COVID 19 has accelerated the already existing exponential growth of big tech companies. The global pandemic has pushed a lot of entrepreneurs to find online solutions to pre-existing and urgent problems. Although the pandemic, labelled as black swan event, gave rise to numerous technological solutions for contact tracing and movement control, the pandemic highlighted the flawed data policies, extensive tracking of people and extensive power of big tech.
Big Tech and their domination:
Seven companies: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Facebook, Tencent, and Alibaba have seen their profits skyrockets and power increase since the pandemic has forced people to depend on such platforms. With such increase in power, the legislative branches in Europe and other countries have increased legal challenges to anticompetitive practices and data sharing practices without consent. Many people within in big tech companies have been shedding light on things such as “sufficient diversity, on ethics and rights, and against contracts with military and law enforcement and the continued negative impact on the environment.” In essence, the huge criticism and scrutiny that big tech is subjected to has been long overdue. They have been abusing the system, using algorithms that prioritize ad revenue generation over validation of facts and misinformation. They are complicit in the Trump era 2016’s and the insurrection in 2021.
Increased Governmental Control:
Authorities have been using this pandemic as an excuse to restrict freedoms and increase the surveillance on the general populace. Many countries have had governments which are able to control large swathes of the internet giving them unparalleled power to do whatever they want. With that being said, governments are able to censor the information and block certain content and slow down the internet whenever needed to paralyze any civil unrest.
People are fighting back using VPNs to keep their identity anonymous and bypass any filters or censorship to access the information freely without any shackles. Internet health is to be guaranteed after internet access is not censored, not dominated by companies, content is moderated and disinformation, racism, hate and violence are halted.
As urbanization grows, more and more people will be connected to the internet, it will be imperative to ensure that big tech is resisted and ensure that data privacy is ensured.
The following assignment follows the following guidelines of theory: Mozilla Foundation – Internet Health Report.