No longer should we assume that American democracy is the exclusive enclave of American voters. Among the multitude of Democratic contenders in the coming elections, who is likely to elicit the greatest foreign interest? Consider Elizabeth Warren …
Since the 2016 Presidential election, foreign interference in US politics has been a contentious issue. As a result, critical eyes have fallen on American democracy– and rightfully so, for the upcoming 2020 election could bring similar issues with foreign powers. According to Dean Bhaskar Chakravorti, one presidential candidate likely to elicit foreign interest is Elizabeth Warren. This is because of her detailed policies on several hot-button issues, namely her policy to break up Big Tech.
According to Warren, tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have too much power over our economy, society, and democracy. She claims they’ve obliterated competition, mishandled personal data for profit, and created an unfair playing field for smaller companies. While doing so, these tech giants have put significant strains on small businesses and hampered innovation in-and-outside of tech. Warren says that she wants a government that makes sure everybody —including Big Tech — plays by the rules. To secure such a government, Warren plans to do the following:
- Designate companies with annual global revenue of $25 billion or more as “platform utilities”– meaning these companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform.
- Appoint regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.
Warren’s plans to break-up Big Tech could create a healthy competitive environment in the tech market while simultaneously forcing Big Tech companies to take user concerns, such as data privacy, more seriously. The Massachusetts Senator admits that her policies won’t address every aspect of today’s tech issues, but they do provide a sturdy foundation for change within the arena. At the core of her philosophy is the desire for small businesses and users to reclaim their power, both in regard to market competition and personal data.
Plans like this are especially relevant today, as U.S. officials prepare and anti-trust probe of Google and other large, Silicon Valley tech companies. The investigation is being supported by Google’s largest competitors, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Oracle. Echoing Warren’s criticism, these companies claim that Big Tech platforms regularly abuse their market power through monopolistic practices. In a Wall Street Journal article, Brian O’Kelley, former chief executive of AppNexus, explained his concerns with companies like Google:
“We need to assume that internet giants, like any other big companies, will use their assets to maximize profit and strategic value. Either break up the internet giants or force them to treat their component parts at arm’s-length…”
In order for the case to gain momentum, the Justice Department must present the lawsuit in a federal-district court. This could be a difficult feat, given the commission’s reputation to move slowly and Google’s propensity to engage in anti-competitive behavior.
Warren’s policies come during a time when anti-trust and data privacy are fueling public rage. While her ideas offer solace to a large portion of the American public, they have the ability to anger foreign powers. Warren’s Big Tech breakup would lessen the threat of foreign interference in US politics, and yet, it’s this fact that could put countries like Russia and China on the defensive. This shows how the power of Big Tech has huge global and geopolitical ramifications. To better understand them, Chakravorti analyzes the global powers that would be affected by these controversial policies.
Read Dean Chakravorti’s Forbes article to learn more.