The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

About Time!

04/26/2019

One Sunday when I was a boy, I was attending a Sunday School class, when the teacher told us that a bad thought and a bad deed were equally bad. When I objected, the teacher informed that, in a most patronizing voice, that men, older and smart than any little boy, had already decreed it, and I should just accept it. As the internet age dawned, I watched and marveled at its power, especially Google. How could they deliver such value without charging a fee? It was an interesting problem in micro-economics, until I realized I was paying for that value by GIVING them personal data on myself, that they were SELLING to people I don’t know. That got warped into an argument about privacy. Then the CEO of Sun Microsystems said “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it!” He said it with the same patronizing voice as my Sunday School teacher. Since then, numerous people active in the IT-world have told me the same thing, in the same patronizing voice. I’m pleased to see Americans are finally waking up and starting to fight back. Maybe, it is the personal-injury lawyers who will save us, by scaring the tech companies.  Facebook just got fined $5 BILLION for privacy violations.  Apple is even advertising they DO respect the privacy of their customers. (Of course, they sell hardware, not social software.) Now, the New York Times has editorialized that Congress should pass a national privacy law. After my initial shock that such a law did not already exist, all I can add is . . . PLEASE!

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