Social Injustice in Surveillance Capitalism

Main Article Content

Jonathan Cinnamon http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7383-6886

Abstract

A rapidly accelerating phase of capitalism based on asymmetrical personal data accumulation poses significant concerns for democratic societies, yet the concepts used to understand and challenge practices of dataveillance are insufficient or poorly elaborated. Against a backdrop of growing corporate power enabled by legal lethargy and the secrecy of the personal data industry, this paper makes explicit how the practices inherent to what Shoshana Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism’ are threats to social justice, based on the normative principle that they prevent parity of participation in social life. This paper draws on Nancy Fraser’s theory of ‘abnormal justice’ to characterize the separation of people from their personal data and its accumulation by corporations as an economic injustice of maldistribution. This initial injustice is also the key mechanism by which further opaque but significant forms of injustice are enabled in surveillance capitalism—sociocultural misrecognition which occurs when personal data are algorithmically processed and subject to categorization, and political misrepresentation which renders people democratically voiceless, unable to challenge misuses of their data. In situating corporate dataveillance practices as a threat to social justice, this paper calls for more explicit conceptual development of the social harms of asymmetrical personal data accumulation and analytics, and more hopefully, attention to the requirements needed to recast personal data as an agent of equality rather than oppression.

Article Details

Section
Articles

References

Amoore, Louise. 2009. Algorithmic war: Everyday geographies of the War on Terror. Antipode 41 (1): 49-69.

Andrejevic, Mark. 2007. Surveillance in the digital enclosure. The Communication Review 10 (4): 295-317.

Andrejevic, Mark. 2014. The Big Data Divide. International Journal of Communication 8: 1673-1689.

Andrejevic, Mark. 2015. Personal Data: Blind Spot of the “Affective Law of Value”? The Information Society 31 (1): 5-12.

Arvidsson, Adam, and Elanor Colleoni. 2012. Value in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet. The Information Society 28 (3): 135-150.

Barocas, Solon. 2014. Data Mining and the Discourse on Discrimination. Data Ethics Workshop, Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, New York City.

Barocas, Solon, and Helen Nissenbaum. 2014. Big Data's End Run Around Anonymity and Consent. In Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement, edited by Lane, J., V. Stodden, S. Bender and H. Nissenbaum, 44-75. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bennett, Colin J. 2011. In Defence of Privacy: The concept and the regime. Surveillance & Society 8 (4): 485-496.

Bonnycastle, Colin R. 2011. Social Justice along a Continuum: A Relational Illustrative Model. Social Service Review 85 (2): 267-295.

Borgman, Christine L. 2015. Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bowker, Geoffrey C. 2005. Memory Practices in the Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Bowker, Geoffrey C, and Susan Leigh Star. 2000. Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

boyd, danah, and Kate Crawford. 2012. Critical questions for big data: Provocations for a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon. Information, Communication & Society 15 (5): 662-679.

Britz, Johannes J. 2004. To Know or not to Know: A Moral Reflection on Information Poverty. Journal of Information Science 30 (3): 192-204.

Carmalt, Jean Connolly. 2011. Human Rights, Care Ethics and Situated Universal Norms. Antipode 43 (2): 296-325.

Cate, Fred H., and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger. 2013. Notice and consent in a world of Big Data. International Data Privacy Law 3 (2): 67-73.

Chander, Anupam. 2012. Facebookistan. North Carolina Law Review 90: 1807-1842.

Chander, Anupam, and Uyen P Le. 2014. Breaking the Web: Data Localization vs. the Global Internet. Davis, CA: California International Law Center.

China Copyright and Media. 2015. Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014-2020). Available at https://chinacopyrightandmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/planning-outline-for-the-construction-of-a-social-credit-system-2014-2020/. (accessed 5 July 2016).

Citron, Danielle Keats, and Frank A Pasquale. 2014. The scored society: due process for automated predictions. Washington Law Review 89: 1-33.

Clarke, Roger. 1988. Information technology and dataveillance. Communications of the ACM 31 (5): 498-512.
Cohen, Julie E. 2017. The Biopolitical Public Domain: the Legal Construction of the Surveillance Economy. Philosophy & Technology: 1-21.

Common Data Project. 2011. The Common Data Project White Paper v.2. Available at http://www.commondataproject.org/. (accessed 12 Nov 2016).

Constine, Josh. 2012. Problems For Monetization: Lawsuit Forces Facebook To Let You Opt Out Of Sponsored Story Ads. Available at http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/21/sponsored-stories-lawsuit/. (accessed 5 August 2015).

Couldry, Nick, and Alison Powell. 2014. Big Data from the bottom up. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 1-5.

Council of the European Union. 2015. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation). Brussels: European Union.

Court of Appeal for British Columbia. 2015. Douez v. Facebook, Inc. In 2015 BCCA 279.

Crawford, Kate. 2014. When Big Data Marketing Becomes Stalking: Data brokers cannot be trusted to regulate themselves. Scientific American Available at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-big-data-marketing-becomes-stalking1/. (accessed 22 Nov 2016).

Crawford, Kate, and Jason Schultz. 2014. Big data and due process: Toward a framework to redress predictive privacy harms. Boston College Law Review 55 (1): 93-128.

Curry, Michael R. 1997. The digital individual and the private realm. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 87 (4): 681-699.

Davenport, Thomas H, and D.J. Patil. 2012. Data Scientist: The sexiest job of the 21st century. Harvard Business Review 90: 70-76.

Degli Esposti, Sara. 2014. When big data meets dataveillance: the hidden side of analytics. Surveillance & Society 12 (2): 209.

Dixon, Pam, and Robert Gellman. 2014. The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future. San Diego, CA: World Privacy Forum.

Duff, Alistair S. 2006. Neo-Rawlsian co-ordinates: Notes on a theory of justice for the information age. International Review of Information Ethics 6 (12): 17-22.

Dwork, Cynthia, and Deirdre K Mulligan. 2013. It's not privacy, and it's not fair. Stanford Law Review Online 66: 35.

Elias, Peter. 2014. A European Perspective on Research and Big Data Analysis. In Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement, edited by Lane, J., V. Stodden, S. Bender and H. Nissenbaum, 173-191. New York: Cambridge University Press.

European Commission. 2014. Factsheet on the "Right to be Forgotten" Ruling (C-131/12). Brussels: European Commission.

Facebook. 2017. Company Info. Available at http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/. (accessed 5 Jan 2017).

Fan, Jiayang. 2015. How China Wants to Rate its Citizens. The New Yorker Available at http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/how-china-wants-to-rate-its-citizens. (accessed 5 July 2016).

Fraser, Nancy. 2009. Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World. New York: Columbia University Press.

Fraser, Nancy. 2010. Who Counts? Dilemmas of Justice in a Postwestphalian World. Antipode 41: 281-297.

Fraser, Nancy 2008. Abnormal Justice. Critical Inquiry 34 (3): 393-422.

Fuchs, Christian. 2010. Labor in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet. The Information Society 26 (3): 179-196.

Gandy, Oscar H. 1993. The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Garner, Patricia. 2015. Average revenue per user is an important growth driver. Market Realist Available at http://marketrealist.com/2015/02/average-revenue-per-user-is-an-important-growth-driver/. (accessed 19 July 2016).

Gitelman, Lisa, ed. 2013. "Raw Data" is an Oxymoron. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Graham, Stephen, and David Wood. 2003. Digitizing surveillance: categorization, space, inequality. Critical Social Policy 23 (2): 227-248.

Hacking, Ian. 1982. Biopower and the avalanche of printed numbers. Humanities in Society 5 (3-4): 279-295.

Hacking, Ian. 1999. Making Up People. In The Science Studies Reader, edited by Biagioli, M., 161-171. London: Routledge.

Haggerty, Kevin D, and Richard V Ericson. 2000. The surveillant assemblage. The British Journal of Sociology 51 (4): 605-622.

Harvey, David. 2003. The New Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Helm, Paula. 2016. Group Privacy in Times of Big Data. A Literature Review. Digital Culture & Society 2 (2): 137-152.

Hodson, Hal. 2015. Inside China’s Plan to Give Every Citizen a Character Score. New Scientist Available at https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28314-inside-chinas-plan-to-give-every-citizen-a-character-score/. (accessed 5 July 2016).

Hoofnagle, Chris Jay, Jennifer King, Su Li, and Joseph Turow. 2010. How different are young adults from older adults when it comes to information privacy attitudes and policies? : Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1589864.

Hu, Tung-Hui. 2015. A Prehistory of the Cloud. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kennedy, Helen, and Giles Moss. 2015. Known or knowing publics? Social media data mining and the question of public agency. Big Data & Society 2 (2).

Kennedy, Helen, Thomas Poell, and Jose van Dijck. 2015. Data and agency. Big Data & Society 2 (2): 1-7.

Kinsley, Samuel. 2014. The matter of 'virtual' geographies. Progress in Human Geography 38 (3): 364-384.

Kitchin, Rob. 2014. The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences. London: Sage.

Kshetri, Nir. 2016. Big data’s role in expanding access to financial services in China. International Journal of Information Management 36 (3): 297-308.

Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kuner, Christopher, Fred H. Cate, Christopher Millard, Dan Jerker B. Svantesson, and Orla Lynskey. 2015. Internet Balkanization gathers pace: is privacy the real driver? International Data Privacy Law 5 (1): 1-2.

Lor, Peter Johan, and Johannes Britz. 2005. Knowledge production from an African perspective: International information flows and intellectual property. International Information & Library Review 37 (2): 61-76.

Lyon, David. 2003a. Introduction. In Surveillance as Social Sorting: Privacy, Risk, and Digital Discrimination, edited by Lyon, D. London: Routledge.

Lyon, David, ed. 2003b. Surveillance as Social Sorting: Privacy, Risk, and Digital Discrimination. London: Routledge.

Lyon, David. 2007. Surveillance Studies: An Overview. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

Lyon, David. 2014. Surveillance, Snowden, and Big Data: Capacities, consequences, critique. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 1-13.

Madden, Mary, and Lee Rainie. 2015. Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance. Pew Research Center. Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/ (accessed 15 Jan 2017).

Manovich, Lev. 2012. Trending: The Promises and the Challenges of Big Social Data. In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Gold, M. K., 460-475. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Matzner, Tobias. 2014. Why privacy is not enough privacy in the context of “ubiquitous computing” and “big data”. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 12 (2): 93-106.

Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. 2013. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Miller, David. 1999. Principles of Social Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Murakami Wood, David. 2013. What is global surveillance? Towards a relational political economy of the global surveillant assemblage. Geoforum 49: 317-326.

Nagenborg, Michael. 2009. Designing spheres of informational justice. Ethics and Information Technology 11 (3): 175-179.

Newman, Nathan. 2015. Data Justice: Taking on Big Data as an Economic Justice Issue. Data Justice. Available at: http://www.datajustice.org/blog/data-justice-report-taking-big-data-economic-justice-issue (accessed 11 May 2017).

Nissenbaum, Helen. 2010. Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Ohm, Paul. 2014. Changing the Rules: General Principles for Data Use and Analysis. In Privacy, Big Data, and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement, edited by Lane, J., V. Stodden, S. Bender and H. Nissenbaum, 96-111. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Olson, Elizabeth, and Andrew Sayer. 2009. Radical Geography and its Critical Standpoints: Embracing the Normative. Antipode 41 (1): 180-198.

Pasquale, Frank. 2015. The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Peacock, Sylvia E. 2014. How web tracking changes user agency in the age of Big Data: The used user. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 1-11.

Ponelis, Shana. 2014. Information as Economic Good: Its Origins, Characteristics, Pricing, and Associated Legal and Ethical Issues. In Approaches and Processes for Managing the Economics of Information Systems, edited by Tsiakis, T., 1-13. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2014. Report To The President - Big Data And Privacy: A Technological Perspective. Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President.

Pybus, Jennifer, Mark Coté, and Tobias Blanke. 2015. Hacking the social life of Big Data. Big Data & Society 2 (2): 1-10.

Rawls, John. 1971. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Richards, Neil M, and Jonathan H King. 2014. Big data ethics. Wake Forest Law Review 49: 393-432.

Rieke, Aaron, David Robinson, and Harlan Yu. 2015. Civil Rights, Big Data, and Our Algorithmic Future. Washington, DC: Upturn.

Roderick, Leanne. 2014. Discipline and Power in the Digital Age: The Case of the US Consumer Data Broker Industry. Critical Sociology 40 (5): 729-746.

Rorty, Richard. 1979. Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Keith. 2015. BC Privacy Act Does Not Oust Facebook’s Forum Selection Clause: BC Court of Appeal. Available at http://www.canadiancybersecuritylaw.com/2015/06/bc-privacy-act-does-not-oust-facebooks-forum-selection-clause-bc-court-of-appeal/. (accessed 5 Aug 2015).

Schauer, Frederick. 2005. The Social Construction of the Concept of Law: A Reply to Julie Dickson. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 25 (3): 493-501.

Schwartz, Paul M. 2004. Property, Privacy, and Personal Data. Harvard Law Review 117 (7): 2056-2128.

Simonite, Tom. 2014. Sell Your Personal Data for $8 a Month. MIT Technology Review Available at https://www.technologyreview.com/s/524621/sell-your-personal-data-for-8-a-month/. (accessed 7 July 2016).

Solove, Daniel J. 2006. A taxonomy of privacy. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 154 (3): 477-564.

Stalder, Felix. 2002. Privacy is not the Antidote to Surveillance. Surveillance & Society 1 (1): 120-124.

Taylor, Linnet, Luciano Floridi, and Bart van der Sloot, eds. 2017. Group Privacy: New Challenges of Data Technologies. Dordrecht: Springer.

Tene, Omer, and Jules Polonetsky. 2012. Big data for all: Privacy and user control in the age of analytics. Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property 11 (5): 239-273.

Thatcher, Jim , David O'Sullivan, and Dillon Mahmoudi. 2016. Data colonialism through accumulation by dispossession: New metaphors for daily data. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 34 (6): 990-1006.

Turow, Joseph, Michael Hennessy, and Nora Draper. 2015. The Tradeoff Fallacy: How Marketers Are Misrepresenting American Consumers And Opening Them Up to Exploitation. Philadelphia: Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs. 2006. Social Justice in an Open World: The Role of the United Nations. New York: United Nations.

United States Senate. 2013. A Review of the Data Broker Industry: Collection, Use, and Sale of Consumer Data for Marketing Purposes. Washington, DC: Committee On Commerce, Science, And Transportation.

Van den Hoven, Jeroen, and Emma Rooksby. 2008. Distributive justice and the value of information: A (broadly) Rawlsian approach. In Information Technology and Moral Philosophy, edited by Van den Hoven, J. and J. Weckert, 376-398. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press.

van Dijck, José. 2014. Datafication, dataism and dataveillance: Big Data between scientific paradigm and ideology. Surveillance & Society 12 (2): 197-208.

Versium Analytics. 2016. Predictive Scores: Deriving meaningful intelligence from complex assortments of data. Available at http://versium.com/predictive-scores. (accessed 1 July 2016).

Warren, Samuel D., and Louis D. Brandeis. 1890. The Right to Privacy. Harvard Law Review 4 (5): 193-220.

Westin, Alan F. 1967. Legal safeguards to insure privacy in a computer society. Communications of the ACM 10 (9): 533-537.

Wilson, Matthew W. 2011. Data matter (s): legitimacy, coding, and qualifications-of-life. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29 (5): 857.

World Economic Forum. 2011. Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class. Geneva: World Economic Forum.

Wu, Chi Chi. 2009. Automated Injustice: How a Mechanized Dispute System Frustrates Consumers Seeking to Fix Errors in Their Credit Reports. Boston, MA: National Consumer Law Center.

Yu, Persis, Jillian McLaughlin, and Marina Levy. 2014. Big Data: A Big Disappointment for Scoring Consumer Credit Risk Boston, MA: National Consumer Law Center.

Zuboff, Shoshana. 2015. Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology 30 (1): 75-89.

Zuboff, Shoshana. 2016. The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism. Frankfurter Algemaine Zeitung Available at http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/the-digital-debate/shoshana-zuboff-secrets-of-surveillance-capitalism-14103616.html. (accessed 22 December 2016).

Zurn, Christopher F. 2003. Identity or Status? Struggles over ‘Recognition’ in Fraser, Honneth, and Taylor. Constellations 10 (4): 519-537.

Zwitter, Andrej. 2014. Big Data ethics. Big Data & Society 1 (2): 1-6.