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All your information are belong to us?

peterdevorepeterdevore Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
There is an interesting thing going on with the advent of information technologies that made the processing and dispersal of information very cheap. Companies that traditionally made a business simply by asking money for every single copy are becoming overpriced. Nobody will argue that there should not be money in it for the original 'creator' of the information, but the fat layer of middle men between them and the end consumer is not needed anymore.

If all information services were centralized or at least standardized through a huge government effort, a lot of companies that just gather and process information/rights and ask money for it (eg. patent trolls, real estate brokers, news agencies, all kinds of publishing companies) would not be needed any more. Which is a good thing, since they are exactly the kind of companies I hate.

Monopolies on some types of information are simply too dangerous to mix with capitalist interests, but they are very much needed for transparency, enforcement of standards and ease of dissemination. Competition is not in the interest of the consumer here. Companies are trying to lock each other out through DRM, self serving 'standards' and patents and we are having a hard time making laws to make them play nice with each other. Is it a good idea to rely on a single 'good' company (Google maybe?) to look after our interests?

Companies are a lot less transparent and have fundamentally different goals than a government. If we keep the government in check and don't give it the power to invade our privacy, I would always choose it as my information guardian over a company, but maybe I'm just deluded.

Can you see information gathering/processing/storage as a public service? How far can we take this plan? Is it in any way realistic? Will it be the beginning of the end for capitalism?
Discuss.

peterdevore on

Posts

  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2007
    I wish the government would brush my teeth in the morning.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    China's government controls the information flow for its people by ordering special tools and software from programming giants, which is the opposite of what you're saying. That's not going so well for the Chinese people so we can definitely learn from that.

    Before the thread gets a lot of steam behind it, can someone explain how the US government's Echelon system works? I'm just curious.

    easybossfight_zps4752c132.gif
  • peterdevorepeterdevore Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Examples of bad information management is everywhere. There have been several instances where companies exposed huge credit card information lists and tried to cover up. The ideal of profit for those companies is a driving force to hush these kind of things up. Why would I want to have several different companies permanently storing my credit card number in their own ways?

    Or how about medical information? Why would I want my history to be kept with several different hospitals and doctors all in their own formats? Would it not be safer to have a single central repository to store that information that only gives it away when I say so or in an emergency?

    These are all legitimate consumer needs, but I think they are not feasible to be provided for by multiple smaller or a single large corporation that you'd have to trust completely. The only other option seems to me a non-profit government regulated institution. Or a constant push and pull of regulative laws that probably will never cover all the bases because of lobbying groups.

    It's quite more legitimate then wanting the government to brush my teeth in the morning. Are you not tired of filling out the same information on forms over and over again, and, over and over again, have some schmuck type it in wrong and having to do it all over again? Are you not appalled that, when a company knows somebodies husband died, that person immediately gets bombarded with life insurance brochures?

    How do they know? Most of the time you fill out any one of those stupid forms you are giving the receiving party a right to sell that information. There are companies that make profits because they know stuff about me and they sell that information to the highest bidder.

    The government already knows the most important stuff about everyone. What piece of information is more important to you than the combination of name, social security number and place of residence they already know. They are the institution we have the most power over, why don't we use that to protect our rights to privacy?

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    What right? You didn't have to give anyone any of that information, but oh look, partaking in modern society requires people to know something about you - who'd a thunk it?

  • peterdevorepeterdevore Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    What right? You didn't have to give anyone any of that information, but oh look, partaking in modern society requires people to know something about you - who'd a thunk it?

    I mean that you give them the right to sell the information I give them instead of just keeping it between me and them. A lot of 'privacy' policies contain this claim. Doesn't that practice bother you the least bit?

    This isn't about giving the specific company you're dealing with your information for the time they need it, that's obviously needed and not my point. It is about them keeping it on record for too long and selling it to anyone who wants to pay for it, or inadvertently leaking it.

    But my main point was not the privacy issue. It was about how to get rid of the established information brokers: the publishing houses, the record companies, the patent trolls. They are all overpriced and struggling for survival. Competition will just replace them with one large corporate monopoly in the end I think (but feel free to tell me how it would not) and that doesn't seem like the best option to me.

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    All those issues are covered in current privacy legislation, just no one cares because they really want that free stuff rather then to worry about what corporation #128 might be concluding on how to pitch it's latest marketing campaign based off their demographics info - which is what they're doing, by the way. There's no conspiracy here.

  • peterdevorepeterdevore Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I am not talking about any conspiracies. It is simply the capitalistic ideal being incompatible with privacy laws and proper dissemination of information with virtually cost-free systems.

    And the privacy thing isn't that bad in the current law situation, I agree. It is more the fragmentation of information over lots of companies that I'm fed up with. There is so much overhead there that in a competition, a larger company will always win it from a small company.

    Using a single standardized place to process and store information just seems like the ideal situation for me. It is fundamentally different from traditional product-based economics since there isn't really something like 'scarcity' in the per-product sense, information is freely copyable.

    The discovery and creation of new information however is of course still scarce. So we should focus our economy on the creators of information, not the middle men like record companies and publishers.

  • JamesKeenanJamesKeenan Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    I wish the government would brush my teeth in the morning.

    If you brushed your teeth at all, hip-

    Wait, wait. Where am I?

    Free Culture was a very interesting read. I recommend picking it up. Whether cheaply online, or freely from a library, at least check it out.

  • redxredx Bow Down! Before the power of Santa!Registered User regular
    edited September 2007
    I don't think I like the idea of the government being the central clearinghouse for all information. I don't trust them much.

    I like the elbow room of all that stuff being seperate, and I pay some attention to how companies will use the information I provide them.

    Bow Down, Bow Down
    Before the power of Santa
    Or be crushed, be crushed
    By his jolly boots of doom.
  • MrRezisterMrRezister Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Ok, so let me think about this. A monopoly, or even a duopoly, in which the profits go to private citizens is a bad thing. Bu a true monopoly, where the profits are delivered into the hands of the Government... that's a good thing, because the Government is always looking out for our best interests, and it is very efficient and fair. Ok, I'm convinced, let's do it.

  • mastmanmastman Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    If the government paid well enough to attract the best professionals in information security... barely maybe. But as it is now, it is just a super retarded business full of people who want power and lack all manner of desire and motivation to do things correctly.

    ByalIX8.png
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    It's worth noting that, in the USA, there already is a law for electronic data privacy and portability with health information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIPAA. It's a pretty huge deal with health insurance and health providers, especially because the US government doesn't fuck around when it comes to HIPAA violations. These kinds of mandates can work, but there's really got to be a compelling interest to force all companies who deal with a certain kind of data to conform to a standard. Heath and credit info is definitely up there in importance, but I certainly wouldn't include digital entertainment media. That's the sort of thing the free market needs to work out, seeing as it's not concerning the private information of individuals.

    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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  • peterdevorepeterdevore Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    MrRezister wrote: »
    Ok, so let me think about this. A monopoly, or even a duopoly, in which the profits go to private citizens is a bad thing. Bu a true monopoly, where the profits are delivered into the hands of the Government... that's a good thing, because the Government is always looking out for our best interests, and it is very efficient and fair. Ok, I'm convinced, let's do it.

    Firstly, the people could take care that it is non-profit. It could be payed for with something like municipal taxes, the way you pay for the sewage plant.
    Secondly, there are processes of standardization that do result in fair and efficient systems. I would agree that capitalism is already doing a fine job at finding the best way of distributing traditional physical goods, but when it comes to information, there are clearly different rules that provide enough foundation to erect a new and better suited system on.

    I have been a bit scarce on the 'how' when it comes to this magical 'information monopoly' system. I don't think we are there yet to actually build it, but we can start to discuss the basics. That Lawrence Lessig book was a good suggestion and probably does a better job at describing them than I do.

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    wwtMask wrote: »
    It's worth noting that, in the USA, there already is a law for electronic data privacy and portability with health information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIPAA. It's a pretty huge deal with health insurance and health providers, especially because the US government doesn't fuck around when it comes to HIPAA violations. These kinds of mandates can work, but there's really got to be a compelling interest to force all companies who deal with a certain kind of data to conform to a standard. Heath and credit info is definitely up there in importance, but I certainly wouldn't include digital entertainment media. That's the sort of thing the free market needs to work out, seeing as it's not concerning the private information of individuals.

    HIPAA is full of dogshit and made out of lies and vomit. Ask anyone who works in healthcare and they can probably give you a dozen examples of how HIPAA fucks up their day. Seriously, it was great once. Now though, the idea has become an institution and they have a bunch of people who's only job is to add rules to the policy.

    So, you have a group of people who's job depends on coming up with new rules for a system that worked fine at first. Now though, they've added so much shit to it that it's causes migraine and a stroke for anyone who actually tries to follow or understand all of it at once.

    Sort of like JHACO making up new rules for hospitals every few days. We now have to lock up water and saline. It honestly feels like they just make some of this shit up as they go. I wont be surprised for them to one day say "I'm sorry, this floor is eggshell white, it is clearly stated in the revised standards that walls must be off-white and floors must be lavender-white if you are to remain accredited".

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