The government using financial punishment has been done for a long time, how long exactly I am not sure, but a long time. What has always struck me as curious is it being used as a deterrent. Take speeding tickets, for instance.

If having to pay a fine actually worked in preventing excessive speeds, it would have worked long ago. Instead it keeps happening rendering it a failed and flawed method. What doesn’t change is that the local government has become dependent on the revenue it generates.

In instances where a victim is involved, like rape or murder or assault, the courts impose fees and fines in addition to restitution…on behalf of the victim. The problem is that money never goes to the victim. Poor people are more likely to be in prison and the money collected always goes to the state, not the victim.

In Facebooks’ case, the United States was at least a “victim” of Facebooks’ policies on data handling. But so was every other user. $5 billion went directly to the FTC as a penalty for the FTC to do with as they please, they basically wrote themselves a blank check and the only ones who benefit are them.

I am not saying that Facebook did nothing to warrant intervention, in fact, I have no idea of the facts of this case and only have the media on television to go by along with my own assumptions. But it seems from my point of view that if “justice” was just negotiated via financial compensation in the form of a $5 billion settlement that one agency can squirrel away for whatever they want…I am finding it hard to agree that “justice” was served and am more inclined to say that Facebook was just the victim of a white collar crime, a crime worth $5 billion.

Whose voice, exactly, does the FTC represent? It clearly is not mine or yours because we will never see a penny of that money.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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