The Just Because You’re Paranoid Edition
Posted at 15:45h, 27 Oct 2015 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

It’s comforting to envision a tech utopia, where our homes know our wants/needs; where our cars are self-driving and hot meals show up on our doorstep. Startup L Jackson referred to the on-demand economy as assisted living for the young, and no, this is not about Millenial bashing. This is a wake-up call.

In case you missed it: US Senate passes CISA, a very bad spying bill dressed up as a cybersecurity bill. We understand that it’s not law yet, that it has yet to pass the House, and for the record, the president is very much in favor of the bill.

According to an article in Wired: ‘…privacy advocates and civil liberties groups see CISA as a free pass that allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy. “The incentive and the framework it creates is for companies to quickly and massively collect user information and ship it to the government,” says Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst for the civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “As soon as you do, you obtain broad immunity, even if you’ve violated privacy law.”’

With companies who hold our information being given a get out of jail free card, what incentive is there to offer any consumer protections at all?

In the meantime, U.S. Tech Giants May Blur National Security Boundaries in China Deals, reports the New York Times. “While the cross-border partnerships, under which American tech companies share, license or jointly develop advanced technologies with Chinese counterparts, are a growth area for business, security experts are increasingly questioning whether the deals harm United States national security,” reads the article. The problem is the U.S. Tech Companies and Their Chinese Partners With Military Ties. We know that IBM – one of the chief companies cited in the article – also has quite a few contracts with the US government. Crony capitalism at its best.

And you wonder why the European Court of Justice decided to invalidate the Safe Harbor Pact (What Startups Need To Know About The Safe Harbor Ruling In Europe), what with the US government becoming more and more intrusive, in the name of national security.

We are not a huge advocate of government regulation – especially with a government that has so little regard for the safety, much less the privacy, of the electorate, all things considered. And the on-demand economy, which has been one of the major spokes where tech has been focused for the last few years, privacy issues should be even more of a concern.

The Law Can’t Keep Up With Technology…and That’s a Very Good Thing. Actually, not so much. Legislators don’t understand technology – or so it would seem – and measures are passed that are not in the best interest of the citizenry. Legislators are listening to someone. The question is, who? And to what end?

As for the tech utopia, we personally don’t think it’s a matter of national security, what ingredients we had delivered for dinner. Given the proposed legislation, as for self-driving cars, too much Ai there for our tastes, and the rules of the road never change: if you want to choose your direction, the best place to be is in the driver’s seat. Onward and forward.