Let's Solve the Deeper Problem That Makes Facebook's Bad Acting Possible

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Finding that Facebook has "data sharing partnerships" with "at least sixty device makers" is as unsurprising as finding that there are a zillion ways to use wheat or corn. Facebook is in the data farming business.

Remember that the GDPR didn't happen in a vacuum. Bad acting with personal data in the adtech business (the one that aims advertising with personal data) is the norm, not the exception.

This is why the real fight here is not just for privacy. It's for human agency: the power to act with full effect in the world. The only way we get full agency is by operating as first parties at scale across all the entities we deal with online. THEY have to agree to OUR terms.

For that we need standard ways to signal what's okay and what's not okay, and to reach agreements on our terms, as first parties. It is as second parties that we click "accept" dozens of times every day, acquiring cookies with every one of those clicks, each recording certifications of acquiescence rather than of consent.

With full personal agency, the whole consent system goes the other way, at scale.

This is both long overdue and totally do-able, with work already started.

If you're interesting in doing it, let me know.

Bonus link: https://youownitdownloadit.com/, which I was briefed about this morning.

Doc Searls is editor-in-chief of Linux Journal, where he has been on the masthead since 1996. He is also co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto (Basic Books, 2000, 2010), author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), a fellow of the Center for Information Technology & Society (CITS) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an alumnus fellow of the Berkman Klien Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He continues to run ProjectVRM at the Center, and co-founded its nonprofit spinoff, Customer Commons. Contact Doc through ljeditor@linuxjournal.com.

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