Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer and privacy rights advocate, has been fighting in courts since 2011 against Facebook and other abusive corporations whose business model is stealing our data and our lives and our businesses, against our will and against our interests, and to transform us into slaves and puppets, in a mass-surveillance based stalker economy.
In contrast , and in theory, every citizen in the EU has a right to have their data processed fairly, with their consent, and for well defined legitimate purposes.
In 2018 Financial Times wrote: Max Schrems: the man who took on Facebook – and won! However in 2019, Schrems lost. Then eventually in 2020 Schrems won again against Facebook at the European Court of Justice. This ruling is huge, all companies worldwide will now have to adapt to European Laws and regulations, and it is final and can no longer be overthrown. A big setback for Facebook and other similar companies. Champagne for everybody!
This is not all. Facebook is also in trouble in the US. One thing is that the congress of course made it very clear that this company is a villain, as it did already before in 2018. The problem is that Congress does not do lot about these things and has a narrow focus on competition. Another and better part of it are the lawsuits. Many people hate lawyers but they can hurt Facebook. Facebook is now prosecuted in the US state of Illinois for illegally collecting biometric data of people. In July 2020 now Facebook has made a new offer to voluntarily pay 650 M$ to settle. This admission of guilt seems a lot, however the latest reported annual income of Facebook was 18.6 G$, as of July 2020, with increased profits compared to last year by some 11%. So we are still simply losing the battle against Facebook becoming stronger and more powerful every day. A little bit like cancer a virus taking over the human body aiming at infecting everything and growing out proportion: the Internet Giants now account for more than 20% of the whole of the stock market.
How does it compare to Europe, where France have just voted to tax the Internet Giants at 3%? Nothing is perfect, French taxation is done in a problematic permissive way, effectively closing the eyes on what they do. Taxation is however the best way in my opinion and a huge step, in the fight against monumental tax evasion which companies such as Facebook are champions of. In comparison, one might think that effectively in the US, the company is taxed in some way, through these lawsuits. In fact it is not. Not like a company which engages in illegal activities, and which primarily business model, or what it is really about, well basically enslaving the human kind completely in terms what they should think , what they buy, whom they love or with whom they are friends, or for whom they vote. All the things which are essentially completely illegal in most jurisdictions, but might be legal if you do it under false pretexts. Against big data artificial intelligence and greed and legal organized crime which large companies do, because they have good lawyers and do it well, we simply actually lack sufficient legal protections. One lawyer such as Schrems fighting for rights of billions of people in just one jurisdiction is not enough. The problem in the US is that there is no taxation here. The money in Illinois will not go to the state or the government or not even to charity, but rather in cash paid to Facebook account holders in Illinois (150$-300$ per person compensation is expected). Account holders yes, and I would not call them customers, as they do not pay, they rather have been tricked to click on some boxes which are claimed to make them agree to play by the Facebook subversive set of rules. So it is a little bit like paying for breaking the law. What is good however is that it is a punishment, and sums at stake are large, so Facebook does not get to do what they want.
Overall this Illinois ruling is also a great victory, because there are another 3 Billion people in the world who thought that Facebook was their friend or a useful free service, but it never was. In fact it never was free, and never meant to be friendly. This company is stealing data of millions of people, in order to use them against them, and sell it to others. Effectively the business model is prostitution of lives, selling our lives for profit. There is no consent: the consent is bogus or forced. The terms of the contract are fraudulent by all standards: both human and legal. I think that Facebook should be denied ANY rights to our data, and should be legally compelled to erase 100% of data they have. Even if you go to a notary and agree under oath that you want Facebook to hold all your data and use it for what they wish to do, it will still be clearly ILLEGAL for them to do so in both the EU and the US jurisdictions. In Europe, it is a more a human and customer legal rights question: businesses should only use our data for a limited set of legit purposes. In the US it is more an anti-trust question: other companies would like to collect and own your data, say about the car you want to buy, or about your habits and desires, and Facebook should be denied the right to be effectively also a car dealer, or say a healthcare provider, in addition to 10,000 business activities they also want to run. It is simply a question of tremendous concentration of power in one place hurting the economy at large.
Why it will be hurting the economy? The hidden trade-offs: between businesses which do not even compete against each other or bump against each other, normally. Making sure your bike is of bad quality though hidden sponsorship deals and you need a car to go to work. Of that you are sick and obese to sell you expensive drugs. Or selling all of us junk food, yes to everybody, because this is exactly what maximizes the profits of the food industry worldwide, and denying us the right to eat quality food, and actually even making sure that such food will not even be manufactured and sold anymore. The big moral hazards like life insurers making sure that some people get killed and some live longer, in a variety of indirect but perfectly operationally effective ways of killing people, directly or statistically, for example by hacking self-driving cars, or by corrupting scientists who study serious health hazards.
This is not capitalism, where businesses thrive through specialization and expertise, and are efficient and fit for purpose. This is Soviet style communism or mafia economy, where businesses are strangled and can barely survive, and profits concentrate at few places such as investment banks and Facebook, which do not do anything or not much, or nothing which is not essentially harmful to the human society and the economy, and which are able to control everything, through their monopolistic position, with some censorship and dirty tricks such as businesses losing 10% of their income for strange technical reasons.
A free economy does not need a totalitarian centralized system of gate keepers such as Facebook. We do not want big fat cats playing an active role at the commanding heights of the economy. Humans and their needs, not greedy profit-seeking algorithms should be at the very center of the economical activity. We want real journalism and real medias, not medias what are entirely owned by advertisers. Advertising is of course useful in order for innovations and new technology to be adopted, but otherwise it is harmful and represents just a part of our economy, the part which is frequently about making the human animal do tricks for the big business not the other way round. We do not want corrupted professional abusers dictating billions of people what to think and what to do. I think Facebook should be denied a legal right to be what they want to be. We need a decentralized economy, dominated by specialist businesses which care about what they do, and which in fact do have conflicting ideas, interests and agenda. We need to deny Facebook the center stage, deny them the right to monopolize every area of live. The economy cannot be just based on push strategies with advertising and marketing. We need an economy based on human needs and aspirations, with pull, not only based on push strategies. We need more incentives for businesses to be honest and do their job, and also to be able top profit from what they do. A big problem is the Internet gate keepers tend to siphon all the profits from the economy, enslaving and impoverishing both buyers and the sellers.