The intolerable truth of our current condition is that America and most other liberal democracies have, so far, ceded the ownership and operation of all things digital to the political economics of private surveillance capital, which now vies with democracy over the fundamental rights and principles that will define our social order in this century.
The license to steal came with a price, binding the executives to the continued patronage of elected officials and regulators as well as the sustained ignorance, or at least learned resignation, of users. The doctrine was, after all, a political doctrine, and its defense would require a future of political maneuvering, appeasement, engagement and investment.
Google led the way with what would become one of the world’s richest lobbying machines. In 2018 nearly half the Senate received contributions from Facebook, Google and Amazon, and the companies continue to set spending records.
Surveillance capitalism originates in the discovery that companies can stake a claim to people’s lives as free raw material for the extraction of behavioral data, which they then declare their private property.
Read the post on the New York Time opinion.