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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Put Facebook in prison

Facebook is relentlessly spying on people in a myriad of ways:
Facebook enabled its Android app to track and collect data from unwitting customers in order to increase advertising revenue, according to a cache of confidential internal emails that were leaked online. Some 60 pages of documents – including emails between Facebook executives – were posted anonymously on Github on Friday. The files were taken from a lawsuit between Facebook and Six4Three, an app developer, with most of them never having been published in fully unredacted form until now.

One email exchange from 2012 details plans by Facebook to use its Android app to track the location of its customers and pass data on single Facebook users to dating sites. The company also discussed providing data to organizations that wanted to target users with political ads – a business strategy that has led to scandal in the wake of alleged disinformation campaigns operating on the platform.

“This is a big win for the dating vertical specifically, but also supports our efforts to examine ‘good’ revenue opportunities resulting from policy relaxation/changes,” Marne Lynn Levine, then vice president of global public policy, wrote in support of the company’s plans.

In another message, Levine gloats about a meeting between General Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and Sheryl Sandberg, noting that Dempsey and his wife are “both active Facebook users.”

The leaked documents also include a memo about a meeting between Facebook and the head of California’s eCrime unit to discuss then-California attorney general Kamala Harris’s office of privacy protection. Harris, now serving in the US Senate, announced her candidacy for president in January.

The Facebook representatives were told that Harris views the company “as a good actor” and that the privacy office “will keep communications with us open (we will not unknowingly be the subject of an investigation).”
But it's even worse than that. Facebook also collects the data from apps used by people who are not even Facebook users.

It's time to shut Facebook down altogether. It clearly merits the corporate equivalent of life in prison. Which raises an obvious question. If corporations have rights based on their personhood, why don't they bear the responsibilities and potential consequence of people? A corporation that is found guilty of committing a crime should be no more able to earn an income than any other criminal who is sentenced to prison.

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38 Comments:

Blogger A rebel without a General February 23, 2019 8:28 AM  

There is no difference between the US and China when it comes to spying on the people. At least the Chinese government is honest in telling people.

Blogger The Cooler February 23, 2019 8:42 AM  

Granting personhood to corporations turned them from functional sociopaths into psychotic serial killers.

Blogger Yordan Yordanov February 23, 2019 8:49 AM  

I don't get the argument that Facebook is doing something wrong by collecting that data. Facebook (the corporation, not website) has made it so people who integrate the technology they provide must share their own data with the company. It's the price for things being "free". I want to use Facebook's plugin X or API Y, I play by their rule.

As users we also like this. Our information isn't worth anything to us, so we're willing to trade our location or personal data for a "free" search engine or a "free" social media or a "free" app.

Blogger IBOgre February 23, 2019 9:00 AM  

I have always believed in the personhood of corporations for this reason. The point of allowing legal incorporation was to have an actor to be held fully responsible even if constituent members of that legally constructed body were not aware of or in anyway responsible for the actions the corporation took. This prevents liability from falling on shareholders and other marginal owners of the corporation from losing wealth derived from other sources.

If the corporation is held civilly liable, then it must pay. If the liability exceeds the value of the company, it is dissolved and the assets are liquidated. The owners (shareholders) lose their investments, but they do not lose their own private property in the exchange. THIS is the basic idea of limited liability.

I have not once understood, once it was pointed out to me, why corporations should not go through criminal prosocution in a like fashion if they are people in a legal sense. Furthermore, I believe there should be a registry, like that for sex offenders, for any corporate officers under which such crimes occur. The executive class have a bad habit of burning down certain businesses before running off to repeat their wonderous actions on another company.

Blogger The Cooler February 23, 2019 9:03 AM  

muh proposition corporation.

Blogger JG February 23, 2019 9:20 AM  

Who needs the NSA when we have evil corporations like Facebook data mining the world. I never thought I would see a need to salt the earth, but when the big reset comes, Silicon Valley is going to be a wasteland.

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey February 23, 2019 9:36 AM  

A corporation that is found guilty of committing a crime should be no more able to earn an income than any other criminal who is sentenced to prison.

Good point. There's a basic asymmetry there. Corporations can commit crimes, diffuse the responsibility -- and the only potential punishment is fines.

The (((Sacklers'))) privately-held company Purdue Pharma and its product OxyContin have killed about as many Americans as WW2 -- >400,000* -- and they're still going strong. Had to pay something like $600 million in fines in a criminal case, but that's nothing compared to the tens of billions they made from the drug.

*Raw data on which opioid was the proximate cause of death are misleading. >80% of those addicted to heroin/ fentanyl start out on prescription opioids -- that's the ultimate cause.

Blogger thalios February 23, 2019 10:02 AM  

@Yordan Yordanov - I tend to agree with your perspective. I don't keep up with the changing terms they have linked to ones using Facebook (I quit Facebook 5+ years ago), but I'm sure it contains everything to keep it mostly in line with their practices. However, that doesn't make it right. The click through agreement is pure evil IMHO as is the gobbledygook legalese produced by the lawyerly classes.

Blogger Warunicorn February 23, 2019 10:16 AM  

Yordan Yordanov wrote:I don't get the argument that Facebook is doing something wrong by collecting that data. Facebook (the corporation, not website) has made it so people who integrate the technology they provide must share their own data with the company. It's the price for things being "free". I want to use Facebook's plugin X or API Y, I play by their rule.

As users we also like this. Our information isn't worth anything to us, so we're willing to trade our location or personal data for a "free" search engine or a "free" social media or a "free" app.


Not a lot of people realize that their personal data is being used in ways they don't want it to be used. Sooo...here we are. Also: People who never signed up for Facebook find out they have their personal data accessed via a third party (like, say, their friend's/family's Google's Gmail) who give permission for Facebook to access their email list to "find their friends". If that's not a smarmy way to go about business, I don't know what is. They're like the 21st-century versions of snake oil salesmen. It's bullsh*t and it needs to stop.

The latter part of Vox's article snippet really raised my hackles because it illustrates how a leftist is in cahoots with a leftist corporation. It sounded like they were blowing each other for power.

Blogger Daniele Grech Pereira February 23, 2019 10:25 AM  

Nasty, sociopathic animals.

Blogger Miguel February 23, 2019 10:34 AM  

COTD.

Blogger My 1 millionth internet profile February 23, 2019 10:53 AM  

“This is a big win for the dating vertical specifically, but also supports our efforts to examine ‘good’ revenue opportunities resulting from policy relaxation/changes”

This is a clear case of first degree assault on the English language. Lock her ass up for aggravated corporate bafflegab. Seize all the assets too, while we're at it.

Blogger BassmanCO February 23, 2019 10:56 AM  

IBOgre, can’t find any faults with that. Totally agree.

Blogger SirHamster February 23, 2019 11:11 AM  

Yordan Yordanov wrote:As users we also like this. Our information isn't worth anything to us, so we're willing to trade our location or personal data for a "free" search engine or a "free" social media or a "free" app.

Who are you to speak for users?

MPAI, and the choice to let Facebook sell the rest of the world all its users' private information forever was not an informed choice.

Social media is letting mentally and literally children play with fire.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 23, 2019 11:16 AM  

Yordan Yordanov wrote:I don't get the argument that Facebook is doing something wrong by collecting that data.
I'm sure you can't.
You have to go back.

Blogger OGRE February 23, 2019 11:18 AM  

IBOgre wrote:I have always believed in the personhood of corporations for this reason. The point of allowing legal incorporation was to have an actor to be held fully responsible even if constituent members of that legally constructed body were not aware of or in anyway responsible for the actions the corporation took. This prevents liability from falling on shareholders and other marginal owners of the corporation from losing wealth derived from other sources.


Thats actually a major issue with the modern corporate form, and is a fundamental cause of the problems caused by corporations. Many of our current societal ills can be traced to this separation of 'ownership' from 'control and responsibility.' Nor does this really track with the actual history of the corporate form.

For much longer than not, corporations were only permitted to exist by specific charter granted by a monarch or legislature, and for a specific defined purpose, almost always one considered of general benefit to society. And almost always there was a predetermined expiration of the corporation; its time was limited. The perpetual corporate entity, which can be created by simple registration, and which is not created to accomplish a specific purpose, is a very recent development. Many of the features we take for granted about the corporate form didn't develop until after WWI, and others still are as recent as the 1980s.

The modern corporation is little more than a device for the financial class to extract wealth from both the owners of capital and the laborers. Much like the Fed. It has been the greatest vehicle of wealth concentration in history, and by separating ownership from control and liability (a concept which would be unfathomable to anybody prior to 1900) it creates powerful economic entities that can act free of almost all restraints--even the criminal law loses much of its power against them.

Lets be clear: the march of progressivism and the ongoing destruction of the family matches very closely with the development of the modern corporate form, and it is not just a simple correlation why this is so.

Blogger Off The Wall February 23, 2019 11:31 AM  

The gulf between the big thinkers like Vox and the mindless proletariat grows just a little wider every day. I think one of the disconnects is that folks like Vox can not fathom just how little the proles care that Facebook mines value from them by invading their privacy. Their privacy has no value to them, they are not intelligent enough to comprehend future consequences and so they freely give up agency over their own lives. If you want to take Facebook down, these people will actively resist you.

Slightly related:

I've been reading the H. Beam Piper Megapack on Kindle and it has been enlightening - Piper clearly understood the problem of the great unwashed. If only we could deal with our decadence as he did. His writing from the 1950's and 60's obviously deeply influenced quite a few modern SF writers. Unfortunately gimmicky tricks like spelling George as "Zhorzh" become very tedious after the ten-thousandth iteration - yes I'm talking to you David Weber. Bet you regret that trick now!

Blogger MichaelJMaier February 23, 2019 11:32 AM  

My Android phone will not allow me to un-install Fagbook. It also rats on itself, telling me that it constantly updates the Fagbook Messenger App... which I cannot see as being installed and have never opened.

Blogger Jabari February 23, 2019 12:25 PM  

Here, add this one to the pile too. I'd thought you have seen this VD, don't remember a post on it though.

https://www.revealnews.org/article/facebook-knowingly-duped-game-playing-kids-and-their-parents-out-of-money/

(I've _always_ thought microtransactions/gacha are an awful model.)

Blogger Duke Norfolk February 23, 2019 12:54 PM  

Off The Wall wrote:I've been reading the H. Beam Piper Megapack on Kindle

FYI to anybody interested, many of his works are available free at Project Gutenberg

Blogger Up from the pond February 23, 2019 1:41 PM  

Put Facebook in prison? And let Zuck go free??

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 23, 2019 2:01 PM  

There needs to be a change to corporate law, a change that makes some individual person or persons (the CEO and Board of Directors, most likely) physically liable for any crimes committed by the corporation.

A business will write a fine off as a business expense. They Don't Care. Throw the CEO into prison, and HE damned well WILL care.

Blogger Jack Amok February 23, 2019 2:09 PM  

I have not once understood, once it was pointed out to me, why corporations should not go through criminal prosocution in a like fashion

Nah, corporations don't do anything, people controlling them do. Corporations cannot violate criminal law, but the executives and managers in them can, and the right way to handle this is to put Sandberg, Zuckerberg, and Levine (lotsa echos in here...) in jail.

If we're not willing to do that - and there's nothing about corporate law that stops us - then we should get rid of corporations and just go with LLPs.

Really, it's nothing to do with the form, it's everything to do with cronyism.

Blogger Yordan Yordanov February 23, 2019 2:11 PM  

@9

C'mon everyone knew this. It was only after Cambridge Analytica faux outrage that was made to justify some government moves that people started pretending personal information exists on the internet.

But it does raise a good point. If I have an email exchange with Becky and she has agreed to share her personal information with Facebook Inc. - does she have the right to share our email exchange? Maybe it is unethical, but even then, Becky does have the right to publish - and share - those emails, or at least I lean towards that.

@14

There is a reason why Wikipedia bankrupted Encarta. Why there isn't a pay-to-use internet search engine. Or pay-to-use social media (or at least any large one for anyone to notice). The mass - en large - has demonstrated its preferences.

@15

A tongue so sharp, it was made by Gillette.

Blogger Jack Amok February 23, 2019 2:11 PM  

There needs to be a change to corporate law, a change that makes some individual person or persons (the CEO and Board of Directors, most likely) physically liable for any crimes committed by the corporation.

There is already. If the CEO orders the security guard to murder someone, the DA won't throw his hands up in the air and say "can't do anything, the corporation killed the guy..."

Blogger Francis Parker Yockey February 23, 2019 2:25 PM  

@16
Good points.

See also the role of other "legal persons" that we don't usually think of as "corporations" -- foundations and nonprofits/ NGOs.

https://archive.org/details/DoddReportToTheReeceCommitteeOnFoundations-1954-RobberBaron

Blogger Mr.MantraMan February 23, 2019 2:38 PM  

Agree on the corps.

Why doesn't some super smarty come up with a program that spoofs the data, in reality I'm a 6'4" transexual Olympic athlete from Paris who likes starbucks coffee and pinky drinks.

Just a thought because I know a guy who spoofed the tracking program at work by keeping a weather program constantly running while he surfed porn and moderated a car racing forum.

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 23, 2019 3:09 PM  

So Facebook is just another gang with Zuckerburg as their Lord Humungus. There is no law. There is no justice. There is no state. There are only gangs.
At this point it's Mad Max only inertia keeps the lights on.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella February 23, 2019 3:11 PM  

(3) Who's this "we" you speak of?

My tech innocent Boomer parents put everything up on the web. They bounce photos of the kids all over their email lists. They put up genealogy. Horrifying. They have literally no idea that people who push paper could have any malicious thoughts in their head, ever.

I never agreed to any of this. I'm not even happy that I have to sign in to comment here.

Has anyone else read the any book about the Zuckerberg project. His secretary wrote one. She was an early employee. She'd list 'think' articles he would want written. The whole thing is not a commercial enterprise. It's a religious enterprise; it's definitely not a Christian enterprise in any way, shape or form.


Blogger Skylark Thibedeau February 23, 2019 5:29 PM  

If a corporation is a person shouldn't copyright expire the same as it would for individuals?

Blogger Dave Dave February 23, 2019 5:56 PM  

If a corporation is large enough to become a threat to the nation or its people, it must be put down. Violently, if necessary.

Blogger rumpole5 February 23, 2019 7:19 PM  

My wife and I love to concoct a conversation in the presence of our phones say -- a vacation to Equador -- and then see how long it takes for the phone adds to start popping up on Equador, resorts in Equador, trips to South America and so on. Leave your phone in the next room folks. Big Brother is listening.

Blogger Raker_T February 23, 2019 8:18 PM  

@27 Exactly. I've read that if they have the hounds after you, literally, then you go through the mud, up the steep embankment, followed immediately by a run through the thorns or brambles, around the meadow a few times, back through the thorns, down the cliff, and back through the mud. If you're not a high profile case, that might do it. The hounds themselves might not tire of it, but their handler will. "Shoot boss, lost the trail completely about a quarter mile back."
So me wonders if we couldn't throw a wrench in the system just by certain acts of omission/commission, starting with Faraday bags/boxes. You would still have your phone with you should an emergency arise. If enough people did it, they wouldn't know who's out cohorting and conspiring, who's phone battery died, and who's going about business as usual. Add to that driving to unexplained destinations, turning the phone back on at random places.
One need not even buy a Faraday bag, experimenting is fun. I've done it, and the first trick is to make sure the phone is separated from the metal by a plastic barrier.
Not that I expect people to go along with any of this. I've been baffled by the lack of activism in people, and now I'm wondering if it's a shock thing. Like you can't react strongly to something, unless you're first shocked. But all the FF events, the real events, and the garbage in entertainment, and no wonder people aren't shocked. People, turn off the damn TV. Not only are we desensitized, but we're all, right and left, on this roaring river ride where last week's events, no matter how gruesome, are outdated.
Anyway, yeah, I bought what will be the improved DIY Faraday box, I'm starting with a tin I bought at an antique store, and will go from there.

Blogger Phillip George February 23, 2019 10:40 PM  

I'm banned here so the observation that VD is making money from writing polemics will not stay up long.

JP alluded to LowBlows diatribes.

sums it all up.

pot kettle. kettle pot. choose your platforms.

Blogger Robert What? February 24, 2019 1:40 AM  

It has gotten to the point that if you are a leftist corporation or person you suffer no consequences for your actions.

Blogger Unknownsailor February 24, 2019 2:04 AM  

Michael Maier wrote:My Android phone will not allow me to un-install Fagbook. It also rats on itself, telling me that it constantly updates the Fagbook Messenger App... which I cannot see as being installed and have never opened.
Only way to do that is root the phone and pust a custom ROM on it. I'm headed down that route myself with an older LG phone I got off of eBay, gonna root it and put LineageOS on it, which is open source Android.
As for Facebook, all I can do about it on my home network is black hole all traffic headed to IP addresses owned by them. I already do that with Google and Micro$oft.
--Unknownsailor--

Blogger Paul M February 24, 2019 9:04 AM  

> A corporation that is found guilty of committing a crime should be no more able to earn an income than any other criminal who is sentenced to prison.

Corporations are creations of the state. It's the state that "incorporates" - gives a body to - these legal fictions. The state has a right and a duty to de-list corporations that act in a manner contrary to the public interest; and the proper judge of what the public interest is is a democratically elected government.

If you want to open a fruit shop in your own name or as a partnership, fine. You'll be personally liable for any wrongdoing by the shop. If you want to create a limited liability "person" for legal purposes, a "person" that has no conscience or fear of punishment, then the state absolutely should kit the kill switch when that "person" starts dumping mercury into the town well and no-one in particular is really responsible.

If a corporation commits felonies, then not only should it be de-listed, but the CEO and everyone on the board should be forbidden to hold any kind of commercial trust - company secretary, board member, trustee of any sort. Oh and yank their lawyer and accountant licenses. When a company starts going off the rails, the correct remedy is for the board to fire the CEO, or to resign (thus forcing the company into receivership).

Blogger SirHamster February 25, 2019 2:24 AM  

Yordan Yordanov wrote:There is a reason why Wikipedia bankrupted Encarta. Why there isn't a pay-to-use internet search engine. Or pay-to-use social media (or at least any large one for anyone to notice). The mass - en large - has demonstrated its preferences.

Facebook can't do wrong selling private user data because Encarta went bankrupt.

Alternative business models allow anything, eh?

If you reject a company's employment offer, it's not wrong if they enslave you instead. Then we check if the mass demonstrates any preference on the matter voting with their dollars.

If the company stays in business, it's legit.

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