Monday, 21 May 2018

Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem - Frank Pasquale

Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem - American Affairs Journal: "Law can help resolve these tensions. Competition laws take aim at the functional sovereignty of large tech platforms, and antitrust authorities should have blocked Facebook’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, instead of letting its juggernaut of domination over communication roll up entities capable of providing alternative modes of association online. Ten, twenty, or one hundred social networks could eventually emerge, if competition law were properly enforced, and interoperability standards could assure smooth connections among confederations of social networks, just as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers can all talk to one another seamlessly. If that diversity emerged, we could worry less about a few persons in Silicon Valley essentially serving as a world Supreme Court deciding which expression is appropriate for a so-called global community.

 When industrial giants can’t be broken up, there are still many ways to neutralize their power. Utility-style regulation mitigates the worst failures of absentee owners, as well as the caprices of the powerful. The state can require Google to carry certain content on YouTube, just as it has required cable networks to include local news. Moreover, whenever policymakers are afraid that firms like Google, Amazon, or Uber are taking too large a cut of transactions, they can take a page out of the playbook of insurance regulators, which often limit insurers to taking 15 to 20 percent of premiums (the rest must be spent on health care). That kind of limit recognizes the infrastructure-like quality of these firms’ services." 'via Blog this'

On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Secretary call for Google probe • The Register

On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Secretary call for Google probe • The Register: "So are we finally at the same point we were in 1998 when, after years of complaints about Microsoft abusing its market power, the authorities are finally willing to overcome their free-market bias and ignore the healthy campaign contributions to act on behalf of the American people?

 We will have to see, but it feels fairly similar right now. It is not the same of course: no one is forcing people to use Facebook, and, as Google is fond of saying, a competing search engine is just a click away. But at the same time, Facebook has its code on just about every major website, and Google pays companies billions of dollars to make sure it is the default search engine.

 Things change but that same sense of a company doing something obviously wrong because no one is in any position to stop is very much present.

When you have mainstream TV shows and cabinet secretaries chiming in, it may be a sign that the tide has turned.

Oh, and Google removed its "don't be evil" motto and philosophy from its website at some point in the past few weeks. Just saying."

'via Blog this'