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Elizabeth Warren Takes on Big Tech

Escrito por Tony Dillistone el 19/03/2019 a las 10:56:32
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(Partner MediaMojos)

Tony Dillistone

 

On March 8th, 2019, Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat Senator running for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination, said on Medium, that she’d “make structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition - including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.”

 

Eliszabet Warren

(Image courtesy of www.barrons.com)

 

Breaking up the tech giants is one of the few major issues that crosses party lines in the U.S. and extends into Silicon Valley itself. Whether Ms. Warren is a viable contender for the Party nomination remains to be seen, but with her public statement, big-tech antitrust and regulation issues have officially become a 2020 election issue.

 

Big-tech’s reputation is seemingly in a downwards spiral amongst many Americans. Due in large part to a series of privacy scandals and the recent resignation of several senior executives, Facebook’s reputation has fallen farthest. According to the just released 2019 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient -a survey measuring the reputation of the 100 most visible American companies - Apple fell three spots to 32; Google dropped 13 places to 41, while Facebook fell this year from 51 to 94, almost at the bottom of the list.      

 

“As consumers, as users, we love these tech companies,” stated Warren. “But as citizens, as workers, and as entrepreneurs, we recognize that their power is troubling.”

 

Senator Warren’s proposed legislation includes designating the tech giants as “platform utilities” and appointing regulators to break up mergers that harm market competition. She defines “platform utilities” as companies earning global annual revenue of $25 billion or more and which, “offer to the public an online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties.”

 

“Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well," according to the plan.

 

According to Warren, breaking up the giants will not only foster competition, but it will also keep the pressure on tech giants to listen to user’s concerns, including about privacy.

 

The proposal would bar companies from sharing user data with third parties. “Today’s big tech companies have too much power… too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in the Medium article. "They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”

 

In counterpoint to Senator Warren’s proposal, Jessica Melugin, Associate Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation has commented on the issue “Politicians and their technocrats hacking up big tech companies is bad news for consumers, innovation, stockholders, and private property rights. There’s no need to run this doomed regulatory experiment in the U.S.; this European-style meddling has left that continent without one tech company in the global top ten and, more generally, government control of industry is currently on full and tragic display in Venezuela. The next wave of technological innovations will likely require enormous economies of scale to serve consumers. In the meantime, there are no barriers to entry for the next killer app or sector-disrupting entrepreneur. The free market is working to lower prices, create new products, and leave consumers better off; politicians need to stay out of its way.”

 

We’re not sure which side we support, at this point. There are valid arguments on both sides. Tell us what you think… it’ll be “interesting” to see how this plays out wherever the cards fall.