Surveillance Capitalism

Surveillance Capitalism

Political economists use the term “surveillance capitalism” to describe the widespread collection and commercialization of personal information by businesses. Despite the fact that they can support one another, this phenomenon and government surveillance are separate phenomena. The idea of surveillance capitalism, as put forth by Shoshana Zuboff, is motivated by a desire for financial gain and emerged as advertising firms, led by Google’s AdWords, realized the potential of using personal data to more precisely target consumers.

In order to predict and influence people’s behavior, an economic and social system known as “surveillance capitalism” is based on the collection and analysis of personal data. Shoshana Zuboff, a scholar and author, developed this idea in her 2018 book “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.”

Businesses that engage in surveillance capitalism collect a ton of information from a variety of sources, such as location tracking, social media interactions, and online activities. Advanced algorithms are then used to analyze this data in order to draw conclusions about each person’s preferences, routines, and behaviors. The end goal is to produce highly relevant and customized advertisements and services that bring in money for these businesses.

The idea that people are constantly being watched and their data is being collected without them always being fully aware of the extent of data collection or how it is being used is highlighted by the term “surveillance” in surveillance capitalism. Concerns about privacy, consent, and the possibility of manipulation have been brought up by this. Critics argue that surveillance capitalism can erode personal freedoms, create power imbalances between individuals and corporations, and undermine democratic processes by enabling the manipulation of public opinion.

Proponents, on the other hand, often emphasize the convenience and personalized experiences that can be offered through data-driven services. They argue that this approach allows companies to better understand and cater to consumer needs and preferences.

As technology develops and more people become aware of the implications of data collection and its effects on society, economics, and politics, the discussion surrounding surveillance capitalism continues to change. With the goal of giving people more control over their personal data and regulating how businesses collect, store, and use it, laws and regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have been passed.

The intensification of online interaction and surveillance is being driven by the economic pressures of capitalism, which are opening up social spaces to corporate actors in an effort to maximize profit or regulate behavior. Personal data points became more valuable as a result once the potential of targeted advertising became apparent. Consequently, the increasing price of data has limited accessibility to the purchase of personal data points to the richest in society.