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Google: it is time to return to not being evil
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-09-05 11:08:30
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Vivalvi (and former CEO of Opera):

Recently, our Google AdWords campaigns were suspended without warning. This was the second time that I have encountered this situation. This time, however, timing spoke volumes.

I had several interviews where I voiced concerns about the data gathering and ad targeting practices - in particular, those of Google and Facebook. They collect and aggregate far too much personal information from their users. I see this as a very serious, democracy-threatening problem, as the vast targeting opportunities offered by Google and Facebook are not only good for very targeted marketing, but also for tailored propaganda. The idea of the Internet turning into a battlefield of propaganda is very far away from the ideal.

Two days after my thoughts were published in an article by Wired, we found out that all the campaigns under our Google AdWords account were suspended - without prior warning. Was this just a coincidence? Or was it deliberate, a way of sending us a message?

Large technology companies have an immense amount of control over and influence on our society, far more than they - or anyone else, for that matter - care to admit. We're way past the point where governments should step in and start to correct this dangerous situation. It's time for another breakup of the Bell System. It's time we, as society, take a long, hard look at corporations - in tech and elsewhere - and ask ourselves if we really want to be subject to the control of organisations we effectively have no democratic control over.

I'm not a proponent of nationalisation, but I am a proponent of breaking up Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and possibly others (I'm sticking to technology for now) to severely limit their power and influence. The products and services these companies create have become too important and too vital to the functioning of our society, and they should be treated as such.

It wouldn't be the first time we, as society, decide a certain product has become too vital to leave in corporations' unrestricted hands.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-42
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Strange list
By WorknMan on 2017-09-05 17:46:59
> but I am a proponent of breaking up Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and possibly others

I don't understand why you include some companies in this list, esp. Facebook. I use Messenger to chat with a couple of friends, and that's about it. I could quit using their service tomorrow and not feel that my life has been negatively impacted. Same/same for Apple. I would probably include Amazon on the list too, but I'm visually impaired and can't drive, so I find Amazon Prime to be extremely useful, although mine is sort of a niche case. I imagine 97% of the population would do fine without Microsoft as well.

Google, however, is a different story. They honestly scare the hell out of me. Thing is, I don't think their services would work quite as well if split them up.
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Google's New Motto
By KenWD0ELQ on 2017-09-05 19:23:44
Google's motto only needs two punctuation marks to make it accurate.

Instead of being "Don't be evil!", Google's motto needs to read "Don't! Be Evil!"

Because Google started being actively evil about 3 years ago.
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What good would it do?
By darknexus on 2017-09-05 19:33:53
Let's say you break these companies up. We'll use Google as an example, or Alphabet if you prefer. So, you break it up. Now there's Google1, Google2, Google3. All of them are still collecting data, and still marketing ad space. They share data with each other. And...? What, from the users' point of view, has changed except for seeing three logos instead of one and maybe having to visit separate web pages for gmail, Docs... oh, wait, they have to do that already.
So, you've broken them up. You feel amazing about yourself. You've made a major change. Except, nothing has changed. Your data is still being collected and shared, still being mined, and still being given to any government that had it before. But, hey, at least it's not a big company anymore, right? Because that sure makes a difference...
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RE[2]: 70/50 rule
By KenWD0ELQ on 2017-09-05 19:35:27
Google doesn't need to be "broken up" like Judge Green broke up AT&T so long ago. (The issue that caused AT&T to be broken up was unauthorized handset headrests. If AT&T didn't provide it, they didn't allow ANYBODY to attach ANYTHING to a telephone.)

What's required is for the FCC to tell Google, "Either you'r a common carrier, or you're not. And you REALLY want to be a common carrier!"

A "common carrier" isn't allowed to make any decisions about the kind of traffic that they carry. Nazis, KKK, Planned Parenthood, Antifa, ISIS; if Google is a "common carrier", then they can't do ANYTHING about it. THe flip side is that if Google is NOT a common carrier, then GOOGLE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERY BITE OF DATA, for every link, for every email that they send.

So every bit of child porn, every insult, any derogatory remark posted to Blogspot, EVERY offensive comment - if Google isn't a common carrier, then it's their responsibility.

Google REALLY wants to be a common carrier. But they MUST treat all data equally to qualify.
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RE[2]: 70/50 rule
By kristoph on 2017-09-05 19:35:56
Yes but defining it arbitrarily is a recipe for corruption.
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RE[2]: Comment by judgen
By dylansmrjones on 2017-09-05 19:44:37
Government is the very definition of mob justice.
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RE[3]: Comment by judgen
By Thom_Holwerda on 2017-09-05 19:49:14
...says the guy who didn't die at age 13 working in a coal mine because of that very same government.

Anti-government people in the sheltered west are the saddest things on earth.
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RE[4]: Comment by judgen
By dylansmrjones on 2017-09-05 19:59:27
Usually child labour is upheld by - and not abolished by - governments. The end of child labour in the western world is the result of direct action by the people and not the result of benevolent social-fascist governments like your favourite regimes.
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RE: How I view this
By Licaon_Kter on 2017-09-05 20:04:01
Did you read? It took them 3 months of discussions to "modify their site to Google liking" WTF?

Innovation? All these "normal features" of every modern browser were invented by Opera under this guy's leadership FFS!
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RE: Sorry but not sorry
By Licaon_Kter on 2017-09-05 20:05:23
What part of "change the UserAgent and Docs work fine" was unclear?
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