Google as a Fortune Teller : The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism

  • -Aktualisiert am

The assault we face is driven by the exceptional appetites of a wholly new genus of capitalism: surveillance capitalism. Bild: ddp images

Governmental control is nothing compared to what Google is up to. The company is creating a wholly new genus of capitalism, a systemic coherent new logic of accumulation we should call surveillance capitalism. Is there nothing we can do?surveillance capitalism

          Google surpassed Apple as the world’s most highly valued company in January for the first time since 2010.  (Back then each company was worth less than 200 billion. Now each is valued at well over 500 billion.)  While Google’s new lead lasted only a few days, the company’s success has implications for everyone who lives within the reach of the Internet. Why? Because Google is ground zero for a wholly new subspecies of capitalism in which profits derive from the unilateral surveillance and modification of human behavior.  This is a new surveillance capitalism that is unimaginable outside the inscrutable high velocity circuits of Google’s digital universe, whose signature feature is the Internet and its successors.  While the world is riveted by the showdown between Apple and the FBI, the real truth is that the surveillance capabilities being developed by surveillance capitalists are the envy of every state security agency.  What are the secrets of this new capitalism, how do they produce such staggering wealth, and how can we protect ourselves from its invasive power?

          (German Version: „Wie wir Sklaven von Google wurden“ von Shoshana Zuboff)

          “Most Americans realize that there are two groups of people who are monitored regularly as they move about the country.  The first group is monitored involuntarily by a court order requiring that a tracking device be attached to their ankle. The second group includes everyone else…”

          Some will think that this statement is certainly true. Others will worry that it could become true. Perhaps some think it’s ridiculous.  It’s not a quote from a dystopian novel, a Silicon Valley executive, or even an NSA official. These are the words of an auto insurance industry consultant intended as a defense of  “automotive telematics” and the astonishingly intrusive surveillance capabilities of the allegedly benign systems that are already in use or under development. It’s an industry that has been notoriously exploitative toward customers and has had obvious cause to be anxious about the implications of self-driving cars for its business model. Now, data about where we are, where we’re going, how we’re feeling, what we’re saying, the details of our driving, and the conditions of our vehicle are turning into beacons of revenue that illuminate a new commercial prospect. According to the industry literature, these data can be used for dynamic real-time driver behavior modification triggering punishments  (real-time rate hikes, financial penalties, curfews, engine lock-downs) or rewards (rate discounts, coupons, gold stars to redeem for future benefits).

          Bloomberg Business Week notes that these automotive systems will give insurers a chance to boost revenue by selling customer driving data in the same way that Google profits by collecting information on those who use its search engine. The CEO of Allstate Insurance wants to be like Google. He says, “There are lots of people who are monetizing data today. You get on Google, and it seems like it’s free. It’s not free. You’re giving them information; they sell your information.  Could we, should we, sell this information we get from people driving around to various people and capture some additional profit source…? It’s a long-term game.”

          Weitere Themen

          Zwillingsfestival in Twinsburg

          Doppelt gemoppelt : Zwillingsfestival in Twinsburg

          Alljährlich treffen sich Zwillinge in Twinsburg in Ohio. Das Twins Days Festival findet seit 1976 jeden Sommer statt. Zugelassen sind eineiige und zweieiige Zwillinge. Die Fotografin Josie Gealer-Ng hat unterschiedlichste Zwillingspaare porträtiert.

          Gut erfunden ist anders wahr

          Filmfestival von Locarno : Gut erfunden ist anders wahr

          Zwischen Spiel und Dokumentation, Hollywood, Lissabon und Nordafrika: Das Filmfestival von Locarno hat gezeigt, was ein breites Kunstspektrum im Kino heute bedeutet.


          Nach Unwettern : Verkehr in Teilen Deutschlands gestört

          Ein starkes Unwetter sorgt in Teilen Deutschlands für Störungen und Ausfälle im Bahnverkehr. Auch auf vielen Autobahnen gibt es massive Behinderungen. Am Frankfurter Flughafen wird die Abfertigung zwischenzeitlich eingestellt.
          Hans Kammler (Mitte) auf dem Weg zu einer rüstungstechnischen Anlage bei Ebensee (1944).

          „Hitlers Geheimwaffenchef“ : Der verschwundene SS-General

          Hans Kammler gehörte zur engeren Führung des NS-Regimes. Er war mitverantwortlich für den Holocaust. Im Mai 1945 soll er Suizid begangen haben. Doch daran gibt es große Zweifel, wie das ZDF zeigt.
          Tenor seiner Aussagen: „Ibiza“ war peinlich, aber nichts Unrechtes sei gesagt worden, „ich habe eine saubere Weste.“ – Heinz-Christian Strache

          Strache und die FPÖ : „Ich habe eine saubere Weste“

          Die Zukunft der skandalträchtigen FPÖ ist nach dem „Ibiza“-Skandal um Heinz-Christian Strache weiter ungewiss. Die Razzien bei FPÖ-Leuten bezeichnete er als ein politisch motivierten „Unrechtsakt“.


          Immer auf dem Laufenden Sie haben Post! Abonnieren Sie unsere FAZ.NET-Newsletter und wir liefern die wichtigsten Nachrichten direkt in Ihre Mailbox. Es ist ein Fehler aufgetreten. Bitte versuchen Sie es erneut.
          Vielen Dank für Ihr Interesse an den F.A.Z.-Newslettern. Sie erhalten in wenigen Minuten eine E-Mail, um Ihre Newsletterbestellung zu bestätigen.