Re: Making a deal with the Devil
It doesn't work like that. It's going something like the following:
Governments have been asking for cooperation, the companies have chosen not to. Governments are losing patience, and are moving to take the matter out of the hands of the companies.
The companies then won't have a choice - the laws in various countries will become very explicit about what is expected. The "deal" will be made by Governments using law and it will be on terms chosen by Governments, not negotiated by the companies.
Breaking the new laws will result in huge fines, and possibly prison for individual company officers. That's the choice that people like Zuckerberg, Schmidt, Cook, etc will personally face.
Like it or loathe, this situation is an inevitable consequence of the companies' more or less total failure to engage. They’ve forgotten what it is that motivates voters, and hence politicians.
Practically the only universal belief shared by all politicians everywhere is that law and order really, really matters, that their own personal future (employment as an MP, cushy number as an elected leader) depends on being seen to be effective at dealing with crime. Falling short on law and order, doing nothing about a string of attacks, is an absolute guarantee of being voted out of office. Terrorism, unchecked paedophilia, unbridled hate videos, really do all have a political effect.
In matters like this one has to calculate where the corporate risk, profit lies. The companies have, I think, miscalculated. When this first became an issue (not even a political issue) they could have chosen to lead the debate on how content should be policed.
However they chose not to debate at all, and effectively said that content policing won't happen at all. And they have been repeatedly caught out having not policed content themselves and have also been ineffective and obstructive about removing it.
I cannot think up a company - government interaction that's going to irritate a politician more than that.
I think their profit risk calculation went something like this, in California. "If we're seen to cave in at all, our freetard ad funded business model is toast". And they looked no further than that.
This all took place when the companies started using https:// post Snowden.
The cause of all this is a failure of legislators to see early enough that OTT services like Facebook, YouTube, etc would need regulation (like phone networks are). They remain unregulated, and putting the genie back in the bottle is going to cause a huge row.
The companies are also at fault for not working out that regulation is going to play a long term role in their networks' operations. The fact that their business models rely on a lack of regulation is what has made them short sighted.
One way out of it would be proof of legal ID at user registration. That'd drive their business model away from freetard data slurping ad funded towards paid for ad free services. Might be refreshing...