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Elizabeth Warren Praised for Plan to Break Up Tech Giants

Elizabeth Warren Praised for Plan to Break Up Tech Giants

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for how to break up the nation's technology behemoths on Friday.

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As always i appreciate the intent.

But the remedy does not repair the fundamental problems.

Not sure what she means by “platform utility” designation, but if it does not END the practice of data-mining and profiteering from reselling our data to predatory marketers, it fails.

Rather than seek anti-monopoly fixes, let’s take these companies into public ownership, and run them as utilities in the public interest, with no data-mining of any kind, and no sale of access to us in any form. We retain ownership of our own data, and cannot contract that away by signing a Terms Of Use agreement with a predatory corporation.


I feel that you are on the money. If we have to go so far socialist as to turn things into local and regional co-ops so be it. Until, or if we go to that end, in the meantime taking public ownership of some things is the only way to stem the tidal wave of greed consuming us, our government, and our economy.


I bought a piece of furniture that needs to be assembled. Included are the instructions. Doesn’t mean I can put the damn thing together!
This is a typical Warren move…Say she’s gonna do this and that, but can’t
complete the job.

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Tech and big data companies like Axciom/Experian/LexusNexus are basically sharing all customer data into giant data warehouses for marketing companies to leverage. That’s the real problem.

The problem is opt-in vs opt-out laws. It is unregulated, meaning Facebook can set the preference for sharing data for everyone unless they can find an option to opt-out.

A law that requires an explicit opt-in with stiff penalties would solve the problem… “Do you want your data shared with …”. Sharing data without permission would cost the company $100,000 per user whose data was shared without their explicit permission, half paid to the user and half paid to the DOJ.

The law would have to be very simple and straightforward to not allow any loopholes, other than possibly sharing data with law enforcement based on warrants with explicitly named suspects and a named violation of the criminal codes (e.g. hate crimes). Counts of the warrants by criminal code should be disclosable by the Tech company.

What about the giant data warehouse on all Americans that is the NSA (e.g. Salt Lake City) and Five-Eyes data sharing by country that benefits the incumbent president?


Yup, regulation and protection of personal of data and AI is w-a-a-a-y behind the curve.

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We are stuck in the RIGHT lane and will not spend on anything progressive, other than the military. We sit in the bleachers watching other countries sail past us.


So, I don’t really disagree with the premise that Facebook and others have too much power. I’m having a hard time visualizing how you “break up” something like Facebook? What does that mean exactly?

Would it be better to regulate Facebook, rather than “break it up”?

For example, Facebook’s track record on trying to “moderate” content has been an unmitigated disaster – they have no clue what they are doing, and doing anything seems a little antithetical to notions of free speech. Wouldn’t it be better to prevent them from censoring content, than trying to break them up?

Also, Facebook, Google, Amazon and their ilk silently collect personal information on all of us, without our consent, without compensating us for the privilege, without disclosing what they collect or with whom they share it or how they profit from it or how they otherwise use that information. Wouldn’t it be better to have complete transparency over what information is being shared, with whom and for what purpose and to give us control over every single bit of datum than worrying about how “big” these companies have become? How about focusing on transparency and consumer control, instead of tilting at the windmills of breaking them up?

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What a wonderful idea to break up Amazon. And if you do that, maybe you can break up the Amazon Kindle slush pie as well. Which could conceivably move American publishing, awful as it already was, two degrees back toward its hayday of the 1930’s when giants of publishing such as Maxwell Perkins strode the earth.

I know someone at the top of the Kindle ice shards. She has both hardcover and digital editions of her books available, the one about Italy the other China (A FOOTPATH IN UMBRIA and WELCOME TO HERE).

She said to me, “John, New York publishing is a pain in the ass.” She doesn’t give readings in bookstores where she would get no payment but rather in fancy libraries where there is a speaker’s fee, a carefully cultivated audience who signed up in advance and a great opportunity to sell some paper copies.

She has the highest evaluation among self-published books, the highest volume of sales and reviews, the best designed covers.

And yet, no New York publisher or agent will even look at one of her books, will return it unopened in its envelope since they know it came from the Kindle slush pie.

There is a stigma in having your work in the Kindle slush pie.

And yet her books deserve a wider readership. How much do Americans really know about China?

Warren: “We NEED reform. I will force all rapist to use condoms and lube!”

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The idea of “Breaking up” isn’t so much that. Warren’s interest is to allow more use of the companies platform by underlings to use or to be able to have their own start ups. Right now those platforms are in house only platforms.
There is more to it, but I think that’s the gist of it.

We definitely need this kind of action, although it should be extended to all businesses. Mergers & takeovers have been happening far too frequently in recent decades in all sectors of the economy. We should take a much more scrutinizing look at each one. I also think a hefty fee to the government for each one that is approved would make companies considering taking over or merging with other companies think twice before making the move.

The FDA does not have enough inspectors to keep our food safe. The EPA is ridding it’s regulations to just about nothing so how do you expect the FTC, FCC and all to function to regulate an on or off sharing of information?

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Give Warren her due. She created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And you mock her for calling out the tech companies and their misuse of our data and the betrayal of our trust ?
She is bringing this issue to the forefront when no other Democrat will do so. I guess that’s not good enough for you.

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The thing to do about that privacy gadget is to not by one of the stupid things. Do we really need electronic servants who can spy on us?

I may be a fool but I see both Sanders and Warren as bright spots in our legislative branch. A branch, along with the other two, that needs all the bright spots it can get.

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My understanding is that agencies of the federal government (e.g. FDA, EPA, FTC, HSS, DOJ etc.) report to the POTUS but must follow laws passed by Congress. If the laws written allow leeway or explicitly defer to the agencies’ judgement, those agencies become political tools of each President who selects the agency heads. That’s why I’m suggesting there should be no leeway or vagueness in the law so subsequent administrations can’t weaken the law’s intent.

As for under-staffing and no prosecution agreements, those will always be a problem.

The mere threat of huge fines will solve the problem.

If the DOJ will get $50,000 per affected user, that’s a huge amount of money for Facebook to ignore. Each breach typically affects 10,000 minimum users which means a $0.5 Billion which could wipe out Facebook’s annual profit.

The law should give companies 6-months to get their shit together. That’s plenty of time for Facebook to make their system private and obtain explicit privacy waivers. No lawsuit would be needed. The companies will comply.

However, if Elizabeth can introduce her ideas into the public conversation that would be a big accomplishment, She has her hand on the pulse of what is important.

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I hope she is sincere in this proposal. I also hope she can persuade the more corporate oriented Democrats to go along.

Isn’t it funny that so many of us are eager to take these tech giants into public ownership?

If we could take them into public ownership we might find a number of industries would be forced to follow suit, like the pharmaceutical industry, for one.

Just imagine, taking an action in the interest of the citizens! Isn’t it about time that we actually did take the country back instead of just talking about it?

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