The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff

This is a dense book, but also thorough and insightful. Dr. Zuboff did extensive research for this book, and she presents the development of the surveillance business model in sociological terms. Google and facebook’s product is the ability to predict and modify human behavior based on their data collected by surveilling us. I learned a lot and see the collection of personal data from a new perspective. One (of the many) insights I gained was that we don’t ask the question “who decides” what is done with data about us, be that posts on facebook, likes on twitter, data about the history of our travels from a mapping app (google maps, apple maps, etc.), or even the image of our face as we walk down the street.

This book is heavily referenced. I hope it will be used by policymakers and entrepreneurs who are thinking about how technology is changing our society and affects our ability to determine our future. If you are interested in the policy and societal implications of persistent data collection and surveillance, this a must-read book. However, there are not a lot of stories in the book to carry you through the text, and I could only read about ten pages at a time as I was often looking up information or re-reading sections to make sure I understood the text.

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