Tech Tuesday: Culture, Surveillance and the Power We Give Google & Facebook

Michael Schulson tells The Truth About Communication Became Synonymous With Surveillance. In Salon the savvy tech critic talks outrage stemming from “Terms of Service,” the first book from the young cultural critic Jacob Silverman, is less an argument than a tour. Its subject is the Internet—or, more accurately, what Silverman calls “the social web,” which could be loosely defined as either a) an Internet experienced tailored to YOU!, or b) a surveillance system that comes equipped with some nice photo-saving and message-sharing tools.

Silverman leans toward interpretation b. “Communication,” he writes, “has become synonymous with surveillance.” “Terms of Service” offers a tour of a digital world that, under Silverman’s guiding skepticism, comes to look like a cross between the reality show “Big Brother” and a shopping mall. Or, to adapt one of Silverman’s better analogies, it’s a digital sphere in which we are all, essentially, the world’s saddest tourists: isolated and gullible; self-conscious and secretly watched; sampling everything but lingering nowhere; and taking many, many photos.

Over a phone connection that may or may not have been monitored by the NSA (it certainly wouldn’t have been hard), Silverman spoke with Salon about privacy, Tumblr’s hypocrisy, and whether the Internet is sometimes too nice.  Click here to read the article.


Featured photo from From Surveillance to Social Surveillance