democracy vs. surveillance society
after watching this short film on how much data private companies are able to gather about you (data that we willingly give them in some cases), you might be forgiven for thinking that, never mind some far flung future, we are living in a full-on dystopia right now. - jason kottke
with the rise of google, facebook and amazon in the past twenty years private companies are implementing surveillance and data collection technologies at a faster pace than governments are able to regulate them. these companies are accumulating an unprecedented amount of user data, making huge profits off behavioral monitoring, analysis, targeting and prediction. dr. shoshana zuboff coined this undemocratic, exploitative and little understood practice surveillance capitalism. this new form of exploitation doesn’t only monitor our private lives, it aims to shape, predict, direct and control every aspect of our everyday life.
we are no longer anonymous citizens. not only is our online behavior being traced, we are increasingly recorded on video and audio. while china is the global leader in video surveillance and facial recognition, observing and rating the behavior of their citizens, london has installed an estimated 420.000 CCTV cameras making it a test case for facial recognition in democracies. police and fire departments in the united states have partnered with amazon’s controversial ring camera network.
with tech giants insisting that their technology is too complex to be legislated while billions are spent in lobbying against transparency and privacy regulations, dr. zuboff makes a point that we and future generations must step up to the colossal challenge of breaking down this framework of total control – that is polarising world-views, increasing fundamentalism, and nurturing echo chambers and distrust – and work on a better future.