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Tags: nielsen | soap operas | facebook | google

Tread Carefully When Wishing for Regulation of Big Tech and Data

big data and big tech

(Funtap P/Dreamstime)

Ralph Benko By Tuesday, 28 January 2020 02:05 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The federal government can be described as "Big Daddy."

That’s a name more evocative of Big Brother than the avuncular Uncle Sam.

The original political Big Daddy was Jesse (Big Daddy) Unruh, ruling California for years.

Benevolent big government, anyone?

Unruh summed up a politico’s ethos bluntly. The bowdlerized version, "If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, . . . take their money and then vote against them [business] you’ve got no business being up here."

"Big Data" is a better description than Big Tech for Alphabet, parent of Google, YouTube and some companies you’ve never even heard of.

Also, Facebook. Big Data doesn’t charge us for their services. Nor did broadcast TV.

We’re the audience. They make money by letting advertisers know who their most likely customers are and then delivering the ads. Just like broadcast TV. In the Big Data Zone we also find Amazon and Microsoft and others.

Their business models differ somewhat. None are sinister.

Somehow, information about what I’m a likely customer for has been cunningly reframed into "My Data" as if information about my demographics was something I "owned."

Nielsen has been giving comparable data to advertisers for almost a century. "Soap operas" got that nickname because mainly housewives, customers for detergents, watched them. Not exactly "surveillance capitalism."

I use Google’s more than any other products, digital or analog. Probably you do too. Big Daddy can take my preferred search engine, email client, browser, alerts system and more when it pries them from my cold dead hand. Big Data doesn’t know, or care to know, me.

It desires only to tell the advertisers what kind of stuff I’m most likely to buy. No big deal.

And yet there’s full sound and fury signifying nothing incoming from the right.

Big Data provides me and billions of happy customers with powerful, convenient, technologies making us way more productive and entertained. Google and Facebook and so forth dominate their niches because their offerings are the best. Ozy reports that my cut of Facebook’s $39B/year would be about $5/month. Not exactly price gouging.

So how is it that a tiny number of vocal "conservatives" are ganging up with socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.? AOC recently told Ta-Nahesi Coates as reported by Liz Wolfe at Reason.com, that "No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars."

Such far left nonsense can be traced to Honore' de Balzac, "The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out.  .  .  ."

This came down to us as "Behind every great fortune there is a great crime."

It’s shocking to see "conservatives" promoting socialist nonsense.

Great fortunes are almost always made by providing great goods and services to millions of eager customers. Like, for example, Google does. That’s called "capitalism."

One talented young conservative commentator recently called the statute that protects online platforms from being held liable for what users post as "a sweetheart deal" and a "government subsidy which Google no longer deserves."


Repealing that protection would destroy social media and the best of the internet.

Her claim is akin to calling the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press a "sweetheart deal" and a "government subsidy" which Newsmax "no longer deserves."

Nonsense. America has immunized media for being opinionated since Day One.

The First Amendment wasn’t a "sweetheart deal" or a "government subsidy."

It protects unalienable rights. So does Section 230. A center-left viewpoint (if Google or Facebook or Amazon had one, which the evidence does not well support) wouldn’t, in the least, invalidate Section 230.

What are some "conservatives" pushing Big Daddy government toward?

"Big Dada." Dada was an absurdist art movement. Marcel Duchamp exemplified it with his urinal-dubbed-"Fountain" and his mustache and goatee penciled onto the Mona Lisa.

According to  "Smithsonian Magazine" the name Dada meant "a sign of foolish naiveté.  . . . "

Big Dada well describes the foolishly naive proposals being pushed to crush Big Data.

Zachary Karabell at Wired.com says Don't Break Up Big Tech: It won't protect small businesses, it won't preserve our data privacy, and it won't help promote democracy: "It’s debatable whether antitrust enforcement has ever been particularly effective. … Antitrust was invented during the Progressive Era as a means to address issues of price, access, and competition." Karabell is beyond dubious that breaking up Big Data would do any of that. So too am I, an old guard red meat conservative, incredulous.

A tiny vocal faction of "conservatives" pushing antiquated Progressive Era antitrust? Policies repudiated by serious modern conservatives from Reagan forward, repudiated?

What a spectacle!

The rock group The Kinks got it right in their classic song, "Lola," "It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world!"

Welcome to Big Dada!

Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $83T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as general counsel to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Big Data provides me and billions of happy customers with powerful, convenient, technologies making us way more productive and entertained. Google and Facebook and so forth dominate their niches because their offerings are the best.
nielsen, soap operas, facebook, google
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 02:05 PM
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