Reply to post: Some Data Protection and other ideas

Addicts of Facebook and pals are easy prey for manipulative scumbags – thanks to tech giants' 'extraordinary reach'

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Some Data Protection and other ideas

If we're going to have a debate about how to improve things, we need to look to solutions tightening up data protection laws, and suggest other opinions rather than wishing these companies out of existence.

My first wish Just make it illegal for companies to sell, or otherwise provide access to user data to third parties. No more hiding behind skilfully crafted "terms and conditions" that have to be accepted. Companies can still use their own data to target people for ads (much as I loath that this is the price we all have to pay), so for example if people are enthusiastic about cars in their online activity on a ste, that site should be able to push car adverts to that user. But the car company should never be allowed to access any data in any shape or form about the site's users, other than perhaps that say 3 million users of that site are interested in cars (in other words automating what used to be done as statistical analysis by market research companies).

Seccondly all notions of "light touch", or worse, "no" regulation should be firmly put away for good after all this news. No publisher should ever be too big to not become responsible for what it publishes, whether that content is "user generated" or not. Social media is ad funded publishing, just like a print magazine. If a company's website hosts videos or photos of appalling violence, murder, etc, the executives of the comany go to prison after conviction and truly massive fines are imposed, same way a video rental store owner would have been punished in the 1980s for such crimes.

Thirdly, please can more people tell TV companies that if we wanted to hear what people were saying about their programmes on social media we would go there and look. We do not want to be informed during those programmes. That might let more of the public see just what crap goes on in these places rather the anodyne crap they read out at us. It would certainly be less irritating.

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