See also Privacy, Online advertising.
Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, PublicAffairs (2019).
Defines “surveillance capitalism”: the new business model of companies that invest not in factories and equipment but in massive amounts of data about how ordinary people live their ordinary lives, so that this data may be mined to predict their future behavior and more effectively manipulate them into buying products. In this sense, the book is the counterpart to Solove’s argument that privacy is a check on government power, illustrating how it is also a check on corporate power, as companies seek to insert themselves into an ever larger part of our lives to extract data and render our behavior ever more predictable, all in the search of better marketing and fatter profits. No, Facebook can’t use its data to send us to prison like a government could, but it can gradually erode our self-determination and identity by using constant social pressure and peer comparisons to manipulate us.
Ryan Calo, “Digital Market Manipulation”, 82 George Washington Law Review 995 (2014). https://ssrn.com/abstract=2309703
Presents surveillance capitalism in economic and legal terms. If companies can use data about consumers to influence their behavior, perhaps by designing manipulations to take advantage of cognitive biases that make consumers less-than-rational, they are explicitly making markets less efficient. Should this be discouraged as a matter of public policy? Calo sees this as an economic harm, but also a problem for privacy and individual autonomy, and suggests interventions to force companies to align their interests more closely with those of their customers.