Hot potato

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A hot potato is something not that valuable to hold, but, quite painful to try to hold. It usually refers to some liability or other unwelcome responsibility. Consumerium governance will have to deal with many of these, including:

  • being sued for "interfering" with the consumer's buying decisions
  • being sued for "harassing" the store's customers or suppliers
  • being sued for "restraint of trade" between supplier, store, consumer
  • being sued for trademark dilution if a mark is boycotted
  • being sued for false advertising if any information is wrong
  • being sued for pain and suffering if some vegan accidentally buys a product made only at horrible cost to all life on Earth, and the system screws up and recommends it, and they find out later

If you think this is a reach, read everything McDonald's has been sued for.

Many evil companies will want Consumerium shut down way more than greedy lawyers want to burn McDonald's. Especially in the US these lawsuits can be severe and create legal chill - this may be a serious problem for organizations seeking to provide accurate data that affects the score.

Because of this, the Consumerium board will have to include tough people who understand dealing with controversy and lawyers.

Eventually, the Consumerium Governance Organization will have to target hostile lawyers who deliberately make up ways to sue Consumerium supporters. This will be a nasty job. It will involve things we should not talk about. If this is not done, the lawyers will eventually blunt the protocol to a point where only nice things can be said no matter how nasty the companies are. It will require extremely tough people to ensure that this doesn't happen, and that the lawyers who specialize in legal chill are effectively shut down.