On this week’s John Stossel show on Fox Business Network, I debated Internet privacy, advertising, and data collection issues with Michael Fertik of Reputation.com. In the few minutes we had for the segment, I tried to reiterate a couple of keep points that we’ve hammered repeatedly here in the past:
- There’s no free lunch. All the free sites and service we enjoy online today are powered by advertising and data collection. [see this op-ed]
- There is no clear harm in most cases, or what some argue is harm also can have many benefits that are rarely discussed. [see this paper.]
- There’s little acknowledgement of the trade-offs involved in having government create an information control regime for the Internet. [see this filing and these three essays: 1, 2, 3.]
- The ultimate code of “fair information practices” is the First Amendment, which favors free speech, openness, and transparency over secrecy and information control. [see this piece.]
- “Hands Off the Net” is a policy that has served us well. There are dangerous ramifications for our economy and long-term Internet freedoms if we continue down the road of “European-izing” privacy law here in the States. [see this essay and this filing.]
- At some point, personal responsibility needs to come into the equation. With so many privacy enhancing empowerment tools already on the market, it begs the question: If consumers don’t take steps to use those tools, why should government intervene and take action for them?
Anyway, here’s the 7-min video of the debate between Fertik and me: