A year ago, we wrote this…
“George Orwell was a brilliant individual. A man of incredible insight – and foresight.
“In his unfathomably predictive novel 1984, Orwell warns of Big Brother….
“As brilliant as Orwell was, something continuously struck me as incorrect as I read 1984.
Orwell’s government – was extraordinarily competent in its totalitarian imposition of technological power.
“In Reality – no government in the history of man has ever been even remotely close to that competent.
“For Orwell’s Big Brother dystopia to become Reality – Big Government would need private sector help.
“Enter private sector Big Tech.
“Big Tech has delivered much of the technology Orwell envisioned….
“(I)t’s Big Tech doing the spying – not Big Government….
“The ONLY way Big Government can impose Big Brother – is to partner with Big Tech.”
Flash forward to now. We’re in the midst of the titanically stupid China Virus shutdown.
And every tyrant – at every level of government – is not letting the crisis go to waste.
And on. And on. And….
(The American Constitutional Rights Union is doing a good job of tracking all of the nonsense tyranny.)
Can you imagine all of the multi-level government tyrants – with the ability to track you everywhere you go?
They can imagine it. And are drooling over it.
But to do the real technical, tyrannical heavy-lifting – Big Government needs Big Tech.
I’m a fairly large fan of the Donald Trump Administration – but this is a giant No…
Jared Kushner – is President Trump’s son-in-law. And the weakest ideological link in the Family Trump – to be sure:
“Already, the Trump administration has sought to ease data-sharing rules and assure health data companies they won’t be penalized for sharing information with state and federal officials — a move driven in part by Kushner’s push to assemble the national network, according to an individual with knowledge of the decision.
“‘This is a genuine crisis — we have to work through it and do our best to protect people’s health,’ said Jessica Rich, a former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection bureau. ‘But doing that doesn’t mean we have to destroy privacy.’”
Apparently it does mean we have to destroy privacy:
“Critics worry about a Patriot Act for health care, raising concerns about patient privacy and civil liberties.”
“A Patriot Act for health care”…? Outstanding.
Tyrants used the last major crisis – 9/11 – to shove that anti-privacy awfulness down our throats.
Kushner, of course, can’t get his Big Government done without Big Tech.
“(I)n an age in which we all carry a device that tracks our movements, contact tracing can now be done remotely with scarcely any manpower required.
“And because those devices are built by competent private entities, not the federal garbage-bag government, this form of contact tracing is likely to work….
“The only catch is that it means granting two of the world’s tech behemoths minute-by-minute updates on our movements *and* our health status.
“And, in so doing, triggering a cultural shift in which we’ll all be less reluctant to provide information like that to authorities forever after….
“(T)hey’re going to build (the tracking system) right into the iOS and Android operating systems while providing some sort of option to opt out. That’ll deliver the software to three billion people or so.
“An obvious early question: How thorough will the ‘opt out’ be, exactly?
“Given how much personal information is collected surreptitiously by tech companies already, it’s impossible to believe that the movements of opt-outs won’t be quietly tracked too.
“The ‘opt out’ might prevent you from being alerted if someone you’ve been in contact with is sick, but no one wants to opt out of that part.
“It’s the movement tracking to which some will object. Is that realistically preventable once it’s built into the OS?
“Is there any doubt that eventually the default setting on contact tracing will be to turn it on and force users to turn it off?”
ALL of this – is a GIANT No.
Of course, Big Government and Big Tech are all operating in a legal No Man’s Land – because the federal government still hasn’t passed pertinent privacy legislation.
“Witnesses at Thursday’s Senate Commerce ‘paper hearing’ on big data and the coronavirus pandemic largely agreed on one major point: The outbreak underscores the need for a federal privacy law.”
Indeed it does.
There have long been some very good legislative efforts – which have yet to bear fruit.
“As the Senate Commerce panel prepares to bring in tech and telecom officials for a hearing next week on consumer privacy, Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) has suggested Congress should legislate. That would be welcome to many tech and telecom heavyweights wary of a patchwork of state privacy rules….”
Not only is the state level patchwork a nightmare mess – it is wholly unconstitutional:
“The World Wide Web – is a WORLD Wide Web. So its policymaking – is very obviously the responsibility of the federal government.
“The Feds determine US policies – and then go negotiate our network interactions with the many other nations and their networks.
“It would be a titanic nightmare mess to have, say, fifty different state-level Net Neutrality or Privacy policies. Much less having counties and cities also imposing Internet policies of their own.
“It would be a titanic nightmare mess for the private sector – and the federal government.”
Thune’s bill – is a good one. And…oh look – it’s bipartisan…
“The bill would require large-scale internet platforms that collect data from more than 1 million users and gross more than $50 million per year to provide greater transparency to consumers and allow users to view content that has not been curated as a result of a secret algorithm.
“The Filter Bubble Transparency Act would make it easier for internet platform users to understand the potential manipulation that exists with secret algorithms and require large-scale platforms to allow those users to consume information outside of that potential manipulation zone or ‘filter bubble.’”
The bill is good – because it’s good. And because it’s federal.
And because unlike many of the state laws – it doesn’t abuse the daylight out of Internet Service Providers (ISPs)…while leaving HUGE data abusers Big Tech (Google, Facebook,…) entirely alone.
It delineates privacy lines wisely – and for everyone equally.
And it will begin to rein in all of the titanic nonsense we are currently experiencing.
Because tyrants aren’t letting the China Virus go to waste.