LogicLounge with Cory Doctorow: Working as Intended: Surveillance Capitalism is not a Rogue Capitalism

DATE:Tuesday, July 21, 2020
TIME:3pm - 4pm UTC

The “surveillance capitalism” thesis holds that companies spy because data lets them conduct devastatingly effective influence operations while racing past regulators who might otherwise rein in their operations.

Cory Doctorow believes this gives undue credence to Big Tech’s sales literature — the source of the claims about the power of behavioral advertising to influence behavior — while underplaying the role that monopoly and state surveillance play in both the decay of public discourse and governmental complacency when it comes to corporate surveillance.

However, what if Big Tech’s ability to command billions for ads has more to do with cornering markets and eking out marginal gains through targeting, with stale data being largely useless for commercial purposes — but still full of juicy kompromat for greedy state surveillance agencies?

There seems to be a knowledge gap between technologists, CEOs, and the politicians who should enact surveillance or antitrust policy reforms. To what extent do the free-range BigTech monopolies influence the innovation ecosystem, democracy, personal freedoms, and sense of community? Taking into account growing usage of data-saturated services, is it possible to remain private in public? What are some ways that computer scientists, tech professionals or civil society could be helpful in achieving policy reform?

Cory Doctorow


Virtual, with live Q&A


Tuesday, July 21, 2020


1 hour


8am – 9am PDT

3pm – 4pm UTC

5pm – 6pm CEST (Vienna)

Free registration (ticket) for this virtual event

To get the link to the Zoom room of the LogicLounge talk and Q&A with Cory Doctorow we require attendees to register via the following registration form: https://stanford.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9AwAiQSmTj2ZjaIsIoTr5A

More information on the Eventbrite page.

About Cory Doctorow 

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction novelist, journalist, and technology activist, working as a special advisor for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), after serving as a director of European Affairs for the EFF between 2002 and 2006. EFF is a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards, and treaties.

He holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a Visiting Professor; he is also an MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate and a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science. In 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

He co-founded the open-source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, and serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, the Open Technology Fund and the Metabrainz Foundation. Cory Doctorow is the co-founder of the UK Open Rights Group.

His novels have been translated into dozens of languages and are published by Tor Books, Head of Zeus (UK), Titan Books (UK) and HarperCollins (UK). He has won the Locus, Prometheus, Copper Cylinder, White Pine and Sunburst Awards, and been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and British Science Fiction Awards.


The LogicLounge is hosted by the 32nd International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification (CAV) and organized by Aina Niemetz and Mathias Preiner of Stanford University in collaboration with the Vienna Center for Logic and Algorithms at TU Wien (VCLA).

About the LogicLounge series

The series of public lectures LogicLounge continues to bring together the general public and the experts from the fields of logic, philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and artificial intelligence. Since its inception at the Vienna Summer of Logic in 2014 – the largest event in the history of logic – the series has since been traveling between Vienna and the venue of the CAV (International Conference on Computer-Aided Verification), where it has already become a regular event in honor of Prof. Helmut Veith (1971-2016).

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