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Tag: bad business ethics

Netflix Hammers Privacy Protections

Netflix Hammers Privacy Protections
Netflix Hammers Privacy Protections

Netflix Hammers Privacy Protections

Netflix now has the right to share your viewing habits – Salon.com

After nearly two years of intense lobbying, Netflix has won the reform it needs to integrate its services with Facebook. Ars Technica first reported that the Senate quietly passed a reform to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) last week, giving video streaming companies the right to share your data for up to two years after asking for your permission once. (Mother Jones notes that “The Senate didn’t even hold a recorded vote: The bill was approved by unanimous consent”).

Netflix now has the right to share your viewing habits – Salon.com

 

This is a government subsidy to a business, in this case, a particular business. The act gives away a right to privacy with no return to the consumer.

Is this good business ethics? One of the first tests of ethics is the question, “Is it legal?” The “reform” makes what was previously illegal into a legal act. It’s also intensely profitable. This passes the sole test of Friedman’s code, “Does it enhance shareholder value?” Yes, it makes more money for the company. I would expect the company’s value to be enhanced.

But this is slicing good business ethics pretty thin. It’s legal and profitable. But so are a great many things that we can be ashamed of.

Is it bad business ethics? It takes a public good, privacy, and converts it to private profit. What did consumers gain from allowing Netflix to sell their information to other companies? That easy, they won the right to be specifically targeted in advertising. Their viewing habits can be used to get a handle on their political beliefs, whether they have children, etc.

It might be argued that the consumer has to give permission to access his records. A blanket right has been abolished and replaced with a private opt out clause. One of the things I have learned is that few of my students even though they are computer literate have any concept of how their data can be used against them. Considering that observation and the mass of e-mails we are bombarded with, I find it unlikely an informed decision is going to be made in many cases.

A company has been profited at a cost to the public interest. It is a government subsidy with all that implies. The company could have done better.

James Pilant

From around the Web –

From the web site, 33 Bits of Entropy: (This article highlights another important issue in online privacy. jp)

New lines will need to be drawn defining what is acceptable data-release policy, and in a way that takes into account the actual re-identification risk instead of relying on syntactic crutches such as removing “personally identifiable” information. Perhaps there will need to be a constant process of evaluating and responding to continuing improvements in re-identification algorithms.

Perhaps the ability of third parties to discover information about an individual’s movie rankings is not too disturbing, as movie rankings are not generally considered to be sensitive information. But because these same techniques can lead to the re-identification of data, far greater privacy concerns are implicated.

From the web site, Tech of the Hub:

Today, Netflix presented at the F8 conference to talk about their planned integration with Facebook. You can see what you friends are watching and they can see what you are watching on Facebook. Not only on a granular level, but Facebook will present what it finds to be interesting trends among your friends’ viewing habits. Mark Zukerberg’s example showed that four of his friends just watched movies staring Johnny Depp. Netflix will be integrating with both Facebook’s newly announced Timeline as well as their OpenGraph platform. Facebook will have similar integration with Hulu.

And, finally, from the web site, Addicting Info:

An archaic 1988 law, the Video Privacy Protection Act, currently prevents the sharing of your video watch lists, such as with services like Netflix or Hulu, on social media outlets such as Facebook or Google+. Earlier this month, the US Senate put through an upgrade to the bill to address this issue, to little notice. It was a minor correction to an old set of laws. But when the US House got ahold of it, they put forth some edits, which is where the problem begins.

These changes, as reported by the ACLU, divorces the bill from a larger set of laws, called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. In so doing they eliminated protections which were in place to require a warrant for accessing of cloud-based private electronic communications and other content, such as email, private social network posts, any information stored on cloud based servers. Instead, a subpoena is all that is required, a legal process but one which does not require the due diligence of a warrant, not even requiring an active investigation to acquire.

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Criminal Investigation Against Mozilo Dropped

Criminal Investigation Against Mozilo Dropped

From the New York Times article by Gretchen Morgenson.

 

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have dropped their criminal investigation into Angelo R. Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide Financial, once the nation’s largest mortgage lender, according to a person with direct knowledge of the investigation.

The closure of the case after two years of inquiry follows last October’s settlement by Mr. Mozilo of insider trading allegations made by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Regulators had contended that Mr. Mozilo sold $140 million in Countrywide stock between 2006 and 2007 even as he recognized that his company was faltering. Countrywide and Bank of Americapaid $45 million of Mr. Mozilo’s $67.5 million settlement, and he was responsible for the rest.
I was very unhappy about this, finding it difficult to believe there was no criminal conduct on his part. Furthermore, it’s difficult to encourage good business ethics when bad business ethics goes unpunished.
But I am not the only one upset.

“All of these senior people got huge payouts and left behind the carnage, which has hurt many hundreds of thousands.”

From 4closureFraud.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost by investors while millions of borrowers have lost their homes. Few of the people who ran the institutions that contributed to the disaster have been found liable.

Women Born Transsexual

Is it not clear to anyone by now that it is men like this who, even with the penalties levied against them, are still sitting pretty with large bank accounts as American’s are still losing their homes? Tell me it was the American people’s fault for signing into hefty monthly payments….go ahead, I dare you.

The Tumultuous Times

Mozilo’s settlement with the S.E.C. was for a bit over 10% of his estimated net worth of $600 million. It was surely a good deal for him if he could avoid admitting guilt and, especially, escape being criminally prosecuted for fraud.

House of Bread

Last week, California’s new AG fined Mozilo roght around $6 million, if I recall, and I opined that were he to have forgotten his checkbook, he could likely pay the amount using change found in his car.

Foreclosureblues

Un-fucking-believable. It looks like the rich and corrupt can get away as long as they pay. Since this comes from the Eric Holder-led DOJ, I wouldn’t be surprised this was done to keep all those Democrats, who received sweet-heart deals, out of court records.

Scotty Starnes’s Blog

Countrywide Exec walks away with your money and no criminal charges

Your Daddy’s Politics

 

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