When some big outfit with a vested interest in violating your privacy says they are only trying to save small business, grab your wallet. Because the game they’re playing is misdirection away from what they really want.
The most recent case in point is Facebook, which ironically holds the world’s largest database on individual human interests while also failing to understand jack shit about personal boundaries.
This became clear when Facebook placed the ad above and others like it in major publications recently, and mostly made bad news for itself. We saw the same kind of thing in early 2014, when the IAB ran a similar campaign against Mozilla, using ads like this:
That one was to oppose Mozilla’s decision to turn on Do Not Track by default in its Firefox browser. Never mind that Do Not Track was never more than a polite request for websites to not be infected with a beacon, like those worn by marked animals, so one can be tracked away from the website. Had the advertising industry and its dependents in publishing simply listened to that signal, and respected it, we might never have had the GDPR or the CCPA, both of which are still failing at the same mission. (But, credit where due: the GDPR and the CCPA have at least forced websites to put up insincere and misleading opt-out popovers in front of every website whose lawyers are scared of violating the letter—but never the spirit—of those and other privacy laws.)
The IAB succeeded in its campaign against Mozilla and Do Not Track; but the the victory was Pyrrhic, because users decided to install ad blockers instead, which by 2015 was the largest boycott in human history. Plus a raft of privacy laws, with more in the pipeline.
We also got Apple on our side. That’s good, but not good enough.
What we need are working tools of our own. Examples: Global Privacy Control (and all the browsers and add-ons mentioned there), Customer Commons‘ #NoStalking term, the IEEE’s P7012 – Standard for Machine Readable Personal Privacy Terms, and other approaches to solving business problems from the our side—rather than always from the corporate one.
In those movies, we’ll win.
Because if only Apple wins, we still lose.
Dammit, it’s still about what The Cluetrain Manifesto said in the first place, in this “one clue” published almost 21 years ago:
we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers.
we are human beings — and out reach exceeds your grasp.
deal with it.
We have to make them deal. All of them. Not just Apple. We need code, protocols and standards, and not just regulations.
All the projects linked to above can use some help, plus others I’ll list here too if you write to me with them. (Comments here only work for Harvard email addresses, alas. I’m doc at searls dot com.)