Like being a mosquito at a nudist colony

Brilliant US economist Thomas Sowell was once asked to critique some of the policy failures of President Obama said:

It’s like bring a mosquito at a nudist colony.  You don’t know where to start.

Writing in the Australian on the weekend, sometimes brilliant, more recently increasingly wrong and verbose, Paul Kelly wrote about the ACCC report into digital platforms:

Joining global push to rein in tech titans

There is so much to criticise, but where to start.  Given limited time, TAFKAS will highlight but 2 sentences.  One from Kelly and a quote from Rod Sims (head of the ACCC):

From Kelly:

The market economy cannot survive without governments discharging their solemn task of strong regulation.

From Sims:

The ACCC’s view is that few consumers are fully informed of, fully understand, or effectively control, the scope of data collected and the bargain they are entering into with digital platforms when they sign up for, or use, their ­services.

Where to start where to start.

Solemn task of strong regulation!  TAFKAS is lost for words.

Forget about the security of the people.  More important is the regulation of the people.

And dear Chairman Sims, if the ACCC is so concerned with consumers awareness and knowledge of the scope and use of their data, TAFKAS waits with great interest for your review of the Commonwealth’s use of data, including meta data, Medicare data, ATO data, financial data and the behind the scenes data matching and analysis going on.

How about the ACCC’s investigation of the collection and use of data by political parties, which are neatly exempted from privacy and spam and other such legislation.

Go on Chairman Sims.  TAFKAS dares you.

Kelly closes with this:

Few doubt the magnitude of the task facing governments. Yet arguing that government should allow these companies to set their own rules in their own interests cannot be sustained in a democratic polity.

Yes Mr Kelly.  God forbid private enterprise from operating without the approval, oversight and “solemn regulation” of government.

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30 Responses to Like being a mosquito at a nudist colony

  1. stackja

    Google, Facebook, Twitter, don’t like competition.

  2. Dr Fred Lenin

    Mosquito in a nudist camp ? Decisions decisions ! So much to do ,so little time .

  3. billie

    I for one, welcome our regulative overlords

  4. teddy bear

    The problem isn’t the collection of data on a particular platform its that they are able to continue tracking you outside that particular platform, even if you have never signed up to said platform or used said platforms services.

    I would wager very strongly that the Government and its stooges are not interested in stopping this but instead would like to better “regulate” it to ensure that any information they desire is theirs for the taking should they ever “request” it.

  5. Such a simple solution. Give Google, Facebook, Twitter and whoever else comes along one of two options, become a publisher or carrier and abide by the rules under which each operate. Make a choice or we’ll make it for you.

    We, the people, will do nothing to prevent you carrying on your business, as long as you abide by the rules contained within the choice that you make (or we make for you). So simple.

  6. Tim Neilson

    There’s an interesting article in Quadrant entitled “the scolds of contemporary capitalism” which points out that corporations may well wield more power over individuals than governments do.

    This is a challenge for libertarians, who tend to see the labels of “government” and “private enterprise” as being mutually exclusive and as being definitive of an institution’s proper powers and limitations.

    Two points – firstly, are “government” and “private enterprise” necessarily so distinct? I don’t just mean the practical effects of crony capitalism (along with the third member of the troika, big unionism), though that’s part of it. To take some examples:
    (a) when the Roman Empire outsourced tax collection to the highest bidder, was, say, Zacchaeus or St Matthew acting as “government” or as “private enterprise” when they muscled a good deal from a taxpayer?
    (b) In the feudal system, if a mesne lord announced that cottagers who trespassed in the deer forest would forfeit their leases, was the lord acting as “government” or “private property owner”?
    (c ) today when a Metro Trains inspector uses statutory authority to inflict an on the spot penalty, is that a “government” act or a “private enterprise” act?
    (d) if the tech giants ban people under the shelter of a government edict that they are a “carrier” not a “publisher”, are they utilising a “government” immunity or is their privileged position still “private enterprise”?

    Second, even assuming that we could always decide confidently whether an institution is acting as “government” or “private enterprise”, should the label “government” or “private” really be determinative as to whether an institution should be allowed to wield certain powers? If government outsourced some aspects of law enforcement to a private body and gave the private body the right to detain people without trial on their private properties, would that be ok because the body in question was “private”? [Cf the 13 year old girl held prisoner for insufficient obsequiousness to Goodesy? Buy a ticket, voluntarily go to the game, get held prisoner in secret detention? I’m not sure of the exact land tenure at the outer on match days, but the event is clearly run by the AFL, not the government.]

    I think that there are cases where it’s worth thinking beyond the absolutist dogmatic application of labels “government” or “private enterprise”.

  7. Bela Bartok

    Nationalize them. That’ll learn ’em 🙂

  8. Tim Neilson

    bemused
    #3124963, posted on August 6, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Yes, that’s the key in relation to banning/shadowbanning etc.

    Data harvesting and selling, privacy etc. are different issues – I’m inclined to think that consumers should look after themselves without expecting “gummint” to place blanket bans on anything that the consumer may retrospectively decide that he or she doesn’t like (and neglected to check before entering the contract with the tech giant), but it’s not an area I know a lot about.

  9. I_am_not_a_robot

    The ACCC’s view is that few consumers are fully informed of, fully understand, or effectively control, the scope of data collected and the bargain they are entering into with digital platforms when they sign up for, or use, their ­services …

    If consumers are not fully informed, inform them and, let them make choices and keep your meddlesome fingers out of citizens’ lives — Mill again:
    The mischief begins when, instead of calling forth the activity and powers of individuals and bodies, it substitutes its own activity for theirs; when, instead of inform-ing, advising, and, upon occasion, denouncing, it makes them work in fetters, or bids them stand aside and does their work instead of them … (On Liberty).

  10. roger

    When the brilliant US economist Thomas Sowell was once asked to critique some of the policy failures of President Obama, he said:

    It’s like being a mosquito at a nudist colony. You don’t know where to start.

    Writing in the Australian on the weekend, the sometimes brilliant, but more recently increasingly wrong and verbose, Paul Kelly wrote about the ACCC report into digital platforms:

    Joining global push to rein in tech titans

    There is so much to criticise, so where to start? Given limited time, TAFKAS will highlight but two sentences. One from Kelly and one a quote from Rod Sims (head of the ACCC):

    From Kelly:

    The market economy cannot survive without governments discharging their solemn task of strong regulation.

    From Sims:

    The ACCC’s view is that few consumers are fully informed of, fully understand, or effectively control, the scope of data collected and the bargain they are entering into with digital platforms when they sign up for, or use, their ­services.

    Where to start? where to start?

    Solemn task of strong regulation“: TAFKAS is lost for words.

    Forget about the security of the people. More important is the regulation of the people.

    And, dear Chairman Sims, if the ACCC is so concerned with consumers awareness and knowledge of the scope and use of their data, TAFKAS waits with great interest for your review of the Commonwealth’s use of data, including meta data, Medicare data, ATO data, financial data and the behindthescenes data matching and analysis going on.

    How about the ACCC’s investigation of the collection and use of data by political parties, which are neatly exempted from privacy and spam and other such legislation?

    Go on Chairman Sims. TAFKAS dares you.

    Kelly closes with this:

    Few doubt the magnitude of the task facing governments. Yet, arguing that government should allow these companies to set their own rules in their own interests cannot be sustained in a democratic polity.

    Yes, Mr Kelly. God forbid that private enterprise will operate without the approval, oversight and “solemn regulation” of government.

    TAFKAS is also a bit lost for grammar.

  11. Data harvesting and selling, privacy etc. are different issues –

    Absolutely. It’s the individual’s own choice as to whether they use the services and/or give away the required personal information. But what gets up my goat is that these companies control all information and receive comfort in that they can call themselves both publishers and carriers and thus remain immune from what they do.

    If Google is made a publisher, then I accept that they can delete and/or show whatever search results they want. Everyone will know that Google search results may well be tainted. That then allows another search engine to compete but as a carrier and people will know that they must present search results without interference. The latter can be scrutinised quite well, as there are already many eyes that can attest that Google is tainted.

    The same applies to Facebook, Twitter etc. If they choose to become publishers, then they can do what they want, but also must watch out for libel by what is posted by them as a publisher. That’s what scares the pants off all of them. They are currently immune from all of this and thus they can have their cake and eat it as well.

  12. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    And dear Chairman Sims, if the ACCC is so concerned with consumers awareness and knowledge of the scope and use of their data, TAFKAS waits with great interest for your review of the Commonwealth’s use of data, including meta data, Medicare data, ATO data, financial data and the behind the scenes data matching and analysis going on.

    I can’t believe we are already living under this Big Brother, Outer Party nonsense.

    Pertinent song:

  13. Chris M

    The market economy cannot survive without governments discharging their solemn task of strong regulation.

    What does he mean by ‘discharging’, I would see that as bailing out of the task. To charge would mean they would proceed with their ‘strong regulation’.

    Re data if it’s only a matter of targeted advertising not so big a deal but there seems to be more nefarious things afoot eg what has happened to the Moz in China. Even though they did bring it upon themselves somewhat.

  14. RedHerringDetector

    As you are aware, government agencies can only exercise those powers conferred on to them by legislation. The ACCC probably can’t look at those things under the Competition and Consumer Act. Maybe the government can ask the Productivity Commission to have a look!

  15. Lee

    From Kelly:

    The market economy cannot survive without governments discharging their solemn task of strong regulation.

    Utter bollocks!
    And to think he writes for an ostensibly conservative newspaper.
    Methinks he should be at The Age or SMH.

  16. One thing about data mining is how much is happening without people’s knowledge. It’s not just Google and Facebook, every commercial organisation is collecting information about what you do and when you do it.

    Buy something at Colesworth on your credit card, get home and there’s an email offering a discount if you go and buy in the next day or so. But that’s something you’ve agreed to at some point in time, but I doubt that you’ll ever be able to opt out and have your details removed. Just wait until there’s no more cash.

    The difference with the likes of Google and others is, for example, when you own an Android phone, you have very little control over what information is collected. Try and turn every access option off and the phone won’t work. For most people (who make no adjustments to their phone), every single thing they do on their phone is data that’s collected, stored and used in one way or the other.

    Resistance is futile, but at least try and make life as difficult for the bastards as we can.

  17. Roger

    I doubt that you’ll ever be able to opt out and have your details removed. Just wait until there’s no more cash.

    Have you ever tried to opt out of Facebook?

  18. Have you ever tried to opt out of Facebook?

    No need, I’ve never signed up to Facebook.

  19. Roger

    Writing in the Australian on the weekend, sometimes brilliant, more recently increasingly wrong and verbose, Paul Kelly wrote about the ACCC report into digital platforms

    They’ve long since ceased to operate as mere digital platforms. This is the point (which the inquiry frustratingly failed to adequately address).

    They are publishers who exercise editorial control.

    They are also near monopolies who seek control over what on-line information we have access to.

    And they are also political operatives who seek to covertly influence democratic elections.

    The problem these companies present to democratic societies simply cannot be adequately addressed under the rubric of government regulation vs. private enterprise alone.

  20. The Beer Whisperer

    It’s the invisible hand of the market versus the stiff arrm of regulation.

  21. Howard Hill

    They are also near monopolies who seek control over what on-line information we have access to.

    I don’t get why people keep regurgitating this rubbish?
    Theses corps have no means or power to prevent you from seeing anything. There are alternatives; that people refuse to use their own energy to circumvent these Marxist aholes is no reason to call for the state to control them. Your asking the state to do your dirty work for you because you don’t like what a majority of people are quite comfortable with. Ah, but it’s for their own good eh?

    The state is right in on this gig. Asking them to do more is like asking the fox to watch the hen house.

  22. There are alternatives

    Such as? And I mean practical ones.

  23. Howard Hill

    I tried to reply to you twice with a list of alternatives, bemused, but the spastic moderator sin binned both replies and I didn’t even use the b a l l s word?

  24. Diogenes

    No need, I’ve never signed up to Facebook.

    Want to make a bet ? See the little f or facebook ‘like’ on a page ? Facebook is tracking you unless you turn poff JavaScript and/or use a blocker like adblock, ghostery etc, or use a ‘pi-hole’. The big f might not knoe that you are bemused, but they do know all about you, it is called a ‘shadow profile’ and should you weaken and sign up to ANY fb owned service, uour shadow profile will be linked to you

  25. Diogenes

    Sorry typos … pjone keyboard on bus

  26. Want to make a bet ? See the little f or facebook ‘like’ on a page ? Facebook is tracking you unless you turn poff JavaScript and/or use a blocker like adblock, ghostery etc,

    I do use Adblock, as well as Privacy Badger. Currently Privacy Badger has blocked 4 trackers for this site and Adblock 12 ads. But as I said, these are the sorts of things that very few are aware of and which should be controlled or controllable in a better way by users. If that requires legislation, I’m all for it.

  27. billie

    Ghostery got 5 trackers on this site

  28. J.H.

    God forbid that the population have access to guns too…… Regulation begets more regulation.

    Once the political class have decided that the populace are akin to dangerous children….. The government is duty bound to regulate its way to a “safe” society. As they see it.

  29. God forbid…

    So you’re completely against democracy ie, the will of the majority and the source of government power?

    But you’re completely in favour of unfettered power for corporations ie, to usurp democracy and government?

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