Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:
How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?
The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.
Why are social media algorithms being scrutinized?
Now frankly, I wish they would be much more systematically scrutinized by academics or overseen by independent regulators. And that would require more access to data and information as a precondition for both evidence-based lawmaking and the public's ability to learn. Grillings of a select group of tech CEOs before Congress cannot be a substitute for laws and the rule of law to actually guide tech governance.