…one day in early 2000, I sat talking to a young mother on welfare about her experiences with technology. When our conversation turned to EBT cards, Dorothy Allen said, “They’re great. Except [Social Services] uses them as a tracking device.” I must have looked shocked, because she explained that her caseworker routinely looked at her purchase records. Poor women are the test subjects for surveillance technology, Dorothy told me. Then she added, “You should pay attention to what happens to us. You’re next.”
Dorothy’s insight was prescient. The kind of invasive electronic scrutiny she described has become commonplace across the class spectrum today.
–Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor by Virginia Eubanks