back to article Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

Personal data is the oil of the internet. The great engines of Facebook and Google pump it relentlessly, burning it at will to power their marketing monetisation magic. The pollution it creates in broken privacy, shattered politics and the corrupting force of hidden agendas, is out of control. You'd think that the source of …

  1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    BBC

    I used to trust the BBC, but now they're a tory mouthpiece, it's not easy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      Do you actually watch or listen to anything the BBC broadcasts?

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        I constantly hear reports of corrupt politicians which the BBC fail to report

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          Just this morning: all over the news.

          But I'll give you the chance to counteract - any specific examples you'd care to show us?

          M.

          1. saline_solution

            Re: BBC

            https://metro.co.uk/2019/11/11/bbc-shows-three-year-old-clip-boris-johnson-instead-wreath-laying-blunder-11078714/

            1. mistersaxon

              Re: BBC

              Metro is owned by the BBCs (commercial) competition of course so can they really claim to be accurate and unbiased?

              (Of course they *can* claim that - and they do - but it's another lie)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Do you by any chance hear them on Facebook and Twitter? Or is this more of a Breitbart deal?

      2. RegGuy1 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: BBC

        Well I don't any longer. But I can guess what will be on their website. On the right-hand side of any story will be a list of pictures, many with the smiling face of a young pretty woman. They seem to like to pepper their site with such faces.

        They will have stories of people who are succeeding in the face of adversity, sending the message to the young to get off your arse and win, and to the old look we don't hate you. Their politics page will offer no hard edged questions about, er, the housing crisis. There will be no commentary such as, hey guys, we can solve this by building lots of council houses so people that just want somewhere affordable to live can have that. I have never seen any such article.

        There will be lots of 'look how I built my own home' type of things, or on TV cash in the attic, do up your house, how to make money on your home, etc, etc. But nothing about why don't we give more money back to councils so they can provide our homes for us, and, by the way, offer jobs to people to build them as well. Of course not, that would upset the enormous fraternity that support the current government because if you took away their housing income they would be unemployed (and unemployable?).

        The beeb are struggling to get younger kids to watch them as they tend to look for video online. My kids don't watch it. They can't see what it offers. It's all the same type of programming, and that thinking gets shared across the entire terrestrial stations. So the beeb pepper their site with housing programs, or how to make money out of shit, and ITV and Channel 4 do the same.

        It is only the old (brexiters) that tend to watch TV these days. Once they have died off the beeb's TV will have nothing to offer. You may disagree. Anyway those are my views for what they are worth. The off button is the best button on the TV remote these days.

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          Re: BBC

          "It is only the old (brexiters) .."

          About six months after the referendum was held I went to a lecture by an emeritus professor of hard sums at Cambridge University. His particular subject was post election analysis of who voted how. Of course his work fed into swingometers and the like but he was a serious statistician.

          He said that at first sight there were the by then well know biases: brexiteers were more likely to be northern, older, less well educated, lower waged etc. None of this held up under rigorous statistical analysis.

          There was only one factor that was in any way a significant predictor of how someone voted. If you answered yes to "Do you support the return of capital punishment?" you were more likely to vote leave.

          Make of that what you will but do try not to trot out largely irrelevant and erroneous "facts" based on confirmation bias.

          1. the small snake Bronze badge
            Alien

            Re: BBC

            So what you are saying is that brexit voters like killiing people. Well, yes.

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              "So what you are saying is that brexit voters like killiing people."

              No, the other way around. People who like killing people are more likely to vote Brexit.

              Voting Remain doesn't make you a chalet bitch in thrall to cheap labour, but being a chalet bitch in thrall to cheap labour is more likely to make you vote Remain.

          2. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            I'm sure, if people answered honestly the question "Am I quite racist", there would be some correlation of that with Brexit voting.

            A lot of voting intentions stuff is a problem as lots of people do not honestly answer questions they feel may reflect badly on them (such as being potentially racist, homophobic etc.) so correlating "social views" with voting is difficult.

            1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              I'm sure, if people answered honestly the question "Am I quite racist", there would be some correlation of that with Brexit voting.

              Which sounds a lot like a preformed assumption, a stereotype if you will, reinforced by your own judgements about how people voted and without any hard evidence to back that up. Anecdotal doesn't count.

              The very point Trigonoceps was making.

        2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: BBC

          I generally read the BBC news website between breakfast, taking the dog for a poo walk and waiting for a fellow dog walker so we can have a chatty walk and I'm pleased to tell you that your guesses are wrong.

          How long ago did you look at the website?

      3. balrog

        Re: BBC

        My tory friends say the BBC is lefty, my lefty friends say its tory. brexiters say its remainer, guess what the remainers say? I reckon as long as the BBC upsets everybody one way or another it could be doing worse.

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          As a contrarian, the Beeb frequently annoys me, which probably proves your point. It's not perfect, but it's better than all the other forms of state media that I've seen.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Go and watch a bit of Sky News Australia. You will come away feeling decidedly unclean especially when they report on things outside their home market.

          Rupert and his family are IMHO worse than Trump and his idiotic children.

          1. Sampler

            Re: BBC

            / the cause of...

        3. Blitheringeejit
          FAIL

          Re: BBC

          A letter in today's Guardian describes the BBC as "supine", and I think that's a fairer description than "biased" - though they are more supine towards the Tories than towards Labour, because the Tories have the power (and in some cases the inclination) to completely break the BBC's funding model, and effectively sell it off to the highest Murdoch.

          I really don't think that the BBC in general propounds Tory or Labour views - but they do try really hard to avoid upsetting Tory politicians, and they sin by omission in doing so. And that's a poor show for those of us who remember the glory days of Newsnight and Paxman - I sometimes hear the words "Did you threaten to undermine him?" in my sleep...

        4. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

          Re: BBC

          I think it was John Humphries that said people of all political persuasions complain about BBC bias, so that must we mean we have got the balance about right.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      Interesting I've heard Tory supporters would disagree with that. So I guess we're safe to say the BBC is annoying those on the left and the right (good balance is being maintained then)

      1. Steve Graham

        Re: BBC

        No. Independent research shows that the BBC is institutionally pro-government and pro-establishment. Hardly surprising when the majority of the management and journalists went to the same public schools and Oxbridge colleges as the current Cabinet.

        Tories whine about lack of balance because they are accustomed to the blatant bias of the billionaire-owned press. Anything less biased upsets them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Could you give some more details of this independent research? It would also be interesting to know who funded the research, to verify that it was truly independent.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC

            I know it was a rhetorical question, we all know research costs MONEY which doesn't grow on trees and strangely enough, those who pay the pipier...

            Now, I'm trying to imagine those individuals with 'research' in their job title getting together, hey, you know what, let's do some REAL independent research after work, but you know, like REAL real! :D

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              Most interesting that the BBC receive roughly the same number of complaints accusing them of being either left or right.

              For many, the definition of bias in news is “anything I don’t like to hear” or “anything that doesn’t align with my opinion”.

              There is also a faction of anti BBC people who are of the same calibre as flat earthers.

              1. SundogUK Silver badge

                Re: BBC

                "Most interesting that the BBC receive roughly the same number of complaints accusing them of being either left or right."

                That's more to do with the split in the complainers rather than anything the BBC is doing. If the BBC is objectively center-left, your going to get a 50/50 split in people complaining anyway. 'The BBC is too left wing' vs 'the BBC is not left wing enough.'

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Headmaster

            Re: BBC

            >Could you give some more details of this independent research?

            "Overall, BBC news reveals a clear preference for non-partisan or centrist think tanks. However, when the Labour Party was in power in 2009, left and right-leaning think tanks received similar levels of coverage, but in 2015, when the Conservative Party was in government, right-leaning think tanks outnumbered left-leaning think tanks by around two to one. Overall, our findings add weight to a pattern emerging from a number of recent academic studies that show, despite its undoubted commitment to impartiality, BBC news programming has shifted its centre of gravity to the right."

            Lewis, J., & Cushion, S. (2019). Think tanks, television news and impartiality: The ideological balance of sources in BBC programming. Journalism Studies, 20(4), 480-499.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          the BBC is institutionally pro-government and pro-establishment.

          It used to be. These days it's certainly still pro-establishment, but far from generically pro-government. Take its anti-Brexit stance, for instance, where it was clearly not neutral in the way it reported events.

          I've no problem with the wider press taking such stances, when they publicly do so. No-one would expect the Grauniad to be pro-Tory, or the Telegraph to be anti-Tory, for example, but neither of them make any claims otherwise. The BBC claims to simply report the news impartially, as its charter requires, but it hasn't done that very well since the 1980s.

          1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: BBC

            I regard it as more pro-woke

            1. Andy 68

              Re: BBC

              I read that as "pro-cake"

              I'd Thumbs-Up that one....

              1. Gort99

                Re: BBC

                Can't really say that since Bake Off went to Channel 4.

            2. 96percentchimp

              Re: BBC

              And that's a good thing, IMO. If pro-woke means being against libertarian ideologues who think they have a right to be an arsehole without suffering any consequences, then I'm all for it. They're a cancer on civil society and we'd all be a lot better off with less of their bad-faith contrarianism.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC

            The governmrmt has put Tory donors in charge. They are getting their moneys worth:

            https://westcountrybylines.co.uk/bbcs-desperate-efforts-to-airbrush-out-brexit-heres-the-evidence/

          3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            If the BBC was so anti-brexit, why did it give so much air time to vile shites such as Farage and his ilk?

            The BBC tried to present facts as much as possible. That the average brexit promoter could produce no facts and just vague lies about £350m on the side of a bus was their problem along with most brexiteering being about rabble rousing and inciting hatred and division and unfounded fear.

            For example, when a brexiteer stated that "with brexit we can have blue passports again". Other than an utterly meaningless and unimportant reason to destroy an entire economy and the prospects of the young, the UK could have chosen to deploy blue passports with or without brexit. Was the BBC stating this fact showing your supposed anti-brexit bias or just stating a plain, hard fact that you don't like?

            Where the BBC does let itself down is its insistence on "showing the other side of a story or viewpoint" regardless of how retarded this is. For example, it will provide equal weight and visibility for a flat earth moron with either no qualifications or purchased scam titles opposite a geology professor who is well known and renowned and has many published papers. That's where the BBC lets itself down.

          4. WageSlave5678

            Re: BBC - some programmes were biased

            I think the issue is that overall the programming is relatively balanced, but there's a difference between giving equal - or higher - weight to extremist thinkers.

            e.g. the inordinate amount of time given to Mr Farage and fellow right-wingers in both panel (1 of 4 panel members, over & over again to represent that extreme view, rather than, a fairer representation of, e.g. 1 show in 10, representing a c.3% balance in the population.

            It is clear that Farage's air time had a huge influence on the Brexit vote, rather than treating them as a troublesome minority.

            Giving equal time to a minority view is not balance, especially when that view is so regressive, and utters provable lies.

        3. Danny 2 Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          I agree that the BBC is pro-government and pro-establishment but I feel that it is not based on political party politics. I think it sucks up to whichever of your two parties are in power, presumably to protect it's licence fee.

          It certainly sucked up to Blair when he was PM, and still regularly features him uncritically - which must be a little awkward today as they cover the Pandora Papers.

          There were two in-depth university media studies on pre-Iraq invasion TV news coverage. Both showed the BBC had 80% pro-war interviewees, 20% pro-peace. Sky News by contrast was 60% pro-war, 40% pro-peace. At a time when 90%+ of the polled public were against an invasion without UN backing. And interestingly all the newspapers - including the Guardian - were pro-war.

          Then there is regional bias. We just had the football Euro qualifiers. English games would get an hour intro, Scottish games fifteen minutes. The English game shown on terrestrial TV in Scotland, while the Scottish game was on BT or Sky. I know, trivial but typical. One nation to rule the four nations. And if you think the BBC are biased about Labour, look at their SNP coverage while self-promoter Ruth Davidson got a free ride to the House of Lords.

          And the constant uncritical blanket coverage of the monarchy. The Royals just had an extended soft-soap special on the BBC showing how lovely and caring they all are, yet no sign of Prince Andrew.

          I would happily defund the BBC, in fact I do but that doesn't stop them from threatening to send my octogenarian mum to prison if she doesn't pay their poll tax. Adverts or per-programme payments or subscriptions, not the current abuse.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: the Scottish game

            I'm not clear on something here. In particular, If the Scottish Euro games were shown only on BT or Sky, why are you blaming the BBC for how short the intro segment was? Isn't that rather Sky or BT's fault?

            In my recollection I thought I saw the Scottish games on the (freesat) listings for BBC Scotland (in fact I think I watched some of them, which means they weren't only on BT or Sky). I don't generally watch much of the intro stuff, but if they did only have a 15m intro, shouldn't you presumably blame your own local BBC tentacle rather than the whole? Is it really plausible that BBC central - for some reason - would forbid BBC Scotland from running a longer intro?

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: the Scottish game

              I should have explained better. There was one England game that was free to view, terrestrial in Scotland, at the same time the Scotland game was only on a subscription channel. Poor Scots could watch England but not Scotland.

              I'm not even sure if that was STV or BBC Scotland that made that faux pas, but the regional kowtowing to the larger partner is the same in both cases. I did say everyday regionalism is trivial compared to political bias but it still grates. I also didn't want to make it all about Scotland because I'm sure Wales and Northern Ireland feel the same. Probably Cornwall and the North of England too - and by north I don't mean Manchester or Leeds, it takes me five hours to drive south to there.

              There is a short, pithy poem about regionalism (London metropolitanism) in the media - The News Where You Are

              1. ~chrisw

                Re: the Scottish game

                With regards to sports rights, it's a simple money game. BBC can't afford blanket rights for everything and commercial competition is squeezing them out left right and centre. Heck, there were even rumblings pre-Covid that they might not necessarily have banner events like Wimbledon, the Boat Race and the London Marathon for much longer (and look at this week's news about the Marathon potentially going to another broadcaster, thanks to a change of mind from the rightsholders).

                The deal that was struck between broadcasters for the Euros meant that the BBC only got a very limited number of games, so - logically - it went for the ones with the biggest relevance to the largest possible audience. It's the cold reality of sports rights.

                1. tiggity Silver badge

                  Re: the Scottish game

                  Frankly I don't regard the London marathon, the boat race or Wimbledon as "banner" events - I always find it bizarre the minimal coverage of other tennis grand slams compared to the massive amount of Wimbledon hours just because its "British" (more balanced tennis coverage would be good, cover all the slams rather than just overwhelm us with one & just have scarps from the rest)

                2. Danny 2 Silver badge

                  Re: the Scottish game

                  @chrisw

                  "so - logically - it went for the ones with the biggest relevance to the largest possible audience. It's the cold reality of sports rights."

                  I agree, and it's not just sports, it's all media coverage from the BBC, Sky, ITV, the print.

                  But do you see my point - you kind of proved my point - that as long as Scotland is a tenth of the UK it will get zero coverage. We have to watch England football games because England games are ten times more audience - except here.

                  And don't even get me started on cricket coverage. Most English people I know are surprised we don't play cricket, watch cricket, or want updates on your cricket on our news.

                  To quote Ten CC, I Don't Like Cricket. I would happily deport anyone from Scotland regardless of ethnicity if they like cricket. That'd be about 1,000 people tops.

                  1. BebopWeBop
                    Thumb Down

                    Re: the Scottish game

                    You clearly don't live in The Borders

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: the Scottish game

                    Regarding cricket: I was once a little surprised (but with hindsight it was perfectly understandable) to be wandering through Pollok Country Park (in Glasgow, Scotland (obviously)) one sunny day and stumbled across a bunch of youths from a nearby neighbourhood energetically (well, as much as you can) playing cricket. They were Scots of South Asian descent and so of course cricket was part of their heritage, and they seemed to be having a perfectly fun time of it. Apparently there are also a not an entirely insignificant number of people in Scotland, of whatever background, who do play cricket. It's not the biggest participation sport, but it's apparently nowhere near as small as you might think it would be.

                    I have to say, I am half interested in the idea of playing cricket (We had one great sports teacher at school who did an excellent job of introducing us to as many sports as possible, and we did play indoors cricket one week, and it was reasonably enjoyable [and you didn't get muddy] (We also had one fascist sports teacher whose gruel-like menu extended no further than rugby and cross-country running, and I'm sure he would have found a way to combine the both together if he could)), but I'm not sure that I really have the luxury of days, weeks, or even, umm, centuries, to play it (nor really the ideal weather for it here in Scotland). But the idea of a game where you don't get muddy or soaking wet, where you can stand around chatting half the time, and also drink Pimms and eat cucumber sandwiches while basking in the afternoon sunshine sounds not altogether bad to me.

                    But as for watching cricket (or any other sport), I'd much rather all of these were on a separate sports channel, so that they never ever darkened the schedules of normal people. And sports results have no bloody place taking up half of the News either!

              2. MrReynolds2U

                Re: the Scottish game

                Welshman living in England here. I concur that availability of national football on terrestrial TV is definitely skewed towards England, but then so is the population.

                National reporting on the BBC always seems to prioritise English (especially South-East) stories, but then again, maybe that is due to geographical population dispersion and therefore relatively proportional and un-biased. I don't think it's conclusive or obvious.

                However, I'd really like it if the BBC (and other media outlets) were tougher with political interviewees and stopped booking those who side-stepped or waffled nonsense. Of course, if they did this then there would be no political interviews.

                The most successful politicians are those that give only the illusion of an answer.

                1. clyde666

                  Re: the Scottish game

                  "National reporting on the BBC always seems to prioritise English (especially South-East) stories, but then again, maybe that is due to geographical population dispersion and therefore relatively proportional and un-biased. I don't think it's conclusive or obvious."

                  Understood what you're saying.

                  But the UK is a big geographical area, and the BBC is organised into regional entities.

                  The point I think some people are making is that the broadcasting entirely revolves around topics that interest only some groups. The fact that those groups are majority of population actually proves the point of bias. Given that the BBC broadcasts regionally, the option is right there to tweak those broadcasts to suit each region.

                  Whether that's BBC Scotland should be giving priority to Scottish football games, or any other identifiable event or interest really is the point.

                  What's the point of regional broadcasting if it does not deviate based on regional criteria.

                  It's not just about football games. It's about attitudes. It's about even things like the weather - saying it's going to be a scorcher when the rain's pouring down 500 miles away from London actually happens quite often.

                2. Charlie van Becelaere

                  Re: the Scottish game

                  "However, I'd really like it if the BBC (and other media outlets) were tougher with political interviewees and stopped booking those who side-stepped or waffled nonsense. Of course, if they did this then there would be no political interviews."

                  Are you saying that would be a bad thing?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC

            Shagging with Prince Andrew. Now I'd watch that!

            1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: Shagging with Prince Andrew

              You are Epstein's ghost, and I claim my five pounds.

              [But, seriously, that's just twisted]

          3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: BBC

            "It certainly sucked up to Blair when he was PM, and still regularly features him uncritically - which must be a little awkward today as they cover the Pandora Papers."

            You've just shot yourself in the foot. The BBC along with Grauniad are the UK leads for the Pandora Papers reporting and have had hold and been analysing them for months - Blair naughtyness and all.

            It's almost as if the BBC permits their journalists multiple viewpoints - almost like their are trying to be evenhanded and balanced. Name one other media organisation that does that?

            I'm not a great fan of the BBC but the fact that successive Governments keep trying to break it suggests to be its doing something right.

          4. clyde666

            Re: BBC

            Absolutely correct that the BBC is pro establishment.

            About 6 or 7 years ago one of these survey people came to the house, and one of their questions was about bias on the BBC. I refused to tick any of their pre-selected boxes and outraged him by my freehand response of 'pro establishment bias'.

            The BBC is a gigantic corporation with many facets. Some good, some - yes some bad. Their news and current affairs department is now a dirty shadow of what it was decades ago. You will never find anything in their output which promotes anything anti-establishment.

        4. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: BBC

          I wonder if those independent researchers actually looked at the content or did they just discuss it among themselves?

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        Their biggest issue is that their definition of balance is to give equal air time to a respected scientist and a nut job off the street who thinks that vaccines are faked and the moon landings give you autism.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Or experts and non-experts.

        2. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          ...the moon landings give you autism.

          Holy moly! Is that true? Oh wow, it explains soooo much...

        3. ~chrisw

          Re: BBC

          There's an entire training course for every single employee (not just journalists) to reiterate and explain the importance of balancing due impartiality and due weight. I agree over the years some editors and presenters haven't done a very good job of this, but it seems people are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Hopefully the BBC as a whole takes a firmer stance on not giving equal minutes of airtime to patently fringe or harmful ideas being espoused on their main debate/panel shows or news articles.

      3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        Tory supporters have whined for years that the BBC are leftish. There was some truth in that for their entertainment output though no evidence in their reporting.

        Under recent governments the BBC have become utterly cowed by the government's control of their finances and have lost the independence for which they were once rightly lauded.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          The political center in the UK is currently wobbling about due to people flocking away from it - I heard a rage against the Guardian for being too right-wing by a Corbyn fan not that long ago.

          So I think it's difficult for the BBC to find and stick to the middle, but I'm fairly satisfied that they're trying - although that still means I'm ratty with them for spouting Tory propaganda about 60% of the time.

          However I hugely agree with the grandparent post here; not every viewpoint warrants equal time on an opposing viewpoint, that the "teach the controversy" fallacy that got creationism into US schools. Provided they stick to facts on issues that are factual, I can forgive a political piece I disagree with.

          1. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            "I heard a rage against the Guardian for being too right-wing by a Corbyn fan not that long ago."

            Years ago I visited friends who subscribe to both MoneyWeek and the Morning Star (formerly the communist party newspaper). There was a wonderful reader's letter in the Morning Star which accused them of being stooges of the CIA!

            1. Danny 2 Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              @H in the Hague

              I grew up listening to my shortwave radio on an earphone under my bed covers so my parents couldn't hear. After John Peel went off air I'd flick the dial between BBC World Service, Radio Free Europe and Radio Moscow. They were all good and bad, but they were identical in that they'd all tell you in depth about what was wrong in your country but not what was wrong in theirs.

              That's why I still read right wing media, and even fascist media, just to get to grips with the arguments I faced.

              I admit I'm a pal with a commie who has an opinion section in the Morning Star. Nobody reads it where I live, you can only buy it in posh shops like Sainsburies. I'm not a commie but I don't consider that word a pejorative.

              Read widely, read often. I preferred the BBC not because their news, but the music.

          2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: BBC

            --ratty with them for spouting Tory propaganda about 60% of the time.--

            Which propaganda would you prefer?

          3. chriskno

            Re: BBC

            Laura Doomsberg does everything she can to run the country into the ground, dreadful reporter

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: BBC

      After seeing Marr yesterday I have to disagree.

      1. Oh Matron!

        Re: BBC

        Calling out Bojo for the lying, cankerous piece of excrement he is was well done.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      The dividing line of our time is not Tory and Labour but pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit.

      With the appointment of Jess Brammar, a rabid remaniac, as chief executive news editor, we can see that the BBC will continue to espouse the views of the London metropolitan elite at the expense of the majority who pay their overinflated salaries.

      Defund the BBC!

      1. Andy 97

        Re: BBC

        The BBC isn’t perfect (by any test), but it beats the alternative by a considerable factor.

        Of course, if you have another solution, I’m sure we’d all like to hear about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          Yes, it's easy to bitch (there!), but on the other hand, if something is shit (is it, though?) let's not clap and cheer for it, simply because it's so much less shit than real shit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC

          The solution is moving to a subscription model. If you fancy adding an extra couple of million to Lineker's fortune every year, go right ahead. Criminalising those who choose not to is unacceptable.

          Seriously, from all we've learnt about the Beeb about over the years, from shielding Jimmy Savile for decades to the Bashir-Diana debacle, on what possible basis can the license fee be justified as being in the public's best interest?

          For me it's analogous to the compulsory church taxes that still exist in certain parts of the world. A corrupt anachronism that wanted putting down years ago.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            It’s in the public interest because the do media, tv, radio and other media, that just wouldn’t get done otherwise. And although I don’t like much of it, it’s not all about me.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: BBC

              Name one BBC TV programme that has no equivalent on the myriad other terrestrial channels?

              From where I'm standing the *only* unique advantage to BBC telly is the lack of annoying adverts.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: BBC

                Name one BBC TV programme that has no equivalent on the myriad other terrestrial channels?

                On TV, I think University Challenge comes to mind first. I'm sure there are more.

                1. Rufus McDufus

                  Re: BBC

                  University Challenge is produced by ITV Studios (now a division thereof called Lifted Entertainment). It started on Granada TV.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    Re: BBC

                    University Challenge is produced by ITV Studios (now a division thereof called Lifted Entertainment). It started on Granada TV.

                    The question was, "name one BBC TV programme". UC is aired on BBC2. Who is sub-contracted to produce it is irrelevant.

                2. smot

                  Re: BBC

                  Songs Of Praise.

                  (Not my cup of tea but hey ho)

                3. tiggity Silver badge

                  Re: BBC

                  BBC has better wildlife and arts documentary progs than other channels (low bar, but...)

                  ... though with BBC4 for the chop, I sadly expect the arts programming to wither even further (already a lack of new arts programming, a lot of older stuff just hauled out again & again).

                  Only Connect style quiz unlikely to ever be a non BBC channel prog.

              2. captain veg Silver badge

                Re: BBC

                Isn't that enough?

                -A.

              3. esso-cola

                Re: BBC

                Songs of Praise

                Countryfile

                Antiques Roadshow

                Politics Live

                Panorama

                See Hear

                Sky at Night

                BBC 4 documentaries

                Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse fishing

                Jools Holland Later

                They are some ones off the top of my head. There's been quite a few documentaries in recent years that I can think of that I don't think I would've seen on the other side too.

                Of course, whether YOU watch any of these is another matter, but these are programmes that are a public good and that other TV channels don't make. Maybe your viewing habits are just too narrow?

                1. FlamingDeath Silver badge

                  Re: BBC

                  OK BOOMER

                  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                    Re: BBC

                    Barely amusing meme at its peak, now several years past its use-by date. 2/10, try harder next time.

                2. SundogUK Silver badge

                  Re: BBC

                  All very much middle class programming for middle class people who could easily fund a channel specifically for that kind of programming but would rather get the working class to pay for it for them.

              4. ~chrisw

                Re: BBC

                From your vantage point, that is your opinion. Whilst valid, it is not the only opinion.

                For generations of kids, CBBC, CBeebies and the significant amount of free educational content available through Bitesize and Lockdown Learning (just two examples) provides a wealth of educational content not provided by anyone else. I remember growing up watching and learning from their Schools programmes broadcast overnight which the teachers taped to show us in the daytime. And the morning and afternoon CBBC shows entertained me for hours each week (with occasional flips over to CITV).

                Nowadays it's sport, dramas, docs, serials, current affairs including some deep and lengthy investigations (e.g. this week's unveiling and coverage of the Pandora Papers in coordination with other journalists around the world) plus I regularly enjoy four of the main network radio stations and various bits and pieces on Sounds. Some of the radio dramas released over the last couple of years have been excellent.

                For other audiences there's various programmes, a mix of new and long-standing, many with steadfastly devoted audiences like GQT, Songs of Praise Farming Today, Gardener's World, a certain longest running radio serial in the world broadcast on Radio 4...

                And then you have the marvellous diverse palette of music, speech and informational radio; the diverse, challenging and sometimes very controversial commissions for outlets like BBC Three which become wildly popular cult hits; the hugely successful mainstream primetime entertainment shows (which personally I can take or leave)... there's plenty going on. Lest we forget the expansive web sites and significant cross-media coverage of major political, news, sporting events etc. All free at the point of use. The BBC's mantra is literally "for everyone", not just one person's particular viewpoint. :-)

                1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

                  Re: BBC

                  There is certainly a lot of good stuff that is broadcast by the BBC, but the question is does it require the BBC funding model / BBC charter to deliver this material?

                  A lot of TV seems to be produced by independent companies, so the company that transmits the show is irrelevant. If there is a proven demand for the show (or for 'that type of show') commercial companies will respond to the perceived demand, and ensure the program is supplied (broadcast).

                  If the argument is that the BBC are broadcasting programs that commercial companies wouldn't, that is effectively to acknowledge that there is a limited demand for such programs. At which point it is fair to ask why should people who have no interest in these issues be forced (by law) to pay for them?

                  We are forced by law to pay taxes, often for things we don't personally use, but we can (at least in theory) vote out the people that control how our taxes are spent.

                  If we want to watch TV, we are forced by law to give money to the BBC, even if we don't ever use the BBC, but we have no ability to vote out the BBC board and replace them with different people that might broadcast something we are interested in. (No taxation without representation!)

                  I can go watch Peterborough play football without subsidising Arsenal.

                  I can go to an Iron Maiden gig without having to pay a fee to the English National Opera.

                  Why, if I want to watch Drama Channel and Yesterday Channel and More 4, do I have to pay a fee to the BBC?

              5. rg287 Silver badge

                Re: BBC

                Name one BBC TV programme that has no equivalent on the myriad other terrestrial channels?

                Others have mentioned Songs of Praise. Gardner's World is another. Plenty of channels have garden-makeover shows, few offer an actual horticultural show. The BBC's educational output is prolific.

                BBC has a mandate to serve everyone including minority, religious and special-interest groups. It's fair to say that prudish Aunty hasn't always managed this and at times C4 has (with their mandate to be a bit more edgy) done a better job (albeit that's no longer really the case - see BBC broadcasting Ru Paul's Drag Race). But they do serve a broad church, which will invariably make some people that they're not giving that person's interests "enough" attention.

                Moreover, complaints about the BBC invariably seem to be whinges about BBC News.

                As David Mitchell so eloquently stated, this is an insane attack on a broad-ranging and valuable national institution.

            2. SundogUK Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              If it "just wouldn’t get done otherwise" that's because people don't want it. If you want it, you pay for it. Don't force me to pay for it for you.

          2. Andy 97

            Re: BBC

            Your comparison of religious subs and television is interesting, but there's some technical issues too.

            The main problem with your suggestion is providing content to the many millions of people that don't have access to a television with a CAM slot, cable or dSat. Significant numbers of people still connect their television to a UHF socket on the wall and not the internet. Not all televisions are compatible with a rolling encryption key system either.

            Many would need to buy another box - do you remember what happened the last time they tried to force people to move to a centrally-controlled subscription model en-masse?

            I note that you didn't mention advertising funded, but you'd already know how ITV, Sky, CH4, Viacom and smaller commercial publishers feel about that.

      2. ds11
        Thumb Down

        Re: BBC

        ...and i raise you Richard Sharpe the "Rabid Brexiteer" chaiman of the BBC

    5. the small snake Bronze badge
      Big Brother

      Re: BBC

      I see. This is why the tories and their fellow-travellers want to dismantle the BBC (https://www.economist.com/britain/2020/09/24/defund-the-bbc-home-for-idling-brexiteers). Of course it is.

      Here is thing: if person of left hates BBC and person of right hates BBC and brexiter hates BBC and remainer hates BBC ... this is because BBC is in fact impartial. Yes have made mistakes obviously (Diana thing in recent days, fucking up balance over climate change by trying to be balanced and giving time to cranks, probably same with anti-vax morons), but on the whole BBC does OK: this is why tories want to dismantle it so they can rewrite history.

      1. Peter D Bronze badge

        Re: BBC

        Brexiters are angry at the BBC because for every one of them that gets on a programme 3 remainers get on. Remainers are angry at the BBC because they take issue with any Brexiters getting on the BBC. I voted to remain in the EU but it was impossible not to notice that the BBC was and is hideously biased on this issue.

        1. Blitheringeejit
          Flame

          Re: BBC

          Not my recollection at all.

          What I remember of the Brexit campaign, especially on the BBC, was the continuous presence of Nigel Bloody Farage on every televised discussion and debate. I think at the time that the Brexit Party had one MP, but they had a voice on every panel - largely because they were officially the only pro-Brexit party, and the BBC decided that giving them an equal platform in comparison with all the Remain campaigners put together constituted "balance". So all we had by way of contribution from the Leave campaign was Farage's ignorant racist stupidity - at least until Boris saw his chance and formed his Tory breakaway group, bringing his own ignorant racist stupidity into the equation.

          As some have commented above, it's difficult to achieve balance when you feel you have to give airtime to the nutjobs. If only there had been some contribution from intelligent Leavers, some informed analysis of the economic and logistical consequences of leaving, we might have ended up in a much more functional relationship with the EU than the one we now have - whichever way the vote went. As it was, the nutjobs ran the Leave show - so we left expecting to have our trading cake and eat it (which the EU were never going to let us do), and having signed up to agreements that Boris had no intention of keeping. So Northern Ireland will burn without a tear being shed in Westminster, Scotland will leave the union, we will have fuel and food shortages, and no-one will ask any awkward questions about the extra £350M a week which was promised to the NHS - because we have taken back control. Go us.

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          For the people voting this comment down:

          https://iea.org.uk/media/iea-analysis-shows-systemic-bias-against-leave-supporters-on-flagship-bbc-political-programmes/

    6. Tony W

      Re: BBC

      This is rather off topic as the protocol can be reviewed independently of the organisation that proposes it.

      But I can't resist continuing. BBC bosses know that when they lose the support of the majority of the public, they won't last much longer as an independent organisation. So attitudes apparent in BBC news and programming are likely, on average, to be a fair reflection of the British majority.

      That will inevitably annoy a lot of people on both right and left. And to my mind, it's better than a fragmented system where, as on line, most people largely interact only with what they already agree with.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: BBC

        In the case of Brexit, it’s impossible for the BBC to be both objective and unbiased. Because Brexit is so fucking stupid, how can they just ignore that?

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          Exactly this. It’s like having a cookery show where a lovely cake has been baked, but having to give equal airtime to the person who objects to the blue with yellow stars pattern icing on the cake. This person doesn’t want to content themselves with not eating the cake, they want to chop everyone else’s hands off (and sew up their mouths) as well so that they can’t eat the cake either.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge
          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Good link.

          2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: BBC

            Why post a link that requires a subscription?

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: BBC

              Partly I was in a hurry, but mostly I delight in making your life difficult. Just you, no-one else.

        3. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: BBC

          Well, they could explore the facts of the matter, report accurately on the horrific behaviour of the EU and its supporters for several years following the referendum and not give a voice to people making nonsense declarations about Brexit.

          They chose instead to amplify those voices and pretend that the people collaborating with the EU to overthrow the democratic will of the British people were somehow justified.

          After all, there were clear constitutional arguments for leaving, and pretending those are 'fucking stupid' isn't a balanced position at all.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Clear constitutional Wetherspoons pub-bore delusions.

          2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: BBC

            Oh, you mean Horrific behaviour like adhering to the legal agreement created by the UK, signed by both the UK and EU which the UK is attempting to unilaterally change or ignore? That the lying shysters in the UK government are now claiming that they want nothing to do with the agreement that they wrote and signed shows solely what a bunch of worthless arseholes they are - they are blaming things on the agreement that they wrote, pushed and signed and touted as a success and a "win" for them.

            Or maybe the border procedures where the UK is a third country and therefore has to abide by all the same rules and regulations that all other third countries have to abide by? This was entirely as expected and even referred to in the signed international treaty.

            Democratic will is one thing. The people being told unmitigated lies and rabble rousing and hatred and division is one thing. That's manipulation of the lowest level, or do you seriously believe that the leave party propaganda targeted at old people online about how "the NHS will be better without all those dirty foreigners" demonstrably failed to point out that the burden on the NHS of non-nationals was the most minute fraction compared to what non-nationals brought to the NHS by way of working for it from the lowliest paid work upwards?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC

      As a rough uneducated pretend British Subject from a former colony, the BBC comes across as awfully stiff and upper class. I only read their stuff to find out what the Establishment Set are thinking.

    8. Thicko
      Meh

      Re: BBC

      I know what you mean. Thank God for honest rags like the Sun and the Mail eh?

  2. haiku
    Happy

    >> we probably don’t want to shoot the Czar and his family

    ... and why not ? Personally I say get out the Purdey's :)

    1. macjules

      We’re talking Zuckerberg here, right? Hand me the ammo please Alice.

      1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        At macjules...

        *Hands over the control codes to the Orbital LART*

        The hopper is full, the power reserve at max, & the GPS coordinates already programmed in. Enjoy! =-D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: At macjules...

          BOOM !!! (I enjoyed pulling the trigger; a shame it's only virtual.)

  3. Andy Non
    Alert

    Can't get my head around this concept

    So we store all our personal data on our phone or other device then somehow select what companies can dip in and take in exchange for using their website? You decide how far you are prepared to bend over to use their services?

    This sounds very cumbersome and disconcerting to me. It also sounds like your personal data store would be a fantastic target for data / identity thieves to target.

    What happens if you lose your phone or other device with the data on it, or if it is stolen?

    What is to stop third parties keeping or selling on any data you have gifted them anyway?

    1. devin3782 Bronze badge

      Re: Can't get my head around this concept

      Its a nice idea for sure, but you know what will happen, companies will instead demand full access otherwise you get zero access to their site. Much like experts exchange would give google more information that you could see to get you to pay.

      I'm not sure this is quite the solution to the rampant use of pervertware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't get my head around this concept

        They'll certainly start of doing that, but if the concept gains a foothold, not only would some portion of users go to a competitor (where applicable), but such overreaching demands would eventually see them the target of inquiries.

        As the article states, once the tool exists, it also exists for regulators and lawmakers to use.

        1. Adelio Silver badge

          Re: Can't get my head around this concept

          I of course would turn it ALL OFF. I do not want to give ANYONE access to my personal data. Faceboot, Twatter etc....

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Can't get my head around this concept

          Except that wouldn't work very well for two reasons. The first we have already seen--regulators have the power to go after data collection using privacy laws, but they mostly don't. It doesn't matter what new laws they bring in if regulators still don't do their job, unless they give more public power, and that too is limited.

          The other reason is because the data is basically being treated as money in this situation. If Google went to a subscription model and it now costs a fiver per month to use it, arguments that they're charging too much would be ignored. If they charge in data, they can still argue that it's just their price so what is there to regulate? Having something stolen is a more understandable argument than being scalped to use something almost required for the internet.

          If this got adopted and everyone flocked to Duck Duck Go, I'd be happy about that. I don't think that's guaranteed or even the most likely option.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Can't get my head around this concept

        Full or zero!

        Where is the problem with that?

        Being able to walk away and find alternatives was always an option,I have exercised my right to do that many times.

        1. devin3782 Bronze badge

          Re: Can't get my head around this concept

          Yes but the problem will be the expectation you to give full access or deny you access then where's your choice?

          The ones which won't expect it will be the misinformation sites, extremists, criminals with malware etc... because it will help their cause to do so.

          Why? because douche bags exist.

          1. smot

            Re: Can't get my head around this concept

            Unless the system does not let the requester know that they are not receiving full access. How would they know?

      3. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Can't get my head around this concept

        companies will instead demand full access otherwise you get zero access to their site

        That's currently illegal in the EEA and the UK, as the data collected must be necessary for the purpose. However our 'powers' are busy trying to dismantle the UK GDPR, as it's apparently 'a barrier to innovation'. As if innovation had a merit all of its own regardless of outcomes. I guess what they really mean is that it's a barrier to raking in lots of dosh from over-capitalised data slurping technology giants (and of course a potential barrier to landing lucrative jobs once they cease to be ministers - a la Nick Clegg). The public are merely a commodity in that arrangement.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Can't get my head around this concept

          It's because the UK is not like the US where there is absolutely no worthwhile data protection laws in place at all. As a result, the UK must change to ensure that they are similar.

          Similar to the NHS. It's utterly wrong that people in the UK can be treated and recover from injuries and as a result society as whole benefits where the "American Way" where if you can't afford it you can damn well die in pain or live in discomfort or debt for the rest of your life is so much better. For those who can afford it and are charging for it.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Can't get my head around this concept

      This sounds more like pulling up a drawbridge. Facebook and the likes will continue as they please, but new players won't have a chance to compete.

      I can't see how these proposals address the root cause.

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Can't get my head around this concept

      I think most of the answers to your questions can be found in the page linked in the article. Worth a shot anyway.

      M.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't get my head around this concept

      Yep as a concept it has more holes than a very holey thing.

      Fret not, it'll be forgotten in a few months.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Pointless

    It does not address why these corporations go to such great lengths to grab our personal data.

    Business models where customer is the product should simply be illegal.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      Then you would pay for most of the stuff on the Web.

      We want content, but we don't want to pay for it.

      And no, I don't know what the answer is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pointless

        I think a lot of the problem is the expectation to make money off said content, which means said people very much missed the point of the internet in the first place, but money always corrupts such ideals alas.

        1. Pete 2 Silver badge

          Re: Pointless

          > the expectation to make money off said content

          Until computer makers are willing to provide hardware for free, all the electricity used comes at zero cost and software support people will donate their time for nothing, there will always be costs associated with running a website.

          It is not always about making a profit - which I'd guess only applies to 1 in 10,000 websites.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: Pointless

            Inefficient websites use a lot of power.

            I tend to favor Amazon as a large web provider because their motivation is obvious -- they exist to sell you crap, to just make money. No pretense of a larger, social obligation.

            Its also no coincidence that their website loads quickly and smoothly, it seems utterly disinterested in how new or old your computing platform is and it just seems to work. (It is, I believe, a secret of its success - most e-commerce websites suck with long loading times, bad page rendering and a tendency to tell you that such-and-such a browser is not supported. A quick way to lose a sale.)

            A lot of the web is a waste of time, money and bandwidth.

        2. Peter D Bronze badge

          Re: Pointless

          Yes, the likes of Google and F***book make money off our personal data and the way forward should be to have the law treat the owner of the data as the wholesaler and the exploiters as retailers. That way they should pay the owner (you and I) a 60% cut of the revenue and they can keep 40%. Failure to do so should result in a fine of 10% of their global turnover or 40% of their turnover in the country in question whichever is the larger.

      2. John G Imrie

        Re: Pointless

        Why?

        We didn't pay for content before Facebook, Twitter and Google.

        1. the small snake Bronze badge
          Pirate

          Re: Pointless

          There was almost no content on internet before google (really: compare size of interweb today with 1997), and that part of it which was commercially produced was often made by companies losing money and hoping to be bought or find a business model that worked.

        2. Whiskers

          Re: Pointless

          "We didn't pay for content before Facebook, Twitter and Google."

          We most certainly did. In my family, it was a Sunday ritual to visit the newsagent to pay for the week's newspapers and magazines. Some people still do that, even though there are also "free newspapers". There is paid-for content on line too; many people seem to be happy to pay for their entertainment and other stuff.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Pointless

        "Then you would pay for most of the stuff on the Web."

        No, because monetization methods that don't involve stealing user data would still be allowed. Running ads that aren't tailored to the user, for example. They've been done before, they work elsewhere, this paper does it with the sponsored articles I rarely read. I'm sure advertising companies would be happy to sell you information about the sites the people you want will be reading so you can put your adverts there. It will be made up, of course, but they already make up all the targeting they claim to do anyway.

        "We want content, but we don't want to pay for it."

        Not necessarily. I do like free content, but there is stuff I'm willing to pay for. If they did what I proposed, they could easily have a non-individualized ads method for free and a paid plan to remove them. I'd likely join that one for sites I like.

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Pointless

      You are on a web page right now where you are the product.

  5. bronskimac

    Not going to happen

    Great idea, but it's not going to get the support of the lawmakers. Global businesses like Facebook and Google will, 1. Lobby like hell against it and, 2, threaten to withdraw their immense corporate sponsorship of politician and their parties. Especially in the UK where the government have declared war on data protection post Brexit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not going to happen

      Declared war on data protection? Where are you getting that from. I've not seen anything about it, but would be most interested to find out more.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Not going to happen

        Nothing's been done officially, but some politicians have discussed weakening the DPA because it restricts businesses who might otherwise want to locate in the UK. I don't think any of them have started any of the work involved in actually doing that, but a few have suggested it might be a good idea. Unless the new commissioner of the ICO starts actually doing something though, they might not have to bother. No enforcement is as good as no regulation in many cases.

  6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Human persychology fail

    Expressed user preference would kill it anyway.

    "Don't want to supply your data? You can't use our website"

    That's what government's demanding anyway in the "think of the kiddies!!!!" net nanny legislation. You can only get access to web content if you supply personal data to that website.

    Want to watch Corrie? You have to accept the adverts as well. Don't want adverts? Sorry, no Corrie for you.

    Want a discount at Morrison's? You have to swipe our loyalty card with your purchase. Don't want to record your purchase? Sorry, no discount for you.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Human persychology fail

      Using an in your face 'you will pay more' price ticket only encourages me to spend my money elsewhere.

      The long established method of having only one price and offering vouchers to loyalty car owners doesn't get up our noses quite so much even if the outcome is the same.

      1. Julz
        Joke

        Re: Human persychology fail

        Hey, where can I get my loyalty car...

        1. Whiskers

          Re: Human persychology fail

          I think you have to be a cabinet minister

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: only encourages me to spend my money elsewhere.

        unfortunately (though I'm with you on this one), the practice says it encourages people to spend their money HERE (otherwise, such incentives would not continue). If the shittiest, most ourageous, offputting, whatever business idea is implemented and lasts some time, it means it works as intended. Blame humans (on both sides of this idea).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: an in your face 'you will pay more' price ticket

        Indeed. Because of where I live, most of my grocery shop is at Tesco. Some months ago they shifted all of their special offers to clubcard only, and because I happen to like my tinfoil hat I haven't got one and will not get one. So now I pay more, always; or would except I now have shifted as much as possible to other outlets - they may not actually be cheaper, but invariably are if they have an offer on.

        But the thing is, although I never could claim to have ever *liked* the grocery shop, at least I did feel - once upon a time - that a few of my necessary purchases were a good deal, and occasionally even bought something a bit superfluous because of the offer (extra mandarins, pointless lego, nicer biscuits, etc).

        So, despite the grindingly dull ambience, the terrible musak, the queues, the persistent lack of the right size of shopping trolley, and whatnot, there was at least some positive feedback in the process of shopping there. But not any more.

        However, I get that most people just sign up for the card and don't care; which indeed is arguably sensible. Me, I just would now rather shop anywhere else, and indeed have shifted about 20% of my shop to another "local"-sized branch of a different supermarket.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Human persychology fail

      Want a discount at Morrison's? You have to swipe our loyalty card with your purchase. Don't want to record your purchase? Sorry, no discount for you.

      Ffor the last 18 months Morrison's are (I believe) the only supermarket to offer 10% off the total bill on production of an NHS or school ID. If you pay by cash you can avoid tracking. This offer ends in December, but it looks (from the linked page) as if you can continue to benefit... so long as you join their "NHS club".

      Hmmm...

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Human persychology fail

        Now Morrisons have removed ANY incentive to use their store card, we no longer use it. At least with Sainsburys we can see our points increase and know what their worth.

        Morrisions now just gives you random discount vouchers at random times probably for things you are NOT going to use or buy. So we just do not use the card, and now shop mainly at other stores.

        Morrisons have been going down hill for the last 5 years!

    3. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Human persychology fail

      Quote: "Want a discount at Morrison's? You have to swipe our loyalty card with your purchase. Don't want to record your purchase? Sorry, no discount for you."

      I've noticed Tesco's going in this direction. (Not actually keen on Tesco's, but it's the only decent sized store within walking distance).

      Many of their discounts now are only for loyalty card holders.

      I noticed this first on booze some time back, so I stopped buying booze at Tesco's, this now seems to be spreading to many other items, to the point where most discounts only seem to be valid for loyalty cards users.

      I've no desire to have a loyalty card, so I'll just take my business elsewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Human persychology fail

        When they started doing this in my nearest branch, I (like you) went elsewhere - in my case to Sainsburys.

        Where I was reminded of what a bunch of arseholes they were. I used to shop there. Then they (with no warning) put locks on all the trolleys, so I needed a pound coin. The first week I didn't have one, so had to go to Tescos. Grumble grumble but okay.

        Then (again with no warning) they stopped having bags for loose fruit and veg. Three months later they started selling reusable ones, but for three months you couldn't buy loose stuff, and had to buy the overpackaged too-many-for-me-so-I-ended-up-throwing-food-away packs. This made me cross.

        Then they introduced the system where you scan-as-you-shop. No thanks, I'll carry on using the checkouts. Oh. Half the checkouts have been removed to make way for the scan-as-you-shop area. And the number of checkout staff has been reduced so you have to queue for bloody ages. Sod this back to Tescos.

        Fast forward a few years to last December. Tescos (as you said) knocked loads off the price of their booze but only if you had a clubcard. Sod that back to Sainsburys. For exactly one trip.

        What with adding family-parking spaces, and the section for click-and-collect, and parking all of the delivery vans across four parking bays, the nearest space to park was about a hundred yards from the store. OK, whatever. In the shop, am reminded about the above-mentioned lack of checkouts open. Have plenty of time to muse that at least Tescos had tills open. Come out, and discover that the bastards have taken the widgets away to allow you to put the trolley in the trolley-bay near where you parked at the far end of the carpark. If you want your pound back, you have to take it all the way back to the store. Sodding arseholes. Tescos may be crap, but at least they don't actively hate their customers.

        Still won't buy booze there mind.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Human persychology fail

          I realise this isn't the answer for everyone (or possibly even most), but how about finding some small local shops? Plenty of places still have independent butchers and bakers, there are still a few fishmongers and greengrocers around, most of them are very down-to-earth unless you live in some hipster part of London, and for the other stuff the Co-Op has quite a lot of small and medium-size stores these days where although they will still track you using the membership card*, you get real money back (though less than it used to be), real money sent to local "good causes" (more than it used to be), you get to vote at the AGM and occasionally the till prints out a genuinely useful voucher (though you only have a week to use it) and if you don't use it, it'll print out a different one next time.

          My mum has taken a liking to Iceland (they try hard!) and for a truly no-frills experience there's always Aldi or Lidl (my wife prefers their chocolate).

          It is definitely possible to shop well and not too expensively while mostly avoiding Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Asda and Tesco. Even Waitrose isn't as poor value as you'd think, so long as you choose your products carefully.

          M.

          *couldn't get that page to work in IE or Edge on this computer, best of luck

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Human persychology fail

      @J.G.Harston

      "Want a discount at Morrison's? You have to swipe our loyalty card with your purchase. Don't want to record your purchase? Sorry, no discount for you."

      Tesco might be a better example

      Popped in one a while ago for emergency purchase (its 24/7 opening, its nbot a shop I normally visit)

      A lot of things had discounts only if you had a clubcard

      So Tesco are already doing that approach of cheaper prices if we get your shopping habits and other data approach.

      Even more upfront about it than other loyalty cards which tend to do the spend x (maybe over time y, varies) and get some savings back.

      It just made me determined to avoid Tesco in future as that differential pricing can just **** off, my data stays private thanks, bribes are vile.

      I'm the one without a loyalty card in their pocket.

      1. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Human persychology fail

        When these loyalty card things started up in the US where I live, four neighbors and we agreed to use one loyalty card to put all our purchases through. We kept it in my neighbor's mail box (no monetary value if it got taken, so no problem) and took it out to use then replace. Special offers were for whoever needed it at the time, we were just interested in the discounts. So, we looked like a huge family of various age people, we diluted the data snooping to where it was less personal, and we still got the discounts.

        Now, for those discounts, you have to use an app on your phone. Which doesn't work. I spent forty minutes at the service desk with a tech savvy(er) employee trying to get my phone to load the app and the discounts. Between the crap wifi at the store, my aged "smart" phone (six year old LG) and the dodgy app, it never did. She ended up loading the discount onto her phone, and processing the checkout for me to pay just so she could get me out of the store before she had to clock-out herself. Maybe if we all took up the employees' time being tech idiots, the stores would just get back to selling us stuff without all the faff.

        Oh, and now I load the loyalty app just before I leave the house as though I were a new customer, shop, then delete the app after. Maybe that will keep them from stitching it all together, maybe not.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Needs more work

    > These three ideas are: legibility, agency and negotiation.

    What it needs before any of this is usability. However this is implemented it must not get in the way of the user.

    So no popups, no having to click on anything. In fact no requirement for the user to think at all.

    Without that it is just another annoying impediment, along the lines of "your privacy is important to us".

    And if this system can produce some completely random user "data" to feed to the websites, so much the better.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Needs more work

      The average user will just tick boxes asking "Share all data" and "Don't ask again" to be rid of the pop up.

      At the moment I share as little as possible with websites and when they do require specific information such as date of birth I put in fake details. If forced to use some sort of data sharing box, I'll just put fake data into that too.

      The current system is broken, but I can't see how the proposed change will offer any real world benefits for the average user.

  8. petef

    Works both ways

    This idea would get more traction if Facebook and co. see the benefits too rather than relying on regulation being forced upon them. Users marking up their own preferences should be more valuable than what algorithms alone can glean.

    I cannot be alone in being hit with "targeted" messages in the vein of "you have just bought a washing machine, here are other washing machines that may interest you". Those are irritating and it would be commercially useful to improve.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Works both ways

      >>>commercially useful to improve<<< by which you mean stop altogether because I'm not likely to be looking for another $item$ for several years.

      Not being a FB user and employing browser add blockers I just don't see many adverts.

      1. Evil Scot
        Flame

        Re: Works both ways

        But then you have websites that cripple themselves looking for adblocking browser extensions so that they can ask to be added to your trusted sites.

        I use a filter at the network level and they don't complain on devices without an add blocker.

        Somebody needs to get hardball on the Ad Tech industry, it is snake oil and it depends on illegal practices.

        I did NOT request that you Pen Test my browser.

        I did NOT give you permission to put files on my pc that you can use later to track me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Works both ways

          Actually, you did, by visiting the site. Price of admission. Don't like it? Don't visit, and if it's the only game in town, then you go without.

          Makes you wonder what to do when data-miners become the ONLY stores in town...

        2. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Works both ways

          "...it depends on illegal practices."

          What illegal practices, specifically?

          I despise these companies and don't use any of them (also, uBlock Origin and NoScript) but I can't anything they are doing which is actually illegal.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The idea is simple. You keep your personal data stored on an edge device you control.

    I have one of those - my brain. No facebook connection permitted.

    1. petef

      As long as you have your tin foil hat on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      until your brain forgets something or remembers the "something" wrong

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the BBC worries about these things

    oh, I'm sure they do, re. 'personalised' accounts for iplayer and other services. Fucking hypocrites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the BBC worries about these things

      One iPlayer account in our house. Multiple devices using it simultaneously. No problems.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the BBC worries about these things

        Why do I have to set up ANY account (even for multiple users) for something that I - supposedly - pay for with my tv license? Under the obvious 'flag' of 'customising content to better suit you'. NO, FUCK OFF, I DECIDE whether I want it customised, how much or not at all. So, in the spirit of full customisation, I download beeb productions via torrents.

    2. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: the BBC worries about these things

      No idea whether it changed but the strangest part of the iPlayer account when all my devices eventually said I needed an account to view, was it wanted to create a BBC store account, not an iPlayer account.

      Sorry, there is no reason my viewing habits need to be connected to the shop I never use so never signed up.

      I think it was around this time I saw c4 presenting at one of the early Aws events in London.

      They were talking about how Aws had helped reduce the cost and time of their c4 player data harvesting.

      Back then they were talking 10 million items of data per day to analyse and that was before c4 wanted login accounts.

      I'm sure the BBC will have been doing similar analysis so they have definitely enjoyed making hay while the sun shines.

      Now maybe they feel public opinion is turning against the daily ransacking of data and want to get ahead of things.

      Alternatively the R&D guys are just continuing to do interesting things, but it doesn't mean the organisation will care enough to implement it

  11. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    some cat called Sir Tim Berners-Lee

    Bloody silly name for a cat. Harrumph!

    =^._.^=

  12. heyrick Silver badge

    Itty bitty flaw in the plan

    Google talks to government, who talks to Biden, who talks to Johnson, who tells the BBC to stop this nonsense or next year's budget will be half what it is today.

  13. tony72

    Don't want

    I don't want control over my data. That would mean me trying to figure out exactly what the implication are of giving or denying certain permissions and access, and having to try to figure what functionality I might be giving up. I use the "I don't care about cookies" add-on for my browser for similar reasons. I want things to just work. I want there to be laws in place to ensure that usage of my data is used in a way that doesn't harm me, and I want those laws to be enforced, and otherwise I don't want to hear about it. Too much to ask?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Don't want

      YES!!!

      The mega corps have more money than you. They can out-lobby you and, if necessary, successfully campaign for a full-fat changeover.

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Don't want

      Yes.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Not needed

    This idea seems to be predicated on "the current system for sharing data is broken / being abused, what can we replace it with?"

    We don't have to replace it with anything.

    Just stop all data sharing and tracking, and... don't do anything else at all.

    The world will not end. On the contrary, I think it would improve.

    1. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Not needed

      "Just stop all data sharing and tracking"

      This is the internet we are talking about. How do you suggest we do that?

  15. ibmalone

    The same BBC...

    Is this the same BBC that put Iplayer, including no-license-fee radio, behind a signup wall that requires date of birth and address, and by default links to social media accounts? Yeah, they're some hoopy froods alright.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The same BBC...

      They don't have my address, and I've never seen any ' links ' to social media ( I don't do it )*,

      none@such.com has worked since the inception of the accounts!

      Anon cos...

      *OK, ok, I admit I had a Friends Reunited account about 20 (gulp!) years ago...

      1. ibmalone

        Re: The same BBC...

        Not really an answer though. Yes, you can get away with lying about your email address (to a degree). What proportion of people do you think do? Why is it necessary to play that game at all? Do you really think that if you use the same computer or IP for this and other purposes that they wont get linked anyway? And either way, this is a story about how they intend to "protect" our data better, does it really cohere with the iplayer data grab?

        Social media, great, take a gold star. For the rest of us, buried in account settings (not cookie settings):

        "Allow social network recommendations

        This means we can share some data securely with social media sites to make sponsored BBC recommendations relevant to you.

        If you turn this off, you might still see BBC posts, but they won't be personalised using your BBC account data."

        There are certainly talented people working there, they've done some clever stuff in the past, but the modern corporation doesn't seem much interested in protecting the data of listeners and viewers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The same BBC...

        It's not the point whether their walls can be breached (easily) by providing fake details, it's about the principle of a goody-doer preaching one thing, and doing the exact opposite.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge

    BBC? Really?

    "BBC R&D discovered it too didn't much like the way personal data was in the hands of the wrong people. That got in the way of creating better public value from the internet, and the BBC worries about these things."

    So why did the BBC start requiring us to sign into iPlayer? "So we can recommend shows etc" so abusing data? "We won't use it to see if you have a license or not". So then why do one of you say (I now can't find the article) that you might use it to check up if a person is licensed or not. Really so will you checkup the account I use, the account called "Fuck Off" based in London (I'm not in London).

    And why in the privacy section do you have Share Statistics ticked by default which is against GDPR.

    I'm not objecting to the license. I like a lot of BBC shows and thankful for no shitty adverts, I grew up with Star Trek Next Generation being on BBC 2 and find it weird seeing adverts on it on cable. But I object to having to sign into iPlayer now. And I really dislike the TV License website that incorrectly claims you need a license for watching DVDs etc. Then once you've paid actually tells you, you don't.

  17. captain veg Silver badge

    is this the same BBC...

    "BBC R&D discovered it too didn't much like the way personal data was in the hands of the wrong people."

    Perhaps they could have a word with their colleagues responsible for iPlayer requiring a login and tracking your every move.

    -A.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It all seems very vague. Perusing through the linked articles I find it talking about data taken from media. What data? What media? Then it would be processed in the user's device. How? Finally this quote seemed to be their answer to Why?

    "The results of this processing might, for example be a profile of the sort of TV programmes someone might like or the sort of theatre they would enjoy."

    So it's yet another attempt to double-guess me, rather like $RetailSite trying to sell me a fridge because I just bought a fridge or the garage that started texting me with their new car advertising when I just bought a car from them. It might answer their Why? but it certainly doesn't answer mine.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal Information is so over rated anyway

    Regards

    Sir Mary Huntingsgobble-Feltcher James Natasha Ramsbottom II

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A suggestion: Stop sharing of data, not collection of data.

    Data should be contained within the web site (or App) that I was using at the time.

    For example.

    If I'm using Spotify, then it is 100% OK for Spotify to collect usage data. Obviously, they must do that to pay the artists, but it's also OK for Spotify to use it to recommend other artists I might like, or make me a playlist or whatever.

    If I'm paying a bill to the electric company, then obviously the electric company needs THAT data - to record that I've paid, to see how long I've been a customer, how slow I am with payments, or whatever.

    If I'm booking my car in for a service, then the service centre needs my car rego, my name, and various other data. that's OK.

    WHAT IS NOT OK is if that data is shared beyond that transaction I'm having.

    Don't tell my bank or my mechanic what songs I listen to with Spotify. They don't need to know.

    Don't tell Spotify or my mechanic the size of my electricity bill. They don't need to know.

    Don't tell my Spotify or the electric company my car rego, or milage. They don't need to know.

    And most of all - DON'T TELL GOOGLE any those things either. They don't need to know (and I don't want them to know).

    If I use a search engine to look up the tide times at the beach near me, or where I might buy a washing machine, or resolve an argument about "do penguins have knees?", (all recent searches) why should that become part of my 'profile'? Google does not need to know that.

    It should not know that.

    The only place that should collect data is the destination web site that provided the information to me. Not Google/Amazon/Advertisers/Polsters/Facebook/etc.. Not at all.

    Data collection is not the 'evil' happening. Data SHARING is the evil happening here.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: A suggestion: Stop sharing of data, not collection of data.

      "Data collection is not the 'evil' happening. Data SHARING is the evil happening here."

      Data collection for the wrong purpose can also be an evil (even without sharing) if you have not control over it.

      An example is the booking service Eventbrite (which you have no choice about using if an event organiser only allows bookings via it). Obviously an event organiser has to allow them to collect some data in order to process a booking (and that is legitimate collection by a data processor, not sharing), but, in addition to acting as a data processor for event organisers, Eventbrite takes it upon itself to profile persons on the basis of their email addresses in order to recommend other events "that might be of interest to you". There's no opt out, and depending on bookings made, the profile might become GDPR Article 9 sensitive data. But in any case I may not want some arbitrary third party to know about the entire range of events I am interested in.

      This 'service', which solely benefits event organisers, constitutes targeted advertising, but contrary to EU and UK e-commerce and privacy law, there's no way to escape it except, as I was told by Eventbrite, to raise a GDPR right of erasure complaint after every booking. Unfortunately the UK data protection office was not interested.

  21. Flexdream

    'We do need a revolution that puts the power in the hands of the people, but we probably don’t want to shoot the Czar and his family.'

    Lovely writing and metaphors as ever Rupert. A pleasure to read.

  22. Binraider Silver badge

    A news service that recommends stories based on what you have seen before isn't really news. It's positive reinforcement, and divisive. The 'bubble' is already a real phenomenon, be it republican/democrat, liberal/conservative, vaxx/antivaxx or a dozen other political lines.

    A system propagating this, while it might offer a measure of control over your data, would still have the same problems.

    Reporting fact is old hat it seems,though as far ago as the 1960s the rise of tabloid trash was the forerunner of the way news has (mostly) gone downhill. A quest for views/likes/comic sales as opposed to journalism. Some exceptions of course, thankfully. The world does not operate in black and white, yet reducing arguments to yes/no, for/against doesn't really do anyone a service

    6000 years of writing but the species is as bad as ever. (Minus some positive tech progression).

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      The world may not be black and white, but the human mind often is. Shades of gray make many people uncomfortable.

    2. Man inna barrel Bronze badge

      >A news service that recommends stories based on what you have seen before isn't really news.

      So what actually is news? It is just stuff that people want to read or hear about or see. This has a considerable bias, in general. Mostly, people get on with each other, go about their daily work, do some shopping, and nothing newsworthy happens. The news is stuff that is not just ordinary life, but somehow more important, or remarkable, of whatever gets your attention.

  23. ideapete
    Pint

    Then again : Human Data Interaction, HDI, legibility, agency and negotiation makes a lot of sense you can hear the Silicon Valley screams of outrageous fortune from here

  24. 2141

    Does anyone have any comment on HDI?

    Seems like a good idea to me but I'm a technical neophyte. Any elaborations?

  25. CB__
    Headmaster

    Data are, not is

    You lost me at "what your data is" and "what data is kept". I guess your children is at school and your apples is in the fruit bowl? Pedantic perhaps, but it's a slippery slope...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Data are, not is

      Not really. Collective nouns can be considered in the singular. Thus "the class IS at school" or "A bag of apples". Now, as a leftpondian who actually understands cricket, I DO know that collectives can get a little hazy sometimes, like when it comes to "team". Righties refer to a team in the plural (as in the players) while lefties refer to a team in the singular (as in the group).

      1. EightBit

        Re: Data are, not is

        ... and who spotted that eyesore "agendas" being used?

        Agenda is the plural of agendum... unless you're in Hackney :-)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Data are, not is

          I thought the agenda was the list of items to be taken, whereas the agendum referred to each individual "item".

  26. 96percentchimp

    BBC R&D - worth the Licence Fee on its own

    It's good to see some coverage of BBC R&D, a little-known bit of the Beeb that punches well above its weight and constantly delivers benefits both to consumers and the creative industries. It's also a powerful force for global collaboration in those industries, helping to create open standards that have made things like HDTV more accessible than if they'd been dominated by proprietary tech.

  27. EightBit

    Streaming is not Broadcasting

    I resent having to log in to a BBC Sounds account just to be able to listen to the BBC online.

    Broadcasting is a one-to-many anonymous relationship.

    Listening to the radio over the air generates no return data to be collected and processed.

    Why then do I have to provide the BBC with personal information it is not entitled to have?

    The BBC needs to consider changing its name to the British Streaming Corporation!

  28. Rob Davis
    Pint

    This looks like the Solid Project

    Looks like the article is referring to: https://solidproject.org/ https://solid.mit.edu/

  29. tunedinturnedon

    Yes, it's good that the BBC and Tim Berners Lee are addressing this problem

    Go, Tim, go! Stop these data abusers in their tracks!

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