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Online Users Are The Cash Cows Milked By Google, Amazon And Facebook

Some say it was necessary.

Others say it’s an invasion of privacy that goes too far. Perhaps, like many pieces of legislation, the government just hasn’t sold it well.

However, it wasn’t the passage of the data encryption bill itself that was most controversial, but rather the breathtaking opposition by tech giants, Amazon, Facebook and Google in the name of ‘privacy’.

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These online giants operate under one business model: gather as much information as possible about individual users using sophisticated algorithms, and on-sell that information to advertisers.

In other words, online users are the cash cows these mega-corporations milk every day.

Tech giants use complex algorithms to gather users' data and then profit from targeted advertising. (Image: Getty)

So it’s hard to stomach when these billion dollar tech giants oppose the introduction of new encryption busting laws because it would make users ‘less safe online’.

Prepared by their industry group, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s submission to the Federal Committee that reviewed the bill states, 'We also remain concerned at the lack of independent oversight of Notices and the absence of checks and balances with this legislation…'

Hold the iPhone!  Are we talking about the type of checks and balances which DON’T exist on how much data Amazon, Facebook and Google can collect on individuals and how this information is used?

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Their submission goes on to claim that the bill 'proposes extraordinary powers that are unprecedented' and that a more workable legislation is required to 'protect the safety of Australians online'.

The tech giants crying 'foul' over privacy is hard to stomach. (Image: Getty)

Perhaps the bill does have flaws.  However, it’s the height of hypocrisy for these online mega-corporations who have ‘unprecedented and extraordinary’ access to the private information of millions of Australians and who don’t give a rat's rear end about ‘protecting the safety of Australians online’ to whine about the Federal Government’s potential invasion of privacy.

Take the new smart speaker phenomenon.  Unlike most electronic devices, the vast majority of these units don’t switch off when left unused for a period of time.  They’re always ‘on’ and always listening.

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More importantly, the units have one account and don’t differentiate between adults and children.  These devices record and store almost every piece of information spoken aloud while the machine is switched on and deliver advertising based on an aggregated profile of the account associated with your home, not specific to any particular user.  This should send up red flags with every parent.

Facebook also has a hide opposing the proposed laws based on issues of ‘information security’.  As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had more than 2.2 billion followers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the US Senate Judiciary committee over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (Image: Getty)

In 2017 advertising made up 97 percent of Facebook’s $40 billion revenue -- that is video advertisements, mobile advertisements, page likes, page boosts, and more from individuals and companies.

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Facebook attracts this mass advertising by offering up our personal information with no checks or balances on what algorithms are used, what depth of information is taken nor how and where the information is used.

In fact, the likely reason the social tech giants are opposed to the government’s proposed legislation, is because they’re opposed to any government, anywhere in the world imposing conditions of any kind on their operations.

Regardless of the merits of the new laws, the opposition expressed by the tech giants is about as authentic as Zuckerberg and Bezos crying poor.