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How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

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How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism


15 min read
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Big Tech must be defanged, but so far, most economies are doing it all wrong.

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People realize they’re being stalked by Google and Facebook, even if they’re not sure exactly how creepy the surveillance is. In this in-depth takedown of Big Tech, journalist Cory Doctorow explains just what’s happening, citing an edict that’s eerily appropriate: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Doctorow calls for a revolutionary overhaul of Big Tech, but his intriguing and illuminating piece shows just how hard that will be.


People are vulnerable to conspiracy theories because they’re surrounded by conspiracies.

Wacky conspiracy theories are spreading throughout American society. Even unhinged narratives, such as those of Pizzagate and QAnon, have found traction among those willing to believe that treachery is everywhere. Some cling to the belief that the Earth is flat; others think vaccines are a diabolical scam. Why are so many denizens of the modern world so susceptible to gibberish? Much of the blame goes to technology tools such as Facebook: Critics point to the social media platform and its algorithms that are remaking how humans process their world.

Some explain the rise of conspiracy theories by blaming artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technologies manipulate minds, the thinking goes. But perhaps people are embracing extreme ideas because they no longer trust the power structure. The rich, their proponents and the legislators in their thrall have rigged the system in a way that leaves people susceptible to conspiracy theories. That’s not to say that conspiracy theories are harmless – vaccine rejection sets the stage for...

About the Author

Cory Doctorow is an author, activist and journalist.

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