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Science-Technology
See other Science-Technology Articles

Title: Break up the Google-Facebook-Amazon web monopoly
Source: USA Today
URL Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opin ... s-ev-ehrlich-column/759803001/
Published: Oct 19, 2017
Author: Ev Ehrlich
Post Date: 2017-10-19 16:01:10 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 152
Comments: 27

Serious legislation is required to combat the countless abuses of power by 'The Web Trust.'

Policy makers are beginning a long overdue reappraisal of the giant website and social media companies (“edge” providers) that dominate the Internet today — or as they might have been called a century ago, "The Web Trust."  

Facebook spread lies for money, grossly distorting our elections. Google has been hit with a whopping $2.7 billion dollar fine in Europe for biasing its search results towards pay-for-play favorites. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods suggests its stranglehold on online shopping is targeting the brick and mortar world. And consumers are starting to understand how relentlessly they are tracked and their identities probed by The Web Trust’s omnipresent advertising machine. Even the edge companies’ usual boosters are asking if they should have “non-discrimination obligations consistent with our traditional concepts of common carriage” — the strictest form of regulation we’ve seen in this sector.

Our society has always protected itself from monopolists, be they utilities, railroads, oil companies, or financiers, acting against abuses while preserving innovation and economic growth. Most of those early monopolies followed the same pattern as The Web Trust — after an initial burst of competitive activity, the landscape quickly became dominated by a handful of monopolistic giants.

That problem is repeating itself in force within the Internet system, largely because so many of these platforms — Google, Facebook, Amazon and the like — are really “networks” that connect users to each other. The larger they get, the more indispensable they become to users seeking to reach each other — they are “natural” monopolies. That scale allows them to insinuate themselves into other markets as Google has done, morphing from a core search business into YouTube videos, Android smartphones, and, most perniciously, data mining and digital advertising.

Meanwhile, other industries and businesses become little more than grist for the monopolists’ mill. The edge giants dwarf the cable, telco and satellite companies who spend billions on faster networks that the edge companies then commandeer, free riding off the value created by this ever-improving connectivity. Features like home assistants, 4K television and virtual/augmented reality exist not because Google or Apple invented them — they’ve been science fiction staples for years — but because ultrafast wired and wireless infrastructure has been built to support them.

The creative industries are also victims of The Web Trust’s expanding power.  Newspapers, film and music companies and artists now provide the raw material that companies like Google and Facebook scrape and reassemble for the consumer, hijacking most of the economic value of their work, whether legally or illegally. Why report news, check facts and pay serious editors and writers when it all simply becomes fodder for Facebook’s indiscriminate newsfeed? Why make recordings if they will show up on YouTube’s “free” economy, helping Google sell more ads but generating scraps for artists and musicians

And while these abuses all cry out for remedy, federal policymakers seem stuck on a hamster wheel litigating and re-litigating the “net neutrality” rules for broadband providers (who support neutrality), while dodging the problems created by the giants on the edge.

The FCC is right to revisit the illogical “public utility” rules imposed on broadband companies by former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who seemed eager to do The Web Trust’s bidding. Unlike search or social media, connectivity is an innovative, fluid market with competing wired and wireless options that have continually improved consumers’ ability to reach anybody or anything, anywhere. We now have not just companies, but whole systems and technologies like cable, fiber, satellite, cellular, DSL and other options that compete for your attention. The FCC is right to reject obsolete Ma Bell era regulation that denies this basic fact.

But the more pressing question is: What obligations should be imposed on the Web Trust giants as they embed themselves ever further into our lives? How do we assure ourselves that the “users” they connect us to are human or that the search results they feed us are based on merit — not pay for play (or worse, algorithmic racism).

It’s time to consider whether to break up the Google search and advertising functions, or to deny safe harbors that protect the tech platforms if they turn a blind eye to sex trafficking or commercial piracy. We need a new privacy Bill of Rights to demystify the algorithms that track and tag you and shape your on-line experience.  

In these partisan times, it speaks to how dangerous The Web Trust has become that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for action and reform. If Congress and the administration want to preserve a truly open internet, they need to become the trustbusters for a new, digital generation.

Ev Ehrlich is president of ESC Co., an economics consulting firm, and was undersecretary of commerce from 1993 to 1997.

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#1. To: Tooconservative (#0)

Bill Still pointed out that Google graciously donates money to just about every media outlet there is, strongly ensuring that none of them will every publicize anything bad about Google.

Pinguinite  posted on  2017-10-19   16:15:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Tooconservative (#0) (Edited)

dialecTal maTerialism Teaches

it will ineviTably

via Technocrats

rule

imprison The whole universe

hiTler only had The inTellecTuals - radio - movies - media

love
boris

If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2017-10-19   17:17:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Tooconservative (#0)

Our society has always protected itself from monopolists

Utter Hogwash! The United States has been under the control of monopolies since Abe Lincoln, the first D&R party president.

1) Government - the most harmful and violent monopoly known to man.

2) Federal Reserve Bank - Monetary fraud central. A private monopoly, created by the government. Not Federal, there's no Reserve, and it's not a Bank. There's only one, and there's nothing else like it.

3) D&R Party - The smiley face of tyranny. Be there, or be square! Is there any other choice in this rigged game?

hondo68  posted on  2017-10-19   18:32:49 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Tooconservative (#0) (Edited)

Well, I have very mixed emotions/ thoughts on this subject.

First of all I hate all the Sears stores going out of business. When I was growing up, virtually everything we owned was bought at Sears, from the refridgerator to the washing machine. And most of the stuff still works 70 years later whereas modern stuff most of which is made in China, only works for a year or two , and as soon as the warranty expires it quits working. When mom passed away, I donated her still-working Kenmore "wringer-type" washing machine to a museum.

But Sears, and also Macy's and many other stores are not adapting fast enough to the times and the new reality of internet ordering which most customers, or at least the younger ones, tend to prefer. And I have had a pretty bad experience recently with both Sears and Macy's when trying to order something online. Both said I could pick up the item the same day at their/my nearest store but it didn't happen. In the case of Sears the promised "same day" turned out to be 2 weeks, and it looks like its going to be same thing with Macy's. When I order from Amazon, I get it within two days, not 2 weeks.

And right now, although I'm retired, I want to get a job somewhere during the Christmas holiday season to supplement my rather tiny SS check. And Amazon is hiring bunches of people for their local distribution center, Sears and Macy's are not so I'm probably going to end up working for Amazon. It's like the old saying, If you cant lick them, join them.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-20   0:14:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: interpreter (#4)

Well, I have very mixed emotions/ thoughts on this subject.

Why can't you interpret our future as you normally claim?

buckeroo  posted on  2017-10-20   1:26:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: hondo68 (#3)

Ok dopey.

A K A Stone  posted on  2017-10-20   7:02:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: interpreter (#4)

Good luck on getting a job to supliment your income.

A K A Stone  posted on  2017-10-20   7:04:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: buckeroo (#5)

Why can't you interpret our future as you normally claim?

You're insane. There is nothing about Amazon or Sears and Macy's in the Bible for God's sake.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-20   7:49:28 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: A K A Stone, Sharia Law students, Big Stupid Government (#6)

Ok dopey.

Carry on with watching your favorite reality show... Dancing With Wahhabis.

hondo68  posted on  2017-10-20   7:59:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Tooconservative (#0)

While I don't even pretend to truly understand this issue well enough to state that this is the indisputable truth,the author does seem to make some valid points.

I'd like to see this guy do a live debate against someone truly informed that disagrees with him because right now he is essentially doin't what he accuses others of doing.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   8:38:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: hondo68 (#3)

2) Federal Reserve Bank - Monetary fraud central. A private monopoly, created by the government. Not Federal, there's no Reserve, and it's not a Bank. There's only one, and there's nothing else like it.

Not true. The Fed was created by private bankers in order to enrich themselves and obtain virtually unlimited power and access to the US Treasury.

3) D&R Party - The smiley face of tyranny.

No question about that one. The Uni-Party that seeks to control the world as a proxy for the people that own them.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   8:42:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: interpreter (#4)

First of all I hate all the Sears stores going out of business.

Sears is NOT going out of business because of the internet. In FACT,the reverse is true. IF Sears had stayed true to their mail order/catalogue origins and created a internet "catalog" and continued to focus on small retail outlets situated in more rural areas that basically served as pick up points and places to buy tools and appliances,they would still be thriving.

Where they made their mistake was going "upscale" with uber expensive buildings located in major shopping centers in urban environments. The same environments that are on bus lines and attract the "Urban Youts" that never bother to go to school because they are members of the Master Race who can't be failed and don't need to learn anything to hold a job because they are the Nation's Pets,and have no intention of getting a job anyhow.

It is these roaming bands of urban black male AND female youts/thugs that hit the upscale shopping centers because they are on bus lines and easy to reach with their "free" bus passes,are loaded with upscale stores they can steal designers fashion items from,as well as plenty of mostly female or elderly shoppers to rob in the parking lots. Which quite naturally causes these women and elderly people to shop from the safety of their homes and not even have to pay sales taxes usually,never mind worry about being robbed and/or beaten for no reason other than they are white and lack the ability to defend themselves.

Ever notice an almost complete lack of uniformed police at these mega-shopping centers? Blame the owners. They don't want the police patrolling their parking lots because they are afraid of creating the impression that shopping there is dangerous. Which,of course,means that shopping there IS dangerous.

*I* have never had any problems shopping at shopping centers even though am elderly now because I am alert,probably don't strike most people as being harmless,and I am always armed and ready,willing,and able to remove any attackers from the planet. Make no mistake about it,any group of thugs that tries to attack me will be leaving the area short several members,and maybe with a fresh outlook on life.

It is the THUGS and their easy access to the mega malls that killed Sears,K-Mart,and a BUNCH of other retail chains. Wal-Mart mostly escaped because they started building mega-stores on property THEY own and control,and it seems like most of these mega Wal-Marts are located on the outskirts of suburbs.

Now the roaming gangs of black thugs are even running businesses out of their own neighborhoods with the roaming gangs of shoplifters organized on social media to meet for grab and runs at certain times in certain stores.

Call me a racist if you want,but random white people don't gather together to loot stores.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   9:26:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: Pinguinite (#1)

Bill Still pointed out that Google graciously donates money to just about every media outlet there is, strongly ensuring that none of them will every publicize anything bad about Google.

Exactamundo.

Greased palms makes the world go round. And creates sold-souls.

Liberator  posted on  2017-10-20   9:53:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: sneakypete, hondo68 (#11)

( 2) Federal Reserve Bank - Monetary fraud central. A private monopoly, created by the government. Not Federal, there's no Reserve, and it's not a Bank. There's only one, and there's nothing else like it.)

Not true. The Fed was created by private bankers in order to enrich themselves and obtain virtually unlimited power and access to the US Treasury

Well, Hondo is right in the sense that the gubmint gave license to an external Banking Cabal to control the printing of fiat paper money.

You're right in that in ALLOWING such an entity as "Federal Reserve," aka, Private Bankers Inc, the gubmint gave them "virtually unlimited power and access to the US Treasury."

This of course led to FDR's illegal confiscation, aka, THEFT of the PEOPLE'S gold, who then siphoned it to the World Banksters and their political friends.

Liberator  posted on  2017-10-20   10:08:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: sneakypete (#12) (Edited)

Tremendous post. Great observations. Especially about Sears' demise.

(Same reason Malls died: THUG EPIDEMIC.)

Liberator  posted on  2017-10-20   10:09:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: Liberator (#15)

Tremendous post. Great observations. Especially about Sears' demise.

(Same reason Malls died: THUG EPIDEMIC.)

Thanks.

I can only guess that the people this isn't obvious to are the people who haven't been to a mall in 10 years or more.

I live in rural area where the closest Wal-Mart was located in a "city" with a business center maybe 3 blocks long and 3 blocks deep. The first shopping center was built and located within city limits around 1970. There were never any problems there,and Wal-Mart moved in and opened a big store that took up one whole side of the shopping center in the early 80's.

They flat shut it down maybe 4 or 5 years ago,and that expensive new big building they had just built still sits vacant today because they were wise enough to spot the trend of the elderly white people,their most reliable shoppers,getting robbed in the parking lots and having their cars vandalized.

So they decided to buy up a LOT of acreage several miles out of the city so there are and probably never will be any bus lines going there,and lease out space to other businesses. If you want to go there,you MUST have your own car or pay for an expensive taxi ride. Which mostly keeps the black thugs away. Primarily because there are no welfare housing developments,or any other housing developments within 2 miles of the new shopping center,so they have no where to run and hide. If they try anything,there they are,stuck right out in the open without even a bush to hide behind.

No matter what time of the day I go to that shopping center,it seems like it's always hard to find a place to park.

So much for the claim that "shopping centers are dying". Chances are they will never die because people,mostly women,like to go to shopping centers to shop and socialize with their friends. It's a public meeting place that gets them out of the house.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   11:52:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: sneakypete, interpreter (#12)

IF Sears had stayed true to their mail order/catalogue origins and created a internet "catalog" and continued to focus on small retail outlets situated in more rural areas that basically served as pick up points and places to buy tools and appliances,they would still be thriving.

Sears and Pennys and Spiegel and Montgomery Ward all found their catalog sales drying up. And shipping was starting to hurt them.

So they went where the customers were going: malls in the Seventies through the Nineties.

And when the Walmarts moved in, they were able to undercut the prices on those big wasteful mall stores with their giant buildings that wasted up to a fourth of their floor space. Walmart didn't waste any floor space. So the malls started dying because of Walmart. And Amazon is finishing off what's left.

The last big mall in my rural area will close in the next few years. Waldenbooks gone, Radio Shack too. Sears gone and now JCPenny closing. All they have left is clothing for teen girls and young women, bath boutiques, a big nail salon, a small hair salon, cruddy mall theater, a vape store, a yuppie coffee shop, a small dollar store, and an attached Staples with its own entrance. About a third of their store slots stay empty all the time. It was already hard hit by the Walmart superstore a few blocks away and Amazon is finishing it off.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-10-20   13:25:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: sneakypete (#16)

BTW, I'm totally pissed at my Roku quad-core streaming stick because the wireless remote won't connect. So I have to use my iPhone app to control it. Buying a new remote from Roku is $30 plus shipping. Walmart is selling a whole new stick with new remote for $40. Grrrr...

I wouldn't care so much but I've dumped satellite and use my Plex home media server a lot. What I'm really using a lot of now is that Pluto.tv app (on Roku, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc.). Pluto offers a really surprising amount of stuff for free, even some decent older movies.

Have you tried Roku's Pluto.tv app yet? It's good but I found my AppleTV has even more channels available on it. Apparently, each platform has content rights negotiated separately so the channels can vary some.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-10-20   13:30:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: Tooconservative (#17)

Sears and Pennys and Spiegel and Montgomery Ward all found their catalog sales drying up.

Somebody should have told them about the new things called "computers" and "the internet". A HELL of a lot cheaper and quicker to list and sell their products,and they aren't spending a ton of money on printing and shipping.

And shipping was starting to hurt them.

Why would it hurt Sears more than it hurts Amazon? In FACT,Sears would have had a slight edge on shipping by offering customers free pickup at their stores as an option.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   15:59:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#20. To: Tooconservative (#18)

Have you tried Roku's Pluto.tv app yet?

No. I had a sudden attack of flexibility,and have been too busy working in the yard to watch much tv. In fact,just taking a break right now. For some odd reason I just don't seem to have the endurance I used to have years ago.

I'm hoping I can remember to check it out when the weather turns cold.

Truth to tell,I have seen mention of Pluto TV,but had no idea it was a ROKU channel.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   16:03:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#21. To: sneakypete (#12)

Well, I have to say you are pretty sneaky. Your first paragraph is pretty much true if you go back far enough in history. I do agree that Sears should have kept their catalogue sales intact but along with some big stores where customers could go to and pick up their purchases if they so desired.

But then, in the following paragraphs, you started sneaking in some weird crap which I dont agree with.

Anyhow, I was talking primarily about today and not what happened 50 years ago. Any business, if it wants to survive, has to adapt to the latest development in retail sales, which is internet sales. If Sears would have kept its catalogue sales, it probably would have helped Sears adapt I am pretty sure. But they didn't, and now they're failing to adapt to the changing times big time.

I am Sears' biggest fan, and if they would hire me as their CEO, I'm pretty sure I could right the ship before it sinks.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-20   16:12:11 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#22. To: sneakypete (#19)

"Sears and Pennys and Spiegel and Montgomery Ward all found their catalog sales drying up."

"Somebody should have told them about the new things called "computers" and "the internet". A HELL of a lot cheaper and quicker to list and sell their products,and they aren't spending a ton of money on printing and shipping."

That's a very very crazy statement if I ever heard one. Back then the only computers were great big "mainframes" which typical took up the whole floor of a building because they were mostly comprised of vacuum tubes. I know because I worked for the vacuum tube company that made they them (Univac). And no one could afford them except the government and a few big corporations because they cost millions of dollars. And there definitely was no such thing as the internet.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-20   16:35:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#23. To: interpreter (#22)

That's a very very crazy statement if I ever heard one.

I'm crushed!

Back then the only computers were great big "mainframes" which typical took up the whole floor of a building because they were mostly comprised of vacuum tubes.

You mean way back,2 or 3 years ago when Sears got into financial trouble?

I don't know where you live,but even out here in the sticks where I live,we have things like transistors,WI-FI,etc,etc,etc,and have had them for 20 or so years.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-20   21:46:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#24. To: sneakypete (#20)

For some odd reason I just don't seem to have the endurance I used to have years ago.

I think you know exactly the reason.

no gnu taxes  posted on  2017-10-20   22:08:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#25. To: sneakypete (#23)

Back then the only computers were great big "mainframes" which typical took up the whole floor of a building because they were mostly comprised of vacuum tubes.

You mean way back,2 or 3 years ago when Sears got into financial trouble?

I don't know where you live,but even out here in the sticks where I live,we have things like transistors,WI-FI,etc,etc,etc,and have had them for 20 or so years.

"Back then the only computers were great big "mainframes" which typical took up the whole floor of a building because they were mostly comprised of vacuum tubes."

"You mean way back,2 or 3 years ago when Sears got into financial trouble?

I don't know where you live,but even out here in the sticks where I live,we have things like transistors,WI-FI,etc,etc,etc,and have had them for 20 or so years."

You were talking about and I was talking about when Sears phased out its catalogues. That was way over 20 years ago when computers were still gigantic monsters, and comprised at least in part of vacuum tubes. They had a few transistors, but integrate circuits were not invented yet. I was working at NASA then and most people today probably dont realize it, but we landed a man on the moon with computer equipment that was a crude mix of vacuum tubes and transisters. PC's and the internet wouldn't come along until 17 to 18 years after that.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-21   10:11:10 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#26. To: interpreter (#25)

You were talking about and I was talking about when Sears phased out its catalogues. That was way over 20 years ago when computers were still gigantic monsters, and comprised at least in part of vacuum tubes.

Frankly,I don't remember when Sears quit mailing out it's catalogues,but I was still receiving tool catalogues from them as recently as a few years ago. Granted,they are a tiny specialized part of a company that used to produce massive catalogues you could even order houses,cars,and machine guns from,but they were still catalogues.

The POINT being that Sears made it's bones on catalogue sales to average citizens in rural areas,towns,and small citiies. They had small retail stores in most areas where people could go to shop in person,or to pick up large or heavy items and save on shipping because Sears would ship to their stores for free.

Going to selling from a web site instead of a catalogue or flyer is a natural progression.

Trying to go upscale with VERY expensive large stores in large cities to attract the upscale shopper that buys designer clothes and other trendy items was the financial kiss of death for many,many retailers that made their fortunes on small stores.

For example,the closest Sears retail outlet to me is smaller than my house. They stock mostly refrigerators,washing machines,and riding lawn mowers. They are also a catalogue store,and can order anything Sears sells and have it delivered there for free for you to pick up. That store will NEVER go out of business until Sears dies. They own it,taxes are cheap,and it has been in that same location for over 40 years. One man that lives near me is retired from that store,and if it is open 5 years from now,chances are you will see the same people working in there then that are working there now. If there is a problem with whatever you bought from Sears,they KNOW what to do to correct the situation,they don't give you a toll free number to call and waste half your day on hold.

Sears is going broke because of the expenses related to those mega stores in expensive shopping centers. They just suck up all the profits.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-10-21   11:03:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#27. To: sneakypete (#26)

Actually, as my dad always told my mom when they had an argument, you are half right. Most everything you said is at least partially true EXCEPT and my whole point is, how can going from catalogue sales to online sales be a natural progression when (when they discontinued the big catalogue) there was no internet and no such thing as PC's and computers took up a whole floor of a building?

I will agree with you that buying space for a big store in a mall is very, very expensive, but it did work well for Sears for many many years. But today its a different story. And IF Sears would have kept their catalogue sales, they could easily adapt, but the point is, they didn't. And now they are paying the consequences.

interpreter  posted on  2017-10-21   15:27:26 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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