It seems everyone I know is currently trying to sue one or all of the big tech giants. From my understanding most of the action is in the US and most of it makes a lot of noise but is unlikely to succeed. Almost all previous attempts to sue for viewpoint discrimination or arbitrary banning have not succeeded up to now.
So let me introduce a case that I actually do believe in. It’s a bit left field but that’s why I like it.
About a year ago all the tech giants took the somewhat extraordinary step of banning almost an entire industry from using their advertising services. As Google and Facebook (with Twitter desperately trying to keep up) are just vast advertising companies. Within weeks of each other all changed their terms and services (which you have no legal way to argue over) to exclude an entire industry from the most important advertising market on the planet.
Both Facebook and Google induce you to pump your information into their servers by offering you a “free” service. Once they have your data and your attention they then sell your data and your attention to the highest bidder: companies that want to advertise to you. You are their product and they sell you and your attention to become amongst the most profitable businesses in the world.
They claimed their ban on an entire industry built around a single technology most usually known as “blockchain” was because there were some scammers using this technology. It is as if they looked at some scam emails from Nigeria and decided, together, lets just take Nigeria off the internet. That would be good for everyone.
Now it turns out both Google and Facebook have reported teams looking at using blockchain technology themselves, this decentralised blockchain technology could well be a competitive way to win market share from these tech giants. Squashing an industry that might generate competitors is not allowed in certain parts of the world, especially when two companies (Google and Facebook) together control way more than 50% of the advertising spend in many countries (it’s as high as 80% in some places).
Andrew Hamilton (who I’ve known personally from his work with various pro-Israel groups like Shurat Ha’Din) is an expat Australian, now resident in Israel but with extensive legal experience in Australian competition law. He has done the work to figure out which laws these companies have broken, formed a company JPB Liberty and put a law suit together. He’s paid for independent legal advice to review his case and that’s been positive. He’s now moved into raising enough money to start the case which includes buying insurance against losing and paying the other sides costs.
Facebook and Google are very rich companies but they’ve broken Australian law and the potential scale of the damages are so big I won’t even type them. Within weeks of the advertising ban they both brought in the entire crypto currency industry suffered a monumental, public collapse in value. The crypto currency industry is one particular use of the blockchain technologies that Facebook Google discriminated against.
There are two ways to get involved, one is totally free and can even be completely anonymous:
Anyone worldwide who was adversely affected by the Crypto Ad Ban announcements on 30 January (Facebook) & 14 March 2018 (Google) and Google’s implementation of the ban in June 2018 including:
- Persons holding cryptocurrency on or after 29 January 2018
- Mt Gox Creditors
- Owners of Crypto Industry businesses including
- Crypto Exchanges
- Crypto Wallet Providers
- Crypto Projects (pre and post ICO)
- Crypto Miners
- Crypto Advisories
Joining as a class member is no-win-no-fee. You don’t pay to join or pay any of the legal costs, if there’s a win you collect a share.
The other way is to join as a funder of the legal costs. For this you will receive a share in 25% of the damages of people who’ve signed up for the Class Action. This is a comparatively high risk, high reward investment: I’m not giving investment advice here, but it is also an ideological way to wage lawfare against these tech giants.
One of the most interesting parts of this is that should there be a win or a settlement, the intention is to pay out via crypto currencies. That would have a doubly good effect because it would pump money into these alternative currencies driving value up for those in the market already and to replace some of the losses suffered when the advertising ban was first instituted!
Finally I recorded a detailed interview with Andrew, you can watch that here and I previously mentioned this case here.
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