You Own You

One of the odd developments in the technological age is that it looks like the Europeans will be taking the lead in taming the tech giants. Americans have been brainwashed into worshiping business, so any resistance to what the tech companies are doing to us is met with howls of protest. Even the American Left is in the tank for global business. Things are different with the Europeans, who maintain that old socialist distrust of capitalists. That’s what you see in stories like this one, where the Euros are trying to reign in the socials.

Leading journalists from more than 20 countries joined a call Tuesday for European MPs to approve a controversial media reform aimed at forcing internet giants to pay for news content.

European Parliament lawmakers return in September to discuss the proposal, a first draft of which was rejected last month after a fierce debate.

The so-called copyright and neighbouring rights law aims to ensure that producers of creative content—whether news, music or movies—are paid fairly in a digital world.

But the plans have been firmly opposed by big US tech firms such as Google and Facebook, as well as advocates of internet freedom.

An open letter signed by more than 100 prominent journalists from major news outlets warned Tuesday that “this fleecing of the media of their rightful revenue” was “morally and democratically unjustifiable”.

“We have become targets and our reporting missions cost more and more,” said the letter written by AFP foreign correspondent Sammy Ketz and published in several European newspapers including France’s Le Monde.

“Yet, even though (the media) pay for the content and send the journalists who will risk their lives to produce a trustworthy, thorough and diverse news service, it is not they who reap the profits but the internet platforms, which help themselves without paying a cent,” the letter said.

“It is as if a stranger came along and shamelessly snatched the fruits of your labour.”

The editorial urged the European Parliament to “vote massively in favour of neighbouring rights for the survival of democracy and one of its most remarkable symbols: journalism”.

Major publishers, including AFP, have pushed for the reform—known as Article 11—seeing it as an urgently needed solution against a backdrop of free online news that has wiped out earnings for traditional media companies.

The thing that no one ever seems to discuss is that companies like Facebook don’t make anything and their service is barely adequate. What they are doing is exploiting a natural monopoly so they can monetize the creative work of their users, including their personal information. Social media companies are skimming operations that operate on the fringe of legality. These companies harvest all sorts of information from users without their explicit permission. They are even trying to harvest your medical and financial records

The fact is, the social media companies, and that includes Google, have figured out how to transfer the value of creators from the owner to the tech giant. After all, Google’s search engine can only work if there is something worth finding. The search engine has value, but so does the content. The same is true of the content on FaceBook or Twitter. The only reason to be on those platforms is the content generated by users. The platform is a tiny portion of the value, but the platform owners consume all of the revenue from the system.

This is why, as an aside, newspapers and magazines are going broke. It’s not the only reason, but it is a big reason. If the New York Times took down its web site today, just shut it down completely, subscriptions would suddenly spike. The reason is, the entire liberal ecosystem relies on the New York Times for content and direction. It is the home church of the Progressive cult. Their regular readers would go back to buying the paper like the old days. If all newspapers followed suit, the internet gets quiet all of a sudden.

Putting that aside, there is a simple reform that addresses the abuses of the tech giants, as well as some of the other problems created by technology. You own you. That means your personal information, your image, your words, they all belong to you and anyone using them must have written permission. If FaceBook wants to sell your demographic data to some marketing company, they must have your written permission and not just through the abuse of leonine contracts. You have to consent to each sale.

This is not a new idea. Your credit record is not something the credit bureau can distribute without your permission. The propaganda on TV shows, where the cops instantly access the suspect’s credit card and personal records, is just part of the conditioning campaign against privacy. In reality, they need a warrant and it is hard to obtain. A lender must get your written permission to obtain your credit records from a credit bureau. It’s not just for privacy reasons. That information is your property and you have right to control it.

The thing is, this is a very easy solution to the abuses that have arisen from the technological revolution. The doxxing phenomenon popular with the bubble heads of Progressive media would go away with better property protections. All of sudden, they would be forbidden from using the images and personal information of people they wish to harass. Unless they could show that the information they obtained is in the public domain, they would be liable for any damages, plus the criminal use of stolen goods.

Again, this is not terribly difficult to navigate. If it is not yours, then you need permission to possess it. This is the rule with personal property. If you are found in possession of stolen goods, you are charged with a crime. It does not matter if you did not know they were stolen, because you knew the property was not yours. In other words, unless you are the lawful owner of the property, the burden of proof is on you to show you had a right to possess it. The principle is used in security clearances, so it is not an untested concept.

The result of tighter property laws, with regards to personal information, would be the end of social media as a profitable business. No one should weep for them as they are not technology companies in the conventional sense. They are parasites that exploit bottlenecks and gaps in the law to skim from the public. The internet was much more free wheeling and open without companies like Google and FaceBook. The reason for that is there were no stickup men creating bottlenecks in order to rob the users.

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Kentucky Headhunter
Guest

“If all newspapers followed suit, the internet gets quiet all of a sudden.” I would have written it as “gets much less noisy”. I’ve learned all sorts of useful stuff on the internet; plumbing fixes, motorcycle repair, computer programming, gardening tips. Frankly its been no less than amazing to a kid who was born in the late 60’s, who was limited to the knowledge base of the World Book encyclopedias and a few basic “how things work” books to be able to get online and find out how to do/fix specific things. As far as news goes, I’m not interested.… Read more »

Shane
Guest
Shane

That last sentance is very simple. But it’s very honest, in fact there’s a fair point to be made that the social justice advertising and hyper consumerist state of most Western economies is due to women.

Jaqship
Guest
Jaqship

Shane, more specifically, those in the (mostly single) 15-35 age group, who are known (esp. by MadAve.) to engage in more *impulsive* spending than any other demographic.

Member

I love the term “reporting missions”, as if they actually did leg work or even real research online. Copy, paste, steal, scan the Twitter feeds.

In my field, it is common for Google Image search to be used for graphic content. Years ago it was well known that without explicit permission use of someone’s image content was forbidden, unless public domain.

Hopefully Trump’s latest assault isn’t another tantrum he will abandon.

TomA
Guest
TomA

Zman, not sure if you are aware of this, but this post is foundational libertarianism.

EMP
Guest
EMP

“You own you” is indeed the fundamental tenant of private property, ergo libertarianism. However, Zman’s successive arguments do not follow from the principle of self-ownership. Information, personal or otherwise, cannot be owned unless one lives as a hermit, refusing to engage in information exchange with others. From the perspective of old and good law, only scarce resources can be owned in any meaningful sense. Information is not physical. It is abundant and nonscarce.

I’m nonetheless sympathetic to Z’s position, even if I still logon to Facebook from time to time to–freely and incidentally–give them information about myself.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club has suggested a digital ownership right for people on the net. The internet bandits would have to pay you to use your info. Myself, I don’t put their apps on my iPad, but read a couple of twitter accounts through my browser. Same with Facebook. Don’t know if that protects me from their rummaging through my data.

Guest
Guest
Guest

While I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed here, there are a few legal issues that will make this a difficult challenge in the U.S. The first is that most social networking platforms are considered a public forum, so anything you post or consume therein is considered publicly available. Posting on FB is the electronic equivalent of standing on a soapbox in the town square and making your speech. Clicking “like” is the electronic equivalent of declaring your agreement with the speaker. This is why FB is “free and always will be.” There’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in a… Read more »

bob sykes
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bob sykes

It would be better if the social media were regulated like the telephone companies. As public utilities restricted to mere transmission of data, they would not be able to impose censorship on on their users. In principle, I believe the 1st Amendment free speech right should be imposed on all businesses, schools and institutions. None of them should be able to punish any employee, student or associate for anything said off the job. The idea that private organizations can punish anyone is absurd. This rule would have to be backed up by penalties that are truly destructive of the institution… Read more »

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

It’s relatively easy to build things on the internet – at least compared to out in the physical world. So I do not really think of Facebook or Twitter as “essential infrastructure”. The ISP that delivers their content to you – *maybe* falls into that category – the electricity that powers the whole thing probably does – but a website that does nothing but deliver content? I don’t think so. You don’t like what they’re selling – go somewhere else or build your own solution. Just remember – classifying them as essential – sets them in stone forever. If people… Read more »

DeBeers Diamonds
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DeBeers Diamonds

The nature of the Internet leads to the leading provider quickly becoming almost the sole provider. There are only two search engines of relevance, only one social network is profitable, and one online store comprises at least half of the market, and only one video site, even most porn sites are actually owned by a single company. In the case of Google, they have powers similar to Ma Bell, and should face regulation or nationalization. Lots of Pentagon cash went into these companies.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

Monopolies and government are now interchangeable, government being the great monopoly. The subject of the first anti-trust legislation, Andrew Carnegie, was most certainly no friend of government. American government will not regulate monopolies that wholly support it, unless it is to enter legislation that supports this symbiotic relationship.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton

Agreed. If Standard Oil was too big in 1911, then how come Google, and especially Amazon, are not too big in 2018? We need another Teddy Roosevelt. Oh wait, maybe we got one…

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

That’s not the nature of the internet at all. That’s the nature of government protected markets. Companies become large enough that they can then start manipulating the government to get favorable treatment in some form or fashion to protect their monopoly. This same thing has happened over and over and over again in meatspace with corporations that make real things and not just internet vaporware. If anything the internet is one thing in this world that has the least bit of this kind of “nature” to it because things are so much easier to “build” in the internet virtual world… Read more »

Zeroth Tollrants
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Zeroth Tollrants

You first, Bucko. You first. We don’t live in your fantasy world of Sims characters, and never will.

Alzaebo
Guest
Alzaebo

Making some good arguments here, c-dads.

Chaotic Neutral
Guest
Chaotic Neutral

I still don’t comprehend how they make so much money. I mean, have you ever BOUGHT something you saw advertised on Facebook or google? Those ads couldn’t really have marketing value to that degree could they? There’s just something fishy about the whole thing.

MAA Shyuejinn
Guest
MAA Shyuejinn

The tech giants are extensively subsidized by the national defense and security apparatus. The information that they siphon up is paid for through tax dollars: the tax slaves are paying for their own surveillance. Quite a nifty arrangement.

Chaotic Neutral
Guest
Chaotic Neutral

Yeah, that’s what I think. Someone wants to insure that particular networking and information ports are on top.

MAA Shyuejinn
Guest
MAA Shyuejinn

What’s more, the surveillance equipment (microphones, cameras) is eagerly paid for by the dumb slaves. They quite willingly carry their cell phones around with them all day long, a great savings on personnel costs.

Juri
Guest
Juri

In my country, they stealing pension funds via Tech. You may launch some ball scratching app and when you have friend working in the pension investment, then he will claim that you app is worth billions after 10 years and pour all pension funds there.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest
DeBeers Diamonds

In the Dead Tree Economy, there were hundreds, thousands of newspapers, magazines, and then thousands of radio/TV stations. Now there is just Google and Facebook. The only real competition possible is if Apple/Amazon create a new search engine, and if Microsoft buys the money losing Twitter. Netflix could also create a youtube competitor. That this doesn’t happen is a signal of collusion.

pretty much a lurker
Guest
pretty much a lurker

Many of us in the “google is not a verb” movement refuse to use it or even suggest that others do. For a lot of us, DuckDuckGo is our go-to resource. As for FB – easy to never have signed up, never had any use for it. So a lot of the power is just people choosing to make these resources “monopolies.” No need for a new search engine, esp not one by a corporate multi-nationals just as bad as google (apple, amazon.) They’re already there.

Mcleod
Guest
Mcleod

My great granddad lived from 1890-1996 owned his own bank, various businesses, kept his mind all the way up to the end at the age of 106 and died a very wealthy man handed out a lot of gold nugget advice (even to teenage me). The one that rattles around in my head more and more lately is that you don’t invest in a business whose entire assets can fit into a briefcase. I just don’t see the valuation in companies like Facebook and Google. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on an add and given what adds show up… Read more »

Leonard
Guest
Leonard

The turf war between the dinosaur media and the digital Zuckopoly is probably the only barrier between here and total information control.

Nice that the Left’s narcissism is the only thing preventing total domination over the sphere of public debate.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest
DeBeers Diamonds

There’s been a trend for “digital journolists” to unionize. Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Page/Brin, et al, want none of that. Silicon Valley got a respite from regulation thanks to the 2010 election backlash against the unions, and manged to fool lolbertarians/cuckservatives into thinking that the shared anti-union sentiment would lead to an alliance.

DeBeers Diamonds
Guest
DeBeers Diamonds

For another example, note when Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he played hardball with the union and still cut positions. Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world, and one would think he could afford featherbedding in exchange for the political influence that owning the paper brings. But no, he could not let the rest of his serfs get any ideas.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

The wealthiest men tend to be the biggest a**holes and tightwads. Not to mention total creeps as human beings.

He could easily afford to treat the staff at WaPo decently. But he has total contempt for his workforce. That’s why Amazon is such a shitty company to work for and the average employee lasts about a year.

Same with Google. Apple does a bit better at 2 years.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

I haven’t noticed that the dinosaurs had the slightest beef with the Zuckopoly other than losing their livelyhoods. An unintended bonus from the new form of unithink.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

There appears to be a lot less information on people easily available on the internet. Five and ten years ago, one could freely scroll through property and “name and address” type records to track people and the threads of history of a property or place. Now it all appears to exist behind firewalls. Facebook and the like have sucked up all the information, and one cannot easily build personal profiles without them. I assume there is an invisible hand behind all of this.

MtnExile
Guest
MtnExile

I agree with just about everything here, and hallelujah. But from a practical standpoint, I don’t think changing the law would make a bit of difference. The reason is that the overwhelming number of people using social media would continue using social media even if you displayed a disclaimer at every node of involvement. If you want to upload a photo, you’d see the message “By uploading this image, you agree that Facebook may use it for its own purposes, whatever that may entail, even to the point of using it against you.” Most people would just click “Okay” without… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

As an aside to the main conversation, I have been wondering for a while whether there’s a business opportunity for a social networking site with a strict peer-to-peer architecture. No centralized content storage. Any content you post to your node is visible only to the peer nodes which you have authorized to view your content. Nodes communicate via a VPN so content cannot easily be sniffed.

I would pay a modest monthly fee for this type of network. Would anyone else?

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

There already was a business opportunity.

It was called AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

I used to use it all the time to talk to friends and even coworkers during the day (helped a lot to coordinate on projects)

It’s still out there – I haven’t used it in years:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/06/26/aols-instant-messenger-back-aim-phoenix/736383002/

Spud Boy
Guest
Spud Boy

Wall Street and shareholders demand growth. Once Google has a decent web crawler, and Facebook has servers and a program for hosting cat photos, what else is there left to generate growth? Well, we see what those things are, and they’re not good. While I despise Google, I’m a big user of YouTube simply because the breath of content is amazing. It’s a money-loser for Google however; I’m sure the plan is to get everyone hooked and then raise the price later.

Karl Hungus
Guest
Karl Hungus

“leonine contracts” . how is a contract lion like?

Member

King of the Jungle?

PawPaw
Guest
PawPaw

An uncommon usage of the word. Made me pause,too.

Lance_E
Member

Of course all of this activity in Europe is being driven by legacy media shills. It may look different when viewed through a political lens, but in reality it’s not much different from the RIAA (remember them?) doing everything they possibly could to shut down iTunes and similar download/streaming services at the time. What I’d love to see is this principle being applied *TO* the Official Press. In other words, if a “journalist” from the Daily Beast or the New York Times wants to interview you, make it illegal for them to publish any quotes from you or even the… Read more »

Jaqship
Guest
Jaqship

Lance, if not make it illegal for them to publish such tripe, then at least make it very easy to win libel suits vs. any such conduct.

theRussians
Guest
theRussians

Are you seriously suggesting that a “journalist” actually speak to the person they are in the act of misquoting? The real irony of course, is that they will all tilt their heads up (and slightly off to the side) when they recite their credo of honor, but never actually adhere to it. To fix a cost to not adhering to your suggestions is perhaps how it should be. The catch for the “journalist” is that he cannot complain about the new conditions because, as professionals, they already exceed that threshold.

Lance_E
Member

They generally do like to do interviews, in which they collect hours of dialogue and then cherry pick the precise 4 seconds when you said something that could be interpreted to support their narrative. Then they get to congratulate themselves for quality investigative journalism.

Tax Slave
Guest

What are the chances of Congress to even look at such a law to protect privacy at this level? ZERO.

Moran ya Simba
Guest
Moran ya Simba

But they might like the idea of regulating the internet though and once they begin this, they will be impossible to get out again.

Arch Stanton
Guest
Arch Stanton

Every. Damn. Time. Whenever Zman brings his observations to the public, particularly those that illustrate some annoying aspect of modern society, there’s always a passel of honyocks commenting on the need for new laws, new legislation, etc. FFS, the answer is an economic one, not a legislative one.

PawPaw
Guest
PawPaw

One of the many reasons this blog is so addictive. And fun. I get to learn so many new words.
“Honyoks” indeed! Thank you, Mr. Stanton!

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

Exactly. When you see a bunch of people screaming for more legislative fixes instead of looking into the mirror to see where the problem is – you can rest assured that not one single goddam thing is going to get “fixed”. This is why I keep saying : it sure seems by the responses I see show up on this blog as well as many other “right wing” sites and blogs – that what we’re really dealing with is a bunch of ever so slightly fallen away leftists who just pissed off that the darkies are forcing their way in… Read more »

Jochen
Guest
Jochen

Libertarians cling to their abstract, fantasy, idealized “capitalism” like Bible-thumping Christians cling to the Christ myths/Christianity. It is highly emotional, and any questioning of the foundational system is unthinkable, impermissible. Arguing with them is often quite hopeless and pointless. Anyway, unless you’re an anarchist, you already believe in vast array of laws and restrictions. The debate is what those laws should be, what would make conditions in society best. Throwing a tantrum, crying “laws are the problem” and “you’re leftists for not loving capitalism” (what ideology now dominates among the capitalists, and (((who))) has used capitalist “freedom” to wrest control… Read more »

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

Not at all. Only power can check power . Also power abhors a vacuum, I get the whole “leave me alone” ethos but it doesn’t work in a world with any interconnectedness or any cities The railroad was enough to kill it much less gene engineering , nanotechnology, robotics or whatever nightmarish tech is out there Rule or be ruled . You can’t opt out as it will either result in you becoming property or losing the consent of your neighbors . People in cities and that’s 8 out 10 Americans now expect the government to do things and outside… Read more »

Moran ya Simba
Guest
Moran ya Simba

What information of yours should be yours to control exclusively and what should not be? There is a of different sorts of information here, from medical and financial records and history (here it is very hard not to agree that this information should be yours exclusively) to your search history (google etc will argue that you used their service to search with so they could use that data ‘legitimately’) to your picture, both in the sense of a picture you took and a picture of you, to various things you upload etc. The law could easily get very complicated it… Read more »

calsdad
Guest
calsdad

I keep seeing people argue that people want Internet platforms like Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook – to be regulated as public utilities. You’re really not paying attention much if you think this is going to work out to your benefit in the longer run. The following is an commentary about David Horowitz being banned because the SPLC labeled him a hate monger: ————————- https://www.garynorth.com/members/18501.cfm : My fear is that Congress will place Internet-based platforms under the laws governing public utilities. That could be the camel’s nose into the tent. The rest of the camel will follow. There are laws against… Read more »

Moran ya Simba
Guest
Moran ya Simba

“Letting the government regulate internet platforms just gets the government involved. If you really think that’s going to “fix” the problem – you’re not paying attention much.” They politized the FBI, the DOJ, the IRS, the….. I think you are right about this. We are much safer if the government does not regulate the internet. There might be an exception when it comes to personal information though. But in general, the government would simply kill off the internet, turn it into propaganda, circus and (even more) surveillance. The internet is like the 1st amendment, the less government, the better for… Read more »

Zeroth Tollrants
Guest
Zeroth Tollrants

Well, AT&T nor Comcast will come and take my phone or internet service if I call you a Kike dick sucking nigger, but you can be DAMN sure I’ll lose my ability to be on FB, YT, Twitter, etc. If they see it. In fact, I’ll probably lose my Stripe, PayPal & other online financial services. Yet. I can sit in my house the rest of the day & express my option at the top of my lungs, that Carlsdad is a faggot whose wife lets Kebabs & Beakers run train on her while Carlsdad faps in the corner with… Read more »

Member

Google and the socials remind me of the mafia. They are leeches who skim money off of businesses and individual citizens without building much of anything themselves except for the structure of their criminal empire. Even more than the mafia, they clamp down on anyone (us) who supports a rival gang.

At least the robber barons of old actually built and/or produced crucial building blocks for the economy such as oil, steel and railroads.