Webinar: Digital Colonialism? (Date: TBA)
In Cyberspace, the modern “colonial powers” are not nations but multinational companies, mostly American but with strong competition emerging in China. These companies control the digital platforms central to most peoples’ social networks, communications, entertainment, and commerce and, through them, have collected and continue to collect limitless information about our friends, colleagues, preferences, opinions, and secrets. With the knowledge obtained by processing this information/data, these companies have built some of the world’s more profitable businesses, turning little pieces of information given to them by uninformed users in return for “free services”, into extremely valuable, targeted advertising. These companies, moreover, endeavor to operate in the space between countries, with very limited responsibility/ accountability to governments.
At the same time, governments such as in China and the US have laws requiring such companies to divulge data obtained from their customers anywhere in the world.
- Does this pose a threat to national/European sovereignty?
- Do Europeans actually “feel” they are being colonized?
- Are we witnessing the freezing in of economic or political dependency structures?
Europe has already started to use the leverage of regulation, taxation of multinationals and has as well introduced proposals for a new data and AI policy that will regulate the access to and processing data of its citizens and companies.
On December 15 2020, the European Union unveiled new rules it says will “overhaul” the digital market, including how tech giants operate.
A pair of laws – the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts – have been announced.
This panel will endeavor to appraise the current situation, assess the potential impact of actions already initiated as well as explore new ones.