Are Consumers Getting the Short Stick on Data Privacy?

On a Monday, there is a data leak affecting half a billion Facebook accounts, by Tuesday a bot has scraped 500 million LinkedIn accounts. On Wednesday, Stanford University announces a hack that exposed thousands of social security numbers and financial details. Then Thursday, the world’s largest aviation IT company announces 90 percent of passenger data may have been accessed in a cyber-attack. And so on. The cycle is endless. The sheer number of reports of data leaks, hacks, and scams on affected accounts has now grown so gargantuan that consumers and users are left numb. It might as well be the soaring national debt total —the higher the […]

We should not monopolise consumer information

Expanding consumer access to information is meant to be a cornerstone of informed policy and decision-making.  Rather than adopting paternalistic rules, lawmakers and regulators in liberal democracies should reflect the will of the people and ensure that consumers and citizens are able to always access more, not less, information on labels and products.  Obviously, distinguishing what information is “accurate”, especially when it comes to products we buy and sell, is a canard. Let’s look to health and warning labels. Mandated by governments, these serve a distinct purpose: they inform consumers about the dangers of consumption – or of overconsumption – […]

Biden Can Channel Libertarian Ideas to Woo Some of the Trump Coalition

The 2016 Donald Trump coalition was one for the ages. These were far from typical Republican voters, made up of disaffected liberals, libertarians, nationalists, run-of-the-mill conservatives and skeptics of adventurous foreign policy. Rhetoric on “dismantling” of the administrative state, promises of low taxes and cutting down on wars abroad convinced many moderates and libertarians who otherwise wouldn’t have backed a GOP candidate. In 2020, due to many reasons, that coalition didn’t deliver for Trump. As President-elect Biden assembles his administration and evaluates the coalitions that brought him to power, he’d be wise to channel some libertarian ideas that made 2016 […]

In Kamala Harris, do consumers have an ally or a foe?

This week, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden revealed Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate for the November general election against President Donald Trump. Because Harris’ influence on the Biden campaign will loom large, and be important to whomever American voters choose in the fall, it’s worth looking at some of her ideas and policies and how they would have an impact on consumers. Let’s take a dip, shall we? HEALTHCARE On her original presidential campaign website and throughout the Democratic primary debates, Harris was adamant about banning private healthcare insurance in favor of a Medicare For All […]

It’s time for the government to put consumers first

It’s a great time to be alive. In the past few years, we’ve been incredibly lucky to gain access to great technologies and services that make our lives better every day. Just think about the great problem-solving innovations we’ve had in recent years. Want a safer alternative to consuming nicotine? Enter vape devices. Looking for a cheap, easy, and safe taxi? Ride-sharing. Do you have an extra bedroom and a need for some quick cash? Home-sharing. Congestion and emissions from too many cars in traffic? E-scooters hit the street. Instant access to thousands of hours of TV and movies without paying […]