UK Report about Facebook, the Digital Gangster

February 18, 2019

The hot read this morning is the UK’s report about a highly successful US company, Facebook. You can obtain a copy of the report at this link.

Coverage of the report is extensive, and DarkCyber anticipates more analyses, explanations, and Twitterverse excitement as the report diffuses.

Here are five items to note in the report:

First, the use of the phrase, “digital gangster” is brilliant That’s a superior two word summary of the document and its implicit indictment of the Silicon Valley way and America, the home of the bad actors. The subtext is that the US has fostered, aided, and abetted a 21st century Al Capone who operates a criminal cartel on a global scale. DarkCyber expects more anti-US business push back with “digital gangsterism” becoming a fertile field for study in business school. Who will write the book “Principles of Digital Gangsterism”?

ec and zuck

Second, the idea of a linking “data ethics and algorithms” is an interesting one. Like the goal of having software identify Deepfakes (videos and images which depict a fictional or false reality), dealing with a fuzzy concept like data ethics and the equally fuzzy world of algorithm thresholds may lead to a rebirth of old-school philosophical debates. Who will be the 21st-century Plato? The experts who will chop through the notional wilderness of ethics and making money could expose what, for want of a better phrase, I will call “deep stupid.” Like deepfake” the precise definition of deep stupid has to be crafted.

Third, regulation is an interesting idea. But the UK report provides compelling evidence that the digital “cat is out of the bag” with regard to data collection, analysis, and use of information. Regulations can put people in jail. Regulations can shut down a company operating in a country. But regulation of zeros and ones on a global scale in a distributed computing environment boils down to taxes and coordinated direct actions. Will war against Facebook and Facebook-type companies be put on the table? Fines or nano drones with a nano warhead?

Fourth, the document does not focus on what I call a Brexit-scale issue: Destabilizing a country. The report offers no path forward when a country has been blasted with digital flows operating outside of conventional social norms. The message, as I understand it, is, “We have a problem so let’s ignore it.”

Finally, the report itself is proof that flows of digital information decompose, disintermediate extablished institutions, and allow new social norms to grow in the datasphere. Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook is a product of the US business environment. What do these two facts sum to? No pleasant answer.

Let’s check Facebook, shall we?

Stephen E Arnold, February 18, 2019

Comments

One Response to “UK Report about Facebook, the Digital Gangster”

  1. Jose Contreras on February 20th, 2019 8:36 am

    Facebook has to be nationaized or taked down. I have been banned so many times because I am Pro-Trump and the last one was a month ago, I used the messenger to Communicate with my family in California and Mexico and FB banned me from both Facebook and Messenger I think Facebook is controlled by Obama Deep State

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