Surveillance Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy. Watch Our New Film Digital Disconnect to See How.


In her chilling new book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” the scholar Shoshana Zuboff lays bare how Silicon Valley and other corporations have turned the internet into an unstoppable surveillance machine that’s undercutting personal autonomy and subverting democracy.

Zuboff, a professor emerita at Harvard Business School, warns in the book that high-tech giants are mining our personal data to predict and shape our behavior in unaccountable and inherently anti-democratic ways.

“During the past two decades, surveillance capitalists have had a pretty free run, with hardly any interference from laws and regulations,” Zuboff said in a recent interview. “Democracy has slept while surveillance capitalists amassed unprecedented concentrations of knowledge and power. … We enter the 21st century marked by this stark inequality in the division of learning: they know more about us than we know about ourselves or than we know about them. These new forms of social inequality are inherently antidemocratic.”

If you’re looking to explore the democratic implications of digital surveillance in your classes, we highly recommend our video Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, featuring renowned media scholar Robert McChesney. With clarity and urgency, McChesney breaks down the multiple threats to democracy posed by the corporate takeover of the internet and the rise of surveillance-based advertising.

Screen Digital Disconnect in your classes, on your campus, or in your communities now!

Digital Disconnect is a major contribution to the enlightenment and self-defense of citizens concerned with the state of their society and how we should act to overcome threatening social and institutional pathologies.”

— Noam Chomsky, University of Arizona

“I love this movie! It offers a crash course in the hidden history of the Internet and [shows] how this revolutionary platform capable of enhancing freedom and democracy is being transformed into a vehicle for monopoly, hypercommercialism, and surveillance.”

— Jeff Cohen, Associate Professor of Journalism, Ithaca College

Digital Disconnect combines McChesney’s terrific explanatory skills with MEF’s wonderful production values and creativity, providing a one-stop ‘zero-to-60’ education in the most important topic of our times.”

— Larry Gross, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

“A brilliant exposé documenting the harsh realities and economic fallout detrimentally impacting the everyday lives of Americans, and resulting in America’s rapid decline as a bastion of participatory democracy.”

— Sascha Meinrath, Palmer Chair in Telecommunications, Penn State University

“Masterful. Lays bare how unfettered capitalism and digital monopolies diminish the internet’s democratic potential. I loved this film and will definitely use it in my own classes!”

— Victor Pickard, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

 “McChesney has woven together a political, economic, and technological narrative that is simultaneously educational, chilling, engaging, and, in the end, optimistic.”

— Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean of Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Digital Disconnect is the film every citizen should watch to understand what happened to American democracy.”

— Lance Bennett, University of Washington, Seattle