Dec 11, 2019

Chris Hoofnagle Explains Shoshana Zuboff’s ‘Surveillance Capitalism’

From The New York Times

Meet the Scholar Who Diagnosed ‘Surveillance Capitalism’

By The Associated Press

A year ago, Shoshana Zuboff dropped an intellectual bomb on the technology industry. She hasn’t stood still since.

In a 700-page book, the Harvard scholar skewered tech giants like Facebook and Google with a damning phrase: “surveillance capitalism.” The unflattering term evokes how these companies vacuum up the details of our lives, make billions from that data and use what they’ve learned to glue our attention more firmly to their platforms.

A bestseller in Canada and Britain, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” was published in the U.S. in January, is being translated into 17 languages and has inspired two small theater productions. Zuboff, meanwhile, has spoken to audiences from Los Angeles to Rome and counseled politicians across Europe and North America.

Zuboff saw that this data wasn’t just an unexpected byproduct of online services, says Chris Hoofnagle, a University of California-Berkeley privacy expert. “It is the product.”


Chris Jay Hoofnagle is an adjunct full professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information and School of Law.

Last updated: June 12, 2020