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Category: Silicon Valley

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

The Facebook Takedown and the Underlying Agenda

Wonder why Facebook is suddenly under attack from all quarters, given that the user information collected by Cambridge Analytica occurred well over a year ago, and that this was far from the first time Facebook had breached user confidentiality (although if you read the TOS, all your data belongs to Facebook, anyway)? Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, et al are all happily throwing Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg under the bus, so you might start wondering about the timing of all of this. And what you’re being distracted from otherwise noticing.

As Forbes says, Why Are We Just Finding Out Now That All Two Billion Facebook Users May Have Been Harvested? “The company acknowledged what (this article’s author) said many times before – likely the entirety of Facebook’s two billion public profiles (and quite a few private profiles) are archived in repositories all over the world by academics, companies and criminal actors, not to mention countless governments. The big story was not Facebook’s confirmation of this, but rather why the company took until (April 4, 2018) to confirm it.”

The Net Neutrality Factor

The tech cartel have been quietly attempting to reverse Net Neutrality, which, as we’ve said before and have written about and clarified in a past column, basically exempt the cartel/social media companies from being neutral and treating all content equally, via a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. Read More...

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

We follow Max Levchin on Twitter. Last week, he posted an interesting series of tweets, based on an Edelman Trust Barometer Report that was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

For the record, Levchin was co-founder and CTO of Paypal; former Chairman of Yelp; founder/CEO of Slide (acquired by Google and shut down); currently, founder of Affirm, and a long-time WEF attendee. Read More...

The Demise of the Age of Social/Move Fast and Solve Entitled People’s Problems: Notes from the Blockchain

The Demise of the Age of Social/Move Fast and Solve Entitled People’s Problems: Notes from the Blockchain

 

We all know the mantras. Fake it till you make it. Move fast and break things. Ask forgiveness, not permission. The check is in the mail.

Oops, wrong list, but not really. Truth be told, they’re all lies with a Silicon Valley spin, with the exception of the last point, which is a classic. Read More...

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

Since memos seem to be top of mind these days, why fight it? Of course, we refer to the one that former Google employee James Damore wrote a while back, that led to his being terminated from the company, and the impending lawsuit that threatens to out a lot of practices and perhaps unwritten policies that Google would prefer not be aired in public.

It seems that memos will do that, once they’re out in the wild, and certain memos are harbingers of a deeper and more far reaching issues. Read More...

The Wizards of Menlo Park

The Wizards of Menlo Park

Whenever we notice a preponderance of attention being paid to one aspect of tech – lately, how the platforms and devices are rewiring our brains and mental states- we assume that that’s where the chorus wants us. We’re always more interested in what they don’t want us to notice.

Much. Read More...

The End of Net Neutrality, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Blockchain

The End of Net Neutrality, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Blockchain

Last week, the FCC reversed the 2015 Net Neutrality Act and contrary to popular misconception, the internet did not disappeared. In fact, there has been a lot of disinformation or phacts as we now like to call them (in print, at least), as they bear little or no resemblance to the real thing, surrounding NN.

As for that so-called last mile, as Wired pointed out in 2014, prior to the first NN vote, in What Everyone Gets Wrong in the Debate Over Net Neutrality, “The net neutrality debate is based on a mental model of the internet that hasn’t been accurate for more than a decade. We tend to think of the internet as a massive public network that everyone connects to in exactly the same way. We envision data traveling from Google and Yahoo and Uber and every other online company into a massive internet backbone, before moving to a vast array of ISPs that then shuttle it into our homes. That could be a neutral network, but it’s not today’s internet… Ten years ago, internet traffic was “broadly distributed across thousands of companies,” said Craig Labovitz (CEO of DeepField Networks, an outfit whose sole mission is to track how companies build internet infrastructure) “..But by 2009, half of all internet traffic originated in less than 150 large content and content-distribution companies, and today, half of the internet’s traffic comes from just 30 outfits, including Google, Facebook, and Netflix… Because these companies are moving so much traffic on their own, they’ve been forced to make special arrangements with the country’s internet service providers that can facilitate the delivery of their sites and applications. Basically, they’re bypassing the internet backbone, plugging straight into the ISPs (and) essentially rewired the internet.” Read More...

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

The Net Neutrality (NN) issue has surfaced again under new FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who’s threatening to reverse it. The tech cartel, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have come down strongly against the move, framing it, once again, as control over that so-called last mile being the proverbial ‘us’ versus ‘them’ scenario. Why not? Worked the first time under the less than transparent 332-page regulation that passed in 2015. All things considered, we can’t help but wonder if the real problem is Ajit Pai or agitprop.

Net Neutrality basically mandates that all data on the internet must be treated equally, but that’s misleading. We’ve previously covered how the tech cartel has wrested enormous financial benefits and control over content under the 2015 rules, and given the amount of censorship that they’ve managed to exert since the rules went into effect, it seems that the telcos weren’t necessarily the problem and that NN was not necessarily the solution. Read More...

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

While Mark Zuckerberg may or may not be angling to move into the White House at some time in the none-too-distant future, Capitol Hill clearly holds no fascination for him.

Apologies if we sound a bit redundant, but given the testimony of Facebook, Twitter and Google before a Senate subcommittee this past week, hard to ignore the Russian ad issue/conundrum and its larger implications.

Net States Rule the World; We Need to Recognize Their Power, posits Alexis Wichowski in Wired. “Net-states are digital non-state actors, without the violence. Like nation-states, they’re a wildly diverse bunch. Some are the equivalent to global superpowers: the Googles, the Facebooks, the Twitters….There are also hacktivist collectives like Anonymous and Wikileaks….Regardless of their differences in size and raison d’etre, net-states of all stripes share three key qualities: They exist largely online, enjoy international devotees, and advance belief-driven agendas that they pursue separate from, and at times, above, the law.” Read More...

Tech and the God View

Tech and the God View

It seems that both users at large and governments are now turning against the tech megaliths, which includes Facebook, Google and Amazon. Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend We are beginning to understand that tech companies don’t have our best interests at heart. Did they ever?, wrote Noam Cohen in the New York Times. We don’t need to catalog what globalization, the exploitation of labor and the seemingly unbridled power of platforms such as Facebook and Google has done and is doing to world economies and people, individually. Wages have diminished or stagnated, verticals are being consumed and choked. They control the conversation, with hitherto unheard of collection of personal data on vast segments of the population globally – Facebook claims two billion users and how many people, besides Yours Truly, strenuously avoid Google search and all things Google, where and when possible? Voice activation may indeed make our lives easier, but again, at what price? Are we so accustomed to surrendering our privacy for the sake of convenience that we shrug it off? Head’s up, in case you missed it: Warning over iPhone apps that can silently turn on cameras at any time. And, as the article points out, “Google has recently deleted several apps that surreptitiously recorded users and masqueraded as legitimate apps.”

Wonder how many they missed…

Remembering the God View

A while back, when Travis Kalanack was CEO, Uber got into trouble with its customer-tracking God View app, which allowed the company to track riders’ locations and other data. In one case, Uber executive Emil Michael proposed digging up dirt on journalists who were critical of his company and spreading details of their personal lives. The issue was settled. Fines were levied and Uber promised to limit God View data. That was 2014. Read More...

The Ostrich Effect

The Ostrich Effect

According to Sheryl Sandberg in her exclusive interview with Axios, Facebook is not a media company. Argues Business Insider, “How would you classify a company that:

Most would call that a media company. And most would expect that company to adhere to the standards, safeguards, and rules that all media companies do… A company such as Facebook, which distributes media and makes money off it by selling ads is, by definition, in the media business.”

Didn’t they get the memo? Or see Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network? According to Sandberg, Facebook is a technology company, and can you name a major company out there today that isn’t driven by technology in some form? By Sandberg’s definition, Netflix, Hulu and Comcast would not be defined as media companies, either, and as Business Insider points out, “There are numerous reasons why Facebook would be reticent to admit it’s a media company. It could harm its sky-high valuation, which is currently at about $500 billion… It would also open Facebook up to regulatory rules in the US and other countries that it would rather avoid.” Read More...

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