Privacy Commissioner posts his peeve about the power of private companies (on Twitter) after social media giants gag Trump

The Point of Order team was alerted by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union to the Privacy Commissioner’s  “crusade” for government regulation, apparently to curb the rights of corporate  giants in the social media game to decide who may post what sorts of material on their websites.

Twitter and Facebook have blocked US President Donald Trump, a serial tweeter, after a mob – apparently incited by his language – stormed Capitol Hill and after years of his persistently posting lies and inflammatory statements.

The Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, seems to be welcoming the gagging of Trump while pressing for greater state control of their operations.   

Just a few months ago, the commissioner was delighting in the long-overdue passage of brand-new privacy legislation. Continue reading “Privacy Commissioner posts his peeve about the power of private companies (on Twitter) after social media giants gag Trump”

With an election coming next year, Zuckerberg defends free speech

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is under attack because of the consequences of too-free speech on his platform.

But it’s possible he may be a more considerable public figure than many had him down for, after he made a reasoned and principled address defending free speech (and his company’s approach to it) at Georgetown University last week.

The immediate kerfuffle was over political campaigning.  The Trump campaign put out a social media ad which implied that Democratic candidate Joe Biden had corrupt motives in helping fire a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company which employed his son.  Elizabeth Warren, another Democratic presidential contender, riposted by attacking Facebook for letting politicians run advertisements with false claims.  To prove her point and get some publicity (good for her, not so good for rival Biden), she ran a self-proclaimed false ad – on Facebook. Continue reading “With an election coming next year, Zuckerberg defends free speech”

How to think about tech

What’s the most useful model of tech to keep in your head.  Most models are rationalisations of the status quo. But tech forces us to visualise something which exists everywhere but is developing constantly. Watching the foundation-of-Facebook movie ‘The Social Network‘ is a start but probably not enough.

For a structured but approachable model, listen to the podcast ‘Software has eaten the world’ by Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and tech venture capital pioneer.

He captures the pervasive quality of tech – and positions it as the fundamental driver of change in our environment and lives (at a pinch, you might also throw in the vastly increased mobility of peoples in recent years).  He demonstrates this through three claims about the world:

Continue reading “How to think about tech”

There’s more to Libra than meets the eye

Confused by Facebook’s Libra proposal for a digital currency? The commentariat seems unable to decide if it’s a giant money-laundering cum tax-dodging scam or redundant on the grounds of necessity.

You might want to look at it from Mark Zuckerberg’s point of view.  The digital revolution has collapsed the cost of storing, transmitting and verifying data.  So we ought to be in a new golden age of money management: instantly and costlessly sending money around the world.  Er … not quite.  Somehow your bank wants you to spend more time with it than you would like, preferably bringing multiple forms of ID, whenever you have a new way of using your money.

Continue reading “There’s more to Libra than meets the eye”