Idiot damn stupidity

There is legitimate fear that GDPR will threaten the data-profiling gravy train. It’s a direct assault on the surveillance economy, enforced by government regulators and an army of class-action lawyers. “It will require such a rethinking of the way Facebook and Google work, I don’t know what they will do,” says Jonathan Taplin, author of Move Fast and Break Things, a book that’s critical of the platform economy. Companies could still serve ads, but they would not be able to use data to target someone’s specific preferences without their consent. “I saw a study that talked about the difference in value of an ad if platforms track information versus do not track,” says Reback. “If you just honor that, it would cut the value Google could charge for an ad by 80 percent.”

That is, the value to the advertiser is cut by 80%.

He’s arguing in favour of a reduction in economic efficiency……

24 comments on “Idiot damn stupidity

  1. Adds that at least have some semblance of relevance are irritating enough, having to put up with any old crap will be too much.

  2. Sorry, Commies, Google is already claiming (and they tend to know their shit) that Adwords is GDPR compliant.

    GDPR isn’t half of what people think it is. I’ve read the summary. It’s mostly the data protection act + care for customer data. If you pay for some recently titled GDPR Consultant to charge you £500 a day to help, you’re a chump.

  3. “I demand that the law forces the value of my competitor’s product to be cut by 80% resulting in my product being comparatively worth more”.

  4. Dear Mr Worstall

    I recall a quote by some bod about advertising for soap powder: roughly – “half of our advertising is wasted, the trouble is we don’t know which half”.

    That nice Mr Google helps with targeting, saving on the volume of advertising necessary and charging more for the privilege = economic progress.

    I can ignore adverts which might be vaguely more relevant to me almost as easily as I can those which aren’t.

    Anything which reduces the volume of adverts is a plus.

    DP

  5. “GDPR isn’t half of what people think it is. I’ve read the summary.”

    Ah. The summary, eh? 🙂

    The marketing/advertising stuff usually isn’t a problem. That’s all uniform and organised and can be dealt with by providing a few policy statements.

    The problem with GDPR is that it covers *everything*. Every single email you send internally or externally is personal data (it’s got email addresses in it). Every memo (actions and attendees), every task sheet (who’s tasked, who’s authorising it). Every report, with the authors name on it. Every bit of source code, with authors and authorisers and testers noted in the comments, or buried in the version control system.

    Any piece of data about an identifiable living natural person counts as “personal data”. And you have to declare it all, define everything you might want to use it for, prevent anyone using it for any other purpose, delete it as soon as those declared uses expire, and you have to be able to search it so that if anyone requests data on themselves, in any form, you can find it. And if requested, delete it. That includes stand-alone machines not on any network, old back-up disks and CDs stowed in cupboards, filing cabinets full of paper. And you have to recognise the name in any form – not just all the ways of presenting a name, but also initials, staff numbers, IP addresses, job titles, roles, etc.

    Your marketing database is simple – everything is in nice structured records in a centralised location with built-in tools for searching it. The problem is all the unstructured data in an organisation.

  6. I’ve had this argument over ITV and Channel 4 being free and usually lose. The loonies say they are not free because every time you buy something a portion of it pays for the advertising. I say that if you banished commercial television then prices would go up as the advertising would be done less efficiently, that advertisers are not idiots, and market in the most cost effective way available or they lose business to those who do, therefore commercial television makes you better off even if you don’t personally watch it.
    That’s too long an argument for the loonies.

  7. “The loonies say they are not free because every time you buy something a portion of it pays for the advertising. I say that if you banished commercial television then prices would go up as the advertising would be done less efficiently,”

    There’s a difference between it being free, and it being cheaper than the alternative ways of providing it.

    Commercial television could indeed make you better off even if you don’t personally watch it – assuming you knew about and was going to buy those products anyway. It means goods are cheaper than they would have been. It doesn’t mean you’re getting anything for free. (Reminds me of the old joke about the wife coming back from the January sales, loaded down with bags, and saying to her husband “Look how much money I just saved you!”)

    “That’s too long an argument for the loonies.”

    It might just be a matter of wording? 🙂

  8. @DP
    Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half. – John Wanamaker (1838-1922)
    He owned department stores (later US Postmaster General).

    @Bongo – my standard response to those who think they pay for ITV through the ‘extra cost’ advertising adds to the products they buy is: “If you think marketing is simply a cost to a business, why not start up your own business and do no advertising whatsoever. With no advertising costs, your product will naturally be cheaper and you can undercut the competition. Be sure to come back in 12 months and let us know how it’s all going.”

  9. yes, he is arguing for economic inefficiency … but not every decision is economic.

    case in point:
    10 years ago my company was bought out and I cashed out my equity. It was enough money for me to lead, (as I’ told my Mom & Dad at the time) “a nice brain surgeon’s life” without ever having to work again.

    then 2008 came, and I was reduced to the circumstances of leading “a nice dentist’s” life” without ever having to work again … so I decided to seek a job

    Many job offers from Houston in the low six figures. I would reply I need mid six figures or a 100K base plus a formulaic percentage bonus. Their reply was always the same; ” the cost of living is cheaper in Houston than it is in New York”

    And my ( commodity tradin’ ) reply would always be the same, “the basis is the basis, its cheaper to live in Houston than New York becase living in Huston is worth less than living in New York.”

    I’m probabky 150k/yr x 10 years worse off having continuied to live in New York rather than moving to Houston.

    But not every decision is economic. I’d have been miserable in Houston. I’m much happier living in New York than I’d have been living in Houston. I didnt make an economic decision. I made a quality of life decision.

    You could argue that the Brexit vote wasnt about economics. It was about taking back control. It was a quality of freedom and governance decision

    I would GLADLY give up economic efficiency for more privacy and anonymity. Hell, I’d pay Google not to track me, (whether I’d trust ’em not to is a different question) …
    … but I’ve never been offered that choice

  10. Sounds like me. I’d probably triple my salary if I were working in San Francisco, but my rent would octuple. And I’d be surrounded by soy boys and fucking SJWs.

  11. “Adds that at least have some semblance of relevance are irritating enough, having to put up with any old crap will be too much.”

    That was the norm before Al Gore invented the series of tubes though.

    I have to deal with this piece of legislation as a supplier, marketer, and customer. It’s a POS, because no one actually knows what it means. On one side said consultants are saying that you can’t even keep a list of the email addresses you give to your staff (or, at least, can’t share that list with people who _work_ with them without individual documentations of consent etc). On the other side, it’s still clear that Google will just rewrite its TOS such that any app I download from its store will insist on being able to tell Google where I am when I phone someone. The solution will be that I have to consent every time I make a fucking phone call.

    Withdraw consent – sorry – you can’t use your Android device to make a call in that case.

  12. “On one side said consultants are saying that you can’t even keep a list of the email addresses you give to your staff (or, at least, can’t share that list with people who _work_ with them without individual documentations of consent etc)”

    You mean the company email addresses of your own employees? No, I’m pretty sure you don’t need individual consent. You want to use one of the other justifications – either to enable performance of a contract (employment contract in this case) or for your ‘legitimate interests’ which is the catch-all for situations where there’s no particular threat to the data subject’s rights from what your use of it. However, you *do* need to document your email list as ‘personal data’ and say that that’s what you’re using the data for.

    Oh and they’re not allowed to tie ‘consent’ to the provision of unrelated services that don’t need it. There may be ways round that, but that’s the clear intention, and I expect the ICO would take a dim view of anyone trying.

    I get the impression that there are relatively few things that can’t be dealt with fairly simply by making the appropriate declarations – but I agree that nobody seems very clear on where the boundaries are or what declarations have to be made.

  13. What NiV says.

    But worse. Think of company mobiles. Do you keep contacts on there? Of course you do. Personal contacts? I bet you do you. Caught by GDPR. Need to inform the individuals. There’s a whole heap of grief coming for firms.

  14. “Do you keep contacts on there? Of course you do. Personal contacts? I bet you do you. Caught by GDPR.”

    Interesting example!

    I think companies can deal with that by declaring that employees are permitted, within stated bounds, to keep personal personal data on company IT equipment, but that the employee is the “data controller” for such information for the purposes of GDPR, and personally responsible for complying with the act.

    If the company is able to automatically search mobile phone contact lists, you possibly need some way to protect that data from unauthorised access by the company, like by requiring any personal data to be marked in some way, and searches run by the company automatically excluding it.

    I’m not sure – it could be tricky. One for the lawyers, I think.

  15. I am quite comfortable with the idea of my personal data being unavailable without my consent and I couldn’t give a shit about the effect this has on the profits of thw people currently using it without my consent (which is all of them).

  16. @Mr B
    If you haven’t given your consent, then use of your personal data is already illegal under Data Protection (in the UK). But you almost certainly have given your consent, by clicking on some long legal screed of Ts&Cs when you signed up to a web site or service.

    Personally, I’m happy to use ‘free’ services, such as Google, but I realise they have to be paid for by utilising the personal data I give them to target advertising at me. If I don’t want Google to ‘know’ what I’m doing, I use another service, such as DuckDuckGo.

    I suspect the main effect of GDPR on end users will be lots more “click here to give your consent” pages before you can do anything useful on the web, rather like the EU legislation on cookies.

  17. I’ve been forced to give consent under duress to participate in the modern economy, which is how everyone has given “consent”.

  18. It’s a classic piece of legislation drafted so widely that *everyone* will be in breach, which allows the authorities to go after the people they don’t like and leave their friends alone.

    Also, it adds to the general cost of doing business so that only big firms can comply and small companies can’t compete.

    EU corporate cronyism at its finest. Gold plated by our own beloved civil service no doubt.

  19. @Mr B
    I hate to break it to you, but use of ‘free’ services on the Internet is not yet compulsory. If you don’t like their Ts&Cs other free services may be available, as I pointed out, or you could even (shudder) pay for a service.

  20. “I am quite comfortable with the idea of my personal data being unavailable without my consent and I couldn’t give a shit about the effect this has on the profits of thw people currently using it without my consent (which is all of them).”

    Sure. But how do you feel about *them* being able to get *you* prosecuted for using their personal data without permission?

    (BTW, consent is only one of six possible justifications for processing somebody’s personal data. Not everyone with your data requires your consent.)

  21. Chris, I’d gladly pay a fee for any of the “free” services I use in exchange for them not creating a vast digital profile of my life and selling it around the world. But it’s not just “free” services. There are many online vendors who, as part of the transaction, capture your information and then sell it and you can’t decline that without backing out of the transaction. As I said, I give consent under duress, not because I genuinely agree to their terms. I’m sure the state security apparatus just love this situation though as they hoover up all this intelligence on the entire population without having to do anything themselves. It’s a win/win for everyone except the individual citizen.

  22. “As I said, I give consent under duress, not because I genuinely agree to their terms. I’m sure the state security apparatus just love this situation”

    Then you may be interested in reading the GDPR.

    Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement. This could include ticking a box when visiting an internet website, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement or conduct which clearly indicates in this context the data subject’s acceptance of the proposed processing of his or her personal data. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not therefore constitute consent. Consent should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. If the data subject’s consent is to be given following a request by electronic means, the request must be clear, concise and not unnecessarily disruptive to the use of the service for which it is provided.

    also

    In order to ensure that consent is freely given, consent should not provide a valid legal ground for the processing of personal data in a specific case where there is a clear imbalance between the data subject and the controller, in particular where the controller is a public authority and it is therefore unlikely that consent was freely given in all the circumstances of that specific situation. Consent is presumed not to be freely given if it does not allow separate consent to be given to different personal data processing operations despite it being appropriate in the individual case, or if the performance of a contract, including the provision of a service, is dependent on the consent despite such consent not being necessary for such performance.

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