Laura Kalbag: Better by ind.ie

Photo: Andreea M. Belu

Laura Kalbag is part of ind.ie, a Malmø-based, 2-person social enterprise that strives for social justice in the digital age. During the European Data Ethics Forum, Laura presented ind.ie’s Better Blocker , the need for its existence, its foundational principles and working methodology.

Better is a tool protecting IPhone, IPad and Mac users from behavioural ads and companies that track them on the web when using Safari.

Laura presented the problem that she is trying to solve, together with her teamworker: surveillance capitalism. Entities as Facebook, Google and basically every internet actors tracking users feeds into this surveillance capitalism model that unfortunately became the basis of technology in modern times.

It is already too late

Ind.ie’s focus is on reversing some of the elements that constitute surveillance capitalism and its effects. For this reason, she talks about 3 main steps:

1. Effective regulation with measures that are actually significant

Laura Kalbag mentions that effective regulations of the tech industries can not exist without realistically punitive measures. Moreover, we should make sure we do not reinforce unethical companies’ PR efforts by standing in front of their logos.

2. Creating alternatives based on respect for human rights, human effort and human experience.

These three elements are part of The Ethical Design Manifesto. that Laura and Aral use and encourage other makers to consider also. Moreover, tools should be created in a user-friendly manner,  not just for privacy enthusiasts.

3. Prevent existing harm

As part of this last step, Laura Kalbag introduced Better and its elements.

Better tracks the tracker themselves, instead of relying on other people. The list of trackers is compiled as an Encyclopedia and made available at www.better.fyi and in the app itself. Moreover, Laura describes the methodology behind the product:  going through few thousand most popular websites and identifying the existing trackers.

Watch Laura Kalbag’s full presentation here.

Watch the rest of European Data Ethics Forum talks here.

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