Silicon Valley’s Phoenix-like resurrection is a story of ingenuity and initiative. It is also a story of callousness, predation, and deceit. Harvard Business School professor emerita Shoshana Zuboff argues in her new book that the Valley’s wealth and power are predicated on an insidious, essentially pathological form of private enterprise — what she calls “surveillance capitalism.” Pioneered by Google, perfected by Facebook, and now spreading throughout the economy, surveillance capitalism uses human life as its raw material. Our everyday experiences, distilled into data, have become a privately owned business asset used to predict and mold our behavior, whether we’re shopping or socializing, working or voting.
Zuboff’s fierce indictment of the big internet firms goes beyond the usual condemnations of privacy violations and monopolistic practices. To her, such criticisms are sideshows, distractions that blind us to a graver danger: By reengineering the economy and society to their own benefit, Google and Facebook are perverting capitalism in a way that undermines personal freedom and corrodes democracy.
A democracy engaged in mass surveillance will not long remain a democracy. The greatest threat to America and the freedom we cherish, or claim to cherish, is the so-called “intelligence community.” And if we want our freedom back, we must smash the engines of surveillance and punish the secret police for their crimes against the American people.
Let us strip away the web of lies: If mass surveillance continues unchecked, then let us call our system of government by its true name: Tyranny, run by the secret police, to protect the oligarchs from the people.
The truth alone will set us free.
This is a long read. Only the first eight have been written.
In a series of follow-up tweets, @tahkion explained that facial recognition works by pinpointing the areas of contrast on a human face—for instance, where a nose is located, or where the chin becomes the neck. As it happens, juggalo makeup often involves applying black paint below the mouth, but above the chin. That makes facial recognition vulnerable to misidentifying the placement of the jaw.
One would think that traditional scary clown makeup would also work.