"The divvying of antitrust enforcement does not mean that the agencies have opened official investigations"
It is worth keeping in mind that antitrust enforcement in the US doesn't care about whiny competitors but if the enduser and customer is harmed and it doesn't appear to be the case when it comes to any of these corporations.
This whole thing is terribly misguided, there is a long list of companies and markets worthy of antitrust scrutiny and these tech companies if they are on that list then they are at the very bottom of it. The real drag on the economy are the high prices of healthcare and housing, there is also the case that ISPs have obvious monopolies and are providing inferior products and services and the list goes on.
The role of the media here shouldn't be ignored, they coined the term "big tech" to conjure negative associations and they continuously publish alarmist coverage about any combination of these firms, they also stand to benefit if any enforcement action were to occur.
When you're getting people's hopes up by making them think that something is going to happen, and then nothing happens. People immediately blame big banking, big finance, big tech, corrupt politicians, corruption in general, etc etc. Which is entirely understandable. People get upset at dashed hopes. They look for something or someone to blame. And to be fair, sometimes it's even true that corruption is part of the reason.
But this time I have a strong suspicion fyoving is likely correct for a more systemic reason. Any sort of action against a lot of these companies, tech or finance, won't pass muster with the courts. It's not corruption, it's just the law. Which we can change, but it's really hard to do so because there are good reasons for some of these laws. (One way to address that problem though is to add new laws instead of changing the current ones, but there is going to be natural resistance against that too.)
I suspect that's the entire reason a certain segment of politicians are trying to bring action against the tech giants within the parameters of current law. Because they know it won't work already. They know how the supremes will rule on any such actions. (Rulings the supremes won't even have to hand down because the agencies in question will probably decide against wasting the time taking any actions in the first place.)
It's terrible. A likely diversion of 10 years minimum, during which no one will actually be able to gain any traction towards changing the laws because these elites will be wagging the dog making people think something is going to happen under current law. We should have pushed for changes in the law first. Then gone after the big businesses. But that was probably just a pipe dream of mine anyway. It was never gonna happen.
If so, I agree 100%.
Not in my experience! Chargeback can kill small businesses rather easily. My dad used to run a timber store. His biggest chargeback was around $5k. The 'card owner' who we vetted, by giving correct name, home address and cvc. The 'card owner' asked it to be delivered around the corner (which is not unusual). 48hrs after delivery (1 week after ordering) later the bank did a charge back...
A large supplier near us got stung for >40k with a single chargeback.
Both instances had documented proof that the retailer has all the information about the card holder & had all reasonable evidence to assume it was the right person.
Most trade people I know, these days ask for 'staged' payments, to ensure a) cashflow & b) reduce risk of chargeback.
It's made me wonder why any retailer puts up with it.
That said, for internet purchases, I appreciate how awesome it is!
If Visa, MasterCard, Amex, et al., or PayPal make a decision, most businesses have little recourse. The cost of not accepting cards is too high.
Ergo, payment processors can essentially set their own terms.
The fee should be on the customer side and they should have a choice whether to pay it per transaction. Paying for insurance is fine, being forced to pay for it when you don't need it is not.
This is actually accounted for in the merchant interchange rate. It varies by MCC (merchant category code) [and potentially merchant to merchant] and the frequency of chargebacks is built into how much the merchant pays for processing. Further, that bubbles up to the customer in terms of the pricing. Merchants may offer cash or other payment method discounts, so in a sense, what you're asking for already exists. Merchants do not opt into it because it's not in their interests.
That said, that's not how the math works out. If a buyer has a number of chargebacks, the buyer may be investigated and has their account suspended or is charged with fraud. This works both ways. Again, merchants and payment networks are aligned in this case, both make money on greater transaction volume, this feature increases transaction volume, that's why it's there, otherwise it wouldn't be there.
Also, paying per-transaction isn't really insurance as it leads to massive adverse selection risk. The most helpful chargeback for me personally was a two thousand dollar chargeback against Expedia where they refused to refund a refundable ticket. I filed a chargeback and I got the money back within a few days.
It's a good thing, unless you've got data to back your case.
But the number of chargebacks is as much related to the frequency of buyer fraud in that industry rather than anything the merchant can control. If it's all buyer fraud then the rate is high, but how do you solve that other than by moving the liability back to the buyer?
> Merchants may offer cash or other payment method discounts, so in a sense, what you're asking for already exists.
It exists in person, but where's the equivalent that allows you to pay cash over the internet? Cryptocurrency, maybe, and now we're back to monopolies and market share because you can't really accept something people aren't familiar with and don't know how to use.
> If someone has a number of chargebacks, the customer is investigated and has their account suspended or charged with fraud.
One of the most common sources of chargebacks is identity theft. Someone makes a purchase on a stolen card and then the real cardholder gets the bill and disputes the charge. The merchant in that case did nothing wrong but has to eat the loss, even when the identity theft was enabled by the cardholder's negligence. Then we get more such negligence, and lose the demand-side market pressure for higher security like two factor authentication and replacing credit card numbers with public keys that could have prevented the fraud, which increases costs for everyone.
But investigating the customer whose name is on the account does you no good in that case, because even if it was proximately their fault, it wasn't them who actually committed the fraud and it won't be their name on the account next time when some other negligent customer carelessly gives all their information to a fraudster because it costs them nothing to do so.
> Again, merchants and buyers are aligned in this case, both make money on greater transaction volume, this feature increases transaction volume, that's why it's there, otherwise it wouldn't be there.
It's there because the credit card companies don't give customers the choice.
> Also, paying per-transaction isn't really insurance as it leads to massive adverse selection risk.
All insurance leads to adverse risk selection. That's the nature of insurance. It's why you can't buy life insurance when you're 114 years old. Should we force them to sell it anyway and then make everyone else pay for it?
> The most helpful chargeback for me personally was a two thousand dollar chargeback against Expedia where they refused to refund a refundable ticket. I filed a chargeback and I got the money back within a few days.
And you would have otherwise had to take them to small claims court, which would have been more inconvenient.
Meanwhile if you paid 3% more on purchases totaling $200,000 over the last decade due to the increased buyer fraud, have you really come out ahead?
> It's a good thing, unless you've got data to back your case.
We would have the data if we gave people the choice.
You are. Retail price is adjusted to account for interchange which is adjusted to account for risk. Merchants can offer cash discounts.
> It's there because the credit card companies don't give customers the choice.
Again processors make money when transaction volume is higher. If this reduced transaction volume why would they do it?
> Meanwhile if you paid 3% more on purchases totaling $200,000 over the last decade due to the increased buyer fraud, have you really come out ahead?
Average merchant interchange is around 3% and there are 2% cash back cards, so it’s 1% net, meaning I’d be out $2000, so break even. Not to mention the interest-free one month loans, car rental insurance, loss insurance, warranty extensions and so on.
> We would have the data if we gave people the choice.
So you’re speculating in spite of the fact interests are currently aligned. And setting aside that the choice specifically exists for all brick and mortar merchants - so is there some reason they’re a poor sample?
That's not moving the liability the buyer, that's just part of the insurance cost. It doesn't cause the buyer to be less careless or care more about security. And there is still currently no plausible cash-equivalent over the internet.
> Again processors make money when transaction volume is higher. If this reduced transaction volume why would they do it?
Insurance companies make more money when everybody has to buy insurance. How is that an argument for forcing everybody to buy insurance? "Middlemen make more profit" is an argument against.
> Average merchant interchange is around 3% and there are 2% cash back cards, so it’s 1% net, meaning I’d be out $2000, so break even.
You're using peak cash back and average interchange fees. The cards with 2% cash back aren't the cards with 3% interchange fees. And you're not accounting for the merchant losses from the chargeback itself which causes them to have to charge higher prices. Meanwhile a legitimate $2000 chargeback is atypically large.
Those numbers go even further south for people with bad credit who can't get a cash back card and then have to shop at low income merchants who suffer a high customer fraud rate, meanwhile they won't be making a large legitimate chargeback because they can't afford purchases that large to begin with.
> Not to mention the interest-free one month loans, car rental insurance, loss insurance, warranty extensions and so on.
Marketing gimmicks that purposely sound valuable but aren't worth very much in practice.
> So you’re speculating in spite of the fact interests are currently aligned.
You're asking for data so I'm asking to run the experiment. How else do you get better data?
And your claim that the interests are aligned ignores the cost of the insurance. If you can get a discount for waiving your right to a chargeback for a merchant you trust, it's basically free money, and your interests are both aligned in not paying for insurance you don't need. If the fee is then high to have a right to do a chargeback against the shady merchant you don't trust, maybe there is good reason for that.
> And setting aside that the choice specifically exists for all brick and mortar merchants - so is there some reason they’re a poor sample?
The sample is confounded because many merchants don't offer a cash discount but many credit cards still offer cash back, and cash is slower, so many customers prefer credit cards for reasons outside of the ability to refuse charges later.
But even then, many people nonetheless pay cash, especially when the discount actually exists. If the value of being able to do a chargeback was so great, why would anybody ever do that? More importantly, why shouldn't they be able to, including over the internet?
Right, which drives up transaction volume which in turn means the payment network and the seller get more volume and more money. The risk is accounted for in interchange.
> Insurance companies make more money when everybody has to buy insurance. How is that an argument for forcing everybody to buy insurance? "Middlemen make more profit" is an argument against.
The bigger your risk pool the lower your cost. That's how insurance works. The more people you can socialize big losses over, the less you have to charge each person. Your margin on top is a function of your business goals. It's not strictly true that more people equals more money, you can always pass on the costs. Depends on where you make your money. A 501(c)(3) that offers insurance for instance would just charge less.
> You're using peak cash back and average interchange fees. The cards with 2% cash back aren't the cards with 3% interchange fees. And you're not accounting for the merchant losses from the chargeback itself which causes them to have to charge higher prices.
3% for card present is actually really high, I was using a blended average of the ~2.5ish% charged for card-present, 3ish% charged for online and 3.5ish% charged for card-not-present transactions at the point of sale to small and medium sized businesses. You can expect this to be 1% lower for merchants of substantial scale.
I'm not sure what you're suggesting is true. If we look at markets that cap interchange fees, they charge 0.3% . Therefore, I think it's safe to assume that 0.3% is typical to cover the cost of loan origination and fraud. The rest is returned to consumers via rewards programs, plus a little cream due to lack of regulation. Further Visa interchange on that 2% cash back card is no more than 2.4% meaning I'm not out of the ballpark with my 2% rewards + 0.3% loan origination costs + 0.1% cream/chargebacks/misc insurances/etc. 
> Meanwhile a legitimate $2000 chargeback is atypically large.
Hey, you asked for mine, I gave it to you.
> Those numbers go even further south for people with bad credit who can't get a cash back card and then have to shop at low income merchants who suffer a high customer fraud rate, meanwhile they won't be making a large legitimate chargeback because they can't afford purchases that large to begin with.
Again, see .
> Marketing gimmicks that purposely sound valuable but aren't worth very much in practice.
In what way is my getting a one-month-free loan a gimmick? It's the foundation on which I structure my personal finances, secure in the knowledge if someone defrauds me I don't have to pay until it's resolved. I've also taken advantage of the loss protection.
> You're asking for data so I'm asking to run the experiment. How else do you get better data?
And your claim that the interests are aligned ignores the cost of the insurance. If you can get a discount for waiving your right to a chargeback for a merchant you trust, it's basically free money, and your interests are both aligned in not paying for insurance you don't need. If the fee is then high to have a right to do a chargeback against the shady merchant you don't trust, maybe there is good reason for that.
If you start letting people waive the cost of insurance adverse selection kicks in so now only the people who plan to abuse the system pay for the insurance making it prohibitively expensive. This is why you don't allow people whose houses are on fire to buy fire insurance. Or why until recently you couldn't get health care in the individual market that covered pre-existing conditions. Why on earth wouldn't you not get cover until you needed it then buy it? Because that's not how insurance works.
> The sample is confounded because many merchants don't offer a cash discount but many credit cards still offer cash back, and cash is slower, so many customers prefer credit cards for reasons outside of the ability to refuse charges later.
> But even then, many people nonetheless pay cash, especially when the discount actually exists. If the value of being able to do a chargeback was so great, why would anybody ever do that? More importantly, why shouldn't they be able to, including over the internet?
I'm saying the value you're suggesting doesn't exist. If it did, it'd be an option. And that that's not how insurance works.
I don't know, you keep making un-founded assertions as though they were fact then demanding an opportunity to prove them. I don't understand why you're suggesting that this is some big money-making scam when it's far more profitable for these companies to increase transaction volume than to skim 'chargeback insurances' which just aren't that big a portion of interchange.
Let me ask this: how much do you think chargebacks actually cost and do you have data to back this up.
> In what way is my getting a one-month-free loan a gimmick?
The thing that actually pays for that is the "oops" that regularly happens at scale when busy people trying to maximize their "free loan period" miss the deadline for the late fee and then get whacked with a charge high enough to subsidize "free loans" for everybody else.
Notice that most banks have an auto-pay option for making the minimum payment every month or some other fixed amount, but not one for automatically making a payment in exactly the amount that you owe that month, on the last day that you owe it.
It's also a bit of sleight of hand to begin with, because the bank has extremely low borrowing costs on one hand (the money in your account doesn't physically exist and they're only required to keep a small fraction of it in reserve), and on the other hand the risk of non-repayment is already priced into the nature of the credit card whether it's one day or thirty, so their cost is negligible. But that also implies that they could still do it even if you couldn't issue a chargeback to the merchant, and make their money in the same way (late fees and high interest charges).
> It's the foundation on which I structure my personal finances, secure in the knowledge if someone defrauds me I don't have to pay until it's resolved.
Then you would pay for the insurance anyway, as would other people like you, so what does that do to your argument that it would become unaffordable?
Though even you probably don't need it for <$100 purchases.
> If you start letting people waive the cost of insurance adverse selection kicks in so now only the people who plan to abuse the system pay for the insurance making it prohibitively expensive. This is why you don't allow people whose houses are on fire to buy fire insurance. Or why until recently you couldn't get health care in the individual market that covered pre-existing conditions. Why on earth wouldn't you not get cover until you needed it then buy it? Because that's not how insurance works.
But that's not how this would work either. You can't wait until after the merchant defrauds you and then buy the insurance. You have to do it at the time of purchase.
Then basically nobody would do it for small purchases from trustworthy merchants, but there is no reason to do it in that case, and that's the point. Meanwhile if you're going to spend $2000 for a refundable ticket you want to make sure is actually refundable, go ahead and pay the extra few percent. But don't do it for the non-refundable ticket and waste the money for nothing, because disputing the charge in that case would be fraud and paying a premium for the ability to is not very valuable.
And yes, the cost of the insurance would be a bit higher because everyone who plans to burn down their house for the insurance money is first going to buy fire insurance, and not requiring everyone else to buy fire insurance means the cost of the arson has to be spread over fewer people. But that doesn't cause fire insurance to be unviable -- and if you want it to cost less, the answer is not to force everybody else to subsidize arson, it's to reduce the amount of arson. But forcing insurance on everyone only creates more of them, because you cause there to be more people in a position to make money by collecting an insurance payout from insurance they wouldn't have bought but were forced to anyway. (The analog here being e.g. people with buyer's remorse wrongfully disputing credit card charges.)
> Debit cards?
Debit cards use different rules than credit cards but they still allow chargebacks under many circumstances. They also typically have fees but not rewards, so people avoid them.
> I'm saying the value you're suggesting doesn't exist. If it did, it'd be an option. And that that's not how insurance works.
Part of the reason it doesn't exist is that laws don't really allow it. It's not a free market outcome. But the credit card companies are largely the ones who control those laws, so it's still completely reasonable to blame them for it.
> I don't understand why you're suggesting that this is some big money-making scam when it's far more profitable for these companies to increase transaction volume than to skim 'chargeback insurances' which just aren't that big a portion of interchange.
The insurers get their vig on every transaction. That's why they want to maximize volume. But "maximize volume" doesn't actually help everybody else -- adding a million more transactions when 20% of them are fraudulent helps the payment processors because they get paid their full fee to process a million more transactions. But the fraud costs everyone else more than the value of those additional transactions. And the existence of insurance for transactions that would otherwise be trustworthy enough to conduct without it induces fraud, because there are many types of fraud only work against an insurer who doesn't know who to believe and not an honest counter-party who well knows whether they've provided you with goods and services or not.
The big cost isn't transaction profits, it's the cost of the fraud itself, which the payment processors are foisting onto everyone else.
> Let me ask this: how much do you think chargebacks actually cost and do you have data to back this up.
If you're just looking for numbers:
"All totaled, fraud costs the average merchant 1.47% of their total revenue."
But that's not including the destruction of businesses. When Best Buy eats the cost of fraud, they raise prices and you pay more. But what happens to anything controversial? Their chargeback rate gets above some threshold as a result of trolls and spouses questioning charges the other spouse doesn't want to admit to, and they get cut off by the payment processor and go out of business. What's the cost of that?
It only drives up transaction volume for high risk transactions, which is bad because those are the ones that increase the amount of fraud.
> The risk is accounted for in interchange.
The risk is magnified from fraud taking advantage of the insurance. You have to pay more because the insurance is a deep pocket to steal from with weak ability to protect itself because the actual parties are no longer vested in preventing it. Or the cost of the "insurance payout" is paid by the merchant who knows that they're innocent but the payment processor has no way to know that.
> The bigger your risk pool the lower your cost. That's how insurance works. The more people you can socialize big losses over, the less you have to charge each person.
That's not how insurance works at all. You buy insurance because you and some other people each have a 0.1% risk of losing $100,000 and you would each rather pay $100 with 100% probability than $100,000 with 0.1% probability. For this to work it makes no difference whether there are a million other people or a billion. It only matters if you get down to something like 1000 people and even then your expected value is still the same, but there is a greater chance that your premium ends up as either $200 or $0 instead of $100. But we're not talking about population numbers that low here anyway.
And the socialized losses are the issue, because that's a moral hazard. Once you're insured you take bad risks and rely on the insurance to eat it, which raises costs for everybody.
When you have to insure a $100K+ loss you can't afford to suffer, you're willing to eat that overhead. But to insure a $100 loss? It makes no sense. You're going to make enough $100 purchases yourself that you can "self insure" cheaper than an insurance company with bureaucratic overhead and moral hazard can do it for you. It costs less to lose your modest purchase price a small percentage of the time than to pay a higher than that percentage for the insurance. And the amount you lose buying the insurance is inherently more than the amount you lose of your own on average unless the insurance company is losing money.
> Your margin on top is a function of your business goals. It's not strictly true that more people equals more money, you can always pass on the costs. Depends on where you make your money. A 501(c)(3) that offers insurance for instance would just charge less.
If your net margins per transaction as an insurer are a given percentage, you make more money by processing more transactions unless that percentage is zero or negative. A non-profit may purposely have zero margins, but then in what sense is it "in their interest" to have greater volume? (And how many non-profit major banks are you aware of?)
> 3% for card present is actually really high, I was using a blended average of the ~2.5ish% charged for card-present, 3ish% charged for online and 3.5ish% charged for card-not-present transactions at the point of sale to small and medium sized businesses. You can expect this to be 1% lower for merchants of substantial scale.
You're implying that "merchants of substantial scale" are paying an average of around 2%, or around 1.5% for card present transactions, for cards paying 2% cash back. That seems a bit fishy, doesn't it?
Square is using "let us mush all this together and average it out for you" pricing, but that only really works if they reject merchants with high chargeback rates etc., and still requires them to raise their rates if cards that give higher rewards by charging higher fees become more popular.
Meanwhile most other payment processors are going to impose chargeback fees on top of that, which is what we're really trying to avoid here -- plus the major cost that isn't in any of these numbers which is the cost of lost merchandise and labor when there is a fraudulent chargeback for goods and services already rendered.
> Again, see .
Right, so the merchant is paying 2.9% to Square, but the poor customer has a 0% cash back card because with their credit history it's all they can do to get a credit card offer at all. Then too many of the merchant's other low income customers commit fraud and they get kicked off of Square and have to suffer the high end of "between 2.87 percent and 4.35 percent" from whichever of Square's competitors will take them.
This customer might be quite pleased to precommit to not doing a chargeback with a trustworthy merchant in exchange for a ~4% discount.
And that this system is currently precluded by law?
As I understand it, merchants are now allowed to offer a lower price for cash purchases. The fact that so many merchants use credit card systems seems to speak to their marginal value.
My off-the-cuff analysis is that there is a certain amount of fraud that is inevitable with any non-cash transaction, especially those that allow chargebacks.
The credit card companies have tried to enforce the lack of a cash discount because it enables them to spread the costs across virtually the entire system of users. Without the ability to do this, I don’t see how a system as widely adopted as Visa and MasterCard could have got off the ground. This is what makes it work.
If we assume the cost of fraud is independent of the structures that determine who bears the cost (a big assumption) then the argument is going to be about how that cost is apportioned among users.
Since the system has been adopted, overwhelmingly, by both buyers and sellers, it seems reasonable to conclude that it has been a (huge) value add to the whole economic system.
If you allowed participants to use the system but opt out of paying what is essentially the insurance policy against fraud, the total cost of fraud in the system can’t go down without the gross level of transactions going down.
You seem to be saying that there should be a tiered, opt out system of fees. Buyers wanting to use their card in high risk (of fraud or chargebacks) industries, like porn, should bear the cost of providing the fraud insurance buy paying higher fees?
It begs the question why such a service is not being provided by the market. Essentially, credit card companies have come to the conclusion of providing such a service is not profitable.
In a sense, they are offering an “opt out” for the extreme cases like porn, by making it hard for the porn providers to offer credit card services at all.
Forcing a universal fee structure on everyone provides two huge advantages:
It facilitates the build-out of the network itself, which provides tremendous value to all users.
And it lowers the total cost of determining what the actual cost of fraud insurance should be. This cost would fall across all parties.
The card providers would have to build the industrial infrastructure to understand the costs at a more granular level. It would require both capital investment and ongoing costs to manage such a system. It would also incentivize non-productive activity around trying to “game” the system. Essentially it would be a new attack surface.
It would also move some of the costs of evaluating the risk of a given purchase onto the consumer. This would result in a large net increase in total costs as individuals who lack the skill and scale to properly do this would be forced into it. This would also result in a massive “duplication of effort.”
Intuitively, I think this would result in a large decline in overall economic activity, as it simply would not be worth the investment to make certain kinds of purchases.
The current system puts the costs of fraud mitigation into the entity who can provide it at the lowest cost.
There is also of course the simple argument that the credit card system is opt-in. It is possible to conduct business with cash or check. I use a tech who repairs speakers that I collect. He adds 3% to use Paypal. I opt to send him a check.
You can also send cash through the mail. In this instance, a transaction where the seller won’t release the product until they receive the funds provides the kind of transaction you want, where the entire risk of fraud (or loss) is borne by the buyer.
I think most small businesses at least would accept cash in person or the mail.
It’s not ideal, but my guess is that how the net cost of fraud protection with electronic transactions is distributed is pretty close to ideal.
This is just one of the many problems that render crypto-currency systems to be hopelessly expensive. The lack of ability to build in “socialized fraud protection cost” will prevent mass adoption.
They also suffer from the problem that the cost of securing the network should rise in a system lacking inflation as the total value of transactions increase.
The game theoretical costs of providing the minimum of security a proof-of-work system offers are hard to parse. But the current cost of bitcoin transactions is outrageously high, when accounting for mining cost.
IMO, the bitcoin system is being supported by a combination of outright fraud, speculative investment, and money laundering.
The real costs land in a very disproportionate manner, for example, when exchanges go belly up, or when an individual is scammed out a large sum.
(There are chargebackless payments such as bank transfer; the £5k wood example above would be a good case for that.)
So why does it allow harmful mega-mergers of ISPs and corrupt buying of laws that forbid building municipal networks, which is just a tactic to cement local monopolies?
The whole net neutrality topic is primarily about competition law. And lawmakers still (supposedly) can't wrap their heads around such basic thing, dancing to the tune of said monopolists, who pull their strings with legalized corruption.
The fact is that these are some of the most powerful companies in the world. Tech has skated by with a tiny fraction of the scrutiny that similarly powerful industries get. You say that it doesn't appear customers have been harmed by these companies, but maybe it doesn't appear that way because nobody with any power has bothered to look.
Congress & the executive may want to look into this with cool heads rather than doing the lambasting song and dance. There’s a lot of s&p 500 money in the companies they are going after, and I’m getting the feeling that the “enormous tax cut” is really just gonna end up as cushion for trillions in dumbass value destruction.
They couldn't possibly be trying to redirect our attention after the Net Neutrality uproar and insane disapproval ratings for Ajit Pai -- could they?
Perhaps more importantly, why should consumers be subject to Apple's good will? If consumers were able to acquire software from other sources, the market would naturally determine how much of a cut Apple actually deserves.
Apple's "tax" allows them to pay for software without selling my data. At the moment, I have a choice: 1) Buy software funded by spying on me (any Android phone) 2) Buy software funded by selling to me (and iPhone). If they're forced to "open up" their platform, then their revenue stream becomes more difficult, and I don't have choice any more.
If you want to have all your software funded by letting people spy on you, then go for it. But don't take away my choice.
It does? macOS seems to do well enough on the privacy front.
I don't think Apple's App Store, or its 30% cut, needs to disappear, but consumers should have the option of running software from outside the store too. That's adding choice, not taking it away.
And my laptop is a lot more expensive than my phone.
Look, you're presumably complaining because you either own, or want to own, an iPhone, in spite of there being dozens of other phones with similar features, and hundreds more with different features. The feature / price point combination of those phones are in part a result of the App Store policies. Changing that cut will change the feature / price point: they'd have to charge more, or give you less, or find alternate sources of revenue (i.e., start spying on you).
Now, maybe their business model would work fine without having to resort to ads or raise the prices too much. But maybe it won't. The only way to find out would be to risk destroying it. Which is completely unnecessary, given that there are so many alternatives.
If you don't like their policies, don't buy their phone. If Spotify doesn't like paying a 30% cut, they don't have to make an iPhone app. There are lots of other options out there.
It's not for many people. An iPhone X starts at $1,000.
> The feature / price point combination of those phones are in part a result of the App Store policies. Changing that cut will change the feature / price point: they'd have to charge more, or give you less, or find alternate sources of revenue (i.e., start spying on you).
Apple is a ridiculously profitable company. They quite literally have more money than they know what to do with, as evidenced by their enormous bank account.
I'm happy Apple has been so successful, but I also think a portion of their inordinate profitability has come from anticompetitive practices, namely how locked down the app store is. They don't have a right to that particular revenue stream.
They do. It just won't run on iOS. That's a choice Apple made, and by extension, a choice the purchaser made when they bought the phone. For example, it is a primary feature that holds some responsibility for my continued use of iOS.
That's adding choice, not taking it away.
Yeah, who is Apple to say that I didn't want my entire contact list uploaded to a Russian server? Maybe I like a little malware mixed in with my Kandy Krusher.
In summary, if you don't want to pay a 30% surcharge for vetted software and a system that ensures that those you support technically will load only vetted software, an iPhone probably isn't for you or your loved ones.
The iPhones's closed nature also prevents security researchers from sufficiently examining third party apps for vulnerabilities.
My current, personal solution is a Jailbroken iPhone, which I'm very happy with. But, I'm getting tired of worrying about what happens if my phone breaks and I can't get a new one on an exploitable firmware. I wish Apple would stop fighting to make this impossible. Build in a switch to unlock the bootloader or what have you, and nothing will change for the rest of the user base.
> You sound like someone that just moved into the neighborhood complaining things that have been that way for the last 20 years.
Is Comcast not a monopoly because you have the option to move to a different city?
If the only neighborhood with good jobs and a good school also prevented me from buying my own furniture, I'd complain.
Everyone expects free/0.99 apps and it costs way more to produce and support them.
Apps, before we had an app store, were absolutely more expensive than this.
Which apps are expensive?
Not to defend Apple here, but when the store was introduced people didn't mind the 30% hit because:
1. Credit card processing wasn't as easy as it is today, and the store takes care of all that
2. Store hands distribution and listing
Before the app store we actually had to go to a physical store to buy software. Sure some you could buy online but really not all that much (comparatively) and discoverability was basically "hope someone with a big blog or CNET review it".
Of course now it is difficult to be discovered because there's tons and tons of other things out there.
CC processing is not difficult and there are companies like Stripe that you can go through... etc.
One, the House Judiciary Committee is also investigating. That not only makes the investigations bipartisan (though the DoJ is technically nonpartisan). It also introduces the potential for new legislation.
Two, there has been consumer harm. It's just not dollar-denominated harm. From a recent New York Times article:
"In 2007, for example, Facebook introduced a program that recorded users’ activity on third-party sites and inserted it into the News Feed. Following public outrage and a class-action lawsuit, Facebook ended the program. 'We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them,' Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in a public apology.
This sort of thing happened regularly for years. Facebook would try something sneaky, users would object and Facebook would back off.
But then Facebook’s competition began to disappear. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Later in 2014, Google announced that it would fold its social network Orkut. Emboldened by the decline of market threats, Facebook revoked its users’ ability to vote on changes to its privacy policies and then (almost simultaneously with Google’s exit from the social media market) changed its privacy pact with users.
This is how Facebook usurped our privacy: with the help of its market dominance. The price of using Facebook has stayed the same over the years (it’s free to join and use), but the cost of using it, calculated in terms of the amount of data that users now must provide, is an order of magnitude above what it was when Facebook faced real competition" .
I'm curious what you see as the antitrust violations that lead to high housing prices?
You have to live somewhere to get a vote there, so the people (sellers) who already own property in a location get a vote while the people (buyers) who are about to move there don't until after they have and have switched from customer to owner. The result is that the existing property owners have a lock on the local government and pass anti-competitive rules that constrain the housing supply and raise prices.
You might think renters would help there, but there are areas where the majority are not renters, and the areas with majority renters often end up with abominations like rent control which cause market rents to go even higher while neutralizing the threat to the anti-competitive rules by paying off just enough of the tenants to retain local majority support.
What kind of problem is it then? High prices being maintained by a purposeful conspiracy of existing owners to constrain supply sure sounds a lot like an antitrust problem.
> It's a matter of giving the majority of residents/voters what they want, even if it's bad for them in the long run.
But it's not necessarily bad for them. They make more money by monopolizing the local real estate market in the same way as any other cartel monopolizes anything.
Even if their choices are bad for the city itself, they may be planning to sell and move to another area before the long-term negative consequences to the city are felt.
With consolidation of real estate brokerage firms, many home buyers may have overpaid due to a single firm representing both home seller and buyer, known as dual agency: https://therealdeal.com/2019/05/01/houlihan-lawrence-fails-t...
There is a third issue of large private equity firms buying large volumes of houses that may, in the future, warrant an antitrust investigation.
Your comment is focused on buying a home, but there can be dramatic consequences for home owners, the stakeholders forced into paying both agents.
When a seller has little equity and a poor housing market, exiting a primary mortgage can be financially impossible. A recent survey found a large fraction of the US can't handle a surprise $400 expense. So the follow-on effects of these commissions are not trivial for a large swath of the country.
I also agree that depending on location (looking at you SF metro) there are much bigger factors, e.g. constrained supply, inflating home prices.
It's difficult for me to imagine the Justice Dept being able to argue that "customers" were harmed...using services that were free.
C'mon, not offering any choice in how you pay for the service is inherently anti-consumer behavior. It's certainly not free, and they certainly never offer the consumer any insight into exactly how they are paying for it.
This might be the best take I've heard yet. What constitutes choice in method of payment. Since it appears you consider "forcing users to pay with data" to be anti-consumer, is "forcing users to pay with dollars" equally anti-consumer? Does that make, like, restaurants that don't let you pay with personal info anti-consumer? What about companies that take data and don't offer anything in return (Equifax et. al, ISPs, etc.)
Plus, ads try to target users with money, so presumably their value is proportional to your value. That's probably also a key reason why you don't see this anywhere: it's a blatantly classist practice.
If this is a serious effort it's incredibly disappointing.
> Publishers don't like it (I don't know why), and I think I recall consumers not wanting to pay enough.
Not wanting to pay enough for what? To even justify giving us a choice? Inexcusable.
This was the second attempt, after a previous one (in 2015?) also failed.
> Not wanting to pay enough for what? To even justify giving us a choice? Inexcusable.
To justify providing a service. Unfortunately Google isn't a charity. To clarify, my recollection is that contributor leads to less revenue because consumers are unwilling to pay as much as advertisements provide for the same site. That means that either
1. You as a consumer have to pay more than you're willing (and maybe you're willing to pay more, but not enough people are)
2. Google subsidizes contributor users
3. Publishers take less money.
It appears you're suggesting that its inexcusable that a corporation doesn't want to subsidize your preferences.
That’s like saying McDonald’s is anti-consumer because they don’t let you buy a cheeseburger by singing a song.
That's like saying "you're not forced to use a car to travel", it's just not practical to use the internet without it for many reasons.
> It’s going to be really hard to make an anti-consumer argument here when you’re essentially saying you want google’s product but don’t want to pay the advertising price.
I'm looking for a transaction rather than pimping your data in a completely opaque manner, which is inherently an anti-social interaction, for the end of selling you products you don't want and don't need, another anti-social interaction. It doesn't need to be this way.
Before IBM, it was RCA. Everyone has forgotten about RCA.
It's like in retail. First it's Sears, the unstoppable juggernaut that will take over the world. Then it's Walmart, and Sears is bankrupt. Now it's Amazon, and Walmart is the underdog.
It's almost as if the theory that monopolies inevitably grow to take over the world has serious problems :-)
MS still firmly monopolizes desktop OS (over 85% market share there). Sure, that market has lost weight due to the rise of mobile, but last I checked we're all still doing our day jobs on desktop computers, and for most office workers (who aren't developers), that's synonymous with working on a Windows machine. For 20-30 years people have had effectively no freedom to choose their OS and there's no change in sight.
Not sure why you're bringing Apple up since they never really were a monopoly. I don't think their very brief ownership of the smartphone and tablet market counts as a monopoly, that's just called being first to market.
I'm not American so I'm less acquainted with Walmart, but a quick Google search shows their stock isn't nosediving either.
Microsoft would have to be doing anticompetitive behavior to be monopolizing the desktop market. Things such as forcing OEMs to not allow linux support, or banning iTunes installation on Windows. Simply being popular isn't the same as a monopoly.
Apple has, on the other hand, been monopolizing their iOS devices with the app store. It is the only way to install apps on iOS and Apple has played fast and loose with competitors (like Spotify) in the past: https://www.macrumors.com/2019/06/03/eu-awaiting-apple-respo...
No. I think the distinction here is important and worth being mindful of.
Whether or not a company is abusing their monopoly position has no bearing on whether or not they are a monopoly. You can't abuse a monopoly position if you aren't a monopoly to begin with, after all.
The distinction is important because in the US it's perfectly legal to be a monopoly. What's illegal is the abuse of your monopoly position.
I think by any fair standard, Microsoft can be considered to have a monopoly in the desktop market, whether or not they're leveraging that monopoly in illegal ways.
This was as they were building up Exchange.
Everyone here who isn't talking about semantics is using the word monopoly to mean "abusive monopoly".
How? Lots of people I know use Macs, and developers/techie types frequently use Linux.
Windows is the most popular for some types of business, arguably most types, but it doesn't have a monopoly within the desktop space.
Monopolies are definitively the exclusive control or possession of the supply of the market. Just as a Monopsony is exclusive control or possession of the demand in a market.
Microsoft has dominant market position but they do not control the entire supply of OS, hence they are the popular choice but not the exclusive choice.
Whether or not a monopoly is legal or illegal is non sequitur, since it doesn't apply in context here. There are plenty of legal, regional monopolies that benefit consumers from such regulation in utilities, but those are not tech markets.
"An unlawful monopoly exists when one firm controls the market for a product or service, and it has obtained that market power, not because its product or service is superior to others, but by suppressing competition with anticompetitive conduct." 
That's somewhat different from your definition in that it is deliberately open to interpretation (the Sherman Act, for instance, doesn't actually define monopoly) and revolves around anti-competitive conduct rather than exclusive control of supply (which isn't required - ex. Microsoft never had 100% of the OS market, nor did Standard Oil have 100% of the oil market).
The definition of the word "Monopoly" is already widely denoted as supply side control:
- Wikipedia: The exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly)
- Investopedia: A monopoly exists when a single entity is the sole provider of a particular asset or service. (https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/032415/whats-differ...)
- Oxford Dictionary: The exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/monopoly)
That's obviously too narrow. Someone controlling the demand side could be just as obnoxious. A company in a company town is in control of the demand side of the labor market, for example.
Control of the demand side of a market is called a Monopsony, not Monopoly. It's mentioned in the thread above, more info here: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/monopsony.asp
I can’t think of any scenarios where people referred to the military as having a monopoly on the missile market. It doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t even make missiles.
But Farmers being ravaged by middlemen would use that term about the middlemen buying their crops.
Further, Oracle going for the API ruling means companies like them could monopolize at API level by making ports even riskier and costlier. Then, there's the interface look-and-feel which Apple likes suing over. That's at least three ways they can go after competitors.
You mean like when they actually did and got caught? I'm not sure I understand your take.
Apple isn’t forced to provide alternative app stores like hacker news isn’t forced to provide third-party plugin support support in their backend, and amazon isn’t forced to allow you to place arbitrary products on their market place. That’s not abuse of monopolies, that’s just having a product and deciding not to be as open some users or nonusers want them to be.
Now if Apple went and told app developers that they will not accept apps that have android versions on the App Store, that would be miss-use of their market position.(and their market position is not a monopoly, there are tons of competitors and Apple only has around 15% market share.)
That's a straw man. No one is saying monopolies are immortal. An economy where monopoly usurps monopoly, one after the other in a continuous cycle is a problem, too.
If you want a real debate, make the case that the world wouldn't be better off if these tech giants were split up like Ma Bell was in the 1950's and forced to compete without the benefits of being able to buy out the first hint of competition. Make the case that we're better off having ONE giant social network, ONE giant online retailer. How often are promising young product or service companies bought out by giant companies just to be left to dry on the vine, no longer a threat to their new owners? Is this what a healthy economy looks like?
But they do! They main complaint about monopolies is that they're impossible to outcompete.
That's actually a good point. Thanks!
Of course what's a "market" can be defined in a zillion ways, depending on what point you want to make. It's good to remember that "market" is a theoretical construct, not something tangibly real.
That's a straw man. I see no need to assume that a case needs to be made for one or many social networks or online retailers. I understand you think there is one, but I think this is an odd "choice" you believe we are supposed to somehow make as a society through government. Why are we (you) saying we need legislators or courts to decide what the exactly correct number number and size of social networks is? Like it or not, it seems the people have spoken. We want a few large social networks that are owned by publicly traded companies, and many small, esoteric ones very few people have heard about.
> How often are promising young product or service companies bought out by giant companies just to be left to dry on the vine, no longer a threat to their new owners?
They don't have to accept those offers. If they really wanted to "threaten" these companies rather than seeking to be bought, they wouldn't have been bought.
If you have a land line, odds are that your local phone, your long distance service, and your cell carrier are all carried by pieces of AT&T. Pieces that would have reassembled if not blocked by anti-trust. And even if your provider is actually new, they could not have come into existence without rules requiring interoperability.
Some monopolies are "natural", as in once one is established, it is hard to squeeze in on them. For example there is no point to a phone that can't call all the people you want to call. So everyone naturally gravitates to the same network. Most businesses are not natural monopolies. Just because my friends shop at Ralph's doesn't mean that I can't shop at Safeway.
Whether you have a natural monopoly isn't a question of size, it is a question of the unit economics. Retail is a notable example where your advantage as the 800 pound gorilla only goes so far. But technology has many examples where your advantage can be more lasting. (AT&T's decades long monopoly is the best example.)
Even if they don't last forever they cause harm while they are around. The theory isn't that monopolies allow companies to last forever but that they prevent competition and harm consumers.
One could be technically more precise and limit prevention to "full effectiveness in all in their domain" or use it loosely enough that simply making one potential competitor unable to set up due to lower margins or investment in efficency is not wrong in a pendantic sense separate from the legal definitions.
You're right and I also mispoke when I said monopolies cause harm in and of themselves. The issue isn't monopolies but when companies use their position as a monopoly in an anticompetitive way.
I'm not sure the sequence of progressively bigger monopolies is a positive thing.
Five monopolies at the same time!!
Well, maybe downfall is a harsh word for a company still very successful & profitable...
- it lost the browser war because it basically disbanded the team for years
- it lost the mobile market because they tried to do Windows everywhere.
While MS was convicted of anti-trust, there wasn't much of any action taken against them. The reasons for them slipping would make for an interesting book.
AFAIK, they didn't not, in fact, make it an “open design” intentionally. They published clear specs to encourage peripheral development, which also helped clone makers, but the BIOS was proprietary and had to be reverse engineered by clone makers to be legal. IBM sued several clone makers for infringement (largely for copying rather than reverse engineering the BIOS) and forced them to shutter, which presumably would not have happened if the design was intentionally open.
It's important to remember the regulatory environment that IBM had operated in at the time.
For more than a decade it had been illegal for IBM to exclude 3rd party hardware makers from its mainframe market, beginning with the so-called "plug compatible" peripherals, which resulted in publishing standards for the IBM Channel interface, the prohibition on refusing to allow e.g. 3rd party memory for mainframes, and importantly, the requirement that IBM license its operating systems and software to run on any manufacturer's hardware.
This was the environment that the PC was designed in. The (IMO) open design - which was not an accident - was really the only possibility that IBM had while still holding to those earlier legal restrictions on bundling, tying, and license restriction.
The fact that Compaq could reverse-engineer the BIOS was inevitable given the market opportunity. IBM tried to hold on to that thin reed but it was a doomed effort. As the "PC Compatible" market took off IBM became irrelevant to much of the growth in the industry.
How does that fit in with the IBM PS/2 design, which was carefully closed?
It was a different era and the horses had left the barn. The PS/2 was a dead end. The original PC architecture, openly evolved, is still generating hundreds of billions in revenue each year - just not for IBM.
IBM was enormously successful with the PC, so successful that IBM was assumed throughout the 80's that they would continue to utterly dominate the desktop market. (See the humorous 1984 Apple ad for what people thought of IBM and the PC at the time.) Everyone quaked in their boots when a new PC was imminent.
> which they made an open design explicitly because of anti-trust pressures.
I haven't heard that before in histories of the PC I've read. The way I read it was IBM made it open to cut costs and because they didn't think the PC would be a big market.
Additionally, IBM closed the design of the later PS/2 and fenced it in with patents in order to continue dominating the PC market and fend off clones, which contradicts the idea that such behavior would entice anti-trust action.
Do you have a reference for your version?
Going the other direction, monopolies leave the most money available for R&D. Japan famously leveraged the power of a small set of huge players—not monopolies, but very, very far from "perfect competition" markets, certainly—to drive post-WWII R&D, ensuring their continued success by delivering them a captive domestic market while pooling their excess funds with cooperation-encouraging incentives (=more money, from the government) to rapidly improve their tech and productive capabilities, aiming to become an export powerhouse. It worked.
This is not meant to be a defense of monopolies, especially those not firmly under the yoke of government to ensure all that excess is captured in some way for something resembling the public good, but the situation is more complex than one might first think, and whether one may prefer a huge number of market participants or a small number could be very much situational.
Regulated transmission prevents other providers from creating redundant infrastructure in a deregulated environment. Deregulation is possible not because of regulated infrastructure but in spite of it. I.e. Deregulation could still exist without regulated transmission but it was deemed to be in the public interest to reduce redundant infrastructure.
Incidentally, the 'public interest' has been one of the claims of moving to a deregulated market, with the thought that this would provide lower utility costs. However, this hasn't always worked out:
I disagree. Outside of "natural monopolies", monopolies are bad things whether government-granted or not.
A simple example is that the pattern of long thin property rights needed to create a railway system completely blocks anyone from creating criss-crossing railroads that would allow them to compete. But government rules forcing the initial company to allow competitors to cross or share its railways will create competition.
Forced access to long distance telephone networks has the same effect.
Pardon the editorial but here we go again, politicians pinning the tail on the wrong donkey (i.e., spinning root causes out of symptoms and correlation); the voters will fall for it, and five to ten years down the road we'll all realize we wasted our time (as the root causes further strengthened their stranglehold).
And, now that ISPs don't need to follow net neutrality, the regional broadband monopolies are free to zero-rate their own video services like AT&T openly does . Next they can throttle Netflix, charge them a premium, and pass costs to the consumer without taking any sort of financial hit for doing so.
There is no question that public support for net neutrality is broad and bipartisan. The only question that remains is which 2020 candidates will stand up to say they support net neutrality.
I agree it's not a top 5 issue now, but I believe this is our generation's first amendment torch. We can carry it, or let it go out. To that end, I tend to ignore anyone who suggests "this isn't important" or has the defeatist view that "nobody else understands this" because it is our job to share it with them.
> front page of r/technology
If you think the average person follows r/technology, you may live in a bubble.
Absolutely wrong. Among people who understand NN and oppose it are people like Bob Kahn, Marc Andreessen, David Farber, David Clark, Louis Pouzin, and Jeff Pulver, not to mention numerous economists.
It is unsurprising that investors like Andreessen are opposed to net neutrality: they stand to get richer without it. Regional broadband monopolies can strong arm content providers for higher prices by zero-rating services that become "part of the [insert telecom name here] network".
Regional broadband monopolies suck.
You must not have searched very thoroughly. Here’s the first article that came up when I searched “David Farber net neutrality”: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/531671/are-we-really-savi...
> it could have meant something different at that time
Nope. It meant basically the same thing it does today.
> It is unsurprising that investors like Andreessen are opposed to net neutrality: they stand to get richer without it.
The firms and investors backing NN also stand to benefit from it, so this ad hominem is moot.
You're being fairly condescending while assuming I should read the biographies of 7 people based on your brief comment. I'll make this my last comment.
Here is a video titled to make you believe Bob Kahn is against network neutrality . Net neutrality does not come up until the question & answer period. Bob states that the word is just a slogan and that you need to look at what is intended by policy. His response is long, nuanced, and he points out several times that he is against policy that would fracture the internet. And again, that was in 2007.
In 2019, we have a better idea of what net neutrality policy looks like, and we know that ISPs abuse it because they are regional monopolies. Countries that do not have regional monopolies do not seem to have such issues of abuse.
So, there are two options to foster sufficient competition. Bring back net neutrality, or eliminate regional broadband monopolies.
The issue that local governments granted monopolies to cable companies and telcos -- that's the true problem.
Throttling traffic to certain websites  is not a problem?
The reason net neutrality policy came into being is ISPs were beginning to violate it .
The FCC policy orientation lasted much longer than that, though the last of the various regimes by which the FCC pursued it only lasted about that long.
Of course, the policy orientation was about maintaining a status quo on the internet which was only starting to crack when the first approaches were taken as commercial ISPs started breaking the way the internet has previously worked either to constrain costs or pursue various synergies with their other businesses; the basic state of neutrality on the internet was older than the FCC policy orientation toward actively maintaining it.
Besides all of the carriers offer unlimited data these days anyway.
They frequently have agreements to be the only registered cable operator for a given geographic region. They frequently become the only provider for a given apartment complex or multi-tenant location. We're not allowed a la carte programming due to bundles of channels these companies have a large stake in because of distribution rights. Rates have been outpacing cost-of-living and previous profit margins year-over-year since the 90s. Consumer broadband internet is still slower than most other developed nations, and we pay more for it at all pricing tiers. The only time I remember seeing speeds increase while rates dropped were when Google started building out fiber, and that only happened in a couple microcosms.
I think there's a serious need for trustbusting, but the tech industry at large doesn't seem to be a good target yet.
You don’t sound like you know much on this topic.
When the poll question is asked as: “Do you support background checks when purchasing a firearm to keep criminals from getting guns” the answer is high.
When the question is more appropriately asked as: “Do you support the government requiring permission via an unrelated third party who has no obligation to comply before you are allowed exercise your civil rights?”
A lot less support when the real question is asked.
I don’t think that examples helps your argument in this case.
You can start with why the Federal Firearm License requirements make sense to only 1/2 deploy to citizens while preventing their access from the NICS system directly, that a citizen’s rights should be directly tied to a 4473.
Then also please tell me why the compromise of the 1993/4 Brady Bill where private sales were EXPLICITLY protected in order to get the votes to pass - were only two years later called a “loophole”.
I look forward to being educated on this topic.
No, it reflects your stubborn partisan viewpoint which I'm uninterested in debating.
The numbers speak for themselves. Unless you have some alternative polling data to show I am not interested.
Except that’s exactly my point that you can’t argue.
How about in Washington. I-594 required background checks. The NRA spent a lot of money fighting it - but was outspent by gun control groups over 14:1, 10:1 of that was Michael Bloomberg alone.
You know results when it was actually put to a vote? 60/40.
A far cry from the polling lie that 92% want mandatory background checks on all sales performed by a dealer for a fee who has no obligation to perform using a system that has no obligation to be online.
You might not like it, but “universal background checks” are a tax on a right, a defecto national registry, a future ban option by simply denying all transfers of X type gun in the NICS system at any arbitrary time, and entirely unenforceable by default up until people start winding up with guns they couldn’t possibly have received legally over time, oh, and almost completely unrelated to crime as it does nothing for stolen guns, straw purchases, or existing illegal transfers which are the predominant ways criminals obtain weapons. You could also admit that no state that passed “UBC” style checks has seen a reduction in crime as an effect.
I apologize for bringing facts to an emotional topic.
Taxes exist on lots of rights, as do fines. Try to hold a rally in any town center without a permit. If being a gun owner who's registered not being a part of a well organized militia? Its interesting how you jump from extremely broad sweeping concepts into extremely detailed criticisms of proposals.
Nope. You are now not only misunderstanding 2A, but 1A as well. A government body can not require a fee for a protest that does not impact normal property function (traffic, police, park use) and that fee can not exceed the actual costs. Nor can a government deny an organization based on content grounds. This example is bad.
If there are taxes on "lots" of other rights, and you used a poor example, I look forward to other examples to try and see your point of view.
>If being a gun owner who's registered not being a part of a well organized militia?
Well, because MILITIA means "any able bodied adult who can fight for defense of self or state", I am a member of the militia, and unfortunately so are you.
The words you are looking for aren't "well organized" but the text of 2A is "well regulated" which according to Oxford 1800 means "Well training, in good working order". Not "lots of regulations" and not as you imply "well organized" like a milita requires a phone tree if someone's going to be out sick on war days.
>Its interesting how you jump from extremely broad sweeping concepts into extremely detailed criticisms of proposals.
It's interesting how when presented with ACTUAL EFFECTS of a proposal (try me on any of them and I'll school you) you chose instead to wholly believe the propaganda. Which is exactly what it is, I mean... Who could ever be against "Universal Background Checks"!? Those have to be good thing and can't possibly be a tax on a right, an avenue for defacto ban, unenforceable, and an unconstitutional restriction on the free trade of personal property covered under an explicitly enumerated right.
People who understand NN support it because it only enables entrenched interests to get more subscription fees from customers.
The strong arm is regional ISP broadband monopolies. Through them, a slew of services can be forced to pass costs on to consumers.
And, by the way, this map  is about to feature one fewer "competitor",
My evidence is the congressional record which indicates republican politicians overwhelmingly oppose NN and democratic politicians overwhelmingly support it.
I wouldn't regard a single post on a subreddit as evidence; it is at best an anecdote, and one of dubious credibility IMO.
Politicians do what their constituents want now? That's new.
> I wouldn't regard a single post on a subreddit as evidence
Visit . See the spike in the graph? That is the link I posted above. It is not anecdotal. As I said, this is the most upvoted comment ever removed from that sub.
What would you use as proxy? r/conservative? They support NN too.
So is that anecdotal or QED proof that republicans hate net neutrality?
A highly upvoted informed view, on the other hand, that gets removed, is evidence of censorship by those in charge.
No, as I showed, that post is the most upvoted removed comment in the sub's history.
If you think t_d has no influence over the republican party, you do you. This is my last comment in this thread.
Clearly there is a strong correlation between political identity and the politicians that are elected to represent those identities since democrats overwhelmingly vote for candidates that support NN and republicans overwhelmingly vote for candidates that oppose it. This is pretty simple to verify based on the congressional voting record, the machinations of subreddit shit-posting is wholly irrelevant.
I would expect most would agree the network effect serves them well - although all may fall in the face of a new competitor who actually manages to be "better" - especially if they do something stupid.
If they move foward, I hope that the nature of the results are good for the public (i.e. preventing anti-competitive behavior)
I am one of those pessimistic folk who views everything on a geopolitical stage as a power struggle, so..
From the right, culture warriors calling for regulation so their chosen avatars of free speech are not de-platformed.
From the bottom, consumer advocates angry at the privacy abuses of large corporations, not to mention increasingly shoddy quality caused by lack of competition.
From the top, as you mentioned- tech companies flouting state power, including in the realm of state surveillance.
十面埋伏 - attack from ten directions.
It seems like the "From the right" should be "right-wing belief that tech platforms push left-wing biases", true or not, that is their gripe.
Confusing government regulation of private parties to prevent those actors chosen exercise of the right of free speech by way of not actively using their resources to magnify the reach of your favored actors speech with “free speech” is a “right” thing, and one diametrically opposed to Constitutional free speech.
In 2019, having online speech without discovery and viral propagation is obviously disadvantaged. That's like saying in 1960's America, it would have been alright for networks to ban a political party from using radio and television, because they still have newspaper ads.
What you're advocating is that one side of the political spectrum should get a huge media advantage in terms of "friction" and network effects -- because their side owns the companies controlling it. That's not advocating for a free marketplace of ideas. That's advocating for a rigged marketplace of ideas, because you happen to like the direction of the tilt.
Would you be satisfied if Republicans were deplatforming your pundits and widely censoring speech you favored on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter? I wouldn't, and I don't think you'd like it very much. (In a way, it was like dealing with the Moral Majority types back in the 80's and 90's.) Be careful how you rig the system and distort the marketplace. One day, it might well be the turn of people you don't like. (1)
diametrically opposed to Constitutional free speech
Free Speech is more important than property rights:
(1) - Given that I agree with Bret Weinstein, that some Bad Actors are exploiting the far left for their own purposes, this is basically already happening. It's just that the bias of most left leaning people prevents them from seeing the corruption on their own side.
If you wanted to be charitable, you could say people mad about social media "deplatforming" are more trying to uphold a cultural value of free speech, but not a constitutional right.
Which is almost always a red herring. Typically the ones being deplatformed are causing harm to individuals, for which even the founders of free-speech philosophy said should be an exception.
"Typically"? Spoken like someone who actually looked at all cases? Or just taken some cases your peers agree on, and painting all cases with the same brush without even looking at them?
Who did Carey Wedler harm, for example? See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzlPhxf4Rd0 Or is that "not typical", as in "No True Scotsman"?
Since this is the internet and people will nitpick things to death, I said Typically, because in any normalized population of bans you're going to have outlying false negatives and false positives, in which you've gone to lengths to dig up and present one.
How do you even know that Anti-Media was banned for their speech anyways? According to them they never received a reason.
No I didn't, I have been subscribed to her Youtube channel for years, actually. I didn't dig up anything. Even if I had, that wouldn't detract even from iota from it.
Naomi Wu is a similar case: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=naomi%20wu&sort=byDate&prefix&...
I've also had my FB account suspended after 9 years of use, 100+ RL friends, using my real name all along, plenty of photos of me and being in tagged in photos, because apparently, people who wanted me off FB reported my profile as not being a real person. I didn't scan my ID and send it to FB out of principle. Mind you, nothing I posted or commented violated the rules, I never got any "trouble" until I flat out couldn't log in because, I guess, "typically" several accounts reporting a profile means it's fake, and the people who act on those reports probably don't get paid enough to actually take an in-depth look at the profiles they kill.
I'll admit, I'm glad, it was the best thing FB ever did for me. But I'm not all people, for some people that would be terrible, and terribly unfair. I know first hand that there is no process worth a fuck, and people just tend to assume "they wouldn't be treated this way unless there was a good reason for it". It's as old as cowardice and selfishness are.
If "false positives" are just a thing you would accept as long as you aren't hit, then I'll just act as if you were removed in this way. Another unfortunate false positive, nothing to see, really. Then there is also nothing I would have to to "nitpick to death" [by making a single comment with questions you ignore, no less] either, very tidy. If you don't care for due process for others, no due process for you.
> How do you even know that Anti-Media was banned for their speech anyways? According to them they never received a reason.
I take this as the answer "nobody to my knowledge" to the question of who she harmed, and "nope" to the question whether you have actual knowledge of the actual individual cases. "there's going to be outliers" isn't enough, that you resort to saying I "went to lengths to dig up an example" just shows you don't necessarily shy from making authoritative statements about things you don't actually know.
The fact is that the speech was curtailed, if no reason is offered that doesn't mean "maybe there's a good reason, so let's just assume that and move along". You wouldn't want to be treated that way.
> Criminals don't actually don't belong in a concentration camp. That they still form a permanent category in all camps is, from the viewpoint of the totalitarian power apparatus, a kind of concession to the prejudices of society, which in this way can be made to get used to their existence the most easily.
> the first crucial step on the way to totalitarian power is the killing of the juridical person, which in the case of statelessness happens automatically because the stateless person ends up outside of all law. In the case of totalitarian power this automatic killing becomes a planned murder, because concentration camps are always placed outside of the penal system, and the inmates are never to be put there "for punishable or other offenses" (also see Maunz, p. 50). Under all conditions totalitatarian power takes care to put people into the camps, which only are -- Jews, carriers of diseases, members of dying classes -- but have already lost their ability to act, be it for good or bad.
-- Hannah Arendt
But how can marching in goosestep be wrong, when not marching is goosestep is so scary, right?
"dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners"
The way this reads to me is: If you were against it, it could only be because you were a communist. #mcCarthyism
They assert it in their values and in responses to interviews about deplatforming, so claiming it’s a belief makes it look less proven than it is.
That's half of it. The other half is suppression of right-slanted content. The issue is monopoly status + pushing one side + suppressing the other side.
Redirecting people's anger for Comcast, and this admin's failure to maintain net neutrality despite protest from both sides , towards something else.
A good, plausibly deniable soft power attack would be to make an antitrust case, present it to the feds with the work already done, and let them do their thing now that they basically have to take action or look foolish.
No malicious actors involved, except for the people who choose to trigger the audit at the opportune moment.
I don't see this as taking steps to limit our own tech at all.
What happens is when companies exceed a certain size, the inefficiencies of central planning tend to paralyze them and they fail to adapt to changing circumstances, and go into decline.
1, Zero-rate their own video services 
2, Throttle competitors like Netflix
3, Charge competitors more, passing on costs to consumers