Making Big Tech companies share data could do more good than breaking them up

Posted in: Government & Policy at 07/06/2019 19:21

Internet governance expert Viktor Mayer-Schönberger says a breakup wouldn’t fix the real problem: companies like Google have too much data, and nobody else stands a chance.

Don’t break up the Big Tech companies, says Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, a professor of internet governance at the Oxford Internet Institute. Make them share.

To him, the recent push for investigation is a good idea, but splitting up a company like Google will make tools like search worse without making it easier for startups to build good alternatives. Even requiring companies to stop favoring their own services over those of rivals won’t keep the platforms themselves from getting better and dominating the market.

Mayer-Schönberger, who is the coauthor of Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data, suggests adopting a “progressive data-sharing mandate” that forces companies above a certain size to share some of their data—anonymized for privacy—with smaller competitors. I caught up with Mayer-Schönberger this week to discuss this bold proposal, and what it can and cannot fix.

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