Discussing the growing marketing and trends of Social Commerce

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Social Commerce Authors: Tatsiana Levdikova, Liz McMillan, John Ryan, Maureen O'Gara, David M. Adler

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Facebook & Friends Make Thuggish Threat Vs. Proposed Privacy Bill

SB 242 in California Would Make Companies Behave When it Comes to Personal Information

Facebook has been in the news in a bad way recently with revelations of its use of the Burson-Marsteller PR agency to conduct a stealth hate campaign against Google.

But it has also been cooperating with Google and others in conducting a stealth campaign against proposed privacy-enforcement legislation in the California state legislature. This according to State Sen. Ellen Corbett, a Democrat who is sponsoring the legislation, known as SB 242.

The bill will be debated openly on the Senate floor in Sacramento soon. It would impose some strictures on how social networking companies go about their business. Companies would be required to:

  • post privacy policies "conspicuously" and outline them "in plain language"

  • ask for approval of making the private stuff public before registration (not after, as is the current practice)

  • not reveal addresses & telephone numbers without permission

  • remove a minor's private information within 48 hours following a request from a parent

Facebook management is apparently not amused by all these horrific intrusions on its business model.

A letter from the company (also signed by Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Skype, eHarmony, and Sprint) claims the legislation would actually decrease privacy. It also warns, darkly, "SB 242 would...(incentivize) this growing industry to expand their (sic) operations anywhere but California."

Ah yes, the old "appease us or we'll move our jobs elsewhere" tactic. It's in the first pages of the Silicon Valley Playbook of Idle Threats. This language is, in a word, thuggish. My hope is that Ms. Corbett and her fellow Senators are not cowed by such juvenile theatrics.

Silicon Valley continues to lead the world in innovation and high-end creation of technology jobs. Somehow, I just don't see a generation of young Googlers, Yahoos, Twits, and Facers getting this big urge to move to Arizona or "anywhere."

Does "anywhere" mean Mark Z and his cohorts are looking into, say, Uzbekistan as a new location?

I waited behind some guys from Tashkent at an airline counter recently. They confirmed the weather there is pretty good during many weeks of the year. They were also checking two flat-screen TVs and an aluminum ladder onto their flight for some reason.

So I'll ask again, does Mark really mean what this letter says? Does Larry Page dig it? Does Carol Bartz approve of it? Well, maybe she f---ing does, I don't know.

But she and most of these other CEOs have spent their careers creating a lot of jobs in Silicon Valley and are normally passionate advocates of why they do so. I'd love to hear the details of their Plan B to expand "anywhere" if SB 242 becomes law.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.