Subject of the Month: 2023

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June's Subject of the Month


Selector: Joshua Neds-Fox

Coined by Shoshana Zuboff in 2020's The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism, the term refers to the extraction, monetization, and weaponization of our digital data by capitalist institutions in the modern era.

"While surveillance is often associated with governments, today the role of the private sector in the spread of everyday surveillance is the subject of growing public debate. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are fueled by a continuous supply of user data and digital exhaust. Surveillance is not just a side effect of digital capitalism; it is the business model itself, suggesting the emergence of a new and more rapacious mode of capitalism: surveillance capitalism."

Lauer, Josh and Lipartito, Kenneth (Eds.) (2021). Surveillance Capitalism in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

"Surveillance capitalists treat the information generated by our online activity and our situated, physical activity (collected through the Internet of Things) as raw material available for extraction... once scythed and privatized by the surveillance capitalists, our information is sifted to predict and shape our future behavior. The shaping of our behavior by surveillance capitalists threatens individual autonomy, yes, but also popular sovereignty and democracy itself. This may sound hyperbolic, but Zuboff methodically explains how surveillance capitalism is undermining core democratic values and why the stakes are so high."

Skinner-Thompson, Scott. (2019, Sept 4). Reclaiming the right to future tense. The Law and Political Economy Project.

Shoshana Zuboff on Surveillance Capitalism

In this talk from the Institute of Art and Ideas, Shoshana Zuboff examines the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior.

This fireside chat puts Shoshana Zuboff in conversation with researcher/activist Chris Gilliard, Professor of English at Macomb Community College, whose recent work was directly inspired by Zuboff’s call to action, in order to discuss the reception to Zuboff’s book, its influence on civil society, and the way forward. Facilitators include Joe Westby, researcher and advisor at Amnesty International; and Nathalie Marechal, Senior Policy Analyst at Ranking Digital Rights.



Surveillance & Society (ISSN 1477 7487)

Surveillance & Society (ISSN 1477 7487)

The international, interdisciplinary, open access, peer-reviewed journal of Surveillance Studies, Surveillance & Society exists to: publish innovative and transdisciplinary work on surveillance; encourage understanding of approaches to surveillance in different academic disciplines; promote understanding of surveillance in wider society; encourage policy and political debate about surveillance.

Internet Policy Review (ISSN 2197-6775)

Internet Policy Review (ISSN 2197-6775)
Internet Policy Review is an open access and peer-reviewed journal on internet regulation. The journal is a resource on internet policy for academics, civil society advocates, entrepreneurs, the media and policymakers alike. Internet Policy Review contributes empirical research, analysis and current affairs coverage to contemporary debate about media, information technology, telecommunications and internet governance. Internet Policy Review’s expertise resides in its clear and independent analysis of inter-European and pan-European digital policy changes.

Big Data & Society (ISSN 2053 9517)

Big Data & Society (ISSN 2053 9517)

Big Data & Society (BD&S) is an open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes interdisciplinary work principally in the social sciences, humanities and computing and their intersections with the arts and natural sciences about the implications of Big Data for societies. The Journal's key purpose is to provide a space for connecting debates about the emerging field of Big Data practices and how they are reconfiguring academic, social, industry, business and government relations, expertise, methods, concepts and knowledge.


Cambridge Analytica

In one of the first major scandals of the surveillance capitalism era, Cambridge Analytica was found to have received and sold data from almost 90,000,000 Facebook users in the course of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Vox Explainer of the Cambridge Analytica scandal

“The people whose job is to protect the user always are fighting an uphill battle against the people whose job is to make money for the company,” Sandy Parakilas, who worked on the privacy side at Facebook, told the New York Times.

Politico: Meta (Facebook) pays $725 Million settlement in Cambridge Analytica case

The settlement is "the largest recovery ever achieved in a data privacy class action and the most Facebook has ever paid to resolve a private class action," according to the document.



Electronic Frontier Foundation - Privacy

Electronic Frontier Foundation - Privacy

The EFF covers myriad issues related to "defending civil liberties in the digital world." Find here numerous aspects touching on surveillance capitalism or dealing with privacy in online environments, including ONLINE BEHAVIORAL TRACKING, MANDATORY DATA RETENTION, and SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGIES.

ACLU - Privacy & Technology

American Civil Liberties Union - Privacy & Technology

"The ACLU works to expand the right to privacy, increase the control individuals have over their personal information, and ensure civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by technological innovation." NEWS ITEMS explore a range of issues related to surveillance and surveillance capitalism, and the site tracks relevant COURT CASES.

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Electronic Privacy Information Center

"A public interest research center in Washington, DC seeking to protect privacy, freedom of expression, and democratic values in the information age." Covers issues of CONSUMER PRIVACY and DATA PROTECTION, among others, with policy suggestions and relevant headlines.

Have I Been Pwned

Have I Been Pwned?

A free resource for anyone to quickly assess if they may have been put at risk due to an online account of theirs having been compromised (or "pwned") in a data breach. Personal online data literacy can help individuals understand the extent of their profile, the attack surface available to surveillance capitalists for exploitation.


Header Image: My Data Place by KAM hospitable,, cropped, used in compliance with the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License (CC-BY-SA 2.0, Reuse of this image with or from this resource guide requires the inclusion of this license statement.