The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Zuck

CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, deserves credit for early-on recognizing the future impact of social media, then building a powerful social media company, and then working hard to monetize the company's activities. There's nothing wrong with any of that. I don't have much use for Zuckerberg's politics or his less than even-handed use of his platform for political purposes, but he has every right to express his views, and in the main, every right to advance his business model. If people don't like it, stop using it, or decide as I have, not to use it in the first place.

It strikes me as disingenuous to the max that the Congress and the trained hamsters in the media have decided to express their sanctimonious outrage over "privacy violations" that have occurred and will continue to occur on social media platforms such as Facebook. In fact, as various members of various congressional committee pontificate and demand action, criticize Zuckerberg, and otherwise posture for their constituents, there is a simple reality that seems to escape them. For all of us in a modern world of connectivity, the cloud, big data, social media, mobile devices, VR, selfies, facial recognition, A.I., video gaming, texting, the dark web, and dozens of other technologies ... There. Is. No. Privacy.

No matter how many boxes you check, or toggle switches you flip, or privacy statements you read—there is no privacy. If you interact with the digital world—and just about everyone in the modern work does that to some extent—your interactions are noted, recorded, analyzed, parsed, and very often, sold to those who might find them useful. That's the reality of it and no legislation or regulation is going to change it.

Way back in the 2008 and again in 2012, I seem to recall that the trained hamsters in the main stream media waxed poetic when dozens (hundreds?) of facebook developers took sabbaticals to apply their tech expertise to help the Obama campaign "target" voters and push the psychological social media buttons required to get those voters out to the polls to vote for their preferred candidate. The hamsters' eyes glistened as they described the use of Facebook as a campaign tool that would enable Obama to win big over the crusty 20th century campaign efforts of the hated GOP. But now that Cambridge Analytica has used big data and the analytics it provided to help the Trump campaign ... Whoa!!! ... the Zuck (and his company) is the devil! Privacy is all that matters. It seems that the only standards the trained hamsters have are double standards.

So this week we'll listen to blather coming from members of congress, breathless reporting from the trained hamsters, and studied cool coming from the Zuck. We'll hear calls for legislation and regulation and demands that something be done. It's all nonsense. The fantasy is that we can use all of the tech I outlined earlier and still have our privacy protected. The reality is quite different, but that has never stopped politicians and the media from stirring to pot. It won't stop them now.