenship. Detailing the new trend of biologically mapping undocumented people through biotechnologies, Villa-Nicholas shows how Latinx immigrants are the focus and driving force for surveillance and technology design by Silicon Valley’s emerging industry within defense technology manufacturing. Enriched by interviews of Latinx immigrants living in the borderlands on their daily use of technology and their caution around surveillance, this work argues that to move beyond a heavily surveilled state that dehumanizes both immigrants and citizens, we must understand how the data is being collected, aggregated and correlated with artificial intelligence, and push for immigrant and citizen privacy information rights along the border and throughout the United States.

Melissa Villa-Nicholas is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Her work focuses on the Latinx histories, discourse, and practices of information and technology, immigrant information rights, and critical approaches to information science. She is the author of Latinas on the Line: Invisible Labor in Telecommunications (Rutgers University Press, 2022).

Co-hosted by the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and the Chicano Studies Research Center.

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