back to article Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation

Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states. That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire …

  1. aldolo

    better then in china

    personal data used to make money is better then personal data used to steal freedom

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: better then in china

      Even better when it's both.

      (If you are actively manipulated by facebook/Google/MS/Amazon et chums, how much freedom have you lost?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: better then in china

      And how to they stop that personal data they're selling, being made available to Russia and China? They don't.

      Money is money.

      See Trump's latest "US should fund safe schools before Ukraine". i.e. the false dychotomy to pull the plug on US weapons to Ukraine to help Russia.

      Be under no doubt, Trump would supply real time location data on Ukrainian leaders to Putin, even as he pretends to be 'tough on Russia'.

      Be under no doubt, Trump would supply real time location data on *US* leadership to Putin, as Putin Novachoks his way across the US.

      He'd paint a target on their backs then lie about it. Companies doing the tracking, are making that target data.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: better then in china

        "See Trump's latest "US should fund safe schools before Ukraine". i.e. the false dychotomy to pull the plug on US weapons to Ukraine to help Russia."

        I saw that comment. I was flabbergasted! How much did he do to stop mass shootings, especially in schools, while in power? My most stinging memory of his reaction to shootings etc was telling us the people advocating killing were "good guys" when someone drove a car into people. Although, since I don't live in the US, I may not know all I should or want to know about him.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        ""US should fund safe schools before Ukraine""

        Probably he meant the priority for shipping M777 howitzers and anti-tank Javelin rockets should be given to schools, instead of Ukraine. So schools can stop killers with a heavy artillery barrage, or once inside a teaching room, their body armor will be no match for an anti-tank rocket. Other people killed will be of course just "collateral damage" - but the bad guy has been stopped, hasn't he?

        Anyway people's data aren't sold. You make money keeping it closely guarded and just selling the targeting and the behaviour modification tactics.

      3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: better then in china

        But we could have stopped the shooters if only we had been monitoring everybody more closely! ...<Struggling to come up with catchy sound byte about freedom for guns but not data.>

  2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Let's Pretend to Care

    I suspect that there's an element of whitewashing here; they want to make us think think they care about the law and so play the game by lobbying, trying to shape the legislation, and popping out the odd press brief about the end of the internet as we know it. None of the big players has ever been fined enough for transgressing the law to make them care. They just treat the fines as the cost of business and I bet they are lumped up with other sundry expenses on the P&L.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Let's Pretend to Care element of whitewashing here...

      Wow! That is a huge understatement.

      Who did notice that when "privacy" became a topic, then every major company started hammering that they are the champions of privacy?

      Who did notice that when "climate neutral" became a topic, then every major company started hammering that they are the champions of climate and 100% clean?

      These companies are all following the same methodology: tell a story often enough and it has to be true. It does not matter what the story is, just it is a good and plausible story everybody wants to hear to get into the feel-good zone. That way the consumer will consume more, regardless of consequence or truth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's Pretend to Care

        So, like the government: terrists, child molesters, minorities, women rights...

        Let's all say we care even if we don't give a fuck.

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: Let's Pretend to Care

      When a company says "we value your privacy", what they really mean is "your privacy is valuable for us".

  3. fpx

    The Wrong Way Around

    All current and proposed privacy regulation focuses on consent. That is the wrong way around. It implies that companies can do whatever they want with our data if they just ask nicely and are upfront about it. This model requires choice, the option to choose among different services based on their commitment to privacy. But we do not really have that. Yes, cou can choose Linux instead of Microsoft or Apple. You can choose to pay cash at Walmart instead of shopping at Amazon. You can choose to not use FaceTikWhatsSnapChatGram and invite your friends to some other social web. Use other search engines than Google. Yes, that is all possible, but it is not practical, and is becoming less practical by the day. Tech companies are entrenched and are exploiting their monopolies for sucking up data and want to keep it that way.

    We need to break them up, and outlaw data sharing, period.

  4. Binraider Silver badge

    Ad revenues!!!!!1111!!1

    I still haven't got out of FB, because of a few legacy connections. The pervasiveness of the ads and "recommended" posts is so severe now that it's in the firing line to be closed down.

    Given the choice of smartphone OS boils down to Android or iOS I'm open to suggestions for how to clean those up. Clean-ish versions of android are available but by no means perfect.

    Desktop OS - Windows (mandated by work); Mac (for the missus, and my sanity) everything else, Linux, BSD.

    I suppose I should mention the embedded environments I work in; where I generally have to use VXworks; which is not without merit.

  5. Doogie Howser MD

    Political lobbying should be illegal

    But of course that will never happen because they pour too much money into politician's pockets. For example, this week I heard Ted Cruz takes $440K from the NRA, so he's hardly likely to legislate against firearms, is he?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Political lobbying should be illegal

      The even sadder thing is that this is well known; and people still back Cruz.

      You can't even remove the individual, because someone else will take the backhander and do the same.

      I can only assume the NRA-backed solution is to install fully legalised machine gun nests on school perimeters. Create jobs for retired troopers?

      My god, the USA, what a strange love/hate relationship I have with you and it's people!

  6. IGotOut Silver badge


    Does anyone have any toilet roll?

    A bear just popped out of the woods telling me he had run out.

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