Tools and platforms tend to receive the most scrutiny when it’s discovered that they have been exploited for explicitly political purposes, whether with the company’s overt or tacit cooperation. But other times, the functionality of the tech itself becomes political, though the ethos of neutrality remains.
Yaron’s story in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes that, when approached for comment on the issue, Tinder referred the author to Google, which did not respond
Services like Tinder, for example, rely on geolocation data that is contextualized by maps, which are themselves geopolitical interpretations that are often hotly contested. This is especially true in regions like Israel and Palestine, where territories are disputed. For instance, a 2018 report by the Palestinian digital rights organization 7amleh (pronounced “hamleh”) outlined a number of ways that Google Maps, one of the largest digital mapping services in the world, imposes what it calls “the Israeli government narrative” on the landscape of the West Bank. The report notes that Israeli settlements in the territory, which exist in violation of the Geneva convention, are shown as part of Israel, though the term “West Bank” appears on the map as well. It also points out that the app doesn’t mark military checkpoints-army roadblocks that restrict movement within the West Bank and between the West Bank and Israel-and that its navigation defaults to routes that only Israelis are allowed to access, decisions by Google that the reports‘ writers argued prioritize Israelis, endanger Palestinian users, and remove evidence of the occupation from the map. In an emailed response to WIRED, a Google spokesperson wrote that the company is committed to displaying disputed territories objectively.
In 2017, Amitay Dan, a cybersecurity researcher in Israel, discovered that Google’s mapping of contested areas also impacts the functionality of Tinder Passport. „And yet it’s no secret that tech hasn’t managed to avoid political entanglement“ weiterlesen