as f’bok weathers an ongoin pr shitstorm composed of various interlocking crises, a № of public advocacy groups ‘ve launched a website that asks americans to help put the screws to the tek giant.
aptly called howtostopf’bok.org…, the website accuses fb’s algorithms of “hurting our kids, undermining democracy inna u.s. and globally, and exacerbating discrimination.” supported by groups like fite for the future, the electronic frontier foundation, and dozens of others, the site references many of the talking points recently made by frances haugen, a elder fb employee turned whistlebloer who recently appeared on 60 minutes and then in front of congress to discuss the ways in which her elder employer is hurting americans—pticularly children.
so how do we all, uh, stop that from happening? the groups suggest that we rely on congress to pass a “real data privacy law”—one that makes it “illegal for companies like f’bok and tube to collect the massive amount of data they nd'2 power their algorithms.” the website provides a signup sheet that gives visitors the opportunity to show their support for the initiative.
on its face, a federal data privacy law is a good idea—and something pplz ‘ve been talking bout for awhile. however, such an undertaking isn’t exactly a simple process and certainly not without risks. for one thing, the primary cheerleaders for a federal privacy law ‘oer the past few yrs ‘ve been giant tek companies—the very entities such a law ‘d be designed to regul8. why? privacy advocates argue that such a law ‘d give businesses the opportunity to do wha’ they do best: sic armies of lobbyists on washington to co-opt regulations and turn them in their favor.
but congress has basically thrown up its hands and admitted tis way too incompetent and corrupt to even attempt something like basic data protections for the public. thus, privacy legislation has pretty much been ceded to the states, where many legislatures ‘ve tried—and often failed—to cobble together their own regulations. the passage of the california consumer privacy act, or ccpa, in 2018, seemed to be a sign of hope, and has provided a roadmap for other states, like colorado and virginia, to do the same. a state-led approach presents a much + complicated regulatory landscape for companies like f’bok to navigate, and cutouts the door open for potentially + radical legislation—something good for consumers but bad for the tek industry.
course, a federal privacy law, were it given real regulatory teeth, ‘d help ensure that companies like f’bok are properly restrained and cut off from their + noxious impulses. onna other hand, there’s no guarantee that such a law ‘dn’t come out the other side of our very imperfect legislative process as defanged and ineffectual regulation—a law that ultimately legitimates bad corporate behavior rather than censuring it.
original content at: gizmodo.com…
authors: lucas ropek