"We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.“ So the famous US Supreme Court Justice and ‘crusader for social justice’ and breaker-upper of Gilded Age monopolies, Louis D. Brandeis is said to have said, perhaps sometimes in the early 1930s.
Today, perhaps the best-known neo-Brandeisian anti-trust advocate is Tim Wu, Columbia law professor, ‘father of net neutrality’ and author of a series of books likening today’s commercial excesses – in particular in the digital space – to the ‘Gilded Age’ of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In our latest discussion about Facebook, GDPR and general big tech regulation issues, Neville, Sam and I come down on different sides of the either-or debate of public vs business interest. Of course, it is not really an either-or debate. It’s a complex and convoluted, tangled web of interests and angles, and any claimant of simple solutions has likely got a degree from snake oil university.
Neville discusses an article in The Conversation by De Montford University professor Eerke Boiten, who advocates GDPR-based impact assessments to hold tech firms accountable, rather than letting them continue to ‘move fast and break things’. Jeff Jarvis, CUNY journalism professor, takes a very different stance in his recent EU regulation critique Europe Against the Net.
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