Jan 24, 2019

I School Scholars’ Research Helps Explain ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ Today

From The Washington Post

Opinion: ‘Surveillance capitalism’ has gone rogue. We must curb its excesses.

By Shoshana Zuboff

A decade ago, privacy scholars Chris Hoofnagle and Jennifer King found that people’s interest in protecting their privacy increased in proportion to their understanding of how companies acquire and use their personal data. As long as people were kept in the dark, companies could count on little resistance. That helps to explain how the plundering of personal data has exploded during the past 20 years. Tech companies learned how to turn your life into data without asking.

That our ignorance is their bliss is among the unique signatures of a new economic logic that I call surveillance capitalism.


Chris Hoofnagle is an adjunct professor in the Berkeley School of Information and School of Law.

Jennifer King is the Director of Consumer Privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and an alumna of the Ph.D. and MIMS programs at the School of Information. 

Last updated:

January 25, 2019