The internet was created with democracy and equality baked-in – it was meant to be for everyone. But today it seems that dream has been hijacked by corporations, governments and wealthy influencers seeking to monitor and manipulate us for their own financial or political gain. What was once a public space has turned into private property. On today’s Internet, there are few parks, but many shopping malls – dominated by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, the Googles and the Facebooks, and the countless startups that want to either be them or be bought by them. This has dire ramifications for our privacy, our freedom of speech, and for democracy.

But all is not lost, thankfully rebels and activists across the world are working to create ethical technologies that are free and open, decentralised, and interoperable. Whether they succeed or not will mean the difference between living under feudalism or democracy.

Aral Balkan is one of these rebels. Known for his uncompromising and outspoken approach Aral is an activist, designer, and developer. He’s one third of Indie, a tiny not-for-profit working for social justice in the digital age where he works on Better Blocker, a privacy tool that protects users from being tracked on the Web, and on the Indienet initiative with the City of Ghent to create a federated personal web where everyone owns and controls their own piece of the Internet.

At Meaning Aral will outline for us the problem of surveillance capitalism and explain how we can avoid digital feudalism to build an Internet for Everyone. Then it’s up to all of us to choose – to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

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