The consolidation of techno-capitalism

Many credit cards in the Netherlands are maintained by ICS card services (e.g., ASN, ABN AMRO, SNS). When applying for a credit card, you need to identify yourself online. For this, you need to surf to a particular web adress (www.icscards.nl/online-identification/), and from there make a photo of your identity card, driver's license or passport with a mobile phone or tablet. However, as it turned out, I was not allowed to do this with my Firefox browser. ICS card services only accepts photographs made with a Google Chrome or Safari browser (the further details of this are unknown to me because I refuse to install Google Chrome or Safari). With this technologically enforced limitation, ICS consolidates the power position of Google and Apple on the browser market. In turn, only people (1) with a smart phone or tablet (2) running on Android or iOS and using (3) Apple's Safari or Google Chrome can get a credit card at these services.

This is just one of the many examples of the consolidation of a techno-capitalism that increasingly forces people into the use of particular 'services' --- usually those with a strong monopoly position and which are most successful in commodifying user information. Free choice and autonomy in the technological milieu is becoming evermore scarce. The promises of the early Web of freedom and autonomy are evaporated as we find ourselves locked into an ever-tigher binary cage.

I do see hope in collectively run email en website servers, IRC which is still alive and kicking, the very alive community surrounding Linux, and specifically Debian, more privacy friendly alternatives to Google like Firefox (browser) and DuckDuck.go (search engine). If we want to have autonomy in the online world, we need to work for it and not blindly accept that there is no way around the giants.

For me, that means that I will be happily, but somewhat inconveniently, without credit card.

***build more crappy things to relieve stress***