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End of tech's laissez-faire era – Axios



This week's series of major government movements against large technology platforms put a curtain down in time with hands-off regulatory policies that shaped the companies.

Why that matters: A generation of companies led by Google and Facebook that became rich and powerful while Feds kept out of the way, now have to adapt to government action as a lifestyle. Meanwhile, legislators and regulators will have to figure out how to protect the public while preserving the vitality and creativity of the industry.

Running the news:

  • On Wednesday, Facebook announced the settlement with the FTC to end a long-term investigation of consumer privacy and a separate deal with the SEC on disclosure issues.
  • However, Wednesday afternoon, Facebook revealed that it was notified in June of a new probe from the FTC's antitrust unit, said to be focused on the company's core social networking business.
  • Everything that comes just a day after the Justice Department announced its own antitrust probe to Big Tech that seems to be targeting Amazon, Google and Facebook.
  • Meanwhile, the Justice Department is allegedly entitled to the OK T-Mobile-Sprint agreement, with the proviso that the combined company sells the spectrum and the prepaid brand Boost to Dish Network. [19659008] The big picture: These traits have multiplied as a result of a rare convergence of two-party dissatisfaction with Big Tech.

    • Democrats used to love tech's innovation and idealism, and Republicans used to believe in leaving the business alone.
    • Now the script has turned for both.
    • Today, Democrats distrust the increasing power of surveillance capitalism with privacy and destruction, and Republicans feel that technology platforms are biased towards their conservative policies.

    Yes, bu t: Inquiries and settlements are one thing, and changing behavior is another. Critics say that the FTC deal with Facebook does not change the way the company operates, significantly, nor a $ 5 billion fine is a significant deterrent given how much Facebook earns from its practice.

    • Some, including recently the New York Times & # 39; s Charlie Warzel, claim that the current US regulatory regime is just not equipped to handle modern technology companies and that a new agency is needed.
    • In other circles, insiders are beginning to talk about the prospect of a broad new telecommunications law-like law that will package privacy and data ownership rules, antitrust protection, and content packs into a large package.
    • Since the current congress has not even managed to get a bill focused only on privacy, some of these scenarios would have to play out in a long horizon.

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