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Pros and Cons of Breaking Up Big Tech


– Seth, one of the things that we were talking about, one of the topics that we were talking about, was around tech company regulation – Mm hm

– And we'd introduced it talking around Elizabeth Warren's approach of breaking up big tech – Yep – Obviously, that has implications, both positive and negative So, what's kind of your thought around the regulation of technology, of tech companies? – Sure And, what's really necessary, what should we really be thinking about there? – I think regulating tech, big tech, is an incredibly difficult problem to solve

I think when it comes to tech, simply looking at it with a regulatory hammer is going to wind up losing the kind of nuance that tech needs in order to grow and build – Mm hm – And we've seen this time and again over the years, where a regulation comes in and it's, you know, it's really sort of a very large hacksaw and not the finely tuned scalpel that's needed One of the challenges I think in regulating the current sort of big consumer tech companies is that the things that have been going on with them are, you know, especially in regards to misinformation and disinformation campaigns – Right, ya

– It has been really scary for a lot of people We saw an outside influence on the US election in 2016 It's not really clear that there's been much change to the election that's coming up, you know, the next primary, the first primary is next month

And, so there, I think there's a very natural and logical impetus to come up with some kind of regulation – Do you feel that's knee-jerk? – (laughs) – Is it like, we've got to do something? Or, do you think that, maybe we could do something if we sat back and thought about it? – You know, I hate to be middle of the road on anything, but I think it's actually both I think there is some of it where people saw what happened, they were afraid They see tech companies as not doing enough I think, you know, one way to get started would be to regulate consumer data portability

– Okay – If Facebook users had the ability to export their data in a way that could be read and used by another social network, we might actually see a Facebook competitor Which is why, in all of Facebook's discussions over regulation where suddenly in the middle of 2019 they came out in favor of regulation Data portability is simply not on any talking points that they've said so far It threatens their business

We also don't see that coming from Google We don't see that coming from a lot of the other big consumer tech companies – I think for a lot of them, lock-in is important – Hugely important – And, it's both how they deal with any competitive pressure

– Yep – But, also perhaps as a way to continue to gain, continue to gain customers and continue to grow – Sure – It's hard to leave – Ya, if you're the only game in town, you know, it doesn't matter if you can take your data away or not, unless there's an opportunity to do it which would support a potential competitor

And, it's really kind of sad, every, you know, every six months or a year or so a new company crops up The next social network, or maybe it's an alternative search engine Certainly DuckDuckGo has been able to make – Yep – If you'll forgive me, a go of it

– (laughs) – But, in general it's been a very hard thing and very few people outside, I think, of the privacy world, actually know about DuckDuckGo Which is no slam against them, it's just, it's the way the business is And, even the next most popular search engine these days, Bing, has, you know, a tiny, tiny percentage of users So, you know, on the one hand, there's that aspect to think about On the other, you know, in the story I wrote back in May, we see that there is likely a security cost to privacy forward regulation if that regulation involves completely breaking up big consumer tech

Source: Youtube

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