Breaking Big Tech

Even though our landscape of digital platforms is constantly expanding, the last decade has seen an increasing amount of legal concern against tech giants like Google, Meta platforms, X (Twitter), etc. In the past year alone, both the US and EU governments have initiated data collection and anti-trust lawsuits against these platforms, showing growing concern over the un­checked powers and deceitful tactics these conglomerates seem to be using.

These legal battles ultimately affect all of us, since the majority of the world’s population is on at least two digital platforms and if these companies hold ev­ery ounce of data from our lives, we deserve some level of regulation or super­vision in place to make sure it is safe. The most recent lawsuit against Google is being settled over the misleading nature of Google’s incognito mode, which was supposed to be a private browser for the public to use without fear of any data being tracked by Google. The fact that a “private” browser is tracking consum­er data is all the more damning. People’s hobbies, interests, and embarrassing secrets – these may as well be public information as far as we are concerned.

Google’s admission to delete billions of data records is nothing more than a band-aid on a gaping wound. These companies hold a pervasive amount of power with their near-monopolistic control over digital platforms. The interconnectivity among platforms like Facebook and Instagram under one banner (Meta), allows for seamless data-sharing and often without users’ ex­plicit consent. There is a clear need for regulation here. Governments across the globe need to hold these massive giants accountable and ensure a lev­el of transparency in data collection. People also need alternative options to these platforms as well. The EU’s new Digital Markets Act aims to challenge the dominance of tech giants by promoting competition and facilitating user choice. The way these companies are interconnected now has forced people into being dependent on multiple platforms that all share data.

We need such anti-trust measures to break up these platforms into small­er entities to limit their control over the market and promote competition, offering users with potentially better and more secure alternatives. In ei­ther solution, we need some level of control over these digital behemoths, to ensure that they continue to serve our needs, rather than us serving theirs.

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