Avoiding Surveillance Capitalism: Corporate Social Responsibility in Tech Companies

By: Eric Wang

With advancements in internet technology, mass distribution of information has become accessible to people worldwide. Accompanying these improvements, information technology corporations also developed marketing and promotion tools to attract more growth in user rates and page views. However, customers are impacted dramatically due to their disadvantages in protecting themselves from the overwhelming information flow’s harm. One study conducted by researchers at Yale University shows that the spread of biased news and information is altering the public’s perspectives on large-scale civic issues, including climate change and environmental protection. Hence, the independent organizations formed by expertise in the IT field should be established to monitor Silicon Valley companies’ ethical conduct and regularly update them for public monitoring.

The concerns are raised at the domestic level and in the global dimension, especially for American tech companies. The international corporations in modern society should develop a new balance between their home country and global customers. The regulations vary significantly in context and form. Starting from 2017, Apple was required to store the data in China to protect local customers’ information security. International corporations like Apple should obey the U.S.’s guidance on information protection and provide global customers with confidence in securing their data from surveillance. The conflicts may arise when different entities attempt to gain more access to public data to strengthen their power in the virtual world.

In addition to these public actions, college students also actively advocate for the boycott of surveillance capitalism. Workshops in Haverford College and Wellesley College highlight students’ perspectives against it. As young generations, college students have more frequent interaction with technology in their daily lives. Thus, knowing the nature of surveillance capitalism and supporting actions in limiting it will shape students as responsible digital natives.

By Eric Wang

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