Profiling Machines: Mapping the Personal Information Economy
Greg ElmerISBN: 0262050730; 9780262050739;
In this book Greg Elmer brings the perspectives of cultural and media studies to the subject of consumer profiling and feedback technology in the digital economy. He examines the multiplicity of processes that monitor consumers and automatically collect,store, and cross-reference personal information. When we buy a book at Amazon.com or a kayak from L.L. Bean, our transactions are recorded, stored, and deployed to forecast our future behavior--thus we may receive solicitations to buy another book by thesame author or the latest in kayaking gear. Elmer charts this process, explaining the technologies that make it possible and examining the social and political implications. Elmer begins by establishing a theoretical framework for his discussion, proposing a "diagrammatic approach" that draws on but questions Foucault's theory of surveillance. In the second part of the book, he presents the historical background of the technology of consumer profiling, including such...