Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, which the company insists is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists.
Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones. The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016.
Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit media organisation, and Amnesty International initially had access to the leaked list and shared access with media partners as part of the Pegasus project, a reporting consortium….
Shoshana Zuboff: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – the fight for a human future (2019)
Review: Originally intent on organising all human knowledge, Google ended up controlling all access to it; we do the searching, and are searched in turn. Setting out merely to connect us, Facebook found itself in possession of our deepest secrets. And in seeking to survive commercially beyond their initial goals, these companies realised they were sitting on a new kind of asset: our “behavioural surplus”, the totality of information about our every thought, word and deed, which could be traded for profit in new markets based on predicting our every need – or producing it. In a move of such audacity that it bears comparison to the enclosure of the commons or colonial conquests, the tech giants unilaterally declared that these previously untapped resources were theirs for the taking, and brushed aside every objection.
While insisting that their technology is too complex to be legislated, there are companies that have poured billions into lobbying against oversight, and while building empires on publicly funded data and the details of our private lives they have repeatedly rejected established norms of societal responsibility and accountability. And what is crucially different about this new form of exploitation and exceptionalism is that beyond merely strip-mining our intimate inner lives, it seeks to shape, direct and control them. Their operations transpose the total control over production pioneered by industrial capitalism to every aspect of everyday life…
Lynn Parramore: The perverted dreams of western modernity and capitalism may be exhausting themselves
Michael Roberts: The top 1% own 45% of all global personal wealth; the bottom 50% own less than 1% // Global Economic Volatility and Socio Political Reactions
Dismantling democracy? Virus used as excuse to quell dissent…
Book review: Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology
Walter Benjamin: Capitalism as Religion (1921)
Noam Chomsky: Internationalism or Extinction (Universalizing Resistance)
Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Speech on the American Military Industrial Complex, January 17, 1961