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Did Google’s Sunday Outage Just Prove the Anti-Trust Argument?

Did Google’s Sunday Outage Just Prove the Anti-Trust Argument?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We’ve said many times that no one stays on top forever. The Justice Department is preparing a new antitrust investigation against Google parent Alphabet Inc. – again. To refresh your memory and as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, “This comes six years after a similar probe from the Federal Trade Commission, which resulted in no significant damage to the company that powers more than 90% of the world’s internet search activity.”

Closer scrutiny is long overdue. What was not reported was the history of the past anti-trust investigation: it was 2013 – the days when Google executives were frequent guests at the White House during the past administration. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, Google visited the White House 230 times – more than all other tech companies combined. Both Google co-founder Larry Page and Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton met with FTC officials and top White House advisors. The investigation was then shut down when Google promised to voluntarily police itself. Interestingly, this is when Net Neutrality discussions also began and here’s an interesting statistic:

Alphabet/Google Market Caps prior to Net Neutrality: $399.05B for January, 2015. Market Caps as a result of Net Neutrality: $664.55B for Sept. 29, 2017 Read More...

With the Socials Catching Heat, Is this the Summer of Opportunity?

With the Socials Catching Heat, Is this the Summer of Opportunity?

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Memorial Day Weekend always officially kicks off the summer season and serves as a reminder that, if you’re looking for funding, carpe diem – investors are about to unplug for the season.

We’ve long mentioned that no one stays on top forever – times, tech and tolerance change – and you’re aware by now that the socials are under attack. By governments and users. Last week, CrossFit, Inc. Suspend(ed) Use of Facebook and Associated Properties, reporting, “Recently, Facebook deleted without warning or explanation the Banting7DayMealPlan user group. The group has 1.65 million users who post testimonials and other information regarding the efficacy of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. While the site has subsequently been reinstated (also without warning or explanation), Facebook’s action should give any serious person reason to pause, especially those of us engaged in activities contrary to prevailing opinion.”

This is not an advert for Crossfit. It’s a heads up to entrepreneurs that it’s not game over. With all of the missteps on the part of the socials, the heat is on. It’s now open season and time to focus on the problems that they’ve created and that someone somewhere will solve – by building a better mousetrap. You want to be a unicorn? Solve a big problem that a lot of people are having, and a lot of people are having problems with the behemoths, including Facebook (and its properties), Twitter, Amazon (and its devices), and Google. Read More...

Is Tech Taking Us Backwards?

Is Tech Taking Us Backwards?

The focus du jour seems to be regulation of the internet, and the fact that now even Mark Zuckerberg wants new legislation to limit speech. How interesting that in twenty-odd years, we’ve gone from the internet being a vehicle where information wants to be free, to censorship.

If this is what you’re focused on, you’re missing something. Namely, the fact that the current push is not only for censorship of speech, but concurrently, for no speech at all. Read More...

Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

Was Net Neutrality Truly Neutral? Here’s the Score Card

The number of IPOS, pre and post Net Neutrality, from Statista

There’s currently a push on to reinstate Net Neutrality (U.S. Democrats unveil legislation to reinstate net neutrality rules). “The bill mirrors an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed rules approved in 2015 that barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes,” says the Yahoo piece.

The stated promise of Net Neutrality was a “free and open internet” and maintaining “the last mile.” That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

In case you haven’t noticed, with the reversal of Net Neutrality in 2017, we haven’t witnessed “blocking or slowing down of internet traffic” by ISPs. Read More...

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

Surveillance Capitalism: We Are Definitely the Product

The tech cartel has been labeled many things. “Attention Merchants” being one of them. In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff has designated a new category for them: Surveillance Capitalists. “Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data.

The Business of the Internet

“When the security expert Bruce Schneier wrote that “surveillance is the business model of the internet,” The Guardian reports, “he was really only hinting at the reality that Zuboff has now illuminated. The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. This has profound consequences for democracy because asymmetry of knowledge translates into asymmetries of power. But whereas most democratic societies have at least some degree of oversight of state surveillance, we currently have almost no regulatory oversight of its privatised counterpart. This is intolerable.” Read More...

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

Don’t ask, don’t tell: Have Google and Facebook provided the tools for world censorship?

The expression may have been around forever, but the tech cartel certainly gives it a new spin.

We know that Google tracks your movements (without your permission), like it or not. Last week, ZDNet reported that an API bug in Google+ exposed 500,000 users. Google admitted that it had suffered a security breach and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone because it wasn’t legally required to. Now the company is shutting down one time potential ‘Facebook killer’ Google Plus, and the wags certainly had a field day with the virtually ignored platform, reporting that G+ users were inconsolable – both of them. Read More...

Net Neutrality and How the Tech Cabal Just Shot Themselves in the ISP

Net Neutrality and How the Tech Cabal Just Shot Themselves in the ISP

The Senate Intelligence Committee is meeting this week about foreign influence on tech platforms. In the hot seat: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Google refuses to make an appearance, even though the committee specifically requested Larry Page’s presence. Google no doubt prefers not to come under too much scrutiny. Just last week The Intercept reported that Google Executives Misled (Their Own) Staff on China Censorship. With so many balls in the air/fronts to defend, the cabal (Google, Facebook, Twitter, in this instance) have become such hydras with so many tentacles – and fronts – to defend, that they may well be on the verge of falling on their own swords – and they themselves have provided the arguments and ammunition, should Congress or an oversight committee be forced to step in. Notice: we don’t necessarily suggest regulation. They did that themselves: Last week, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter and others urged a U.S. appeals court to reinstate federal “net neutrality” regulations on internet service providers, to maintain a “free and open internet.” Read More...

Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes. Who’s to say?

Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes. Who’s to say?

Facebook raised ire last week when, in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher, Mark Zuckerberg volunteered, unsolicited, that the platform would not be banning holocaust deniers – an editorial decision, which would make Facebook a publisher. In fact, The Guardian recently asked, Is Facebook a publisher? In public it says no, but in court it says yes In its defense against a former app startup, Facebook is contradicting its long-held claim to be simply a neutral platform. Strengthening the argument – its business model: Facebook makes its money off advertising.

Zuckerberg did note that the company plans on adding 20,000 people to help police the platform and to watch Facebook Live videos and alert authorities when certain people may be about to harm themselves. The number hardly dents Facebook’s bottom line. As Techonomy notes, “(Facebook) is the most profitable large company that ever existed… Its 43% net margins, on revenues that this year will exceed $55 billion, are unprecedented for a company this size. That means it will have profits this year, after taxes, of roughly $23 billion.” Read More...

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...

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