Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood predicted a "reckoning" for big tech in the United States as the likes of Google and Facebook seemingly keep getting wrapped into increasingly concerning controversies.
Between privacy scandals, security gaffes, and the growing importance of the role technology plays in politics, authorities in the United States are in line with global trends and are re-examining the manner wherein the Silicon Valley and tech circles in the country are and — more importantly — aren't regulated.
"You cannot allow this power to accumulate in the hands of this few people," AG Hood said in a recent interview.
Running low on friends
The technology industry is largely responsible for the fact the U.S. continues to maintain its title of the world's strongest economy by virtually every metric conceivable. The combination of that state of affairs and the fact that the average entry-level position in the field most often attracts young, liberal-minded people is widely believed to be the reason why big tech was is traditionally big friends with left-leaning governments.
That was most recently evident with the Obama administration which was particularly cozy with Google, though its relationship with the segment started growing cold during the 2016 presidential race which saw foreign election interference succeed on a large scale despite government warnings. E.g. President Obama personally warned Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg of Russian meddling in 2016 but the multi-billionaire did not perceive it as a credible threat until the damage was already done, as per his own admission.
These days, the technology segment is being attacked by both sides of the political spectrum in the U.S. The right is still accusing it of leftist biases, with that sentiment being propagated on virtually all levels of the GOP, right up to the White House. President Trump publicly threatened Twitter and Google with regulations on numerous occasions during his first two years in the highest U.S. office, though nothing came of that so far. Then again, he also called Google "a great company" when the Internet juggernaut was hit by the European Commission last year, having been served a record antitrust fine for anti-competitive practices related to the Android ecosystem.
At the same time, the left side of the political spectrum in the U.S. is unsurprisingly still pushing for investigations into the 2016 interference and how it may have contributed to the loss of its candidate. Most of those looking to win the DNC nomination in 2020 went on record to criticize big tech; political heavyweight Elizabeth Warren did so most prominently, especially after Facebook slipped yet again and banned some of her ads criticizing it as a monopoly, subsequently feeling the full blow of the Streisand effect.
By most accounts, the technology sector in the U.S. is running low on friends in high places, facing that issue at a time when nationwide privacy regulations and other legislation aimed at curbing its reach seem likelier than ever. How it fares in light of those challenges remains to be seen but one thing is certain – smooth sailing in the near term is absolutely out of the question and the run-up to the 2020 election isn't going to be pretty for anyone involved.