Regulation won’t stop data collection

By Mark Luedtke

According to The Daily Mail, while developing Facebook, creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Facebook users dumbf***s for giving so much private information to the company. If the brouhaha over Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data is true, Zuckerberg was right.

Users are supposedly outraged that Facebook collects information about contacts and metadata for calls and texts even though those same users agreed to allow it to do so. I get that nobody reads the terms of service. They’re designed to be long and ponderous to keep people from reading them.

But users still know. Every tech company collects every bit of information about everybody it can. Contacts. Cell phone calls. Texts. Pictures. Searches. Web history. This information isn’t secret. You have to take action to limit it.

Every Facebook user voluntarily gave away their private information. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

As for Cambridge Analytica, it did nothing illegal either. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica followed the terms of service. There’s nothing to see here.

But in this case, rulers don’t want you to move along. They’re whipping up a firestorm because this suits their agenda: they want to regulate the internet and this manufactured crisis provides the leverage.

Of course Zuckerberg himself wants Facebook to be regulated. He will write the regulations. They will take the heat off of him and hurt his competition. Regulation is a giant win for him. The same for Apple CEO Tim Cook. All the tech titans invite regulation because they’ll benefit. Data collection will continue.

But Facebook can’t be reformed. As blogger Lauren Weinstein explains, “Facebook’s entire ecosystem is predicated on encouraging the manipulation of its users by third parties who possess the skills and financial resources to leverage Facebook’s model.”

That’s what the CIA wanted and why it funded Facebook. It should be called CIAbook because it’s first and foremost a data collection and manipulation tool for the CIA.

On a side note, it’s funny the press beats this phony controversy that supposedly helped then-candidate Trump but remains silent about Facebook directly helping President Obama’s campaign in 2012.

But Facebook is not the real issue. It’s only a symptom of a major problem. Facebook is being made a scapegoat the same way Andrew McCabe is being scapegoated for institutionalized FBI political malfeasance.

The bigger issue is privacy itself and how children raised more by bureaucrats in socialist schools than parents in private homes fail to understand its importance
as adults.

Ayn Rand observed, “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”

Socialism reduces society to savagery. It cannot stand privacy. Famous rulers like the Clintons and Kennedys own private compounds. They value their privacy, but they don’t want you to value yours.

Google sold 6.5 million home spy speakers in an 80 day span. Amazon misleads about the information Alexa collects. Its settings and hot words won’t protect your privacy. ZDNet reports, “The company’s flagship Echo, an ‘always listening’ speaker, collects vast amounts of customer data that’s openly up for grabs by the government. But Amazon’s bi-annual transparency figures don’t want you to know that. In fact, Amazon has been downright deceptive in how it presents the data, obfuscating the figures in its short, but contextless, twice-yearly reports.”

Many younger people, products of the centralized Department of Education schools, think surveillance is fine because they have nothing to hide. They don’t realize surveillance is the tool of tyrants. Government is never benevolent, and the more powerful it becomes, the more it attacks the people.

Glenn Greenwald summarizes a theme explored by George Orwell in 1984. “Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind that is a much more subtle though much more effective means of fostering compliance with social norms or with social orthodoxy, much more effective than brute force could ever be,” he explains.

When talking about surveillance states before 9/11, Americans used to say mass surveillance could never happen here. That’s where Americans drew the line. Now mass surveillance is here. And as bad as government’s mass surveillance is, people are doing worse to themselves. After 9/11 cameras in bedrooms became the new line. Now Americans are putting Amazon’s Echo Spot camera in their bedrooms. Rulers
collect it all.

Zuckerberg was right all along. Dumbf***s are voluntarily destroying privacy faster than government ever could.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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