Navigating Surveillance Capitalism: A Critical Analysis through philosophical perspectives in Computer Ethics

by   Angelica Sofia Valeriani, et al.

Surveillance capitalism is a concept that describes the practice of collecting and analyzing massive amounts of user data for the purpose of targeted advertising and other forms of monetization. The phenomenon has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, with tech companies like Google and Facebook using users' personal information to deliver personalized content and advertisements. Another example of surveillance capitalism is the use of military technology to collect and analyze data for national security purposes. In this context, surveillance capitalism involves the use of technologies like facial recognition and social media monitoring to gather information on individuals and groups deemed to be potential threats to national security. This information is then used to inform military operations and decision-making. This paper wants to analyze in a critical way the phenomenon of surveillance capitalism, proposed under two different ethical framework perspectives. Utilitarianism, a consequentialist ethical theory that judges actions based on their ability to bring about the greatest amount of happiness or pleasure for the greatest number of people, and Kantian deontology, a non-consequentialist ethical theory that emphasizes the importance of individual autonomy, freedom, and dignity. On one side, the utilitarian framework enlightens how Information Technology (IT) and the features provided offer, at first sight, all the positive perceptions to the majority of people, happiness, entertainment, and pleasure. On the other side, the Kantian deontology framework mostly focuses on the aspect of freedom and free will of the individual. This topic is particularly related to the concession of permissions to access data in change of services and the degree of influence that manipulation performed by surveillance capitalism can generate.


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