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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Comment by M.Onty
by M.Onty on Wed 6th Sep 2017 16:59 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

My worry is the accumulated information on a quarter or more of the population of the planet (and growing). Facebook alone knows more usable secrets than the sum every blackmailer and secret police in history. GCHQ have to bust a gut to get a fraction of what we give Facebook for free.

Its nice that these companies seem to be largely run by moderately nice people, or at least people who aren't actively interested in holding the world to ransom one individual at a time.

But the weight of that information and that possible power and that potential for control... Its inconceivable that it doesn't start to seep out, at some point.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by M.Onty
by M.Onty on Wed 6th Sep 2017 18:07 in reply to "Comment by M.Onty"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Oh, and by the way, I don't mean to sounds paranoid. I'm not suggesting Facebook will start blackmailing people. I mean being in that position of omniscience is unprecedented and I can't see it being healthy. Literary dystopian mega-corps know less about people than these moderately friendly Internet giants. It cannot but change the dynamic of company, State, consumer, citizen, and law.

Reply Parent Score: 2