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The massive collection of user data by private companies such as Meta, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, is often done without appropriate privacy checks and protocols. This collection of data (a form of surveillance by private firms) is then used to sell content and advertising back to users, crippling the openness of the internet and its usefulness for building democracy and social justice. Private firms also sometimes collaborate with states in the sharing of private user data. APC believes that pushing back against surveillance capitalism and unfettered data collection is integral to respecting people’s right to protect their data. It is necessary to strengthen oversight and accountability mechanisms and to implement privacy-by-default policies to curb the exploitation of personal data for private or political purposes.

This term was originally coined by Shoshana Zuboff in her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.

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