Data grab: the new colonialism of big tech and how to fight back

Hosted by the Department of Media and Communications and International Inequalities Institute

In-person and online public event (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building)


Professor Nick Couldry

Professor Nick Couldry

Professor Ulises A Mejias

Professor Ulises A Mejias


Professor Myria Georgiou

Professor Myria Georgiou

Join us for this public event to celebrate the book launch of Data Grab: The New Colonialism of Big Tech and How to Fight Back with the authors.

In the past, colonialism was a landgrab of natural resources, exploitative labour and land from countries around the world. It promised to modernise and civilise, but actually sought to control. It stole from native populations and made them sign contracts they didn’t understand. It took resources just because they were there. Colonialism has not disappeared – it has taken on a new form. In the new world order, Big Tech companies are grabbing our most basic natural resource – our data – exploiting our labour and connections, and repackaging our information to track our movements, record our conversations and discriminate against us. Every time we click ‘Accept’ on Terms and Conditions, we allow our most personal information to be repackaged by Big Tech companies for their own profit. In this searing, cutting-edge guide, two leading global researchers – and leading proponents of the concept of data colonialism – reveal how history can help us both to understand the emerging future and to fight back.

Meet our speakers and chair

Nick Couldry (@couldrynick) is Professor of Media Communications and Social Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He is the author or editor of fifteen books including The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating Life for Capitalism. Nick is also co-founder of Tierra Común, and the European Media Salon. 

Ulises A Mejias is Professor of Communication Studies at SUNY Oswego, recipient of the 2023 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and a Fulbright Specialist from 2021 to 2025. He is co-author of The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism and co-founder of Tierra Común, a network of activists and scholars working towards decolonizing data. He also serves on the board of Humanities New York.

Myria Georgiou (@MyriaGeorgiou4) is Professor of Media and Communications in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. Her research focuses on media and the city; urban technologies and politics of connection; and the ways in which migration and diaspora are politically, culturally and morally constituted in the context of mediation. She is the (co-)author and (co-)editor of seven books. Her most recent book is Being Human in Digital Cities.

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The Department of Media and Communications (@MediaLSE) is a world-leading centre for education and research in communication and media studies at the heart of LSE’s academic community in central London. The Department is ranked #1 in the UK and #3 globally in the field of media and communications (2023 QS World University Rankings).

The LSE International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) brings together experts from many of the School's departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

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