How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism

146 pages

English language

Published Jan. 21, 2021 by Medium Editions.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

OneZero, Medium's official technology publication, is thrilled to announce a print-on-demand edition of How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism by Cory Doctorow, with an exclusive new chapter. How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism was first published online in August, where it was an instant hit with readers, scholars, and critics alike. For years now, we've been hearing about the ills of surveillance capitalism - the business of extracting, collecting, and selling vast reams of user data that has exploded with the rise of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. But what if everything we've been hearing is wrong? What if surveillance capitalism is not some rogue capitalism or a wrong turn taken by some misguided corporations? What if the system is working exactly as intended - and the only hope of restoring an open web is to take the fight directly to the system itself? In Doctorow's timely and crucial new …

4 editions

A Very Wonky and Well-Written Guide to Trustbusting Tech Billionaires

5 stars

OK, so this book is kind of right in Cory Doctorow's wheelhouse. Sure, he writes really insightful fiction that is really fun to read, but he truly shines when when writing concise, easy-to-understand non-fiction about social and policy issues surrounding technology.

This book definitely isn't for everybody, but if you're interested in the political, economic, and social tools that can be used to unseat the tech billionaires and destroy surveillance capitalism then this is 100% something that you should consider reading.

One important connection that Doctorow made was how the military/government have become reliant on big tech surveillance. If you didn't want to throw out your Google/Amazon "smart" device before, you probably will after reading this book.

Review of 'How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A variety of good ideas in this book, including the central thesis: that surveillance capitalism isn't really some special all-powerful form of capitalism. But I'm not convinced of trust-busting, reanimated antitrust law as a weapon against Big Tech is the solution.

I find it curious that Doctorow mentions the antitrust case against IBM that was rendered moot by the personal computer revolution, but doesn't note that AT&T was broken up, only to rise again in the Internet Age.

I will, however, heartily agree with the best idea he expresses here:

"I believe that online tools are the key to overcoming problems that are much more urgent than tech monopolization: climate change; inequality; misogyny; and discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, and other factors. The internet is how we will recruit people to fight those fights, and how we will coordinate their labor. Tech is not a substitute for …

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