Are the tech giants beginning to lose the privacy wars?

Image credit: spartakas /

The privacy wars are raging on. Tech giants, particularly Facebook and its family and Google and its ecosystem are playing catch up now. Consumers know what is happening to their date and they do not like it.

And Facebook and Google now saying that they respect our privacy and giving us more control over our data is too little, too late. Consumers will not think ‘oh, well, that’s alright then, thank you’.

Consumers will think ‘why did you do that in the first place. It is ethical imbalanced to use someone else’s information to make billions of dollars’.

This does not make consumers completely in the right. They wanted their cake and wanted to eat it too and they (we) clicked ‘agree’ to the conditions when we hadn’t even read them. Sure, tech giants could have made their T&Cs clearer but no-one would advise anybody to put ‘we will harvest your data, sell it and make a fortune out of it’ instead of the T&Cs.

Both Google and Facebook have failed to prove their credentials when it comes to privacy. In fact, both companies shouting so loudly about their new found crusade for privacy is backfiring. Consumers are saying ‘but you knew’ not ‘thank goodness for you’.

Whether or not anyone will go bust as a result of the privacy fiasco is hard to tell. Some are calling for Facebook to be split up – and are pretty angry about where the company has ended up.

What is very easy to tell is that Governments, mainly as a way of looking like consumer champions, will come down like a ton of bricks on tech companies that flout privacy laws.

Already massive (by anyone’s standards except Google and Facebook) have been handed down and, while not significant to the tech giants at the moment, will begin to bite at some point. And, of course, what politicians hate more than their voters having their data harvested is companies who go to enormous expense to move their revenues around so that they pay minimal tax.

Some countries are beginning to try other approaches. Austria, home of Max Shren who is suing Google so publically, is introducing a law that says you cannot post anything on social media without the company knowing your contact details. You can still post something anonymously but if the Government wants to find out who posted something, then the company must spill the beans.

All of this will rumble on for years, with an occasion raging moment.

Even if it doesn’t happen overnight, consumers will get their privacy back. The price will probably allowing the Government to know exactly what you are doing and thinking at any given moment.

Welcome to a twisted version of 1984. In 2019.

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