Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

CAPITALISM / SOCIALISM / DEMOCRACY - Luxury Surveillance: The Rise of Big Brother as a Consumer Choice

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

Online Event: Please register here.

As part of the Capitalism/Socialism/Democracy Series, CHRIS GILLIARD and DAVID GOLUMBIA join Mitchell Center Fellow ZACHARY LOEB for a discussion of luxury surveillance, what it is, how we need to think about it, and its implications for democracy. Writing in Real Life Magazine, Gilliard and Golumbia define “luxury surveillance” as the “surveillance that people pay for and whose tracking, monitoring, and quantification features are understood by the users as benefits they are likely to celebrate.” From Apple Watches to FitBits to Ring doorbell cameras, rather than make surveillance feel creepy and invasive, luxury surveillance makes it appear desirable and cool. Yet the spread of these gadgets occurs alongside the expansion and deepening of invasive and punitive modes of surveillance, even as the devices continue to divide up the world into those who are the beneficiaries of new surveillance technologies while others continue to be victimized by the spread of these technologies.

CHRIS GILLIARD is a Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center Visiting Research Fellow, a member of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Scholars Council and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project advisory board. DAVID GOLUMBIA is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.