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Something for nothing?

Doing well while doing good by Ben Werdmüller By now, the adage that "if you're not the customer, you're the product being sold" is pretty old hat. But it remains the case that everyone has to eat and pay for a roof over their heads, and that businesses need to make a profit. Software isn't made by magical elves who can live without being paid. Nothing is actually free. If a service isn't making enough money up-front, they have to…

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Oily Rags

Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags Privacy advocates tried to explain that persuasion was just the tip of the iceberg. Commercial databases were juicy targets for spies and identity thieves, to say nothing of blackmail for people whose data-trails revealed socially risky sexual practices, religious beliefs, or political views. Now we’re living through the techlash, and finally people are coming back to the privacy advocates, saying we were right all along; given enough surveillance, companies can sell us anything:…

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Being Big Isn’t Illegal

Will Antitrust Action Against Big Tech Resolve Anything? ... the U.S. antitrust approach places the consumer at the center of the analysis. We don't punish businesses because they have been exceptional at meeting consumer demand. Rather, the government steps in if a business engages in anti-competitive activities that harm customers, like obliterating the competition with low prices before jacking them up on consumers that have no other option—classic monopolistic behavior. Doesn't that just make sense? Consider the alternative. The government…

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Is A Single Universal Social Media ID In The Works?

Is A Single Universal Social Media ID In The Works? by Kalev Leetaru (In Homeland Security) Perhaps the most existential question regarding the Web’s future is what could turn the tide against online toxicity? The rise of horrific speech, terrorism recruitment, cyberbullying and all other manner of toxicity has undermined the initial advances the Web made in granting a voice to the formerly voiceless. Much has been made of the Web’s ability to transform Dr. Jekylls into Mr. Hydes, bringing…

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You can leave at any time

The New Wilderness (Idle Words) (idlewords.com) The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it. I disagree. This analogy is false. It’s more like you’ve come to my house…

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