Surveillance society Infographics

Surveillance is at the heart of digital power today, exercised by both states and corporations.

When we think of surveillance, we often think of cameras and states. But the biggest surveillance is carried out digitally by corporations: Almost every commercial website we visit broadcasts data to companies that then market to us.

Corporate surveillance of users
We thought we were searching Google, but Google was searching us (Shoshana Zuboff)

But this corporate surveillance is also tied to state surveillance. As Cory Doctorow points out, ‘The US government has accomplished a future in which the NSA doesn't need to wiretap us all. It can just ask Facebook or Google or Apple for information that it couldn’t otherwise reach. And so this really needs to be understood as a public–private partnership.'


U.S. security departments contracts with big tech

Since 9/11, States have been building a surveillance society based on the idea of capturing as much data as possible. In the words of US Deputy Attorney General James Cole “If you’re looking for the needle in the haystack, you have to have the entire haystack to look through.”

This has normalised excessively high levels of surveillance in the US and globally.


Countries using AI technology in Smart Cities
Countries using AI technology for Smart Policing
The most surveilled cities in the world (cameras per square mile)
AI technologies used by cities in the U.S.

It has also created business for many arms and security companies which actively lobby to perpetuate and extend surveillance in every arena from borders to policing. It also bolsters undemocratic regimes as well as Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

Top 25 companies winning contracts for security and surveillance
'Google's ideal society is a population of distant users, not a citizenry' Shoshana Zuboff

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