Necessity is the mother of invention. It appears that scandal may be a mother of innovation. Scrambling in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal — in which at least 87 million users had their personal data harvested without their knowledge or consent — Facebook is considering offering an ad-free subscription plan. The subscription would allow users who value privacy to use the social media platform without having their data harvested and would provide an alternative revenue stream to the tech giant.

The battle over privacy and encryption is heating up. Again.


Some of those voices making the loudest calls for government intervention are coming from a few alt-tech sites that are very small in comparison to the “Big Tech” giants. One new social media platform, though, is taking the opposite position: Keep the government out of it and let the free market handle this. That CEO is Derek Peterson of Oneway.

The Backpage website — notorious for prostitution and human trafficking — was seized Friday by federal authorities. This action was taken “as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center,” according to a notice appearing where the website used to display ads.

While Facebook has been in the headlines over the past few weeks as a result of its practice of harvesting and misusing users’ data, it is far from the only tech company guilty of “surveillance as a feature.” Google, Microsoft, and others routinely vacuum up large amounts of personal data about those who use their services.

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