Report “Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life” – Info

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Rosenthal.  DLH]

Report “Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life” – Info
By Wolfie Christl
Jun 2017

Links, Downloads, Summary, Author Info, Contents

Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life. How Companies Collect, Combine, Analyze, Trade, and Use Personal Data on Billions. A Report by Cracked Labs, Vienna, June 2017. Author: Wolfie Christl. Contributors: Katharina Kopp, Patrick Urs Riechert. Illustrations: Pascale Osterwalder.

» Download full report as PDF
» Web publication with infographics

» All infographics/illustrations on one page

(phone contact on request)

Media Coverage / What Others Say

• “How we are all pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered – by online biz all day. Cracked Labs shines light on surveillance capitalism” (The Register)
• “Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance” (Glyn Moody)
• “a new, authoritative & chilling report on how big corporates track your every move” (Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian / Observer)
• “Ninety-three glorious pages” (Bruce Sterling on his blog)
• “a comprehensive, must-read new report” (The Irish Times)

Summary of the Report

In recent years, a wide range of companies has started to monitor, track, and follow people in virtually all aspects of their lives. The behaviors, movements, social relationships, interests, weaknesses, and most private moments of billions are now constantly recorded, evaluated, and analyzed in real-time. The collection and exploitation of personal information has become a multi-billion industry. The pervasive surveillance machine that was developed for online advertising is now rapidly expanding into other fields, from pricing to political communication to credit scoring to risk management. At the same time, only the tip of the iceberg of data and profiling activities is visible to individuals. Much of it occurs in the background and remains opaque and barely understood by most consumers, as well as by civil society, journalists, and policymakers.

The report “Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life” examines the inner workings of today’s personal data industry in detail. Based on years of research and the previous 2016 report „Networks of Control“, the investigation shines light on the actual practices and hidden data flows between companies. It maps the structure and scope of today’s digital tracking and profiling ecosystems and explores data-gathering technologies, platforms, devices, and business models, as well as key recent developments, placing a strong focus on elucidating its societal implications.

The report shows that a vast landscape of data companies has emerged that continuously share and trade digital profiles with one another. This landscape consists not only of large platforms such as Google and Facebook, credit reporting agencies, marketing data brokers, and digital advertising companies, but also of myriads of other businesses that sell products or services to consumers in sectors such as retail, consumer goods, media and publishing, telecommunications, and financial services. A big step into systematic consumer surveillance occurred in the 1990s through database marketing, loyalty programs, and advanced consumer credit reporting. After the rise of the Internet and online advertising in the early 2000s and the advent of social networks, smartphones, and programmatic advertising in the late 2000s, we are now witnessing a new phase defined by the traditional consumer data industries joining forces with the digital data industries.

Companies utilize data on consumers in order to take economic advantage. In particular, two – sometimes related – aspects of commercial tracking and profiling raise concerns:



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