Commentary Tech giants

MEPs could stop Google and Facebook

It’s unbelievable that despite all the scandals there are politicians who fight side-by-side with the tech giants.

Just over the last month, we’ve learned about so many wrongdoings of the tech giants. Google continues to work on a Chinese search engine adjusted for censorship, defends a Saudi women tracking app, deletes search results inconvenient for the Russian regime, and hides its profits in tax havens. YouTube delivers sensitive pictures of kids to pedophiles and Facebook collects private data of people who don’t even have an account.

Yet, so many politicians, mainly from the Pirate camp, want to ‘save the internet’. To save it in the way convenient for the tech giants to be precise. In two weeks time, the European Parliament is due to vote on the copyright law reform, which is supposed to put an end to the current business model of Google and Facebook. A model that allows those companies to steal other people’s content legally. A long-awaited moment for many filmmakers, musicians, journalists, and photographers who expect an adequate counter value for their work.

Strikingly though, it is mainly the Pirate party supporting expansive tech giants. German Pirate MEP Julia Reda is the most vocal opponent of copyright. The one that had a hard time looking for a free copy of the Anne Frank Diary two years ago. It is not a minor detail but an example of Pirate thinking. A well-paid job is desirable, while the rest should be collectively owned. Pirates just don’t understand how dangerous all the supra-national entities to society are. They are already more powerful than states.

Tech giants are seeking one thing only, their profit which is going to end up in some tax haven. As a decrease in online advertising price shows, Google and Facebook are the only two companies still growing on the market. It is only logical that some people call for their break up, which should put the market back on balance. First of all, it is necessary to put copyright back on balance, because now a different set of rules apply to it online than in real life.

MEPs will have a unique opportunity to slow down the dominance of Google and Facebook. Even if the regulations won’t be approved, the fight against tech giants has brought together authors from many fields. So, they might effectively push their interests and stand up to tech giants almost as equals. The vote against the reform would be a vote for tax frauds, censorship in China and Russia, and many other wrong doings. 

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