A Teenaged Tech CEO Tries To Sneak In After Curfew And Finds His Mom Waited Up For Him

from the but-maaaaaaaaahm dept

With Congress spending a lot of time these days demanding answers from big tech firms, you may have noticed a notable similarity in style regarding how they respond to these kinds of inquiries.

Thank you very much for inviting my input on the topic of being grounded. I appreciate the opportunity to engage with Mom regarding this important discussion.

I take living under your roof very seriously. I am proud to be a recognized leader in crucial household initiatives such as making the bed and setting the table. Last year, data rigorously collected by the chores chart on the refrigerator[1] shows that I folded the laundry 48 times, a 200% increase year over year. [2] My contributions in these areas demonstrate my ongoing commitment to this family.

From time to time, I may adjust my going-out policies based on data-driven decision-making and evaluation of the current regulatory environment. My interpretation of curfew is based upon guidance from Dad who said 1:00 a.m. was OK, but you weren’t there, I think you were at the store. If the conclusions I drew from this guidance do not reflect parental intent, I regret the miscommunication and appreciate the chance for clarification.

My policies are consistent with industry best practices in this area. According to my most recent review, Jennifer's mom lets her come home at 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and Denise's mom lets her sleep over at a boy's house so long as his mom calls her mom first. Accordingly, I believe that my going-out policy reflects standard parental expectations in the community where I operate.

Should you have any additional requests for information, I can be reached in my room via text message. Mom, gawd, just text me like a normal person. No I won’t hear you knock because I always have my earbuds in. Well I put them in because you complained I was playing my music too loud, JEEZ I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT I HATE IT HERE [bursts into tears, storms upstairs]

Thank you again for the opportunity to continue the dialogue on this critical issue. I look forward to answering your questions.

[1] See Attachment A.
[2] Id.; see also [REDACTED].

When Riana Pfefferkorn is not writing satirical letters to Congress Mom, she's a Research Scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory. She can be found online at @Riana_Crypto.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: congress, teenagers, testimony


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    fairuse (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 4:21pm

    And the,as long as you live under my roof you do as I say, rule

    That about sums up how most committees act. Sit down I want to talk to you about your behavior, not your brother telecom because it does NatSec.

    After watching too many of these meetings I stopped. They act like city state judgement boards. Also without any expertise or with lobby notes.

    Well, landed a new rover on Mars so the future looks good to move out. Problem: empty real estate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 6:45am

      Re: And the,as long as you live under my roof you do as I say, r

      It kindof fell a bit flat for me..
      I guess the idea is that the citizens are there to serve the government? That the government is the owner of the country and the citizens just mooch off them I guess? Instead of moving out to buy their own house and becoming independent adults which would mean I guess forming their own country?

      Is this an endorsement of nanny state politics or a critique? I'm confused at the metaphor but not very convinced either way

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 4:27pm

    I was confused reading the whole thing because the satire is mocking the format of Tech CEO statements when the problem isn't the CEO statements and answers but the questions and commentary coming from the committee and hearing participants in Congress. You can't expect meaningful statements from a CEO if the questions are half ignorant and half tailored to make a political statement on camera with zero accountability behind it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 4:40pm

      Re:

      I think both things can be true: the questions from Congress can be lame, and the answers from the tech companies are... not particularly enlightening, and clearly designed not to explain anything useful. Both are for show.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 4:48pm

        Re: Re:

        I like nitpick, but this it too simple and correct, so I was "forced" to click 'insightful".

        On a more serious note: would be nice to know why it seems the tech industry has acquitted itself so poorly before (a rampantly ignorant &| dishonest) congress.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 5:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          On a more serious note: would be nice to know why it seems the tech industry has acquitted itself so poorly before (a rampantly ignorant &| dishonest) congress.

          Your question answers itself, congress is looking for targets and not infotmation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 11:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Asserting as fact that a bully is looking to bully someone doesn't explain why a "victim" with come in every day with $100 in "lunch" money

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 6:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Asserting as fact that a bully is looking to bully someone doesn't explain why a "victim" with come in every day with $100 in "lunch" money..."

              More like the victim gets dragged into a dark alley and congress mugs him/her for whatever they've got on them.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 6:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...would be nice to know why it seems the tech industry has acquitted itself so poorly before (a rampantly ignorant &| dishonest) congress."

          Looking at a few excerpts from the hearings Congress invited FB, Google and Amazon to attend...I don't see how they could acquit themselves well.

          You can't defend yourself when all you've got is logic and facts but the prosecution insists you keep trying to defend yourself against a grimdark fairytale of your malfeasance they've tapped from the same well Trump uses for campaign speeches.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 5:05pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm not sure I agree and I can actually pull an example from Techdirt. I like and read Techdirt regularly and occasionally show my support by buying merch. Last year, that included an emoji face mask. The face mask was not functional as a face mask. I mean sure it's got the loops so you can wear it, but in the middle of a pandemic it was a single layer face mask so thin I legitimately thought if I wore it I would have, or at least should have, been called out for not even wearing a face mask.

        Now I bought it more to support TechDirt than actually have a working mask. Although I was disappointed I couldn't legitimately wear it to see if it would spark discussion from co-workers (although new thought, I should double mask and use it as the external layer), ultimately the artistry was great but the actual product was low effort and phoned in. Granted it's a simple piece of merchandise and not a testimony to Congress but doesn't it come from the same place?

        Why would a Tech CEO go out of their way to be enlightening in a public testimony to Congress when the testimony is basically meaningless and they can phone it in? I could ask the same of the mask, why not go through the extra effort to work with a producer who can make a usable and quality mask?

        I imagine someone is going to come back and say a Congressional hearing should be different than a throwaway merchandise store, but I don't see the difference. Congress isn't going out of the way to make it more meaningful than my face mask.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 6:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why would a Tech CEO go out of their way to be enlightening in a public testimony to Congress when the testimony is basically meaningless and they can phone it in?

          A smart CEO will see these hearings for what they are: theater. Theater is meant for public consumption/entertainment, not for any meaningful decision-making. The public is watching and these hearings have the power to sway public opinion. This is an excellent opportunity for the smart CEO to drive public opinion in the direction they prefer despite the rambling efforts of Congress to drive it elsewhere.

          That none of the above actually happened tells me a lot about how smart these CEOs really are. Playing the combative victim does nothing to garner public support and, in a time when such support may be desperately needed, letting this opportunity pass by is remarkably dumb.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 19 Feb 2021 @ 7:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "A smart CEO will see these hearings for what they are: theater. "

            They even are sworn in under penalty of perjury, but the tobacco hearings proved that to be theater as well. If Congress actually went after those who perjured, maybe the theater part would lessen.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 6:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not sure I agree and I can actually pull an example from Techdirt. I like and read Techdirt regularly and occasionally show my support by buying merch. Last year, that included an emoji face mask. The face mask was not functional as a face mask. I mean sure it's got the loops so you can wear it, but in the middle of a pandemic it was a single layer face mask so thin I legitimately thought if I wore it I would have, or at least should have, been called out for not even wearing a face mask.

          Have you tried double-masking? That usually works…

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 9:19am

            And from what I’ve read, double masking is recommended for people who don’t have access to N95 masks. (I wear either two layered cloth masks or a medical mask under a layered cloth mask.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 5:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Reminds me of reading about the Night Trap hearing sensationalism and not even listening to the creators called to "testify" that they were literally speaking complete fiction with lies about rape. If congress doesn't act in good faith the process becomes adversarial and means the best thing anybody called to testify can do is to say nothing of substance because anything you say can and will be used against you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Feb 2021 @ 4:20am

      Re:

      "the problem isn't the CEO statements and answer"

      This is correct. It is a human problem and all humans exhibit traits related to this problem. Simply pointing to someone else and laying blame does nothing to address said problem, it merely deflects criticism.

      Addressing problems tends to be difficult and lengthy, most politicians avoid these things, sometimes not very discretely. Politicians blaming other politicians does nothing to remedy whatever the aliment is. it conveniently kicks said problem down the road .. again - not fixed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Feb 2021 @ 6:26pm

    Whatever. This piece wins a solid 5 internets. I thought it hilariously good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crazy_diamond (profile), 18 Feb 2021 @ 10:15pm

    Thank you. THANK YOU!! I haven't laughed this hard in a year, and I have solid, industry supported data to support that position.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bmeacham (profile), 19 Feb 2021 @ 6:51pm

    Wrong gender

    From the context I think the teenager is a girl, the context being that the cited industry best practices are both female. Also, having been a teenage boy myself, I doubt that a boy would burst into tears, although he might well storm upstairs.

    The headline should say "... Finds Her Mom Waited Up For Her."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.