The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism

Vigo, Julian

Publisher:  CounterPunch
Date Written:  17/12/2018
Year Published:  2018  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23196

Google's encroaching powers over our lives, to include the freedom of expression protected by most national laws, not to mention EU and UN Charters, around the planet today.




From the US to the EU, one thing has become painfully clear to me in recent months: free speech, the freedom of conscience, and privacy are all under threat by big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. In fact, these companies are far more the enemy of the people than the NSA (National Security Agency) or GCHQ, the UK's Government Communications Headquarters. And Snowden has said as much referring to how he and his colleagues in the NSA were at the very least subject to some degree of democratic oversight while companies like Google and Facebook, as we saw recently with Zuckerberg's testimony to Congress this past Spring, maintain a business model which perfectly combines capitalism with surveillance and it is all perfectly unregulated.

In 2014, John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney introduced the term "surveillance capitalism" in Monthly Review, an independent socialist magazine where they explain its inception from the post-war architecture which combined the vehicle of sales framed within a Madison Avenue centralized corporate marketing revolution together with the creation of a permanent state of war headed by the Pentagon where the Cold War was buttressed by arms and fictional nuclear preparedness on the one hand, and the shop ‘til you drop on the other. The military-industrial complex and the marketing of society, according to Foster and McChesney, constituted the two principle surplus-absorption mechanisms until the financial crisis of the 1970s when a third vector of surplus-absorption was added: that of financialization which supplemented the system as the previous two mechanisms waned:

Each of these means of surplus absorption were to add impetus in different ways to the communications revolution, associated with the development of computers, digital technology, and the Internet. Each necessitated new forms of surveillance and control. The result was a universalization of surveillance, associated with all three areas of: (1) militarism/imperialism/security; (2) corporate-based marketing and the media system; and (3) the world of finance.

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