.@bob makes a really important point here:

We are not tech companies' customers.

Advertisers/databrokers are tech companies' customers, because it's advertisers who are the tech companies source of income.

Even traditional manufacturers like Ford are moving in this direction:

The only way to fix big tech like Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc is to change their business model and/or have extremely strict penalties for data misuse.

@switchingsocial @bob Financial penalties don't matter, they have so much money.

@switchingsocial @bob

It's a bit like the industry tycoons at the start of the 20the Century; there's a concentration of wealth and influence among a small group that even legislators don't really know what to do about it. In the case of say, Rockefeller and Carnegie, they got bored with their wealth before anyone actually stopped them.

@sullybiker @bob

GDPR has a maximum fine of 4% of turnover.

I know that doesn't sound much but it's huge, enough to drive some companies into the red and enough to send share prices tumbling if it was applied.

@switchingsocial @bob I think, though I'm not sure, that the only really effective measure of the last couple of decades has been the threat of splitting up the companies.

@sullybiker @bob

That's true.

Part of the problem seems to have been the traditional view of monopolies as only being bad if they drive prices up. If you go with this view, FB/Google etc services are "free" so they cannot be monopolies.

Lawmakers don't seem to consider the social, commercial and political risks of surveillance-based business models, because they haven't existed until now.

@switchingsocial @sullybiker @bob The EU ones definitely do.

I believe in a middle way, some ethical big data with transparency, but absolutely not all under control of just one foreign country.

Non commercial is not an alternative, from a society point of view, because it doesn't affect that monopoly on ads at all. It becomes smaller, but is still a foreign monopoly with very serious risks. We need more ethical companies. Better alternatives.

@alexbeck @switchingsocial @bob

Accountability is an interesting problem that the state doesn't always solve, China is probably the most egregious example.

Valley firms have passed a point where they stop themselves now, it seems to be a given they'll press on further with more intrusive data gathering because the scale has now got so large.

@sullybiker @switchingsocial Yes. Pushing for antitrust might be one of the most effective ways that the EFF could use its resources.

Google has of course already anticipated this some years back and split itself up into a few subsidiaries under Alphabet.

@bob @sullybiker

Might also be why they chuck small amount of money at open source projects, to have some "figleaves" ready for future anti-trust hearings.

@sullybiker @switchingsocial Regulation with financial penalties are the other route, but I think regulation is a double edged sword and we're already beginning to see the consequences of that in the EU with the link tax and centralized content filter. Laws are being created to try to tame the big tech companies, but by being exclusively designed for that they may also squash the open web, which has no lobbyists or powerful financiers.

Facebook was recently fined the maximum possible penalty for the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, but it's a tiny fraction of their profits. Even that they're appealing against and could get the penalty reduced.

@bob @sullybiker

The FB fine was from the UK regulator, the UK parliament gave them no real teeth.

If they had power to fine X% of turnover, could be a much more powerful department.

@switchingsocial @bob @sullybiker I belive the way forward is to create competing companies with a better business model, while still offering the real customers what they want, but in a more ethical way

That means selling ads, but not megacorp style, more sensible to also save society from chaos. And giving users a way to opt out of ads and big data. Important to have transparency and less targeting on political ads. Important to break the "monopoly".

@bob @switchingsocial What fascinated me most about Cambridge Analytica was the absolute failure among regulators and the press to understand that this is the business model of big search and social media companies. Everybody is doing it. It's the entire point.

@bob @switchingsocial

Likewise the transformation of media consumption to streaming platforms and the sheer mining effort from this is something I think people ought to be better informed on. It's everywhere.

I was able to disconnect OnStar in my GM car by pulling its fuse, but it broke the compass and now I have to set the clock manually, because apparently the car's GPS functionality (which is otherwise inaccessible without paying for it) is part of the OnStar board.

You can't do this at all with a Tesla AFAIK. Maybe they won't sell your data but I imagine fishing-net subpoenas will only get more common.

@switchingsocial @bob Apparently some companies are working on a "lifetime customer value score" now, which means that if you avoid tracking you may well find yourself paying higher prices or having companies refuse to do business at all. _Feed_ is coming true.

I mean those companies are ones I would avoid because of that anyways. But I don't like that as a general trend.
@bob @switchingsocial

I tried to buy a pizza yesterday using a coupon code the company had sent me via email. I call it in, he tells me to get the deal I have to go online & order it through their website or app.

We're expected to create a damn account with every company we want to business with.

Besides tracking us, they only cater to the "haves". No smartphone or internet = no discount for you. That loses my business.
Eventually I won't have a choice but for now I do.

@bob @switchingsocial

@freakazoid @switchingsocial That type of system has existed for a long time in the form of store cards and their corresponding discounts.

@bob @switchingsocial True, but that system is fairly easy to game, and the amount of cross-linking of data now is orders of magnitude greater.

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