Think a Privacy Law Will Stop Surveillance Capitalism? You Don’t Know Google

Alex McDougall in the co-founder of Bicameral Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on blockchain, interoperability, data and identity self-sovereignty, personalized AI and Web 3.0.

The business model where users with the fewest privacy settings are the most profitable. The opaque data policies that routinely top 10,000 words and legal experts agree are nonsensical. The use of trackers and pixels to allow data players to reach far outside their own domain and index web traffic not even remotely attached to the “services” they offer. Especially the data and content creators who are routinely either completely excluded or massively de-prioritized when it comes to divvying up the value of the platforms they power. Our data paradigm has been broken for a while now.

We generally acknowledge this break with some form of “yeah, I know Google is building an archetype of me for their own purposes, but what else am I gonna do? Plus look how pretty their site is!” Regulators acknowledge this challenge and there have been well-meaning attempts to legislate a better outcome to this with privacy focused legislations such as GDPR and CCPA. These laws are well-intentioned, but I believe fatally incomplete in two ways.

See also: Alex McDougall – Data Creators Should Share in the Profits From Big Data

First, until you either fix the fundamental mismatch of privacy and profit, or alter the system by which investors expect ever increasing quarterly earnings, we will never get a real “private” future led by today’s tech giants. They are too nimble, too powerful, too incentivized by profits and operate in a world that’s too ill defined to be shackled by slow-moving legislation. Legislation that can be innovated around or worse, repurposed for their own intentions.

Secondly, especially in a post COVID-19 virtualized world, “privacy” by forced disconnection is NOT what we need. Prior to this devastating global outbreak, despite mounting work from home and virtual…

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