The Politics of Tech Monopolies
The Anti-Dystopians #1
Anti Dystopians Podcast Launch
We are very excited that the first episode of the Anti-Dystopians is live now! You can listen to it here or subscribe here (Spotify) or here (Apple Podcasts). In this episode, Kyra Jasper and I talk about the politics of anti-monopoly, and discuss the House Judiciary Committee report on digital monopolies and the DOJ suit against Google. (We read the 500+ pages so you don’t have to!)
Articles Mentioned in this Podcast
Hint: If you want to skip the podcast, most of the discussion is based off my post on Power-Switch, the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy’s blog. Find it here.
This feature on Congressman David Ciciline’s INCREDIBLE staffers who put together the House Judiciary report on Big Tech monopolies reminds us of the power of dedicated Congressional staffers.
One of those staffers, Lina Khan, is one of the most amazing people in the anti-monopoly/Big Tech space. Her article in the Yale Law Review "The Amazon Anti-Trust Paradox" was literally revolutionary to anti-monopoly approaches to Big Tech, and well worth a read. Check out features about her in the New York Times or the Atlantic (icon goals, am I right?).
Speaking of incredible women, Maria Ressa has been front and center in the fight against social media platforms and dictatorships. A background article on Facebook's role in the rise of Duterte in the Phillippines and how Maria Ressa is fighting it. Be sure to check out her incredible writing on Rappler (where she's also the CEO).
Kyra and I mentioned a few examples of Facebook's impact in Southeast Asian countries—in case you are interested, here's some more background information. Facebook design and elections in Cambodia. Facebook and genocide in Myanmar. Facebook and Free Basics program (specifically focused on India).
Also mentioned in the episode is this article about functional sovereignty by Frank Pasquale which I have thought about every single day since I read it over the summer. (His new book on robotics is out and I am waiting eagerly for a copy!)
Rob Reich’s excellent book Just Giving about how philanthropy can undermine democracy. An interesting real world example is when Facebook donated a few million dollars to the Menlo Park City general fund with the understanding it would be used to create a police unit. Generous? Or concerning?
Wonderful article/experiment by a reporter who tried to cut the Big Five out of her life (spoiler alert: she couldn’t.) Particularly interesting was what it revealed about AWS’s dominance—by the way, do you know AWS is trying to get the Pentagon’s Cloud Computing contract?
And, finally, we talked a lot about Amazon—so here are some great features on the man himself, Jeff Bezos on The Atlantic, the New Yorker and Brad Stone’s book the Everything Store.
Next week’s episode will be about another tech executive with some interesting views. Be sure to check back next week!
Things I’m Reading
An excellent feature on a libertarian utopia and how it was undermined by some bears.
Kyra Jasper’s excellent article on CSIS about the Myanmar elections.
Things You’re Reading
Have you been reading any good books about China or their tech policy recently? Send me your recommendations! (Or anything else you think is interesting.)