GDPR: Good for privacy, even better for Google's dominance

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation is a gnarly hairball of regulation; on the one hand, it makes it virtually impossible to collect mountains of data and buy/sell/trade/mine it to a corporation's heart's content; on the other hand, it imposes a ton of expensive compliance steps on its targets like high-cost record-keeping, and it apportions liability to website operators whose advertisers are out of compliance with the regulation. Read the rest

Democrats unveil "Internet Bill of Rights": transparency, privacy, control, notification, Net Neutrality, competition, accountability

The Democrats' newly unveiled "Internet Bill of Rights" enumerates ten rights that the party says it will enshrine in law, ranging from Net Neutrality to data portability to timely notification of breaches to opt-in for data collection, the right to see the data held on you by surveillance capitalists, rights to privacy and to be free from surveillance-driven discrimination, pro-competitive measures and so forth. Read the rest

America's super-concentrated telcoms industry unites to sue California over Net Neutrality law

Competition scholar Tim Wu has described how industries over time become more concentrated and less competitive, as executives move sideways from one giant company to another, creating a web of backchannels that lets the companies unite to pursue their industry-wide goals rather than competing with each other to deliver better service at better prices to their customers. Read the rest

Standard Notes: free, open, cross-platform, encrypted, eternal note-taking app

With Evernote's business on the rocks, a lot of people are waking up to the fact that commercial, proprietary cloud systems work great (easy, well-supported) but fail badly (lock-in, sudden bankruptcy, loss of years' worth of important data). Read the rest

Facebook kremlinology: Instagram founders' exodus signals immanent facebookization

Facebook's acquisition spree -- including huge-dollar payouts for Instagram and Whatsapp -- was supposed to shore up the company's crumbling user base by creating a "family" of semi-independent companies with diverse approaches to business, sharing a back-end of engineering, marketing and other resources, but offering very different propositions to users. Read the rest

Big Tech is losing the public's trust in just the same way that Big Finance has

Writing in the New York Times, Nathaniel Popper notes a new current running through our discourse: the idea that Big Tech is not to be trusted, and should be broken up. Read the rest

Tim "Net Neutrality" Wu on the case for breaking up Facebook

Competition scholar and cyberlawyer Tim Wu (previously) is best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality," but his work ranges over all sorts of issues related to technology, competition, monopoly and innovation; in his forthcoming book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, he makes the case for breaking up the tech giants, starting with Facebook -- because the problem with Big Tech isn't "tech," it's "big." Read the rest

Zephyr Teachout wins the New York Times's endorsement for Attorney General of New York State

Zephyr Teachout (previously) is a netroots pioneer, a leading competition law scholar, and a progressive candidate for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of New York State. Read the rest

My closing keynote from the second Decentralized Web Summit

Two years ago, I delivered the closing keynote at the Internet Archive's inaugural Decentralized Web event; last week, we had the second of these, and once again, I gave the closing keynote, entitled Big Tech's problem is Big, not Tech. Here's the abstract: Read the rest

12% of music industry revenues go to musicians

There are more people who want to make art than the market would support, and the arts are a highly concentrated industry: combine those two facts and you get a buyers' market for artists' work, controlled by intermediaries, who take almost all of the money generated by the work. Read the rest

Justice Dept. won't block AT&T purchase of Time Warner, mega-merger can proceed

Monopoly season is open, and Net Neutrality just died. The Justice Department will not try to stop AT&T from purchasing Time Warner, and the companies are now free to close their deal. The government may yet appeal a ruling on its antitrust lawsuit against the ultra-giga-mega-merger. Read the rest

How do we fix IoT security without blocking interoperability and creating monopolies?

Jonathan Zittrain (previously) writes, "There’s reason to worry about security for the ever-growing Internet of Things, and it’ll be tempting to encourage vendors to solely control their devices that much more, limiting interoperability or user tinkering. There are alternatives - models for maintaining firmware patches for orphaned devices, and a 'Faraday mode' so that iffy devices can still at least partially function even if they’re not able to remain safely online. Procrastination around security has played a key role in its success. But 'later' shouldn’t mean 'never' for the IoT." Read the rest

The upside of big tech is Russia vs Telegram, but the downside is Cloudflare vs SESTA

Yesterday, I wrote about the way that tech-sector concentration was making it nearly impossible for Russia to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram: because Telegram can serve its traffic through giant cloud providers like Amazon, Russia can only block Telegram by blocking everyone else who uses Amazon. Read the rest

The Peltzman model: a way to understand the kind of regulation Facebook might face from Congress

Sam Peltzman proposed a model of regulation where the profitability of firms is in tension with their customers' desire for low prices and politicians' desire to get votes. Read the rest

Between Trump, Ajit Pai and a GOP Congress, there's never been a better time for a terrible Sprint/T-Mobile merger

One of the factors that makes the Net Neutrality fight so urgent is how little competition there is in the telcoms sector; it -- like the whole modern economy is dominated by a few giant, top-heavy firms that are gobbling one another at speed. Read the rest

Big Telco hates "regulation," but they love their billions in government handouts

When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco's major talking point is that "government regulation" has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation's telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare. Read the rest

EU fines Qualcomm over $1 billion for anti-competitive iPhone deal

The US -- allegedly a bastion of the "free market" -- has one of the world's lowest levels of economic competition, thanks to the triumph of the Chicago School economists, who used shitty math to convince Ronald Reagan and his successors that the only time a monopoly is a problem is when it raises prices. Read the rest

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