August 21, 2017

QUESTION ASKED: Google, Facebook, Amazon: Time to Rein Them In?

[Author Jonathan ] Taplin, writes Mahaney, says regulators will increasingly take a hard look at the trio of companies and their power in society.

“During the call today, Taplin discussed his belief in the growing anti-monopolistic and anti-trust sentiment surrounding the big Internet companies.”

“Specifically, he references surveillance capitalism, in which companies collect data from their users and create an addicting, habit-forming service for consumers.”

And Taplin proposes what should be done to rein in the power of the three behemoths:

To improve the status quo and create a digital renaissance for content producers, Taplin argues that going back to a more decentralized Web will unleash the next generation of technology, business and social innovators. He specifically suggests we remove the DMCA safe harbor provisions that Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook use to their advantage. For example, Taplin suggests a “take-down and stay-down” policy for music and content on YouTube that Google would be required to enforce.

Google may have already thrown away its safe-harbor protection, when the company decided last week to start picking and choosing which sites it would register. According to a friend of mine in the industry, Google’s move might open up the company to lawsuits and to much closer regulatory scrutiny.

I’m not a lawyer and the major news outlets don’t seem to have picked up on this angle yet, but I will keep looking into it.

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