Big Government has declared war on Big Tech.
The EU copyright directive wants to “control” the internet.
The EU has fined Google billions for (essentially) being too big and successful.
US Senator Elisabeth Warren wants to dismantle big-tech monopolies.
The Californian Governor wants big tech to pay people a data dividend.
Ostensibly, this battle is being fought to protect the little guy (that’s you and I, the grateful voters) from being victimised by the Big Bad Tech Bros and to stop their massive monopolies from taking over the world.
But wait a minute, how, exactly, is taking power away from one master (big tech) and giving even more power to another master (big gov) any better for the little guy at the end of the day?
Viewed from another perspective Big Gov’s war on Big Tech starts to look a lot like more like a competition with Big Tech for who gets to hold the most power over citizens. (After all, you don’t get a bigger monopoly than a government (especially a more-self-appointed-than-elected government structure such as the EU’s European Commission, which has sweeping controls over the greater part of an entire continent)…). It’s all rather ironic.
When you’re a serf/ subject it makes little difference who your master is.
When you live in a cage, it makes little difference who holds the key on the other side.
More specifically, when it comes to big tech and the ethics thereof, its hard for me to understand how allowing powerful bureaucrats and career politicians who barely understand technology to make sweeping rules about said technology is any better for you and I than allowing tech bros and co’s to self-regulate their own work (in fact, it may be a worse deal for the end consumer, since at least with private sector monopolies we are not legally bound to give them our money and follow their rules…)
For me, the answer lies us as individual citizens, informing ourselves enough to make educated decisions for ourselves about the technology we use, the companies we give our money to and the governments we vote for, rather than allowing those same powerful self-interested entities to make our decisions for us.
As individual citizens, we need to rage against both machines. We need to dismantle creeping centralisation of power, whether that creeping power is Big Gov or Big Tech.
(Still not convinced? Follow these futures towards their logical conclusions and pick your preferred master.)