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Friday, September 30, 2016


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Chanson de Roland

What is jarringly incongruous is that we protect the privacy and ownership of a subset of children's personal information and authoring activity on the Internet, those who are less than 13 years of age, by COPPA's prohibitions on the acquisition and use of their personal information for the purposes of marketing, tracking, and otherwise trading in their personal information for profit. And we do this in COPPA in a way that implicitly acknowledges that children of less than 13 years on their personal information, which only their parent or legal guardian can negotiate on their behalf. But when you are a child of 13 or more years or when you've reached the age of majority your privacy and ownership rights in your personal information vanish.

That's an extraordinary type of property rights in intangible property, i.e., personal information, that have hitherto been unknown in the law, whereby one's rights in a class of property, his personal information, vanishes not based on particular agreement or instrument or some sui generis personal condition, but substantially vanishes for everyone when he reaches 13 years of age and completely vanishes when one reaches 18, the age of majority.

What can explain this? Well, the answer is venality and greed that has corrupted our courts and our legislators so that they've transferred our rights in our personal information to Google, Facebook, marketers, data aggregators, and their ilk so that they can make fabulous profits by misappropriating our personal information, without any effective license or permission from us. Indeed, most of the websites that I visit have all of the trackers that the Editor discusses, supra, and would do their work, if I didn't take extraordinary measures to stop them, without any notice or request for my license. And that is true for us all, and goes unnoticed because most don't have their web browser configured to detect the trespass on their privacy, the tracking of their actions, and the acquisition of their personal information. And so we are tracked pervasively and comprehensively in everything that we do on the Internet by private firms for the sake of their profits in ways that make the NSA, CIA, and FBI blush with envy.

And so for the sake of Google, Facebook, and their ilk's profits, we deprive everyone, except those under 13, of their rights in their personal information. And we do it because their profits are great, but that is nothing other than decadence, the decadence of a society whose state of decay place it in jeopardy of its life. And it is unnecessary, because it seems clear that most are willing to trade their most precious record of themselves for even the most trivial of the Internet's play things.

So why enable the misappropriation of our personal information, when we are so willing to trade it for so little? I think that it is because it is important that we have no rights in our personal information, that the property rights in our personal information be transferred to others for their profits, because Google and its ilk must have unfettered use, disposition, and control of our personal information so as to be able exploit it fully without any of us having any resort to courts of justice. But that too is an advanced sign of advanced decay.

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