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Stupid Senate Watch: An Exercise in Malevolent Irony

5/20/14
 
By Ken Magill
 
The concept of irony apparently flies right over the heads of some turd flingers in the U.S. Senate.
 
In a report titled “Online Advertising and Hidden Hazards to Consumer Security and Data Privacy” published last week, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations' Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs criticized the online ad industry for supposedly failing to do enough to protect consumers from getting ad-delivered malware.
 
In the last paragraph of the 43-page report under the sub-head “Self-Regulatory Groups do not Provide Sufficient Oversight on Security and Privacy issues,” the second-to-last sentence said:
 
“One industry effort to address security foundered reportedly due to members of the industry ‘desiring to refocus their resources on aggressively defending industry practices to policy groups and regulatory bodies.’”
 
Policy groups and regulatory bodies in this case are euphemisms for counterproductive spittle-flecked morons.
 
Roughly translated, that sentence says: “One industry group was trying to fix the problem until we started flinging turds at them. Then they had to marshal all their available resources to defend against the turds we were flinging. As a result, they aren’t doing enough to fix the problem while we keep flinging turds—this report being a giant one—at them.”
 
Some of the very people who have been attacking the online ad industry have taken note that an effort to defeat ad-delivered malware was scuttled because industry members felt the need to redirect resources to defend against those attacks, and it dawns on no one that the Senate is part of the problem.
 
The fact that that sentence made the final report shows just how malevolently self-unaware these people are.
 
Otherwise, how could it not occur to any of the report’s authors or editors that it so blatantly points the finger right back at them?
 
In another doozy under the subhead: “Unfair Practices Enforcement,” the report said:
 
“To date, the [Federal Trade Commission] has not brought unfair practices enforcement actions against companies in the online advertising industry. That absence of enforcement largely reflects the lack of clear standards of conduct within the industry itself. FTC standards for unfair practice depend heavily on industry common practice and the standards set by self-regulatory bodies.”
 
Got that? Since the online advertising industry has so far avoided publishing standards the FTC can use to screw its members, the FTC so far has failed to screw any of them.
 
Someone wrote that paragraph thinking it self-evident that an industry group failing to give the FTC the legal weaponry to extract millions of dollars in settlements from its members is negligent.
 
You can’t be deceptive if you don’t say anything. It should surprise no one that the online ad industry isn’t crafting standards that could be quickly rendered obsolete in a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment, and used against them as a weapon.
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