Friday, November 12, 2021

Surveillance capitalism


Artwork by Shira Inbar

Everything has a cost but you already know that, right? In this case, Facebook, as prime example, applies as their siphoning of your personal data for profit has given rise to a trillion dollar business but FB is not alone in the capitalist surveillance business by any stretch of the imagination. 

Facebook is not just any corporation. It reached trillion-dollar status in a single decade by applying the logic of what I call surveillance capitalism — an economic system built on the secret extraction and manipulation of human data — to its vision of connecting the entire world. Facebook and other leading surveillance capitalist corporations now control information flows and communication infrastructures across the world.

These infrastructures are critical to the possibility of a democratic society, yet our democracies have allowed these companies to own, operate and mediate our information spaces unconstrained by public law. The result has been a hidden revolution in how information is produced, circulated and acted upon. A parade of revelations since 2016, amplified by the whistle-blower Frances Haugen’s documentation and personal testimony, bear witness to the consequences of this revolution.

End result ...

The world’s liberal democracies now confront a tragedy of the “un-commons.” Information spaces that people assume to be public are strictly ruled by private commercial interests for maximum profit. The internet as a self-regulating market has been revealed as a failed experiment. Surveillance capitalism leaves a trail of social wreckage in its wake: the wholesale destruction of privacy, the intensification of social inequality, the poisoning of social discourse with defactualized information, the demolition of social norms and the weakening of democratic institutions.

Read Zuboff's insightful essay, it's the smart thing to do.

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