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Facebook and Google are the new Exxon

If the maxim "where California leads, the nation follows" is still true, we shouldn't be expecting any positive movement on tougher privacy laws at the federal level any time soon. The L.A. Times reported on Friday that "a powerful coalition of technology companies and business lobbies" -- including Facebook and Google -- quashed a digital privacy bill that would have made California "the first state to take direct aim at an online industry that stockpiles and trades in a wide range of personal data about nearly every adult in the United States."

At this stage of the game we probably don't need any more reminders that the last thing online services want to see happen is for their users to gain any meaningful control about how their personal information is exploited. Or, for that matter, about how lobbying money routinely skews public policy against the public interest. The new money of Silicon Valley is just the same as the old money of Wall Street or the fossil fuel industry.

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