While the U.S. government sits on its hands and does little to regulate tech monopolies, (Blog 8/16/17) Europe takes an aggressive stand. For example, The European Commission has hit Apple with a claim for $13 billion in back taxes; Uber faces criminal charges for unlicensed taxi operations in France; social network companies are forced to pour money to scrub subscribers’ data under the “right to be forgotten” law. In 2018, life for the techs will get tougher in Europe because The General Data Protection Law goes into effect. It gives consumers even greater control over their private information. (“Globalization Bites Back,” by Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, Aug. 1, 2017, pgs. 82-84.)
Closer to home, Canadian courts have ruled Google must delete certain search results from its pages. Russia and China, make similar demands on regular basis, citing national security issues. (Ibid, pg. 83)
Says one attorney who works in the technology arena, the giants have brought this negative attention on to themselves. “Silicon Valley titans have at times exhibited an evangelical and single-minded devotion to the logic of disruption… The corollary has been an insensitivity and a perceived, if not actual, hostility to local values and traditions.” (Ibid, pg. 84.)
As the tech giants are American based companies, our government continues to turn a blind eye on the world’s complaints. In 2015, President Barrack Obama discounted them as coming from industries that can’t compete and are “trying to set up some roadblocks.” (Ibid pg. 82.)
Turning a blind eye to the problems tech monopolies create is no service to the people. Americans shouldn’t dismiss Europe’s ideas as too quaint or too socialistic to consider. Our friends across the pond have ideas worthy of our review. By way of example, Americans are only now awakening to the idea universal healthcare. Europeans have recognized it as a human right for decades.