Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I don't have any expectations for how they will address their transgressions. They don't have a right to my personal data, don't have a right to track me, don't have a right to sell my attention to modify my behavior. People who are the target of their data collection -- which includes users and innocent bystanders -- are victims, and we don't expect victims to come up with performance improvement plans for their abusers.

You want rules that run counter to every trend in technology. And believe that it can be done with government fiat.

I emphatically believe the opposite. Data collection, storage, and manipulation is ever becoming easier. The only actual choice is between a society where we're lied to about surveillance, or one where surveillance is generally available. https://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Society-Technology-Betwee... laid out the case for this over 20 years ago.

Here are the realistic choices.

On the one hand, we can create any set of rules we want on paper. We can get governments to officially support it. We can be frustrated as those same governments do it ineffectively. And then watch as the rules meant to curtail monopolies get caught by regulatory capture and are manipulated to support the very organizations that they are theoretically supposed to punish. (Seriously, do you expect any secret service to not take advantage of what is possible? Have you heard of Snowden?)

Or we can choose the path recommended in https://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Society-Technology-Betwee..., accept that surveillance is real. And put the tools in the hands of the masses. This is already happening. See https://asherkaye.medium.com/do-you-know-this-man-7836e54abc... for a story of how a random person in a random photo was tracked down by an internet stranger using reverse image search with facial recognition. And the tools are only getting better and harder to stop over time.

I personally hate both futures. But I hate the first one more. And I see people like you as unwitting pawns who are creating the first of those two futures. And your unwillingness to understand how things actually work, combined with your certainty that you've got the moral high ground, makes you an easily manipulated true believer.

Enjoy your certainty that you're in the right here. I guarantee that you'll have a lot to be upset about in the way that our world is shaping up.

Thanks for the recommendation on The Transparent Society. I haven't read it, but certainly will.

The idea that the surveillance tools are "put in the hands of masses" neglects the part where the "masses" includes corporations that do it better, because they have the ability to pay handsomely thousands of people to make it effective. So rather than accept the defeatist position -- "We are powerless to stop technology," even though surveillance capitalism is a choice, and one that we don't have to accept -- we can choose meaningful laws which restrict those actions. We can choose meaningful laws which change the economic imperatives so that corporations don't profit from tracking and shaping human behavior. Will it be perfect? Absolutely not. Is defeat inevitable? Perhaps. But sitting on the sidelines and choosing not to shape that future because of some sense of foregone inevitability.... that cannot be the future, unless we believe that those now with the ability to shape it (and someone will -- Google, Facebook, or someone else) deserve to have that right without being challenged.

I cannot accept that. I will not be gaslit into believing that I'm 'too concerned' or 'reading too much into it'. This does not have to be our future.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact