Viewpoint: Big Tech is an extractive industry, it must be regulated as such
By Alex Scrivener
There is a quiet coup unfolding in the global economy. Over the past decade, firms like Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have soared to become the world’s most highly valued firms. A few big companies now hold huge power over the “New Oil” that is our personal data. In doing this, they have overtaken many of the firms that extract regular oil while for many years avoiding the negative reputations in liberal society that extractives firms like BP, Shell or ExxonMobil have.
Web activists have long bemoaned the dangers to privacy posed by these firms. But now the squeaky clean liberal image of Big Tech has been shattered by the scandal around Cambridge Analytica’s use of personal Facebook data to help win the Brexit and Trump votes.
This increased scrutiny of these companies is welcome. But there is so much more to this than privacy. Indeed, there is a group of people that could stand to lose massively from Big Tech’s control of our data. They are the world’s poor.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Magill.