Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV Government vs Big Tech

This was my first Alt-Tech Opinion for BlockTV News.

Welcome back to BlockTV. I’m Brian of London and this is my alt-tech opinion for BlockTV on the 3rd of February 2020.

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the big tech giants, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have too much power and control. Whether that’s a problem or not seems to be related to the size of your slice of their massive lobbying budgets.

The Antitrust Subcommittee of the US House Judiciary Committee is currently working on an investigation and a couple of weeks ago the committee took time out from impeaching Trump to continue doing something useful, perhaps. They held a field hearing about the power of online platforms and spoke to witnesses specifically about Facebook, Google Amazon and Apple.

This was part of their investigation into the competitiveness of digital markets: this is a bipartisan investigation which will generate a report and recommendations for new laws and regulations seeking to govern how big tech platforms work.

This meeting took testimony, under oath, from four witnesses⁠1. All four told compelling stories of how difficult it is to innovate in a market dominated by companies which have grown so huge. Throughout I heard a clear tension between business people who want government to get out of the way and let them innovate, against a recognition that Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have grown unnaturally large and are now a threat to innovation.

This is David Heinemeier Hansson, the CTO of software service provider Basecamp.

[Video]

It was very clear in all of those tests that Facebook was by far and away the most effective way to market because of the immense amount of personal data that they have so we could target our apps to just an astonishing degree and no other advertising platform was able to compete and this is why Google who also has the same sort of capabilities of charging and Facebook is able to capture 99% of all growth in Internet advertisement as was stated in that report from 2016 because they simply have devastatingly effective machinery.

He’s arguing, and I’m in complete agreement, Facebook and Google managed to collect and gather a trove of personal information in an early gold rush. Most people had no idea they were handing over something this valuable in aggregate because individually they either thought it a fair exchange for free email, photo sharing with grandma and some shiny beads or they simply never thought of it. Apple and Amazon are sitting on similar power.

As these giants grew quickly, the incumbents in the advertising market, whose business they were eating, didn’t see it coming. Back in 2010 now prominent crypto invester, Lou Kerner, made what seemed like a wild prediction for Facebook advertising revenue in 2015 and that Facebook would come to dominate online advertising and how online advertising would dominate advertising in general.

[Video 48s]

Facebook hit his prediction about 18 months after his prediction but this was still wild growth.

I have worked on and run many websites since before Facebook started up until today:  especially in news and opinion, Facebook can easily send 70% of a site’s traffic. Whether you’re buying adverts using their astonishingly intrusive targeting data, or just trying to have your thoughts heard, Facebook is the giant you can’t ignore. 

For the crypto world, we can’t ignore Facebook’s January 2018 ban on crypto advertising and their casting of cryptocurrencies as a “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive practices”.

[Read]

Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.

Google and Twitter copied this weeks later. This attack on an entire industry that may one day compete with these incumbent giants doesn’t appear to have been illegal in America (though it may have broken Australia’s anti-cartel laws).

America doesn’t really have the same anti-trust regulations as Australia which is a pity. Even now the politicians don’t seem to know what to do next. Toward the end of the hearing the politicians ask the panel what they suggest: the short version is they really don’t know what to do about it.

Speaking in a separate interview to the Verge⁠2, committee chairman David Cicilline said this:

[Audio 36s]

This is not an investigation that results in an enforcement action investigation.

Congress is the only place that has the ability to actually change the statutes and update the laws and put proposed regulations in place that actually fix this marketplace. So unlike an enforcement action that focuses on the behavior — a single company gets directed to do a single thing — our work is much broader. And it is actually more significant because if we do it right, we can get this digital marketplace working properly. And that will benefit consumers. It will benefit the next great company that’s going to come down the pike because competition was possible.

The US Government is slowly coming to terms with the dramatic concentration of power which has happened to social media, online advertising, local, national and international news, retail sales and the distribution of apps on our phones, the most important communication devices in the world. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened to fast than for governments.

But for those of us with the ear to the ground in the crypto world, where suspicion of big government and their regulations is real and well founded, how do we feel about whatever this committee will propose? Does anyone think US authorities have done a great job regulating crypto? Can we place most of their efforts in the category of mostly harmful?

If you’ve got an opinion, look me up on twitter @brianoflondon or @brianoflondon on Steemit. Tell me know what you think.

For now, that’s Brian’s Alt-tech opinion.

1 https://judiciary.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=2386

2 https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078903/podcast-house-antitrust-chairman-cicilline-tech-monopoly-vergecast

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

Podcast talks Crypto YouTube apocalypse and the #CryptoClassAction

On Christmas Eve reports started dropping onto Twitter of major YouTube Channels having large amounts of content censored and deleted. The common factor was talking about crypto currencies or blockchain technology. No warnings were given and the damage was widespread.

I put this into the wider context of mass censorship on YouTube away from alternative and non-main stream topics and creators and toward the mainstream “safe” for advertisers content that YouTube is able to consistently make money on.

My extra thoughts on this: there’s definitely an element of the fall out from the COPPA settlement, this saw Google fined for collecting data on children watching videos in contravention of a clear law. Whatever directed them to take this action, it is yet another reason why our Crypto Class Action case, links below, is so important!

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

What’s going on with the JPBLiberty law suit in Australia against Facebook, Google and Twitter?

We’re definitely overdue for an update on the JPBLiberty case over the Crypto Advertising ban. The last update I gave was when Maxine Waters mentioned the ad ban while questioning Mark Zuckerberg in her Financial Services Committee in the US House of Congress.

Some news broke today in Australia concerning how class action cases can be funded. This concerns a part of Australian law related to “common fund orders”. The short answer is, this is positive for our case because we were never going to rely on a common fund order, while other cases competing for funding were.

Here’s the report:

The High Court has queried the legality of court orders requiring members of class actions to pay litigation funders even if they aren’t part of a funding agreement.

The key issue in the cases brought by Westpac and BMW is whether the Federal Court of Australia and NSW Supreme Court were empowered to make what is known as a “common fund order”.

BMW challenged an order by the NSW Supreme Court requiring anyone receiving a payout from a class action over faulty airbags to provide 25 per cent of the money to litigation funder Regency Funding for bankrolling the court case.

The High Court found by a majority neither the laws relating to the Federal Court nor the NSW Civil Procedures Act empower a court to make a common fund order.

“It is not appropriate or necessary to ensure that justice is done in a representative proceeding for a court to promote the prosecution of the proceeding by the making of a CFO,” the judgment said.

Norton Rose Fulbright disputes practice leader Cameron Harvey said the decision was a significant setback for the business of litigation funding and plaintiff law firms operating in Australia.

Court strikes blow to class action funding – News.com.au

For our case, we quickly decided not to look for a common fund order because it was unneccessary and less economic than signing up claimaints directly given the scale of damages available. Also our libertarian outlook didn’t like the idea of forcing people who hadn’t signed up for a case to contribute to it.

Instead JPBLiberty went down the far harder path of gathering signatures on a real funding agreement (which many of my readers have signed) rather than relying on taking 25% after the settlement from people who did not consciously join the suit before we fought it.

If anything this is good for us because it means OUR case is stronger in comparison to other Aussie cases that were relying on Common Fund orders.

Beyond that, the news is that we are working on some very comprehensive legal opinions and work to bolster the case and secure the funding necessary. It’s hard to give more details about these steps right now as this needs to be carried out confidentially at this stage.

As ever, we’re always looking for more people to join our suit so if you had any kind of crypto currency holding or a stake in any related blockchain business, please check out the website and see if you can sign up. If you want to talk about a significant contribution to funding the case, we are open to any new approaches.

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.

Podcast is a little late talking Israel – Rome – 3speak – Steem – CryptoClassAction

I recorded this over a week ago, the video went up quickly on 3speak but it’s taken me a while to get back into the grove with updating my own website. I’ve got to say that I’m increasingly of the opinion that Steem provides a better blogging platform than my own site. I will explore the reasons why in the future but for now I’m still updating here.

You can see my Sicily drone video here on 3speak.

My travelfeed post about the hotel in Rome is here.

Facebook: Initial Crypto Ad Ban “intentionally broad to better understand the crypto market”

A few headlines for the progress JPB Liberty has made in our Crypto Ad ban class action case against Facebook, Google and Twitter:

  • Since July 1st the financial value of submitted claims has jumped from $30m to over $200m and are still streaming in;
  • We have more than 350 claimants;
  • We’re in discussion with established sources of funds for class action legal cases;
  • Significant private contributions to legal funds;
  • Written acknowledgement of our warning letter from Google Australia;
  • Significant press coverage.

We’ve gained more press coverage and sign ups to the suit have accelerated. People, especially Crypto insiders, are realising that what the tech Goliath did, by calling their entire industry a scam, was very wrong!

Up until now there seems to have been a sort of Stockholm syndrome mentality within crypto insiders. Some crypto insiders believe there were lots of scams and the whole industry needed to feel guilty about them. They just took the punishment from these huge mega corporations and felt they deserved some of it! Evidence just doesn’t back this up. We have to fight that mentality which seems to be a very strongly held belief in a myth. You can read more about why this is a hoax here.

This article in Decrypt contains a very interesting revelation from a Facebook spokesperson:

While the suit names Facebook, Google and Twitter directly, Hamilton said he considers Facebook the principle offender, and alleged that the tech giant instigated the ban.  

In comments to Decrypt, a Facebook spokesman who did not want to be quoted by name said the social network would look into any cases where unfairness is alleged. The spokesman added that the initial ban had been intentionally broad to better understand the crypto market; the intent had been to create clearer policy around what constitutes acceptable crypto advertising.

Decrypt – Sued for billions, Facebook is accused of killing crypto businesses by Ben Munster

The spokesman
added that
the initial
ban had been
intentionally broad
to better
understand the
crypto market;

Does this phrase: “the initial ban had been intentionally broad to better understand the crypto market” mean Facebook decided to ban an entire industry before they even understood it? That would be an astonishing admission. Or are they just gaslighting now?

In the meantime JPB Liberty has received an acknowledgement of our initial letter sent to Google in Australia. They confirmed Google Australia was talking with Google in the US and a few other details.

We were also covered by Nadja Bester of BeInCrypto with an excellent and detailed explanation of the case.

This video I recorded in Jerusalem was especially good at driving sign ups to our case.

Not directly connected with JPB Liberty’s case (but I did mention the Crypto Add Ban) I appeared on Block TV again talking about Brexit and Bitcoin.

If you want to join the fight, instructions below. We’re always looking for class members as no-win-no-fee participants and at the same time, if you want a financial stake in this project, you can send money by PayPal or various crypto and you will receive a cryptographic token representing your share in the damages.

You can join the fight against the Tech Goliaths in two ways, you have a no win no fee claim or you wish to help finance the case.

⭐️ Please join the case if you held crypto and have a claim.

🏅 You can directly contribute crypto on Fundition. To send fiat currency via PayPal click here. If you want to talk about a large donation, Telegram or email me.

If you derive value from my work, please consider donating some value my way. You can find all the details on the donation page.