Big tech are those gigantic companies that dominate the world of technology and that offer us all kinds of services and products, from search engines and social networks to books and music. Surely you know some of them, such as Google, Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon or Microsoft (the GAFAM), or their Chinese rivals, such as Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent (the BAT). These companies they have many advantages: they make our lives easier, they connect us with other people, they entertain us and they inform us. Of course they are great. but youthey also have many dangers: They have a lot of power and influence, they do not pay the same taxes as other smaller or traditional companies, they use our personal data for their benefit and they are not subject to the same rules as other sectors. Come on, they do what they want.
And what happens if we let these big tech continue to grow without limit? Well, power is always going to want more power. AND Without counterweights or adequate regulation, sooner or later, power will eat us all. Of course nobody wants to stop progress and innovation. In reality, what is wanted is that we do not become victims of these giants in the name of progress and innovation. There are benefits, but also risks. which brings us to recognize the importance of regulating them to create a more balanced and sustainable digital environment.
I understand that for many of you, the word “regulation” sounds like profanity. I understand that they are passionate about the crypto space and that they defend freedom and autonomy against the State and its impositions. I understand that talking about regulation causes an allergic reaction and that they would prefer to live in a world without laws and regulations. But let’s be real: regulation is inevitable. Sooner or later, governments and regulators are going to want to get involved. And we can’t do anything to stop it. What we can do is try to that regulation is adequate, fair and proportional. Don’t stifle innovation or creativity. That does not limit potential or opportunities. Don’t make us slaves or criminals. That is to say, it is better to be part of the solution than the problem. No?
But how can we be part of the solution? Well actively participating in the regulatory debate. Contributing ideas, proposals and experiences. Collaborating with other actors in the ecosystem, such as startups, companies, organizations and users. Demanding transparency, accountability and fairness from governments and regulators. And, above all, andeducating and making society aware of the benefits and risks of technology.
Some think that the solution is to refuse regulation and create decentralized alternatives to compete with big tech outside the law. They are the anarchists and libertarians who live in the crypto space. But this solution is not as realistic as they think, because users are not going to abandon big tech for ideological reasons. Users are more pragmatic. They use what they like and what suits them. Therefore, most likely we will have a mixed future. That is, centralized and decentralized solutions coexisting. Plurality will be the future. And the regulation will come for both cases (the decentralized and the centralized).
And what can be done to regulate these big tech and prevent them from taking over the world? Well, it’s not easy, because a balance has to be struck between protecting the rights of consumers and competitors, and encouraging innovation and technological development. In addition, it must be taken into account that these companies operate globally, so an international consensus is needed to apply the same rules of the game in all countries.
What is cooking? Here are some of the measures that have been proposed or are being implemented: First, charge a digital fee that is based on the profits of big tech according to where they are generated, and not where they are tax domiciled. Thus, it would prevent these companies from avoiding taxes by transferring their profits to tax havens or countries with low taxation.
Second, create specific regulations to regulate the activities of big tech in different fields, such as finance, trade or information. This would ensure that these companies comply with the same obligations and responsibilities as other companies in those sectors, such as protect the privacy of data, guarantee the security of transactions, prevent the dissemination of false or illegal content, etc.
Third, monitor and penalize anti-competitive practices of big tech, such as abuse of a dominant position, mergers or acquisitions that reduce competition, discrimination or favoring their own services or products over those of third parties, etc. This would prevent these companies from impeding the access or survival of other smaller or more innovative companies in the market.
fourth, fPromote interoperability and data portability between different Big Tech platforms and applications. This would make it easier for users to change providers without losing their data or contacts, and to communicate with other people who use services other than theirs.
These are some of the ideas being debated to regulate big tech and make it more transparent, fair and accountable. But there is no magic or unique solution. What is essential is that governments, regulators, businesses and citizens cooperate to create a fairer and more durable digital environment.
Now, we cannot underestimate the lobbying power of big tech. They defend themselves… And it’s logical. Giants don’t want chains. As a counterattack, big tech will surely fall back on the libertarian narrative of Californian ideology: We need power and freedom to create amazing products and services. Regulation is bad. That is why it is important to also give startups and small companies (including the crypto industry) a voice in the field of innovation. They will surely have a lot to say. And it is that not all that glitters is gold. Not everything that comes from Silicon Valley is good. You have to have a critical eye and common sense.
Disclaimer: The information and/or opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views or editorial line of Cointelegraph. The information presented here should not be taken as financial advice or investment recommendation. All investment and commercial movement involve risks and it is the responsibility of each person to do their due research before making an investment decision.
It may interest you:
Investments in crypto assets are not regulated. They may not be suitable for retail investors and the entire amount invested may be lost. The services or products offered are not directed or accessible to investors in Spain.