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Biden’s executive order cracks down on Big Tech and protects consumers

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses tech policy in the United States and the new White House executive order with no less than 72 competition enhancing measures.

How will Biden's executive order crack down on big tech?

The answer is in almost every way. The order clearly seeks stronger antitrust enforcement with specific provisions on data and the impact of its assembling on privacy. The order asks for new rules on surveillance from the FTC but will also allow for assessments of not only future but also past mergers. And that is important because the very wealthy, very powerful tech companies are known to buy up competitors that they may fear, and through those mergers grow their data piles. So, the executive order must cause concern in Silicon Valley. The order goes on to restore net neutrality, which is crucial for smaller companies and noncommercial websites. And the position of consumers improves with the possibility to have products repaired or to see others doing that, which is a practice that is often banned today. So once these various measures are in place, the public interest, innovation, consumer rights, and privacy protection should be better safeguarded from abuse of power by big tech.

Ireland's responses to ransomware attack; cryptocurrency scams

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:

What options does Ireland have responding to the ransomware attack on the country's healthcare system?

Well, authorities are making resources available to decrypt and restore, which is a good step. And they also insist on not paying ransom to the criminals. But after the immediate fallout, they should do a scan on weaknesses in legacy software systems used across the country to make clear who is expected to protect and where weaknesses might exist. Then imposing information sharing standards could help the needed facts to come together and to facilitate both resilience and damage control in the future. There's also an opportunity to cooperate on attribution and accountability with like-minded countries. This should really push to end the impunity with which these crimes are perpetrated.

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What is Coinbase, the first major cryptocurrency company to go public?

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:

What is Coinbase and why is it such a big deal that it's going public?

Now, Coinbase runs the US's largest cryptocurrency exchange and holds tens of billions of dollars' worth of bitcoins. When it went public on Wednesday, it was the first major cryptocurrency company to do so.

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GameStop stock rally gives policymakers opportunity for legislation

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:

First question. Stonks! Will the GameStop stock rally result in new regulation on Wall Street?

The answer is probably, but the interesting thing is, we have no idea what form that regulation might take. The interesting thing about this storyline around GameStop is that the run-up in prices, driven by social media chatter on Reddit, against hedge funds who had shorted the stock, opens up a whole can of worms for how you want to solve the issue, and is most likely going to be an outlet for members of Congress preexisting biases. If you want to regulate hedge funds, well, here's an excuse to do so. If you want to implement a financial transaction tax, this is your opportunity. If you're concerned about consumer protection, data privacy, this could be a hook to get into those issues as well. So, this is a headline grabbing event that's probably going to fade out of the news in a week or so, but it's going to stay relevant to policymakers for several more months, could potentially result in new legislation, or new regulation from the SEC based around investor protection and market structure. So, stay tuned. We're going to be hearing about GameStop for a long time.

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