Data Brokers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Data Brokers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

John Oliver discusses how much data brokers know about us, what they’re doing with our personal information, and one….unusual way to change privacy laws.

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48 Responses

  1. William Gregory says:

    John Oliver essentially blackmailing Congress with legally-obtained info sourced from data brokers is a new high point in late night comedy.

    • Jake The Dingus says:

      …ehhh kinda passee. The Colbert Report did this kind of shit a decade ago.

    • Paul Ohlstein says:

      @Zizi Roberts I do like John Oliver and LastWeek tonight. I merely stated the obvious, that we do not know if John Oliver is bluffing or not.

    • Bill Cashion says:

      I watch John as often as I can find him on YouTube. Browsing at work and I caught your comment and couldn’t wait to get home and watch. Long ass set-up but worth the wait. Classic Oliver at his best. Peace.

    • Paul Willard says:

      You stole this comment, William Gregory.

    • Milk says:

      Let’s backmail the rest of Congress using the same services

  2. TheyCallMeFilep says:

    If Congress passes laws that John Oliver’s demanding to get passed here, then this will be hands-down the best use of HBO’s money he’s made so far.

    • Abraham Miller says:

      Best waste of HBOs money?? I guess some of us never saw the Broadway musical of Eat Shit Bob……

    • Matt Bruning says:

      Except they’ll pass something specific to protecting members of Congress, not the rest of us.

    • Teddy Roosevelt’s reanimated corpse says:

      Congress should pass this ratio

    • qawamity/Escef says:

      @Archer Sully, I’d call that a very close second.

    • Nikki Griffin says:

      @Kieran either that or he’s a 12 yr old child, though even my nieces & nephews of that age could convey their thoughts in a more lucid manner and without randomly throwing “gay” in at the end, so probably some drunk incel or something.

  3. clfisher10 says:

    I love how John goes straight for the Nuclear option. Doesn’t stage a protest, doesn’t try to go before congress, doesn’t start a petition…nope, he basically goes straight to elaborate attempts to legally blackmail Congress into action.

  4. Kurt I says:

    In the old days, there were “crusading journalists.” Jon Oliver is the heir to that. Bravo!

    • GalaxyHiker says:

      @narfle It’s important to remember (and I don’t think John did a good job of pointing this out, either) that you don’t have to have clicked on the ads for the folder to contain your information. They got a list of “users likely to be government officials” and aimed the ads at those people, but the other information included in that list is still available even if they didn’t click.

      Honestly I think the whole segment, while funny, could have been handled better. The Internet tracks you, even if you don’t click on dumb funny ads, and de-anonymizing users isn’t a thing that happens because the user was careless. Acting like people whose data is sold down the river “just needed to not click sketchy ads” verges on victim-blaming.

    • I'm leggit subbing to everyone who subs to me says:

      read my name!!

    • Elyssa Y says:

      @narfle but now the people who clicked on those ads (or think they might have) are nervous. John and his crew can always use more ads, in the future. Hell, they probably already are.

    • Nawid N. says:

      @narfle I have the related aptitude. You’re wrong.
      Lucky for me the original assertion, therefore burden of proof, is yours.

    • narfle says:

      Did you click any of those 3 ads recently?

      Do you think the legislators are able to either remember as much, or purchase (for i guess 45 usd) the datasets to see if they did?

      He ruined his own threat. It almost feels like its bread and circus. Throw some “haha yeah, we got you!” to the masses under foot and they will feel smug and satisfied, instead of rebellious.

      Why actually SHOW the ads he phished with? Why not say “we ran a large amount of unspecified ads to gain access to entirely legal identifiable information”? The doubt would seal the deal and legislation protecting the citizens would be rushed through faster than a microwave tv dinner.

      Anyone with any related aptitude should be able to tell you how this “attack” was an entirely performative non-attack, that took a lot of added work to be understood as toothless.

      Crusade indeed.

  5. Bang! says:

    As they say, if a service is free, you’re the product…

  6. h8024 says:

    I like that the show not only show the viewer the problem but also is doing something that can help solve it.

    • Robyn Mcbrayer says:

      @Alexander Kerrigan there’s also the question of if they even will remove the data, as John Oliver said, they aren’t legally required to, so there’s also the worry that anyone at all who asks to have their data removed just gets put in their own list

    • Alexander Kerrigan says:

      @Removaly I would love to see your success rates (I’m absolutely serious — I want my data removed from these databases). I’m worried, though, that your clients just go onto other brokered lists called things such as “Too lazy to try to remove their data themselves so hired a third party service to do it instead”.

    • C•rla ea says:

      Too bad they can’t solve my depression 08:10

    • Removaly says:

      That’s why we started Removaly, an automated software that removes your personal information from these pesky data brokers ❤️

    • Laine T says:

      @倉本Kane With the key words that were used, it is doubtful they would tell the truth.

  7. John Buckeye says:

    This is the most badass thing John Oliver has ever done. It is insane that they even have time to pull all this shit off, but I love that he not only exposes the problem but leads the charge to take it down

    • Alexandar Hull-Richter says:

      There was also the week he set up an automated telemarketing system to call the FCC commissioners continuously until they made robocallers illegal.

    • John Sagan says:

      Hey are you going to the secret meeting this week?

    • Michael Kelley says:

      Gonna say the most badass thing he’s done is “eat shit bob” but this is a close second

  8. Jesus Seguinot says:

    We must protect Mr.Oliver at all cost. He’s a national treasure.

  9. 黒Wolf says:

    I do sometimes wonder if HBO has enough material to air a show based entirely on the interactions between the Last Week Tonight research team and HBO’s legal department.

  10. Summer W. says:

    I wouldnt mind a part 2 to this. while you guys did a good job at scratching the surface theres so much more alarming stuff to this story. Targeted ads are just the cherry on the shit cake. These companies are able to manipulate people on a much deeper level than they realize. And every single place you visit in any digital space does it. Douglas Rushkoff calls it “statistical buckets”, aka that graph you showed. theyre herding people like sheep in order to get them to behave as close to their statistical profiles as possible. They dont just want to sell you diet pills, they want to be accurate in prodicting the diet. Its dangerous to think that people out there know the choices you’ll make before you make them essentially making them not choices at all. Its called freedom, and its being taken away in a digital way without your knowlage.

    • James Duane says:

      You are absolutely right, and it’s been going on forever. This kind of thing started with Heimler. For those not in the know: check out Noam Chomskey. He did a book that can be found here in documentary form called “Manufacturing Consent” that covers this in great detail …

    • Britney Barnes says:

      Totally agree, just came to say that you missed the opportunity to say “dinglecherry on the shit cake” 😂

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