I borrowed surveillance capitalism from an exciting book, “Stolen Focus – Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again” by Hari, Johann (Amazon Link). Why can’t you concentrate on things? I’ll wait until you check your text messages to answer that one.
Part of Surveillance Capitalism is the technology that is used where you are, are going, and have been to market things to you. What things? Services, stores, restaurants, and so much more. Why? Money, pure and simple. Why does any of this stuff catch on? Money, and how much can be made from this information.
If you have Facebook and Google Maps on your phone (be it Android or Apple), they know where you are. Which they? Everyone these days. The sellers of your location make money selling their model of you and using it to advertise specifically to you. Mr. Hari calls it their “Voodoo Doll” of you, which is an apt description.
How can they do this? No one is stopping them much. Take it up with your elected representative and see what they say. I am not optimistic about that option either.
Rise of Surveillance Capitalism
You have some tools available to fight surveillance capitalism depending on the technology you are using:
- iOS allows you to turn off tracking by application. Start there.
- Android, look under Search Settings and turn things off there.
- Maybe carry your phone in a Faraday pouch? (see Amazon)
- Getting one of these for your car keys is a clever idea. Car theft gangs are using your key fobs against you.
- Removing tracking apps like Facebook couldn’t hurt either.
You must now trust that Google and Apple are not selling tracking data, as their OS is still tracking you. One of their income cornerstones is surveillance capitalism. How much can you trust them?
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
It isn’t paranoia if everyone is out to get you. OK, bad joke, but the amount of money involved in this technology screams that no technology can be assumed as not giving out your location.
What you think, or what you might be thinking, is now being gamed by computers. Computing devices are trying to guess what you might want next. Does that make you feel comfortable? It should not. Capitalism, the fight for what you want to buy or look at next, is at the core of this technology.