Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Big Tech Gets Terrifying

 

My friend Whitney, a political moderate, posted a shocking Instagram story last night. She received a message that one of her posts had been flagged for spreading “false” information about COVID and was removed. She couldn’t figure it out; she doesn’t post political content on the photosharing site. So what could have possibly been removed? After a few hours she realized: it was a private message with a video of the “White Coat doctor” press conference in Washington that the President and his family promoted. She shared it with a doctor friend to ask her opinion on the controversy.

Maybe because the messengers are a bit kooky, but I’ve heard next to nothing from conservatives about what actually happened with Big Tech and that video. The press conference, while highlighting some fringe figures, was a critical look at some issues that the media doesn’t seem to want to discuss: the effectiveness of COVID treatments that many feel could play a vital part in reducing mortality.

I’m not a doctor; but I know doctors working on the front lines who say it didn’t change outcomes one iota, and I know another doctor who, when her mother first came down with symptoms, she immediately put her on a round of hydroxychloroquine and zinc (the mother is, thank God, doing well).

What’s clear is the media want to silence any voices who may tout its effectiveness, and Big Tech is playing along. The media are on a search-and-destroy mission for the reputations of the doctors at the press conference and Big Tech have swooped in, removing the video from every single social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube). Their heavy-handed attack didn’t stop there, either.

The only person I’m seeing talking about this is Tucker Carlson, whose monologue on the subject is an important few minutes of your time:

I differ with Carlson on how effective this treatment is, and about the fact that doctors promoting it just want to see more deaths in order to get Joe Biden elected… But this whole thing is turning me into a bit of a conspiracy theorist and at this point, I’m open to the possibility that I’m wrong, and Carlson is right. Because that’s where they’re pushing us.

What are they hiding, exactly? And why? Is that what the media and Big Tech want to do? Turn us all into QAnon tinfoil hat wearers? Because that’s where I feel like we’re all headed. Information is being actively suppressed and we can’t trust anyone: the CDC, government officials, the media, Big Tech… It would sure be nice to have an open exchange of ideas with elites who trust us with the responsibility.

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  1. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And what congressman Jordan provided for us was a classic DC dog and pony show.

    Stern words and finger wagging, and ultimately no action.

    According to Jordan Google ( a search engine now synonymous for search), Facebook, Apple and Amazon are not monopolies for various spurious reasons. So no antitrust action will be supported by the GOP.

    Brought to you by the dollars of the K street lobbyists.

    • #1
    • July 31, 2020, at 4:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bethany Mandel: I’m not a doctor; but I know doctors working on the front lines who say it didn’t change outcomes one iota, and I know another doctor who, when her mother first came down with symptoms, she immediately put her on a round of hydroxychloroquine and zinc (the mother is, thank God, doing well).

    What the evidence seems to show is HCG with zinc and maybe Azithromycin when started early before the infection is serious can help in preventing serious illness and hospitalization. And may help prophylactically as well.

    Most of the US studies of HCQ were done on already hospitalized patients, and did not include zinc. So they failed to show any improvement. 

     

    • #2
    • July 31, 2020, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I wrote about this issue a couple of months ago, specifically in response to the edict by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcici that any video contradicting WHO guidance on the pandemic would be taken down: Do the Lord Chancellor and the Archbishop approve?

    In that post, I said:

    If I try to take as sympathetic a view as possible to Ms Wojcicki and those like her, I might view their actions as being motivated by a feeling of responsibility for consumer protection. But Americans are more that just consumers: we are also (and much more importantly) citizens, participants in the public dialog and political process. (And an interesting argument has been made that in the American system, citizens are officers of the state.) And citizens, in order to fulfill their public responsibilities, need unfettered access to information and discussion.

     

    • #3
    • July 31, 2020, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    As Rush pointed out, Twitter is not a doctor, yet they are “dispensing” medical advice (saying to you hydroxychloroquine doesn’t work and thus cancelling pro-HCQ tweets). Doctors have been divided on medical issues for ages, mostly studies on whether or not coffee and red wine are good or bad for you. Why should we expect them to agree on the best treatment for COVID?

    • #4
    • July 31, 2020, at 5:25 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I notice that media…traditional media as well as online…are increasingly using the absolutist term false concerning matters about which a ‘how far along the shades of gray is this?’ attitude is more appropriate….for example, the assertion that ‘the claim that vote-by-mail is more risky is false.’

    • #5
    • July 31, 2020, at 5:34 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bethany Mandel: After a few hours she realized: it was a private message with a video of the “White Coat doctor” press conference in Washington that the President and his family promoted. She shared it with a doctor friend to ask her opinion on the controversy.

    Google’s algorithms already listen and respond with ads to conversations spoken in the vicinity of smartphones with Google and mic access (which most users leave on to utilize Google Assistant for voice commands). Gmail pitches ads based on subjects found in private emails.

    If Republicans don’t restrict the tech companies soon, it’s probably just a matter of time before Google and affiliates censor people based on words and phrases used in private conversations even apart from Google services. 

    Whether Republicans act or not (probably not), it’s imperative that people continue to speak their minds amid attempts to censor and punish them. Freedom of expression is not just a consequence of laws. That freedom must remain normal in practice. Our most basic freedoms are not granted; they are asserted.

    • #6
    • July 31, 2020, at 5:46 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Matt Upton Coolidge

    Bethany Mandel: What are they hiding, exactly? And why? 

    Similar with woke culture, the persons deciding on censorship are imbued with absolute certainty that they are making the world better by silencing people with whom they disagree. Any opinions on COVID not brought down from the CDC mountain are heretical and dangerous. I don’t think they are hiding anything. They are operating outside the areas of their expertise and treat skepticism of any pandemic controls as an existential threat. Nobody has to direct it, because it’s what they and their loudest colleagues all think. 

    • #7
    • July 31, 2020, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When I was a young lad getting my BA in Mass Media/Communication, one learned to worship at the altar of gatekeeping. Here you learned that what you don’t tell the public is just as important, if not more important, that what you do tell them.

    Our professor gave us an illustration: In an international sporting event the Soviet team finished second, Team USA finished next to last. Those were the uncontested and irrefutable facts. Pravda. The truth. What was unsaid is that it was a two-team event. Context is everything.

    Technology has made that sort of gatekeeping irrelevant. Events, in full color video and audio can be archived and disseminated by anyone with a reasonable investment. They have lost control. The natural human response, of course, is to overcompensate, to censor with a vigor unseen outside of wartime. But at some point you’re left trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube. 

    Since they are all good socialists, what they don’t understand is the real power of the market. By censoring vigorously they create markets for alternative sources. Journalists and opinion writers are appalled at the rise of QAnon, but take no responsibility for creating an atmosphere where it can flourish. They think that the technology is to blame, not their manipulations. So if they can squelch access to the tech they believe they will regain control. Which is, of course, silliness. All that does is drive it and give it even more legitimacy – here it is, folks, the stuff they don’t want you to see and know! – on the dark web, on paper, on memory sticks and SD cards, passed around like contraband.

    Instead of airing bad ideas and countering with good ideas, the bad will merely segregate itself and flourish unchallenged. And because no one, especially the left, has a monopoly on truth, a lot of what’s good will be buried, too. 

     

     

    • #8
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  9. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Just on a technical note here: Your friend’s private messaging was not being monitored and censored per se. 

    What happened was this:

    1. Your friend shared a link via messenger. In programming terms this is nothing more than a pointer to something else, an instruction that says “Go here => for the data”. In other words, it’s a relay, but with one additional function.
    2. These various messenger apps and systems, to enhance user experiences, will do more than simply point to URLs, they will act like web browsers to fetch and load page previews, so that when a user pulls up their message feed they can see and, to a limited degree, access the content. This is the same sort of functionality at play when a website has a video embedded – the site doesn’t have the video, it is simply relaying the video from the site that actually hosts it.
    3. After she shared that link, the target of the link was nuked. 
    4. These messenger systems usually only tell their users about dead links when they pull up their message streams, but since this one was actively blocked by Instagram at the source, and flagged for being “false”, Instagram generated the alert and the warning to your friend.

     

    Bethany Mandel: She received a message that one of her posts had been flagged for spreading “false” information about COVID and was removed.

    The whole thing was automated, start to finish.

    This is not to downplay what happened, but to try give a technical explanation. Instagram, for instance, has a pretty stringent “no porn” policy, and I would guess that attempts to share pornographic links through their messenger service would also auto-generate warning messages.

    For fully private unhindered communications, Instagram, a division of Facebook, has never really been an option, even if it feels like it should be because friends and acquaintances are on it.

    Again, this is not to downplay the lockstep censorship mania of these platforms, but to remind people that the social media platforms are not publicly owned, and the users thereof are not the real customers, but the products to be monetized. We don’t own these platforms, nor have any intrinsic rights to them.

    Squarespace, by contrast, is a vendor, and in their case they very likely violated their customer agreements, and so can and should be sued for their part in this.

    • #9
    • July 31, 2020, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    When I was a young lad getting my BA in Mass Media/Communication, one learned to worship at the altar of gatekeeping. Here you learned that what you don’t tell the public is just as important, if not more important, that what you do tell them.

    Our professor gave us an illustration: In an international sporting event the Soviet team finished second, Team USA finished next to last. Those were the uncontested and irrefutable facts. Pravda. The truth. What was unsaid is that it was a two-team event. Context is everything.

    Technology has made that sort of gatekeeping irrelevant. Events, in full color video and audio can be archived and disseminated by anyone with a reasonable investment. They have lost control. The natural human response, of course, is to overcompensate, to censor with a vigor unseen outside of wartime. But at some point you’re left trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

    Since they are all good socialists, what they don’t understand is the real power of the market. By censoring vigorously they create markets for alternative sources. Journalists and opinion writers are appalled at the rise of QAnon, but take no responsibility for creating an atmosphere where it can flourish. They think that the technology is to blame, not their manipulations. So if they can squelch access to the tech they believe they will regain control. Which is, of course, silliness. All that does is drive it and give it even more legitimacy – here it is, folks, the stuff they don’t want you to see and know! – on the dark web, on paper, on memory sticks and SD cards, passed around like contraband.

    Instead of airing bad ideas and countering with good ideas, the bad will merely segregate itself and flourish unchallenged. And because no one, especially the left, has a monopoly on truth, a lot of what’s good will be buried, too.

    As someone said (I believe it was Malcolm X, of all people), “What the media chooses to not report is just as important as what they do report,” (or words to that effect). As you say in your first paragraph.

    • #10
    • July 31, 2020, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Annefy Member

    One of the Frontline Doctors, Dr Simone Gold, has spent some time with Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck in the past few days.

    She has been fired from her job.

    I spent a few hours not sleeping last night when I should have been. And it occurred to me that the reaction from the “medical industrial complex” to this drug regime is suspicious. We lose tens of thousands of Americans each year to drug overdoses. And millions of hours of diminished capacity and ruined lives. Drugs that are prescribed to patients (for legit reasons) every single day. In my own very small, limited life, I’ve met two people who got addicted to opiods while in the hospital and were sent home. In both cases, it was only through the physical intervention of family and the grace of God that they are still alive.

    I am blessed with health, but every time I interact with my GP he reaches for his prescription pad.

    My point: Doctors regularly and often prescribe dangerous and addictive drugs. 

    Why this seemingly coordinated attack against this particular COVID treatment? A drug that has been available over the counter in other countries, is cheap and readily available?

    • #11
    • July 31, 2020, at 10:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  12. Headedwest Coolidge

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    As someone said (I believe it was Malcolm X, of all people), “What the media chooses to not report is just as important as what they do report,” (or words to that effect). 

    The great Internet satirist Iowahawk put it this way:

    “Journalism is about covering important stories.

    With a pillow, until they stop moving.“

     

    • #12
    • July 31, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. SParker Member

    Annefy (View Comment):

    My point: Doctors regularly and often prescribe dangerous and addictive drugs. 

    Why this seemingly coordinated attack against this particular COVID treatment? A drug that has been available over the counter in other countries, is cheap and readily available?

    My theory: People, including doctors, are not very good in a panic. Or thinking on their feet. That’s why medical protocols exist and need to. When something crops up that doesn’t really fit protocol, panic ensues and on-the-feet thinking is required. Most attending physicians calm down and figure it out eventually.

    It just takes a lot longer for officials and researchers away from the patient’s problem. Unfortunately they feel the need to tell other physicians how to practice medicine in the meantime (Ohio pharmacy board). While asking the wrong questions (studies showing chloroquine doesn’t prevent infection of lung cells, like that was anyone’s notion of how it might work). Or worrying about adhering to clearly misfit protocols (mechanical ventilators used too soon or at all). Or touting public health measures (test and trace) well-suited to STDs but not an easily transmitted respiratory disease. Combine that with the physician’s professional need to act like God–the patient demands it; the mistake is believing it’s not an act–and the human tendency to jam a particular, possibly hare-brained, idea of what’s happening and what to do about it down everyone else’s throat and that’s where we are. My possibly hare-brained view is that “seemingly coordinated” is probably exactly the right phrasing.

    Side note: There are landmines in the older pharmacopeia (an analgesic with a very fine margin between safe dose and toxic, for example), but this doesn’t seem to be one of those. It’s the seldom prescribed ones you worry about.

    • #13
    • July 31, 2020, at 1:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    And what congressman Jordan provided for us was a classic DC dog and pony show.

    Stern words and finger wagging, and ultimately no action.

    According to Jordan Google ( a search engine now synonymous for search), Facebook, Apple and Amazon are not monopolies for various spurious reasons. So no antitrust action will be supported by the GOP.

    Brought to you by the dollars of the K street lobbyists.

    Those companies are not monopolies. I oppose the policies of those companies and people should rightfully speak out against those policies. But I don’t want government involved in telling companies what they have to allow. Today we have a Republican administration, but that won’t be always be the case. If we want the government regulating Facebook’s content, what is the argument against President Elizabeth Warren telling Ricochet.com what it has to do?

    • #14
    • July 31, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. James Madison Member

    Medicine by internecine political warfare.

    • #15
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Unsk Member

    Those companies are not monopolies.

    Please. What a crock.

    They behave like monopolies and we have to just sit here and take it. I guess because some spineless bought and paid for politicians can’t/won’t go against their ChiCom Masters?

    What happened to Bethany’s friend is just a small taste of what is to come if we are not careful.

    Apple, Google and Amazon are not only in league with the ChiComs; they are involved in the Chinese Slave trade. Think about that for a while. What would make these generally left wing companies get in involved with the Slave Trade?

    Just think of it as the ChiCom version of pay to play. Or perhaps a better example, to get initiated into a gang like the Mexican Mafia, one generally has to pass a test often like offing someone the gang doesn’t like. It’s a test of how far you will go. Getting involved in the slave trade perhaps is one of those kind of tests for I doubt the slave trade thing really helps the bottom line of these Traitor Oligarchs in any significant way. It is likely a test how far they will go for the ChiComs and how far they will go to betray America.

    So when you see how these companies like Google and Apple manipulate people’s internet posts without any reasonable excuse, remember these companies have likely fully sold out America; they are directly working against the interests of the United States and thousands of Americans are dead because of it. That’s right. These companies are responsible for thousands of deaths of people who should have been given HCQ but were denied and died as a result. I have a friend like that. The Corporate Leadership of these companies are nothing less than murderers.

    Another aside. I have a friend who just got COVID in Minneapolis. She ( and she is a very good researcher) cannot find a doctor close to her willing to give her HCQ. Now she has done other things in a very stringent protocol so she likely will be okay, but she is an example of thousands who have been denied the proper medical treatment because of the Democrats and the Corporatist Oligarchs treachery and treason.

    • #16
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:59 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    And what congressman Jordan provided for us was a classic DC dog and pony show.

    Stern words and finger wagging, and ultimately no action.

    According to Jordan Google ( a search engine now synonymous for search), Facebook, Apple and Amazon are not monopolies for various spurious reasons. So no antitrust action will be supported by the GOP.

    Brought to you by the dollars of the K street lobbyists.

    Those companies are not monopolies. I oppose the policies of those companies and people should rightfully speak out against those policies. But I don’t want government involved in telling companies what they have to allow. Today we have a Republican administration, but that won’t be always be the case. If we want the government regulating Facebook’s content, what is the argument against President Elizabeth Warren telling Ricochet.com what it has to do?

    Thought experiment: Imagine that we’re back in the days when news/opinion comes in printed newspapers. There are numerous remote small towns in which the newspaper is only delivered by the Midwestern Consolidated Railroad (which also owns the telegraph lines). The MCRR likes newspaper ‘A’ and refuses to deliver newspaper ‘B’.

    Is there a role for government policy here?

    • #17
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:31 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Those companies are not monopolies.

    By any rational definition of the word they are. They are each so gigantic that in their own way they have a monopoly on some segment of their tech space.

    • #18
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    And what congressman Jordan provided for us was a classic DC dog and pony show.

    Stern words and finger wagging, and ultimately no action.

    According to Jordan Google ( a search engine now synonymous for search), Facebook, Apple and Amazon are not monopolies for various spurious reasons. So no antitrust action will be supported by the GOP.

    Brought to you by the dollars of the K street lobbyists.

    Those companies are not monopolies. I oppose the policies of those companies and people should rightfully speak out against those policies. But I don’t want government involved in telling companies what they have to allow. Today we have a Republican administration, but that won’t be always be the case. If we want the government regulating Facebook’s content, what is the argument against President Elizabeth Warren telling Ricochet.com what it has to do?

    Thought experiment: Imagine that we’re back in the days when news/opinion comes in printed newspapers. There are numerous remote small towns in which the newspaper is only delivered by the Midwestern Consolidated Railroad (which also owns the telegraph lines). The MCRR likes newspaper ‘A’ and refuses to deliver newspaper ‘B’.

    Is there a role for government policy here?

    I don’t think so. It’s like the First Amendment. As long as you have a government that is favorable to you, maybe it’s not so bad giving them the power to limit speech or limit what religion people can practice. But some day you will have a government that is not favorable to you and you may be one of the people who finds their choices restricted. I just don’t have the faith in government that many of you have.

    As to the monopoly question that some people are bringing up, I have little confidence that these enormous tech companies of today will still be that dominant 25 years from now. A hundred years ago, Sears was the king of retail, for the last couple of decades they’ve been closing stores and fighting just to stay alive in their diminished form. Remember America Online? It was the king of internet connectivity, now it’s like a ghost who doesn’t realize it’s dead. How about all the restaurant chains that were really big when many of us were kids, and are now all but extinct? Lotus used to be The Name in spreadsheets and WordPerfect had a similar position for word processing. Not anymore. Look at the “Big Three” automakers who are not so big anymore. You know the one institution that does keep growing every decade and century? The U.S. Government. Google, Facebook, etc may peter out on their own, anyway. I am very reluctant to put even more authority in the hands of the government to control what is a temporary problem.

    • #19
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:34 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Stad Thatcher

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Bethany Mandel: After a few hours she realized: it was a private message with a video of the “White Coat doctor” press conference in Washington that the President and his family promoted. She shared it with a doctor friend to ask her opinion on the controversy.

    Google’s algorithms already listen and respond with ads to conversations spoken in the vicinity of smartphones with Google and mic access (which most users leave on to utilize Google Assistant for voice commands). Gmail pitches ads based on subjects found in private emails.

    If Republicans don’t restrict the tech companies soon, it’s probably just a matter of time before Google and affiliates censor people based on words and phrases used in private conversations even apart from Google services.

    Whether Republicans act or not (probably not), it’s imperative that people continue to speak their minds amid attempts to censor and punish them. Freedom of expression is not just a consequence of laws. That freedom must remain normal in practice. Our most basic freedoms are not granted; they are asserted.

    No douby buried in all their EULA’s is one sentence that says, “Any time you use our product, we can use any information gained from said use any way we want.”

    • #20
    • August 1, 2020, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Stad Thatcher

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Our professor gave us an illustration: In an international sporting event the Soviet team finished second, Team USA finished next to last. Those were the uncontested and irrefutable facts. Pravda. The truth. What was unsaid is that it was a two-team event. Context is everything.

    A classic example of how something true can be rewritten to turn it into a lie.

    • #21
    • August 1, 2020, at 10:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Stad Thatcher

    SParker (View Comment):
    My theory: People, including doctors, are not very good in a panic. Or thinking on their feet. That’s why medical protocols exist and need to. When something crops up that doesn’t really fit protocol, panic ensues and on-the-feet thinking is required.

    This is why all state and local governments should have pandemic procedures in place which 1) defines when emergency procedures are triggered, 2) limits what government can do during the emergency, and 3) defines conditions for restoration to normal. I’m appalled at the actions of our local city and state governments (SC), and we’re a red state. I can’t imagine the horror of living in a bluie state . . .

    • #22
    • August 1, 2020, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  23. Barry Jones Thatcher

    While the following thought doesn’t directly address the issue being discussed, it has occurred to me that one way to legitimately reduce(possible) the impact of the “big Tech” companies it to make it illegal to collect(except for the purposes of completing a commercial transaction -i.e. purchase of a product), store or sell private data on users. This would potentially remove a LOT of the money from the web and would have the added benefit of protecting user privacy at that!..Just a thought.

    • #23
    • August 1, 2020, at 11:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Stad Thatcher

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    While the following thought doesn’t directly address the issue being discussed, it has occurred to me that one way to legitimately reduce(possible) the impact of the “big Tech” companies it to make it illegal to collect(except for the purposes of completing a commercial transaction -i.e. purchase of a product), store or sell private data on users. This would potentially remove a LOT of the money from the web and would have the added benefit of protecting user privacy at that!..Just a thought.

    I like it. Another thing I hate is this “You must have cookies enabled” thing some sites do. Maybe we should ban cookies, because I’m suspicious about having my “experience enhanced” . . .

    • #24
    • August 1, 2020, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Flicker Coolidge

    Cutting to the end: My point is: How much are we willing to additionally pay for internet privacy?

    I know virtually noting about the workings of the internet. But it seems to be free to me, that is: no charge to the end user. I pay for internet access, but almost every site I visit is there for me at no cost. There must be a spiderweb of data collection, and sorting and shuttling around of user information, and there must be also a lot of serious money made off the end product usage of all this information.

    And it all starts with cookies. I’m guessing for the sake of argument that, what, say half? of all material goods and intellectual merchandise is sold via the web. And nearly all is web-advertised. This means that the current brick and mortar stores can increase their sales without increasing the size of their buildings or showrooms. And this saves sellers money, but some of this savings is spent in increases their advertising spending. In aggregate, this lowers the costs somewhat of the purchaser’s price.

    Without cookies (and all other forms of web information gathering) it looks like businesses would have to spend the same money on less effective forms of advertising, with less profit return on the advertising dollar. This cost may be absorbed into the cost of the sale of material goods, but can’t be done for intellectual property, such as all the web sites we all read, the search engines we use, the past stored information that we access, including wikipedia and past issues of newspapers, magazines and books; I’m presuming, many of which sell their user information to pay for operating expenses.

    If these sites are denied advertising revenue, that means that we will have to pay (modestly, I’m sure) for every web site that we surf to. This means that the cost of surfing will be passed from advertisers directly on to us, the users. If this is so, then will we have to maintain a Paypal account or somesuch to charge us a penny for each website we visit, or perhaps for every website that our search engine lists for us.

    My point is: Cookies are at the base of a system that gives us all kinds of lower user costs. How much are we willing to additionally pay for internet privacy?

    • #25
    • August 1, 2020, at 2:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    SParker (View Comment):
    My theory: People, including doctors, are not very good in a panic. Or thinking on their feet. That’s why medical protocols exist and need to. When something crops up that doesn’t really fit protocol, panic ensues and on-the-feet thinking is required.

    This is why all state and local governments should have pandemic procedures in place which 1) defines when emergency procedures are triggered, 2) limits what government can do during the emergency, and 3) defines conditions for restoration to normal. I’m appalled at the actions of our local city and state governments (SC), and we’re a red state. I can’t imagine the horror of living in a bluie state . . .

    I’ve thought about the pros and cons of that myself. A lot of people complain that resistance to dictates by the states are “anti-science.” But state officials by and large are not following some plan like you have laid out, they are flying by the seat of their pants. And frankly, that is probably largely necessary. Covid-19 is not SARS is not AIDS. Some stuff cannot be run off of a pre-existing script. But since the policies are rather off-the-cuff and being decided partly by instinct, it is unfair to describe criticism of a given policy as anti-science.

    • #26
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Stad Thatcher

    Flicker (View Comment):
    My point is: Cookies are at the base of a system that gives us all kinds of lower user costs. How much are we willing to additionally pay for internet privacy?

    A lot . . .

    • #27
    • August 2, 2020, at 4:57 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Stad Thatcher

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Without cookies (and all other forms of web information gathering) it looks like businesses would have to spend the same money on less effective forms of advertising, with less profit return on the advertising dollar.

    I believe it’s the ads that generate most of the revenue, but I could be wron (just ask my wife) . . .

    • #28
    • August 2, 2020, at 4:58 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Headedwest Coolidge

    Flicker (View Comment):

    My point is: Cookies are at the base of a system that gives us all kinds of lower user costs. How much are we willing to additionally pay for internet privacy?

    Personally speaking, whatever it takes. I use ad blockers in Safari, and I’m working on moving all my browsing to Brave. If I can’t read a web page without compromising my privacy, I just move on.

    NB If I really want to read it, one of these two actions often unlocks the content: (1) Safari reader mode or (2) uploading the page to printfriendly.com

     

    • #29
    • August 2, 2020, at 5:58 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. David Foster Member
    David Foster Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    And what congressman Jordan provided for us was a classic DC dog and pony show.

    Stern words and finger wagging, and ultimately no action.

    According to Jordan Google ( a search engine now synonymous for search), Facebook, Apple and Amazon are not monopolies for various spurious reasons. So no antitrust action will be supported by the GOP.

    Brought to you by the dollars of the K street lobbyists.

    Those companies are not monopolies. I oppose the policies of those companies and people should rightfully speak out against those policies. But I don’t want government involved in telling companies what they have to allow. Today we have a Republican administration, but that won’t be always be the case. If we want the government regulating Facebook’s content, what is the argument against President Elizabeth Warren telling Ricochet.com what it has to do?

    Thought experiment: Imagine that we’re back in the days when news/opinion comes in printed newspapers. There are numerous remote small towns in which the newspaper is only delivered by the Midwestern Consolidated Railroad (which also owns the telegraph lines). The MCRR likes newspaper ‘A’ and refuses to deliver newspaper ‘B’.

    Is there a role for government policy here?

    I don’t think so. It’s like the First Amendment. As long as you have a government that is favorable to you, maybe it’s not so bad giving them the power to limit speech or limit what religion people can practice. But some day you will have a government that is not favorable to you and you may be one of the people who finds their choices restricted.

    I’m pretty sure that the railroad company would in fact have been prohibited under Common Carrier law from refusing to deliver Newspaper B, at least from 1887 (the Interstate Commerce Act) through the passage of the Staggers Rail Act in 1980…and I believe that in most cases, it still would be.

    • #30
    • August 2, 2020, at 8:40 AM PDT
    • 1 like