The Costs of Connection

The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonising Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism

with Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejias



Just about any social need is now met with an opportunity to “connect” through digital means. But this convenience is not free-it is purchased with vast amounts of personal data transferred through shadowy backchannels to corporations using it to generate profit. Colonialism might seem like a thing of the past, but in their new book, The Costs of Connection, Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejias show that the historic appropriation of land, bodies, and natural resources is mirrored today in this new era of pervasive datafication. Apps, platforms, and smart objects capture and translate our lives into data, and then extract information that is fed into capitalist enterprises and sold back to us. Nick and Ulises argue that this development foreshadows the creation of a new social order emerging globally: and that it must be challenged. In this session they’ll present their diagnosis and their prescriptions for this dangerous new condition of ‘data colonialism’.