11/12/2021

SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM

Internet is the most effective weapon the capitalism has ever built. We live in the 21st century contemporary age where the majority of people are using smartphone as a primary function in their lives. The ubiquity of smartphones enables the ones who own one pretty easy to track. The companies and specific organisations are taking the control of the smartphone users with the outcome of the massive developments of internet and technology. People use technology everywhere everyday, making accessibility to enter people’s private lives without making them realize it. The companies are making use of the ignorances of 21st century human being’s ignorances by getting into their private lives, to collect data by analyze and sell them to other companies without the consent of the unfortunate users. Trading these data points to external users ,particularly advertisers, it has become an economic mechanism. The combination of the analysis of massive data, sets and used of those data sets as a market mechanism which has shaped the concept of surveillance capitalism. Surveillance capitalism gets into the lives of the people through Silicon Valley from the year of 2002, enabling Google and Facebook to make an income through investing in a firm by using the data of the private individuals and selling these data to other companies. This investment has started flowing to the people who were earning money by surveillance dividend. The companies have spread people’s data everywhere without bypassing their awareness in order to make profit and income while underestimating the individual’s privacy and antitrust laws. The intention of these profitable approaches leads to a vision called ‘surveillance capitalism.’ Surveillance Capitalism is a novel market form and a specific logic of capitalistic accumulation. It wasn’t something that suddenly appeared on the internet; it was woven into the fabric of the technology and describes a market driven process where the commodity for sale is  personal data, the capture and production of which relies on mass surveillance of the internet. This powerful surveillance is a combination of corporations to predict and control the behaviors by using private data as a primary source. Silicon Valley is defying the individuals’ whims when it comes to full-scale surveillance and deceiving human beings through building their data to improve their service aiming to create data surplass.

Two massive developed companies, that are using people’s private and personal data commandeered by Silicon Valley are Google and Facebook; companies intent to have a primary source of data on individuals since they have massive manipulation over people. They invented and transferred surveillance capitalism into “a new logic of accumulation.’’ This transformation entailed both companies gathering very large numbers of data points about their users, with the core purpose of making profit. Google is considered to be the pioneer of capitalism. They had created a free mobile operating system android, perpetrating it as affordable as possible to make more people buy it. Google’s main aim is not to get profit from selling the android through an expensive way, but collecting as much data as possible from the users and getting an income by trading these data with other companies. In order to obtain this goal, google made network balloons over the accommodations where mobile internet is not available. Furthermore, a game is developed inside the google called ‘Pokemon’, a free smartphone app that combines gaming with the real world. The game uses location by tracking and mapping technology to create an ‘augmented reality’ where players catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations. Business companies pay Pokemon Go to guide the users to go near their companies to buy their substances. This can be an example of a lure module, a module that pushes the users to buy their products. They are remoting the control of the individuals to automate behavior and to engineer behavior in order to fulfill other commercial ends. This is a pillar example of surveillance capitalism in the contemporary World. Furthermore, Facebook flew Network drones over developing markets providing free internet access in combination with the Facebook app. These companies are enhancing their dominance over people in trying to collect as much data as possible. Further studies had provided a new claim saying Facebook can even predict the mood shifts of the people by spying upon their personal data. It is alerting the users to buy products by making advertisements at the same time when they are in the mood. It may predict personal feelings through collecting personal data, enabling them to create personal boost and peak vulnerability of the users to learn about their inner demons. All this in order to trigger emotions through manipulation, persuading them to buy products. For instance, if a girl is having an unblestful time, Facebook intentionally sends her  advertisements about a jacket or a fun event with a discount that can boost her mood. This method is engineered to create ignorence of the users and use it to manipulate subliminal messages even by being aware of the damage that they are creating. Facebook is getting more successful everyday by manipulating subliminal messages over people ,enforcing them to change their emotions and mindsets. Another example for private companies using surveillance capitalism would be The NESS Security Hybrid Alarm System, which  has the ability to provide eight wired or wireless alarm zones. It can have eight wired alarm devices connected to it, providing the users to have home areas with devices which read switches that will go into alarm if opened while they are at home. Even though it sounds like an amazing opportunity for the society, it has massive disadvantages over an individual’s private liberty. The system has a secret microphone in it. Companies extenuate users personal privacy policy through collecting their data by listening to them constantly and sending the data to third companies. Users data is being shared with the systems of the other companies and while the users unable to learn what would the other companies will do with their personal data. If they would regret to accept using Ness Security products, the outcome will be the unfunctionality of the devices. It is misdirecting our ignorance with methods that are undetectable and the companies denying having such manipulation.

On the other hand, some researches deny the use of private data underlining the protection of the user’s rights through their privacy contracts. For instance GDPR talks about data ownership, data accessibility and data portability for the users. However, they are only for data public operation and not for the protection of the private data of the users. People need more personal data protection and the current legislation are not providing them enough support.

In conclusion, the Silicon Valley is developing itself by feeding from the individual’s private experience and vitalities , creating ignorance upon them in order to collect and make use of their data without their consent. Even though people have private laws as privacy or antitrust norm. They still need more complex and protective normative norms and regulatory regimes that could enable to respond directly to the operations that the companies and silicon valley are doing. They need support from the government to create stricter and more complex constitutional norms and general data protection and regulations to resist surveillance capitalism and preserve a more democratic future for individual freedom and protection of their privacy by transmitting people’s democratic rights and approaches for the future. The government need to provide more enhanced and stricter norms on Silicon Valley such as forcing them to stop watching the users by enacting economical punishments or criminal prosecutions. Instead of being a subject of surveillance capitalism by silicon valley manipulations, human beings should try to stop it by spreading awareness over others.  If a massive population would be aware of what they are doing, citizens may force the governments to take legislature actions and to create more laws in order to protect their personal individual data. The awareness of the people may open new practical and educational organizations to stop capitalism and to stop ignorance. Humans are living in a 21st century now and they do not have the importance of collective rights anymore because now the society has individualistic rights. People have the opportunity to have a personal and private rights where the external power must have some boundaries. People must be aware of what the manipulation of Silicon Valley is doing to them since they have the power and opportunity to change it.

ECEM BİTİGEN

SOURCES:

https://www.salon.com/2018/11/11/how-surveillance-capitalism-became-the-pre-eminent-business-model-of-silicon-valley/

https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/11098

https://books.google.it/books?id=-AmMDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=Googling,+Ted+Turner,+and+Job-Creating+Entrepreneurs&source=bl&ots=R-iquRvVxr&sig=ACfU3U3IXusGansV_5n5ohV9xbef307NQg&hl=tr&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwitwsPbldL0AhVxiv0HHdY5CloQ6AF6BAgDEAM#v=onepage&q=Googling%2C%20Ted%20Turner%2C%20and%20Job-Creating%20Entrepreneurs&f=false

https://www.scaruffi.com/svhistory/sil15.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2019/08/03/it-was-the-government-not-silicon-valley-that-pioneered-the-digital-surveillance-state/?sh=25882077492c

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/technology/tech-companies-bristling-concede-to-government-surveillance-efforts.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveillance_capitalism

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