Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The rise of surveillance capitalism - corporate data extraction

*click image to enlarge.

Imagine a world where capitalism doesn't rely on mutual trust but the ability of the corporation to extract information from the consumer. Where the only transparency is of the consumer. Where the rights of the consumer to privacy are forever being seceded to the corporation, hungry for ever more information to feed off and analyse from the mass of consumers available to it.

Sound familiar? Well it's happening right now within our midst. 

It gives new light to reasons why the corporate controlled Abbott gov is so intend on our metadata and corporations having access to it. How many times for example have we heard that the corporations will now have access to our metadata through the courts, in regard to copyright infringement. My guess is that is just the very tip of the iceberg. 
The first feature is the trend toward ever-greater levels of data extraction and analysis. The goal of companies like Google is to extract as much data from you as possible and convert it into a commodity that can be bought and sold. This extractive relationship is asymmetrical and devoid of the mutual interdependencies that characterised 20th century corporations like General Motors. 

The second feature is the possibility of new forms of contractual monitoring and enforcement. The infrastructure of surveillance capitalism allows for contracts to be monitored and enforced in real-time, without the need for legal recourse. This would constitute a radical break with the classic liberal model of contractual relationship. There would be no need for trust, solidarity and rule of law. 

The third feature is the desire to personalise and customise digital services, based on the data being extracted from users. Though there may be some benefits to these personal services, the infrastructure that enables them has facilitated a considerable redistribution of privacy rights from ordinary citizens to surveillance capitalist firms like Google and Facebook. 

The fourth, and final feature, is the capacity for continual experimentation and intervention into the lives of the service users. This gives rise to what Zuboff calls reality-mining, which in its most extreme form will lead to the construction of a ‘world-spanning organism’. more
Ive often been pissed off with the trickery of modern capitalism. Particularly online. If they want to sell me something, simply tell me what their product is in an honest way and if I want to buy it I'll go ahead and do so. But these days you have the hook/spiel, bullshit to wade through, the trickery to get you to buy. The con job. Which most of the time leaves me so pissed off that I'd never ever buy the product.