Data Collection

What 'Rights' Do We Have When We're Talking About Our Private Online Data?

Defining terms is tricky, particularly when governments with bad track records on privacy want to call the shots.

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Do you have a "right" to your digital data? It is a popular thought in today's debates over privacy and surveillance.

The European Union's (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) attempted to codify specific rights for individuals over their own data, including the rights to be informed, to be forgotten, and to object. Ideas like a "data dividend," where individuals would be monetarily compensated for their data by online platforms (similarly to how the state of Alaska pays residents an oil dividend) are another attempt to create rights to data.

For those who understand the value of property rights and market allocation, the notion that rights to data are underprovided has intuitive appeal. Property rights and market activity efficiently and fortuitously direct economic goods to their most highly valued uses, except in a few special circumstances of market failure. It makes sense that having a system of rights to govern data use would solve many of the problems that so vex us in the digital age.

But if the solution of rights to data appears so straightforward, why has the market struggled so far to produce these rights? A new Competitive Enterprise Institute research paper by Chris Berg and Sinclair Davidson, "Selling Your Data Without Selling Your Soul: Privacy, Property, and the Platform Economy," provides some insight into this question.

The authors discuss some of the economic barriers that have complicated the path to a rights regime for personal data before considering why top-down efforts to erect one like the GDPR or data dividends are ill-suited to that purpose. Rather, they see common law remedies and technological developments as a surer path to an appropriate system of enforceable rights for online data.

Data is different

Is "data" really the new oil?

In a sense, data "fuels" the operation of many online platforms. Businesses combine user-provided data on an individual's name, demographics, and interests with observed data of how individuals interact on their platforms to produce inferred data about a user's likely commercial habits that can be monetized for other parties.

Because it is data that keeps the whole operation monetarily afloat, and the harvesting of this data necessitates keeping tabs on information that some people may wish to keep private, some conclude that users should receive special government protections or revenue streams relating to the use of their data. As Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.), a frequent tech critic, recently asked: "Isn't our data our property?"

But data, unlike oil, isn't rivalrous. Once someone uses oil, it's gone. But data is just information, and that information can be used and obtained in different ways. It is simply there, and it exists regardless of who uses it and how it is used.

Can I really "own" the right to make judgments about me based on the fact that I am an American woman in my thirties with interests in baby products and cryptocurrency? It's especially hard to make this case if I freely provided this information to a platform that makes use of this data. Things get dicier when it comes to the observed data of my associates that platforms may use to make inferences about me. But still, do I have the right to tell others not to behave in such a way that I am affected?

Once we think deeper about the implications of treating data like rivalrous tangible property, with all the attendant rights and duties, the problems from a libertarian perspective become clearer.

Why market-driven data rights haven't emerged

Because data is different, property rights have not emerged for data like they have for things like clean air and beaver furs. Berg and Davidson review the literature in law and economics to help shed light on why this is so.

First, data-driven online platforms are generally two-sided markets. Facebook serves two customer bases: normal social network users and advertisers. The profits made on the advertising side are used to cross-subsidize the free user experience. And users agree to divulge data to Facebook that it then monetizes.

Online platforms would not have grown to the impressive size that they have if they did not create a correspondingly great amount of value for both types of users. Really, when we worry about data, we're worrying about externalities, or the social costs or benefits that are not internalized in market exchange.

Why do people sign up for platforms in the first place? They'd like to capture some of the positive externality that advertisers are subsidizing: they are hoping that being on the platform will increase their chances of meeting their future spouse, or connecting with a business opportunity, or just enjoying chatter among friends. No one wants the positive externalities from platforms to go away.

What people worry about are the negative externalities: they don't want other parties' data or activities to adversely influence how they are treated. They don't want a sketchy data reseller to shuttle their information to an unauthorized party who targets junk to them. They don't want to get hacked. And they certainly don't want to be put on secret blacklists that limit their opportunities or liberty.

Complicating the picture even further is the fact that each person has their own idea of what a positive or a negative externality looks like when it comes to data. I cringe whenever someone shares a picture of me on a social media platform. Others love it. When governments try to make these decisions for us, a lot of people will inevitably be left unsatisfied.

In an ideal world, externalities problems can be resolved through property rights, which would accrue to the party that most values them—this is the insight of the economist Ronald Coase. But for the Coase theorem to hold, transactions costs must be minimized.

The problem, as the authors point out, is that those transactions costs appear great and quite hard to overcome. In fact, perhaps such a right has not yet emerged because it is "not particularly valuable" in the current market, since it means nothing without a way to maintain secrecy.

Governments don't really care about your rights

Okay, so can the government step in to kickstart the definition of such rights? Many see no other way. But as Berg and Davidson point out, governments are among the least trustworthy entities when it comes to protecting data privacy.

Consider the many surveillance and data retention policies operated by governments across the world. They have no intention of curtailing the public collection of private data when it suits their interests. Indeed, many of their surveillance programs rely on private data repositories as sources.

It is not surprising, then, that government forays into defining data rights have so far proven so inept. The GDPR, for instance, has mostly protected the market dominance of Google and Facebook in the European advertising market. Ironically, the GDPR has also been exploited by malicious actors to extract others' personal data or punish market rivals.

Really, the GDPR has mostly ended up as a way for European governments to extract revenue from foreign companies. The EU has no intention of ceasing their various member state surveillance programs and other mandates that data be processed in ways that further government goals. We shouldn't expect other top-down, government-driven regulatory regimes to do much better.

Common law and innovation are better remedies

This does not mean there are no solutions, nor that governments have no role in discovering an appropriate rights regime for online data.

It is clear that some kind of formalized regime articulating harm and remedy would be valuable. But GDPR-style regulation has proven unwieldy and counterproductive.

Berg and Davidson point instead to a common law approach advocated by classical liberals like Friedrich Hayek and Bruno Leoni as an "evolutionary and adaptive approach to managing social conflicts." Rather than trying to trying to identify and resolve all disputes through one-stop-shop legislation, an iterative common law approach allows us to iterate thoughtfully and learn from a developing body of precedent. It's not perfect, and it can't rush the market to develop property rights before they are adequately valuable, but it's at least a lot better than GDPR-like brouhahas.

In the meantime, what can we do? We are fortunate to live in a world with public encryption technologies. They are getting more accessible all the time, and innovators are applying these techniques to solve data externality problems in ways that governments can't. Berg and Davidson point out that these technologies empower users to effectively protect their "rights to data" even before such "rights" have officially emerged.

Take the problem of transaction tracing, where companies use your card purchases to build advertising profiles on you that are sold to other parties. We have always had good, old-fashioned cash to serve as a buffer to this commercial panopticon, but this was obviously limited to in-person transactions. Now digital cash, or cryptocurrencies, can provide privacy online and cut the trail of private transaction tracking well before governments have developed the wherewithal to effectively address this problem.

For many data problems, there already exists a pretty good technology solution. Sick of Google? Download Brave and use Startpage for search. Worried about OS tracking? Linux may be for you, and Ubuntu is a great and accessible option. For many years, these projects have been successfully building a world where users are in a better position to internalize the negative externalities (data tracking) that they wish to avoid, while enjoying the positive externalities (camaraderie, reputation management, and simple entertainment) that they feel is worth it for them.

Then there is the frontier. Consider a project like Urbit, which hopes to fundamentally change the user's relationship to how their data is processed. Instead of requiring users to navigate and interrelate a hodgepodge of the features and products listed above, Urbit aims to build data control into each component of the computing experience. Newer projects like these could provide even more robust user controls that help us make our own data tradeoffs even more precisely.

It is predictable that as we moved more of our lives online, more problems from the use of data would result. But it's also predictable that legal and technological solutions to these problems would emerge, as well, and this study is a helpful reminder of this potent and underappreciated force for progress on data privacy issues.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: October 22, 1915

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  1. Can members of the Trump cult be deprogrammed after the leader falls?

    A new Gallup poll finds that at least 50 percent of the American people want Donald Trump to be impeached and removed from office. That’s three times higher than the percentage of Americans who supported impeaching Richard Nixon during the early stages of the impeachment process.

    https://www.salon.com/2019/10/22/cam-members-of-the-trump-cult-be-deprogrammed-after-the-leader-falls-steven-hassan-says-yes/

    1. Lol. You thought this was probably intellogent. Talking of reprogramming people. 1984 really is becoming your sides instruction manual.

      Can you name the crime as the basis for the impeachment yet?

      1. Lol. You thought this was probably intellogent.
        Can you name the crime as the basis for the impeachment yet?LOL. You thought this was probably intelligent
        IMPEACHMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE A CRIME!!!!

        (pees pants laughing at JesseAz … yet again)

        1. It doesnt require it, but it becomes plainly a political move without one. Of course you’re too fucking dumb to understand this. But I’m glad you’re finally admitting your motives are political.

          1. ADMITS his MASSIVE fuckup in demanding a crime!!!

            Revised bullshit NOW says defending America from “bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors” is ….. POLITICAL! (NOW fucking up the difference between partisan and political.)

            Same as Trump’s contempt for our Founders.
            And IGNORANCE of our Constitution.

            1. It’s like you cant read. I didnt use the word requires you fucking retard.

              1. I didn’t use the word requires you fucking retard.

                LAME (snort))

                Can you name the crime as the basis for the impeachment yet?

                ONE MORE TIME FOR TRUMPTARDS
                NO CRIME IS REQUIRED AS “THE BASIS FOR IMPEACHMENT”
                The basis for
                The basis for
                The basis for
                The basis for

                Plus his other fuckup (of so many) on political vs partisan. It NEVER ends with these people … the lies and coverups … like their orange God.

                1. Here high thinks basis means requirement. Holy shit you’re dumb.

                  1. JesseAs AGAIN confirms his own ignorance with … ANOTHER MASSIVE SCREWUP!!!!

                    Here high thinks basis means requirement. Holy shit you’re dumb.

                    BEND OVER!

                    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/basis

                    basis noun
                    ba·​sis | \ ˈbā-səs \
                    plural bases\ ˈbā-​ˌsēz \
                    Definition of basis
                    1: the bottom of something considered as its foundation
                    2: the principal component of something
                    3: something on which something else is established or based
                    stories with little basis in reality
                    4: the basic principle

                    WAIT AND SEE … HE CAN GET EVEN CRAZIER DEFENDING HIS WACKO CLAIM THAT IMPEACHMENT REQUIRES A CRIME.

                    That claim places him in the bottom 30% of human IQ.
                    His wacko defenses move him into the bottom 10%.
                    Can he go lower? (He usually does).

      2. Corrected

        Lol. You thought this was probably intellogent.
        Can you name the crime as the basis for the impeachment yet?

        LOL. You thought this was probably intelligent
        IMPEACHMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE A CRIME!!!!
        (pees pants laughing at JesseAz … yet again)

        P.S. How many Trumptards will equate an HTML code error with such total ignorance of our Constitution?

        1. When hihn defends your post you know your post was retarded.

          1. LOL. STILL says impeachment requires a crime!!!!

            1. Apparently you cant read. Or offer intelligent comments.

              1. NOW Jesse says I was DEFENDING HIM!!!
                OR … that his comment IS retarded!!!!

                (will he now also fail THIS test in elementary logic?)

                1. Jesus fucking Christ Hihn. We know you can’t read or reason anymore due to your illness. Let me break it down for you: JesseAz was accusing you of defending the sockpuppet with which you started this thread, Daily News, not himself.

                  1. (Boldface in defense of a Zombie Assault by ANOTHER lying psycho Trumptard)

                    I DID NOT DEFEND THAT POST EITHER!!!
                    (sneer) I RIDICULED HIS MASSIVE FUCKUP … AND NOW YOURS

                    https://reason.com/2019/10/22/what-rights-do-we-have-when-were-talking-about-our-private-online-data/#comment-7979477

                    Lol. You thought this was probably intellogent.
                    Can you name the crime as the basis for the impeachment yet?

                    LOL. You thought this was probably intelligent
                    IMPEACHMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE A CRIME!!!!
                    (pees pants laughing at JesseAz … yet again)

                    MOAR PSYCHO BULLSHIT BY SIMON COWELL!

                    JesseAz was accusing you of defending the sockpuppet with which you started this thread,

                    That PROVES you a bat-shit crazy liar
                    EVERY WORD was ridiculing JesseAZ’s snarky blunder.
                    I neither referenced or mentioned the opening comment.

                    (They travel in a pack, like wild dogs, with ONLY lying and personal assaults, as PROVEN)

                    “SIMON COWELL” CALLS SOMEBODY ELSE A SOCKPUPPET!
                    There is NO limit to how low they can sink into their moral cesspool.

    2. They are programmed? Is their trigger the Queen of Diamonds? Is Angela Lansbury a double agent? So many questions and more.

    3. Did salon point out only 26% of respondents were conservative? When was the last time the GOP only got 26% of a vote?

      1. Cowardly diversion.

        1. You of all people should understand why percentages are important Hihn. After all 91% of libertarians reject the label, amirite?

          1. ANOTHER COWARDLY DIVERSION
            After LYING about the 26% … which is irrelevant anyhow
            https://reason.com/2019/10/22/what-rights-do-we-have-when-were-talking-about-our-private-online-data/#comment-7979545

            After all 91% of libertarians reject the label, amirite?

            A FACT, Cato Survey, not your PATHETIC lie.

            P.S. DO YOU KNOW WHAT “NOLAN LIBERTARIANS” ARE???

            1. The 26% is from the survey report dumbass.

              1. SHAMELESS LIAR … FIVE LAME RESPONSES  … THEN DENIES HIS LIE
                AND IGNORES ALL THE REST HE WAS CALLED OUT ON! … MOAR COWARDICE!

                https://reason.com/2019/10/22/what-rights-do-we-have-when-were-talking-about-our-private-online-data/#comment-7979545

                OMFG

                Did salon point out only 26% of respondents were conservative?

                1) Why should they?
                2) That’s roughly the same as the ELECTORATE
                3) YOU LIE.

                When was the last time the GOP only got 26% of a vote?

                See #2, above.
                When was the last time that 52% SUPPORTED removal from office???

                You saw “Salon” — went ape-shit crazy … AND NEVER READ IT!

                1) They reported a GALLUP poll.
                2) Salon’s conclusion is the GREATEST humiliation in your multi-post mental breakdown.
                “Trump’s removal from the White House, by electoral defeat or any other means, remains unlikely …”?
                -From SALON! OOOF

                1. JesseAz
                  The 26% is from the survey report dumbass.

                  “Mess with the bull; get the horns”

                  At JesseAz’s insistence …. MOAR PROOF that he’s a truly psycho liar. (If anyone NEEDS more proof.)
                  This links to the actual Gallup poll he LIES about.
                  https://news.gallup.com/poll/267491/congress-approval-support-impeaching-trump.aspx

                  Do a page search for “conservative” … NEVER mentioned.
                  Do a page search for “26%” … NEVER mentioned.

                  Now a page search for either party, or “Independents” .. see polling demographics from different polls and analyses … EXACTLY as I stated.

                  AUTHORITARIANS … BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT .. ARE THE GREATEST GREATEST THREATS TO AMERICAN VALUES AND GOVERNANCE,

                  No shame. No moral values. Just a lust for power.

      2. OMFG

        Did salon point out only 26% of respondents were conservative?

        1) Why should they?
        2) That’s roughly the same as the ELECTORATE
        3) YOU LIE.

        When was the last time the GOP only got 26% of a vote?

        See #2, above.
        When was the last time that 52% SUPPORTED removal from office???

        You saw “Salon” — went ape-shit crazy … AND NEVER READ IT!

        1) They reported a GALLUP poll.
        2) Salon’s conclusion is the GREATEST humiliation in your multi-post mental breakdown.

        “Trump’s removal from the White House, by electoral defeat or any other means, remains unlikely …”?
        -From SALON! OOOF

        1. Do you kow how to read a survey report? It breaks down the demographics fucking dumbass. Feel free to educate yourself. The link is in the cnn article that is the basis of the salon article moron.

          1. (Boldface is self-defense of ANOTHER crazy assault, by the stalking psycho liar.)

            INCREASINGLY PATHETIC LIAR. THE REPORTED DEMOGRAPHICS ARE
            1) BY PARTY, NOT LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE

            2) HOW EACH PARTY RESPONDED … NOT THE PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS. WHICH IS RARELY (IF EVER) REPORTED

            3) CNN LINKS TO GALLUP …. STILL A LIE THERE, ALSO ….

            ONE MORE TIME CHICKENSHIT
            1) Why should Salon report 26% conservative, even if you’re NOT full of shit?
            2) That’s roughly the same percentage as the ELECTORATE
            (the 26%)

            FIRST YOU BLAME SALON …. THEN YOU BLAME CNN!!! Your clown car has
            gone TOTALLY off the rails.
            For any other Trumptards, this WHINY PUSSY is upset … PISSED … because Salon did not report that the percentage of conservatives is equal to the electorate … which NOBODY reported … not Salon (which he NEVER read .. not CNN …. not GALLUP.

            ***FIFTH REQUEST FOR THE COWARDLY GOOBER ***
            Even if you’re not bat-shit crazy ….
            1) WHAT IS THE RELEVANCE OF CONSERVATIVE RESPONDENTS BEING THE SAME AS THE ELECTORATE?
            2) WHY ARE YOU SO TOTALLY CLUELESS ON HOW POLLSTERS STRUCTURE THEIR SAMPLES TO EQUAL THE ELECTORATE AND/OR POPULATION?

    4. Hihn, you are crazy and likely going to be a danger to yourself and others at some point. Go away. You are worthy of nothing but ridicule.

      1. Hihn, you are crazy and likely going to be a danger to yourself and others at some point.

        He passed that point many years ago, which is why he is warehoused at a Medicare-funded inpatient treatment facility for his dementia.

        1. (boldface in self-defense from more unprovoked assaults by typical Trumptards)

          Trumptards … when CRUSHED on the issue … go personal assault … just like Trump!

          We’ve ALL been taught the difference between a supported argument and …. SHOOT THE MESSENGER. … in high school.

          strong>… which is why he is warehoused at a Medicare-funded inpatient treatment facility for his dementia.

          The INFANTILE WHINING of a snarky 12 year-old brat.
          KEEP IT UP, THUGS!!
          Authoritarian Left = Authoritarian Right
          A shrinking minority of Americans; their time has expired

  2. Well, the first problem is that, as far as the government is concerned, it’s not “your” data. The third-party doctrine is an abomination that has to go – the idea that your bank records or medical records or phone records aren’t yours because you’ve willingly shared them with somebody else is nonsense. You’ve merely willingly shared them with somebody you’ve contracted with to act as your agent, to the extent that your banker, your doctor, your ISP provider, your lawyer or your priest has access to your records, it’s merely to act on your behalf. We need to get that fact established first and foremost.

    1. One of the ideas I like regarding these companies is that if they ban you from their platform, they have to delete all the data they have on you.

    2. That is the problem Jerry. The third party doctrine has lived passed its usefulness. It was created at a time before mass communications or even photocopying. Before it was easy to transmit information, it was reasonable to think they my sharing information with a third party meant I was giving up some expectation of privacy. In an age of mass communication and networking, that assumption is absurd and essentially reads the right to privacy out of existence. You can’t exist in this world without sharing large amounts of data with third parties. Even the most extreme ascetic living off the grid couldn’t do it. So your sharing that data is no longer voluntary in any meaningful way.

      The third party doctrine has got to go. I would point out that the “common law” solution only works if courts are willing to do their jobs and overrule doctrines like the third party doctrine when they have outlived their usefulness.

    3. A couple caveats.
      1. The best arguments against the third-party doctrine are limited to what the article above calls “user-provided” data. I don’t think you can make that same argument about “observed” behavior. If you rob an ATM, you should have no right to stop me from turning the video of you over to the police.
      But as soon as we say that, are your ATM transactions user-provided data or observed by the bank? I’m not sure we have a clear answer yet.

      2. Even for user-provided data, let’s say you confess to me about robbing the ATM. And you even give me tangible evidence to hold while you’re hiding. Are you really saying that I can’t report that to the police?

      The nuance we need, I think, is not a wholesale abolition of the third-party doctrine but a re-tuning of it. It should not stop me from sharing your information with the police if I affirmatively want to but it should stop the police from unilaterally demanding that information from me without the protections of a warrant.

    4. You still have attorney-client privilege, but alas the current law hasn’t really kept up with the notion that any other entity you interact with in the modern world could (and usually does) have a comparable amount on information about you that you would prefer not to share with other parties, including the government.

  3. But data, unlike oil, isn’t rivalrous. Once someone uses oil, it’s gone. But data is just information, and that information can be used and obtained in different ways. It is simply there, and it exists regardless of who uses it and how it is used.

    Umm, like trademarks, copyrights and patents?
    When I use my car is it gone?

    the problems from a libertarian perspective become clearer.

    The problem is you. And Reason for the past few decades. (This was one of the worst – regardless of one’s views on data usage.)

    Users at Facebook, et al, ARE compensated for their data usage. It’s called …. Facebook!. TANSTAAFL

    1. Hihn once again proves his ignorance. These companies also track you when off their website despite claiming they don’t you fucking dumbass.

      1. It’s understandable why Hihn is unperturbed by data snooping since he is an in-house patient at a Medicare-funded old age facility where all of his communications are monitored during his computer time.

        1. I AM **PROUD** OF WHO HATES AND STALKS ME!!!

          It’s understandable why Hihn is unperturbed by data snooping since he is an in-house patient at a Medicare-funded old age facility where all of his communications are monitored during his computer time.

          ANOTHER LIE (and infantile)
          1) I never said I was unperturbed by data snooping.
          2) All I said was their users get a free social network.

          In fact … CHUMP .., data snooping is why I belong to NO such platform! Thyat’s now your FIFTH psycho fuckuo/assault on this page, with that sockpuppet

          READY … FIRE … AIM (the gospel of cyber-bullies)

      2. COWARDLY DIVERSION … IRRELEVANT TO MY COMMENT

    2. re: “When I use my car is it gone?”

      Yes, for the period while you’re using it. That’s what “rivalrous” means – the good is not available to be used simultaneously by multiple rivals.

      1. Evasion. Non-responsive

        “But data, unlike oil, isn’t rivalrous. Once someone uses oil, it’s gone. But data is just information, and that information can be used and obtained in different ways. It is simply there, and it exists regardless of who uses it and how it is used.”

        Umm, like trademarks, copyrights and patents?
        When I use my car is it gone?

        That’s what “rivalrous” means –

        But not what “gone” means. So evasion.
        When I’m driving my car, it does NOT cease to exist!
        And what about trademarks, copyrights and patents?

        1. Neither evasive nor non-responsive but directly on-point to your misunderstanding of the definition of “rivalrous”. The fact that you choose not to see it and continue to attempt to deflect and evade from the illogic of your own comment means that you’ve used up any benefit of doubt I had for you. I am becoming persuaded by the claims above and below that you are a sock-puppet of the banned Michael Hihn account.

          But on the off chance that you’re not a complete troll:
          Trademarks, copyrights and patents are not rivalrous because they also are mere information which could be used by multiple people simultaneously. The rivalrous nature of trademarks is not a problem because simultaneous competing uses of a trademark violates the very purpose of the trademark so we all agree that’s bad. And ownership of the trademark by one and only one entity (at a time) is uncontroversial. The non-rivalrous nature of patents is also mostly non-controversial. Exceptions kick in when patents are banked instead of marketed and/or in the context of medicines. Society is still struggling with both those situations.

          Copyrighted material is non-rivalrous – and is a prime example of the problems discussed above. But even with that, copyrights are less controversial than social media “data” because at least copyrights are clearly and unambiguously owned by one and only one entity.

          Your car, however, is rivalrous in that there can only ever be one driver at a time. While it is in use, it is not available to other users. From the perspective of resource availability, it is “gone”. The fact that it might come back when the user is done with it is not relevant to the economic analysis of “rivalrousness”.

          1. (Boldface in defense of
            -Diversion
            -Evasion
            -Ignorance
            -Cowardice.
            -PATHETIC lies
            -Snarky whining)

            “But data, unlike oil, isn’t rivalrous. Once someone uses oil, it’s gone. But data is just information, and that information can be used and obtained in different ways. It is simply there, and it exists regardless of who uses it and how it is used.”

            Umm, like trademarks, copyrights and patents?
            When I use my car is it gone?

            That’s what “rivalrous” means –

            But not what “gone” means. So evasion. …

            I am becoming persuaded by the claims above and below that you are a sock-puppet of the banned Michael Hihn account.

            They, like you and all blowhards, get PISSED when they get called out … here, your BULLSHIT on what “gone” means. (relative to EXISTS!)

            SEE his pathetic diversion

            But not what “gone” means. So evasion.
            When I’m driving my car, it does NOT cease to exist!:

            From the perspective of resource availability, it is “gone”.

            LIES ABOUT THE TOPIC, WHAT I REPLIED TO, AND THE MEANING OF “GONE”

            EMPHASIS ADDED FOR THE MORALLY CHALLENGED

            “It is simply there, and it exists regardless of who uses it and how it is used.”

            (SNEER)
            THAT is why your fellow blowhards HATE me …. PROOF … YOU don’t know what “exists” means, and LIED about “gone.”

            They also whine like pussies when I (SNEER)

            “Mess with the bull, get the horns.”

  4. I cringe whenever someone shares a picture of me on a social media platform. Others love it.

    So, require use *those* data to be used: You get paid, whenever someone shares a picture of you, out of that platform’s treasury of funds paid into by those who love having their picture shared.

    *** dusts hands off ***

  5. Now digital cash, or cryptocurrencies, can provide privacy online and cut the trail of private transaction tracking well before governments have developed the wherewithal to effectively address this problem.

    Yes, a transaction system explicitly built upon a public ledger in which ever transaction can be traced to its origin and destination by anyone will certainly the solve problem of transaction tracking.

    1. +100

      Reason’s fascination with crypto currency as some cure all is one of its bigger blind spots. Anything that is done electronically is going to be vulnerable to government spying.

      Cash is the only thing that you have any hope of keeping from the government. And that is why governments hate case and are trying to destroy it. The fact that some “libertarians” are so enamored with technology they think it is a good idea amazes me.

      1. Cryptocurrency, well employed, can definitely solve some problems, but it doesn’t solve privacy very well.

        Though, to be fair, the current coin anonymizers do a pretty good job of disguising which transactions originated at which nodes. Well, the bitcoin ones do anyways, I’m not sure about the others (and I somewhat doubt it). However, that still requires that the vendor not possess enough other information about you to be able to associate the original node with a given transaction. It would definitely be somewhat difficult for them to do so at present, but not impossible, and if there was sufficient value in possessing that information they could apply the necessary resources to find out.

    2. Reason doesnt have writers who are tech savvy. I could link multiple stories of FBI and other tracking purchases through crypto. People who think there is no trail are morons. It is harder than a bank to track, but not exponentially so.

    3. CYBER-CURRENCY IS BACKED BY …. NOTHING
      The ONLY reason for a merchant (or anyone) to accept it is large future gains in its selling price, which .,.. for a currency … is called … wait for it … RUNAWAY DEFLATION!!

      It was DEFLATION … for over a century … that killed the gold standard. Even adding silver could not keep up with the Demand for money, as it exploded throughout the Industrial Revolution.

      It was not until Milton Friedman that ANYONE knew the price of money — like all prices — is established by the Law of Supply and Demand (duh)

      He also demolished the gold standard nitwits with a simple question: “Do we want a stable money supply, or stable prices?’
      We cannot have both because …. Law of Supply and Demand! (lol)

      Thus, Friedman has the ONLY proposal to achieve ABSOLUTELY stable prices. Supply and demand for money FOREVER in balance! Drives the monetary cranks INSANE!

  6. Because data is different, property rights have not emerged for data like they have for things like clean air and beaver furs.

    Yes data is different. Just like land is different – tho not at all like data. But it is ludicrous to believe that property rights have emerged for beaver fur (I’m certain the beaver isn’t being compensated for being killed and skinned) OR clean air (which simply points to the Coase theorem while spending the rest of the article correctly stating why the Coase theorem is merely a useful hypothetical construct which Coase himself said). And golly – both that beaver fur and clean air examples are really about land.

    re data itself – it is yet another example of why the economic concept of laissez-faire/ancap is not actually what secures ‘rights’. It is LAW that secures rights. Which means govt. Not govt as some alien deus ex machina that just flew in from Jupiter to oppress humankind (which is basically just the not-nice version of God who is supposed to secure rights via what is called ‘natural rights’). Or as some institution that our greatgreatgrandparents imposed on us and that we must therefore obey without question. But govt as a continually evolving/negotiated social contract that creates the conditions under which we (the living generation) decide what ‘property’ is and what rights will attach to that and what consequences will attach to violating it.

    Karl Polanyi was basically correct. The market ‘system’ (as an entire whole) did not emerge spontaneously but is an invention. The ordoliberals were correct (even if way too anal and German) in that securing negative liberty at the individual level probably requires positive intervention by govt to secure the Smithian conditions of competition. ‘Generational sovereignty’ needs to be WAY fleshed out so it can go beyond a few passages by Jefferson that really do call for a reconstruction of govt (if not bloody revolution) every generation instead of worshipping founders with statues. And the post-autistic economists are correct in that the entire field of economics (and law/institutions related to economics) needs to eat a more varied diet to avoid the massive multidecadal case of constipation it is currently suffering from.

    1. This is what kills me about you. You can write the craziest and stupid shit and then you will write something like this, which is just spot on. I can never quite understand how you manage to be so right about somethings and so off the rails about others.

        1. I would guess that where we disagree is on pretty much all the specifics – esp those where the DeRps have drawn partisan agendas/line to contain the discussion – below some 20,000 ft level.

          eg – if I were to drill down on one issue – say beaver fur – and create a comment wondering how to secure the property rights of that beaver to her own fur; then I’m sure you would wonder what I’m smoking. And yet that is pretty much the issue re setting aside some land for wilderness. Where there is some land where the beaver itself is not the property of an individual human who decides whether killing/skinning/stealing their fur or letting them live is of greater benefit to that human. Denying the ‘liberty’ of an individual human to play God and decide to kill/skin that beaver and steal their fur. Everywhere else, the beaver will de facto be a slave. Cuz there sure isn’t a Lockean proviso that applies to beaver fur – all humans can kill all the beavers they want and all beavers can have the liberty to enjoy their life without constantly running away from humans trying to steal their property.

          Intellectually – I can go there and rather enjoy the exercise. If that means I can sometimes see the libertarianism in say PETA or greens – so be it. Is that off the rails enough?

  7. O’Sullivan continues a common fallacy with the term “your data”.

    Yes, some information does at least in part belong to you: medical records, tax returns, private communications, etc.

    But most of the noise concerns data ABOUT you. You do not own this information any more than you own the number of times you drove past a certain intersection or entered a specific supermarket. Things you do in public, whether in the digital or analog worlds, are easily monitored. And those that actually collect that data are the owners. Simply expecting or desiring privacy in a public domain does not entitle you to constraints on information that others gather.

    1. That data that you are talking about has no value unless it is attached to YOUR data. So the question really is not who owns the data but who gets the VALUE when the two are combined.

      Same thing kind of applies with baseball. A baseball team on its own really ain’t worth shit. It’s only worth something when it is scheduled to play baseball against a different team. THAT is what creates fans, gets media contracts, enables the sale of merchandise, draws fans to the game. Those games – the schedule – the LEAGUE is what creates the value. Not the teams on their own. But who is actually the rightful owner of ‘the league’? The two teams alone? The fans who create all that value?

    2. I think O’Sullivan is making exactly that point in the part of the article that attempts to distinguish between “user-provided” data, “observed” data and “inferred” data.

      1. The error is right in their thesis statement. They may distinguish how some of the arguments apply to different “types” of data, but the thrust of the entire piece is how to protect “your” data, which makes no such distinctions.

        1. Ummm, different types of your data.
          And it does make the distinction, in quotes by Rossami.
          YOUR data, like anyone’s on earth, includes
          user-provided (given by you).
          observed (observed by another)
          inferred (assumed by another)

          Thank you for playing.

          1. If I take a photo of you stepping out of a strip club, it’s not “your” data. That you are trying to argue it is, is why the distinctions you’re trying to make don’t matter.

            1. <blockquote?That you are trying to argue it is WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH)

              I merely corrected your error.:

              which makes no such distinctions.

              The second paragraph following what I cited.
              (will he miss it again?)

  8. “”medical records,”‘

    Not in NYS. NY allows your electronic medical data to be submitted to a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) without your consent. A doctor needs you consent to access your data in a RHIO.

    You might want to check with your state’s laws. They have been becoming more relaxed about medical data because of the push for data sharing.

  9. I would assume that most of my data is worthless. If my phone is ever on my person it is shut off, I have no apps installed, it stays in the glove compartment, and I mainly shop at brick and mortar locations so all advertisements served to me are generic and are of zero interest to me. If a friend connects to my internet and they have grindr installed then Hulu will play shit like Truvada commercials, but after a week of them not coming over they vanish and I go back to getting ads for Jewish dating/travel services. (Not even close to being Jewish)

  10. If you’re leaving a strip club and and a PI photographs you, you can’t demand that he gives you “your” photographs. They’re his, possibly soon your wife’s.

    If I make a tally of how many times I see you enter and leave the grocery store, that tally sheet isn’t yours, and you can’t demand I turn it over.

    For that matter, records of your phone calls? That record doesn’t belong to you, that’s the phone company’s record.

    If you want to own data that is about you, then that’s something you have to negotiate up front. And you have to be willing to walk away if you can’t come to an agreement. Getting services when you refuse the terms of those services is not reasonable.

  11. What did you expect. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    You want a Wild West internet so everyone is going to spy on you and sell your secrets.

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