Destroying contract law: CISPA violates more than privacy

Don’t let Congress undermine our best free market tool for fixing our relationships with companies.

The US House of Representatives just passed a bill (CISPA, aka HR264) that explicitly allows companies to ignore their privacy agreements in the name of cybersecurity.

Here’s the Huffington Post report:

SOPA. The Monsanto Protection Act. CISPA. Regulatory capture of the worst kind.

Please get the word out. Fight this thing.

If we can’t even depend on the blatantly one-sided Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of our service providers, entire fields of solutions evaporate.  Efforts to improve, fix, clarify, negotiate or automate the privacy and service agreements will be essentially worthless if Congress is willing to give corporations a free pass.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a self-protected entity may, for cybersecurity purposes … share such cyber threat information with any other entity, including the Federal Government.”

Enshrining corporate protections like this in law isn’t just a privacy problem. It undermines the very notion of contract as a mechanism for constructing agreements in a free society.

This is unaccepatble.

Fight CISPA. Call your senator. Call the white house. Blog it. Tweet it. Repost this.

Tell everyone.

Google sees the value of Free Customers

This is fascinating:

Google has an ad program on YouTube that let’s users skip ads and they are now extending it to other ad formats.

Even though it is the same old advertising game–something that could use some fixing–what’s impressive is that with the ad-skipping feature Google saw “a 40 percent reduction in the number of people who click away from a video when shown a pre-roll” ad.

It’s real-world proof that a free customer is more valuable than a captive one. Give people the freedom to leave and more will stay than if you had forced the issue.

I’ve done this myself. Initially, I was ready to leave the page because the content didn’t seem worth the extra delay of the ad. But then I see that if I wait just a few seconds, I can click past it. Not only does the ability to click past keep me from just abandoning the video altogether, but in a few instances the opening bit was funny or intriguing or just interesting enough for me to want to see the rest of the ad.

It’s a brilliant example of how giving people the freedom to leave can actually keep them around more.