Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock, wrote a piece recently published in the Ottawa Citizen outlining why only government is capable of bringing monopolistic or socially harmful tech companies to heel.
There’s something about global tech platforms that causes people to lose all sense of perspective.
These platforms have established monopolies over online advertising, routinely kill off potential competitors, and use their dominant market position in one market to enter other markets. And we shouldn’t forget that they have played a role in a genocide, contributed to the amplification and normalization of white nationalist terrorism and to the anti-vaxxer movement. Our insatiable desire for cute cat photos, in other words, has a body count.
Yet, when it comes to possible solutions to these obvious problems, so many simply freeze. The global reach of these companies and the bedazzling newness of seemingly magical technology creates a form of policy paralysis. Both Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale have threatened legislation against the tech giants, although with very little substantive follow-through beyond asking the tech giants to please act better.
Such impotence, while understandable, is unnecessary. What tech companies can accomplish is pretty mind-boggling, but the governance problem they pose is nothing new.
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