Book Review: Is Online Interaction Worth Our Privacy?

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Although it’s easy to shop online these days–and communicating with others is faster than dialing a phone number–it all comes with a price.

Our privacy.
So warns Shoshana Zuboff, a Harvard Business School professor emerita who has written “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power” following decades of scrutinizing labor and power in the digital marketplace.
With scant resistance from the law or society, Zuboff writes, surveillance capitalism is very close to shaping the digital future and–in the process–ruling social order.

In its book review, the New York Times notes that instead of serving the needs of people, surveillance capitalists make billions more by monitoring, purchasing, and selling the characteristics of peoples’ behavior. Simultaneously, the fundamental production of goods and services is being governed by “behavioral modification.”

Comparing companies like Google and Facebook to the slaughter of elephants for their tusks, Zuboff writes that instead of being the product, the public is the “abandoned carcass” from the wrenching of raw material from the daily experiences of humans.
Such big tech platforms continue to sell advertising, but now it’s targeted by the behavior information gleaned from users.

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power
Author: Shoshana Zuboff
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pages: 704

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