At a tech conference last week, the bigwigs of Silicon Valley got together and lamented how the U.S. government now has free reign over their users’ private data.
Seemingly outraged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Frankly, I think the government blew it …”
Frankly, I think Zuckerberg blew it.
These anti-big-government complaints are laughable considering President Obama is their pick to lead this country. They went all-in for Obama 2012, offering not just financial support but key technology experts who helped take Obama from an incumbent with almost zero success and little chance of re-election to a guy famously playing basketball the day before the election, so confident was he that he could not lose.
No one spies on us more than Facebook, Google and Yahoo. They retain every key stroke by almost every adult age American and most of the world. The business model makes sense. They give you a “free” service that is not really free as it comes for the price of our personal data.
The big question for that transaction is transparency. What are the companies selling and to whom? If you are selling market data without my name attached, no problem.
We know that the NSA is all over that data, but I am more concerned that Google and Facebook, who were all over the Obama campaign, were providing our data to the Obama campaign operatives.
The Obama campaign brought together the best minds from Silicon Valley to build a team of data mining number crunchers that made the NSA envious. You have to be incredibly naive to say there was no improper data sharing, especially considering the CEOs of these tech giants are among Obama’s biggest donors.
The key word here is improper. What is proper for Facebook, Google and Yahoo to share and with whom? The NSA? Political campaigns?
These poor Silicon Valley CEOs feign outrage and frustration with the government. They say they are fighting tooth and nail to let us know what information they are handing over to the government on a silver platter.
That feigned outrage may work on the low-information voter, but honest-minded techies are not buying it. Americans want them to put less effort into fighting for transparency and more effort into not releasing the data at all.
I addressed this critical issue in an appearance on Fox Business Network this week. The CEOs shouldn’t be begging the government for the ability to disclose what they share with government agencies as much as they should be suing to keep that data out of the hands of the government in the first place.
I've noticed some people deactivating their Facebook and other social media pages, and that is a major reason why Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley buddies must appear to be on the side of their customers and against the NSA. The biggest fear of these executives would be a bolting herd from social media, or at least their social media.
I hear the calls from people who have deactivated their social media pages calling for others to do the same. Logically, if we don't put ourselves out there, the NSA will have no data to gather from us and the Obama-loving tech sector CEOs won't get any more of our money.
I am not calling for a social media exodus. I am actually calling for the opposite.
Future campaigns will be won on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites yet to be conceived. Conservatives must stay on top of online trends and become part of them
Instead of complaining about what Zuckerberg has done or boycotting social media, we ought to appeal to the free-market side of Silicon Valley and help them understand that what they give to government will ultimately cost them dearly.
We should also spend less time in our echo chambers and more time fighting to support those social media that do ensure privacy. We can win our privacy when we use the free market to compete, and when we learn to compete as well as the statists already do.
The challenge is ours to win.