The Only Way To Rein In Big Tech Is To Treat Them As A Public Service

from The Guardian

After years of praising their virtues, governments across the world are belatedly waking up to the problems posed by big tech. From India and Australia to France and America – and now the UK, with its report from the Digital Competition Expert Panel – politicians have been reckoning with how to mitigate the harms of the world’s largest technology platforms. And they all seem to arrive at the same answer: competition is the magic mechanism that will somehow tame the giants, unleash innovation and fix our digital world.

But what if competition is the problem rather than the solution? After all, it’s competition – not size – that demands more data, more attention, more engagement and more profits at all costs. It’s competition that demands the tech giants expand. It’s competition for ad dollars that drives Google, Facebook and Amazon to ignore privacy concerns and expand data collection. It’s the struggle to dominate voice interfaces and smart-home data that leads Amazon and Google to aggressively push their surveillance machines into our homes. It’s competition for attention that leads apps and platforms to make their products as addictive as possible. It’s competition for users and engagement that makes Twitter, Facebook and others turn a blind eye to abuse, fake news and far-right radicalisation. And it’s competition over who will be the dominant AI provider that leads the tech giants to constantly colonise new sources of data. The government’s efforts to increase competition risk simply aggravating these problems.

So if increasing competition won’t hold big tech in check, what will? Too often, discussions about this start and end with government and consumers, and pay little heed to workers. That’s a mistake: larger and stronger tech unions can be an important counterbalance to the power of big tech. One area where the lack of competition really matters is in terms of wages: new research suggests that the bigger and more concentrated companies are in a particular industry, the more wages are suppressed.

More here.

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One Comment

  1. I think the biggest problem with all of this is the privacy of the user and the use of the public space to gather information on clients. The cause of this problem is not helped by the user because they don’t show enough care to stop their information from being taken without compensation. Facebook recently announced their most recent earnings report and they blew their expectations out of the water. Nobody expected them to do this because of their recent reports on privacy concerns but with such amazing earnings it shows one thing. People do not care what happens with their information. They don’t care and they don’t really understand what their information is worth. Facebook is thriving off of this and our privacy cant be secure if we continue to allow this to happen and we cant push legislation if people don’t care about what’s happening with their information. In order to get people to really to think about this issue I would recommend that anyone that reads this comment goes ands watches black mirror on Netflix. The show basically helps show what the future of tech looks like for us and the consequences of this tech is. I believe that this will really help people realize the issues of the future in a way that will get their attention and get them thinking. This overall issue I think before unions needs to be solved through the issue of awareness and education with the people because if they were taking their physical property there would be an outrage. I have deleted my facebook in time because of what I realized they are doing with not only advertising but the playing with of peoples mid through their studies when I realized that they can show people content they want them to see and if the one seeing it doesn’t know that then they can be easily influenced into what they are seeing. Awareness is the big problem to be solved and then we can finally break down the structure at this right now.

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