digital darwinism

We Need New Rules for the Internet Economy

Antitrust laws only go so far when addressing companies that don’t produce any physical goods. It is time to negotiate a new set of rules. Otherwise, our future economy will be dominated by just a few companies.

A DER SPIEGEL Editorial by Armin Mahler  November 03, 2017  06:12 PMhttp://www.spiegel.de/international/business/editorial-time-for-new-rules-for-the-ditigal-economy-a-1176403.html

There are still people out there who think that Amazon is nothing more than an online version of a department store. But it’s much more than that: It is a rapidly growing, global internet giant that is changing the way we shop, conquering more and more markets, using Alexa to suck up our personal data straight out of our living rooms and currently seeking access to our front door keys so it can deliver packages even when nobody’s home.

It wasn’t that long ago that EU efforts to limit the power of Google and Amazon on the European market were decried in the U.S. as protectionism, as an attempt by the Europeans to protect their own inferior digital economy. Now, though, politicians and economists in the U.S. have even begun discussing the prospect of breaking up the internet giants. The mood has shifted.

The digital economy, by contrast, is based on algorithms and its most powerful companies don’t produce any physical products. Customers receive their services free of charge, paying only with their data. The more customers a service provider attracts, the more attractive it becomes to new customers, who then deliver even more data – which is why Google and Facebook need not fear new competition.

first of all, the power of a company, and the abuse of that power, must be redefined. We cannot allow a situation in which these extremely large companies can swallow up potential rivals before they can even begin to develop. As such, company acquisitions must be monitored much more strictly than they currently are and, if need be, blocked.

Second, it must be determined who owns the data collected – whether, for example, it should also be made available to competitors or whether consumers should receive more in exchange than simply free internet search results.

Third, those disseminating content cannot be allowed to reject responsibility for that content. Demonstrably false claims and expressions of hate should not be tolerated.

And finally, those who earn lots of money must also pay lots of taxes – and not just back home but in all the countries where they do business.

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more on net neutrality in this IMS blog
http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=net+neutrality

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