Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Libertarians give data vendors a pass

Reason reports a libertarian view:
In America, tech giants know a lot about us. John Stossel says that's fine with him. He knows what information he's handing over and he does it voluntarily. But he says we should worry about becoming like China, where the government is starting to use online data to create 1984 in the real world.

China's government has announced that they'll assign a mandatory government "social credit score" to everyone in the country by 2020. It will be based largely on what you do online. Say something that gets censored, you lose points. Same if you watch porn, or are late in returning a rented bike, or buy lots of alcohol.

China's government boasts that the social credit system will "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step."
No, the tech giants are grabbing out data, whether voluntary.

Facebook has recently gotten in hot water for turning over user data to political operatives, but the problem is much worse than that. Even if you never use Facebook, it buys info from data brokers on you, and has you better profiled than the Chinese govt has on its citizens.

Europe has laws regulating somewhat how tech giants collect user data. The USA has no such laws.

It is funny that libertarians are so adamantly against govt collecting data on its citizens, but give a free pass to these multinational tech giants who manage our data with little or no accountability. I would have thought that the interests of individual liberty would be for individuals to have some control over their own data.

This is one of many issues where I have become disillusioned with libertarians. Others are immigration, dope smoking, gambling, trade, and family law.

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