Tech venture capitalist and early Facebook advisor/investor, Roger McNamme, wakes up to the serious damage Facebook (and companies like Facebook - who boldly strive ahead without asking permission) are doing to society. He’s written ‘Zucked’ to raise our consciousness about the threat of ‘surveillance capitalism’ and the ‘attention economy’ to our public health and to our political order.
He asks these BASIC, CORNERSTONE, TOTALLY PERTINENT questions:
Why is it legal for service providers to scan the contents of our private material for their economic gain? Example > nothing stops Google from scanning the contents of gmail, etc. Other providers can do the same. Are we all ok with this?
Why is it legal for credit card processors to sell our financial transaction data?
Why is it legal for cellular carriers to sell our location (or give Uber access to our location data)?
Why is it legal for a wellness app to give Facebook and others access to our health & wellness data?
Why is it legal for anyone to sell our browsing history? Yes > Google can and does track what we search on, and in this sense they have “a perfect data picture” on all of us (civility shield removed).
These questions seem so obvious (not to mention disturbing) and yet we (as individuals and corporations) continue to let these companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft) chart their own paths, surveilling us, manipulating our attention, and then making their fortunes off selling our data.
How is your company participating in this picture? Are you simply standing by and allowing these giants to dominate, take, sell, trade? How is this impacting you personally? McNamee argues it’s high time these companies pull back (and yes, become less profitable for a while), to re-tweak their models so that we all understand (and can agree to) the deals we’re actually making when we use the beloved tools they provide.