Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Sep 2017 11:08 UTC
Google Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Vivalvi (and former CEO of Opera):

Recently, our Google AdWords campaigns were suspended without warning. This was the second time that I have encountered this situation. This time, however, timing spoke volumes.

I had several interviews where I voiced concerns about the data gathering and ad targeting practices - in particular, those of Google and Facebook. They collect and aggregate far too much personal information from their users. I see this as a very serious, democracy-threatening problem, as the vast targeting opportunities offered by Google and Facebook are not only good for very targeted marketing, but also for tailored propaganda. The idea of the Internet turning into a battlefield of propaganda is very far away from the ideal.

Two days after my thoughts were published in an article by Wired, we found out that all the campaigns under our Google AdWords account were suspended - without prior warning. Was this just a coincidence? Or was it deliberate, a way of sending us a message?

Large technology companies have an immense amount of control over and influence on our society, far more than they - or anyone else, for that matter - care to admit. We're way past the point where governments should step in and start to correct this dangerous situation. It's time for another breakup of the Bell System. It's time we, as society, take a long, hard look at corporations - in tech and elsewhere - and ask ourselves if we really want to be subject to the control of organisations we effectively have no democratic control over.

I'm not a proponent of nationalisation, but I am a proponent of breaking up Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and possibly others (I'm sticking to technology for now) to severely limit their power and influence. The products and services these companies create have become too important and too vital to the functioning of our society, and they should be treated as such.

It wouldn't be the first time we, as society, decide a certain product has become too vital to leave in corporations' unrestricted hands.

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70/50 rule
by Sabon on Tue 5th Sep 2017 17:04 UTC
Member since:

My personal take on this is that any company that grows to control over 70% of a market should be split in two (or more) pieces. This would, of course, extend all the way up to the parent of all parent companies.

In other words, at the top of any business hierchy chart, cannot own one or more companies that COMBINED own more than 50% of a market segment unless they grew in a combined way to organically own more than 50% of a segment.

To clarify. If all their companies made up 49.999~% of a market segment, they could not buy another company that brought them to more than 50.00000~% of the market.

This would stop monopolies from forming or being bought.

This would take care of every market that exists. If enough countries make this rule for every company that does business in their country, it would block monopolies from being able to do business in more and more countries and effectively limit their power.

What about companies like Google with Android where they don't directly control over 50% of sales? The company would be split up into enough separate companies until they controlled less than 50% of the smart phone market.

Note: This includes Apple because Apple controls more than 50% of the profits.

The downside of this would be that if you wanted Product A, because you feel it is the best product in the world. Unless you were rich you might not be able to afford it any longer because of supply and demand.

If more than 50% of the market wants that product, you have demand with limited supply. This would allow that company to raise the price of their product. And how many companies wouldn't raise their prices if they felt the market would support that? Very few.

How do you fix things? I would like to hope that the smartest minds in the world like Stephen Hawking would help come up with an answer for things like this.

Reply Score: 4

RE: 70/50 rule
by Ikshaar on Tue 5th Sep 2017 17:15 in reply to "70/50 rule"
Ikshaar Member since:

You cannot create competition out of thin air. Facebook owns 100% of the Facebook market because it is just a product. Same for Apple. Only Apple sell Apple computers so it is a moot point.

Even for the online search, Google dominates because they are better than anything else. Let's not forget that Google succeeded because they had a better search algorithm than AltaVista and a cleaner webpage than Yahoo.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: 70/50 rule
by KenWD0ELQ on Tue 5th Sep 2017 19:35 in reply to "RE: 70/50 rule"
KenWD0ELQ Member since:

Google doesn't need to be "broken up" like Judge Green broke up AT&T so long ago. (The issue that caused AT&T to be broken up was unauthorized handset headrests. If AT&T didn't provide it, they didn't allow ANYBODY to attach ANYTHING to a telephone.)

What's required is for the FCC to tell Google, "Either you'r a common carrier, or you're not. And you REALLY want to be a common carrier!"

A "common carrier" isn't allowed to make any decisions about the kind of traffic that they carry. Nazis, KKK, Planned Parenthood, Antifa, ISIS; if Google is a "common carrier", then they can't do ANYTHING about it. THe flip side is that if Google is NOT a common carrier, then GOOGLE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY BITE OF DATA, for every link, for every email that they send.

So every bit of child porn, every insult, any derogatory remark posted to Blogspot, EVERY offensive comment - if Google isn't a common carrier, then it's their responsibility.

Google REALLY wants to be a common carrier. But they MUST treat all data equally to qualify.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: 70/50 rule
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 5th Sep 2017 17:23 in reply to "70/50 rule"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

My personal take on this is that any company that grows to control over 70% of a market should be split in two (or more) pieces. This would, of course, extend all the way up to the parent of all parent companies.

The problem is that a lot of corporations can be far more powerful and influential while not having any majority share whatsoever. Apple has like a 90% share of smartphone profits, and is probably a far, far more dominant and influential player than any other company. Defining influence by market share is a recipe for injustice.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: 70/50 rule
by kristoph on Tue 5th Sep 2017 19:35 in reply to "RE: 70/50 rule"
kristoph Member since:

Yes but defining it arbitrarily is a recipe for corruption.

Reply Parent Score: 2