In India, American companies dominate the internet. Facebook's WhatsApp is the most popular app on phones. Virtually every smartphone runs on Google's Android system. YouTube is the favorite video platform and Amazon is the No. 2 online retailer. For some Indian political leaders, it is as being conquered by colonial powers all over again.
"As a country, we have to all grow up and say that, you know, enough of this,"
India is currently the most important country in term of defining the future of Internet policy. It sits at the fulcrum between the United States and China. As it goes, so goes the world."
Like the oil barons at the turn of the 20th century, the data barons are determined to extract as much as possible of a resource that's central to the economy of their time. The more information they can get to feed the algorithms that power their ad-targeting machines and product-recommendation engines, the better. In the absence of serious competition or (until Europe's recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation) serious legal constraints on the handling of personal data, they are going to keep undermining privacy in their push to know as much about their users as they possibly canrnrnTheir dominance is allowing them to play a dangerous and outsize role in our politics and culture. The web giants have helped undermine confidence in democracy by underestimating the threat posed by Russian trolls, Macedonian fake-news farms, and other purveyors of propaganda. Zuckerberg at first dismissed claims that disinformation on Facebook had influenced the 2016 election as "pretty crazy." But Facebook itself now says that between June 2015 and August 2017, as many as 126 million people may have seen content on the network that was created by a Russian troll farm.rnrnrnWhy haven't antitrust regulators blocked deals to promote competition? It's mainly because of a change in US antitrust philosophy in the 1980s, inspired by neoclassical economists and legal scholars at the University of Chicago. Before the shift, antitrust enforcers were wary of any deals that reinforced a company's dominant position. After it, they became more tolerant of such combinations, as long as prices for consumers didn't rise. This was just fine with internet companies, since most of their services were free anyway. Critics say trustbusters exercised too little scrutiny. "Just because the web companies offer products for free doesn't mean they should get a free pass," says Jonathan Kanter, an antitrust lawyer at Paul Weiss.rnrnthanks to their vast wealth, fining them for any transgressions won't diminish their power.rnrnOne radical solution would be to break them up, just as the US government splintered the dominant Standard Oil monopoly in the early 1900s. Some progressive advocacy groups in the US have been running online campaigns with slogans like "Facebook has too much power over our lives and democracy. It's time for us to take that power back," and calling on the FTC to force the social network to sell Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger to create competition.rnrnSo how to curb the power of the data barons? Rather than waiting for legal battles that may or may not foster more competition, we urgently need to find ways to bolster rivals. That means reducing the vast chasm between the amounts of information held by the web giants and the rest. Regulation can help here: Europe's new data privacy regime requires companies to hold people's data in machine-readable form and let them move it easily to other businesses if they want to. This "data portability" rule will allow startups to get hold of more data quickly.rnrnrnSome argue that we need to think much more boldly-and not just with the big internet companies in mind. Viktor Mayer-Sch195182nberger, a professor at the University of Oxford, has proposed what he calls a "progressive data-sharing mandate" that would apply to all businesses. This would require a company that has passed a certain level of market share (say, 10 percent) to share some data with other firms in its industry that ask for it. The data would be chosen at random and stripped of all personal identifiers. Intuitively, the idea makes sense: the closer a company gets to dominating its market, the more data it would have to share, making it easier for rivals to compete by building a better product.
There've been a number of what one might call "peak Google" articles lately, most conspicuously the New York Times piece yesterday . No...
The power consumed by the internet giants' massive server farms and the mining of the cryptocurrency are growing into a giant environmental headache
If our supersmart tech leaders knew a bit more about history or philosophy we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now
2018/7/20: Today, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter joined to announce a new standards initiative called the Data Transfer Project, designed as a new way to move data between platforms. In a blog post, Google described the project as letting users "transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it."
The current version of the system supports data transfer for photos, mail, contacts, calendars, and tasks, drawing from publicly available APIs from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Remember the Milk, and SmugMug. Many of those transfers could already be accomplished through other means, but participants hope the project will grow into a more robust and flexible alternative to conventional APIs.
In its own blog post, Microsoft called for more companies to sign onto the effort, adding that "portability and interoperability are central to cloud innovation and competition."
""The future of portability will need to be more inclusive, flexible, and open.""
The existing code for the project is available open-source on GitHub, along with a white paper describing its scope.
Much of the codebase consists of "adapters" that can translate proprietary APIs into an interoperable transfer, making Instagram data workable for Flickr and vice versa. Between those adapters, engineers have also built a system to encrypt the data in transit, issuing forward-secret keys for each transaction.
Notably, that system is focused on one-time transfers rather than the continuous interoperability enabled by many APIs.
"The future of portability will need to be more inclusive, flexible, and open," reads the white paper. "Our hope for this project is that it will enable a connection between any two public-facing product interfaces for importing and exporting data directly."
Google's delayed entry into a consortium of advertising technology companies has spoiled the members' push to comply with a new European privacy law, six people involved in the program told Reuters, leaving some firms exposed to fines.
2018/06/10: Eric Schmidt, former Google Ceo, says that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is “exactly wrong” about Artificial Intelligence (AI). I dare suggest that Schmidt's vision may not be “exactly complete”.
Understanding the differences between aggregators and platforms matters for companies interacting with them and also regulators considering antitrust.
Google wants to unglue people from their phones. But like other wellness trends, "digital well-being" promises more than it can deliver.
2018/05/09: The good news is that an increasing number of people seem to agree that: Facebook, Google etc are monopolies That is a problem. Agreeing we have a problem is always a crucial first step.
Ultimo aggiornamento: 2018/05/03 8:20. La funzione OK Google o Assistente Google degli smartphone Android è comoda, per carità: permette ...
It's a confusing and complicated story, and also not well-reported. The bottom-line is that this is the tip of a very large iceberg. Its nature and scope of must be understood, now.
The way search engines work is far from unprejudiced, a new book argues.
1. Google tracks you. We don't.
2018/02/08: Four companies dominate our daily lives unlike any other in human history. The only logical conclusion? We must bust up big tech.
Regulators start to pump the brakes on Big Tech's advertising dystopia.
Exclusive: former employee alleges that women hired to work as preschool teachers in the company's childcare center were paid lower salaries than men with fewer qualifications doing same job
The tech giants are menacing democracy, privacy, and competition. Can they be housebroken?
Google promised a fix after its photo-categorization software labeled black people as gorillas in 2015. More than two years later, it hasn't found one.