If you’ve not heard of Shoshana Zuboff, social psychologist and also a former professor at Harvard Business School, then chances are that you may not be very familiar with this term. The term “Surveillance Capitalism“, which has now grown in popularity, was gotten from the title of her new book – “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”.
What is Surveillance Capitalism?
The whole point of this is basically that certain tech giants have turned the personal information of folks worldwide into commodities, traded for the sole purpose of making profit.
Given the above, new technologies and inventions are being churned out daily, inventions that at their base are only targeted at offering these tech giants new ways of gathering information from their unsuspecting audience.
According to ZUBOFF, giants like Facebook and Google now use the data they collect daily from surveilling people to frame opinions, predict future actions and by so doing make profits by preempting behavioral patterns.
It’s bad enough that huge amounts of data are being mined every second by these giants. What’s even worse is how they now use the data they have collected to condition the behavior of people. This is what she called a shift from simple monitoring to actuating.
What to do with Surveillance Capitalism?
How can this trend, which has become deeply entrenched, be stopped from going any further? The professor suggested about three key steps that must be taken.
1, There is a need to rouse public indignation. The people who are the subject of this exploitation must be brought to a point where they resist the invasion and exploitation of their privacy.
2, Stiffer regulatory guidelines should be put in place and government agencies must begin to find ways to curtail the surge. She proposes the use of anti-trust laws in conjunction with privacy laws to put a halt to this agenda.
3, Finally, she proposed the development of some form of competition that provides safer and more regulated alternatives that will give people options. Most people who continue to expose themselves to these numerous surveillance tactics do so because they really have no alternatives to achieving what has now become a lifestyle for many.
With privacy issues topping the agenda on many fronts, it is not clear how easy it will be to achieve some of the suggestions that are being made. The best we can do is to try everything within our means to keep ourselves and those around us safe from all forms of surveillance capitalism.