Reply to post: Slow learners

Lovely website you got there. Would be a shame if we, er, someone were to sink it: Google warns EU link tax will magnify media monetary misery

Milton Silver badge

Slow learners

All of these ideas are tinkering at the periphery, which is why they won't work. The fundamental problem—the absolute core of abuse of power by the internet giants—is the "free" use model, which perpetuates only by monetising the users. Google and Facebook don't charge users, so the users are the product. The abuse of privacy follows inevitably.

It would be hard to explicitly compel companies to charge for "free" services, but it's easy to do implicitly: simply ban the storage, collection, analysis, synthesis, sale or transfer of personal information which is not strictly required for transactional, operational use. Fines for non-compliance will be existentially threatening. In a heartbeat, Google and Facebook have to revert to the "honest" model: charging for their services. I've listed the many benefits of this before and I'm not going to go through it all again—smart people can explore this idea and come to their own conclusions.

The inetrnet took a tragically awful wrong turn in permitting the "free use" to arise in the first place. Had we all had to pay for email and search and social messaging etc right from the start, the internet would be a hugely different place, and a much healthier one.

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