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Andrew Yang has big plans for big tech

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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has come up with his platform to address “the issue” of technology – specifically, new ways to regulate it, in what he is referring to as “a four pronged approach.”

Unlike many US politicians, Yang, a lawyer and entrepreneur, doesn’t believe that spinning off parts of tech giants like Google would solve the problem of their dominant position in the market.

He sees Big Tech and their financial power and social influence as effectively a competitor to the government, that has taken over some of the government’s functions – such as, for example, “making decisions on rights like speech and safety.”

Yang also says that existing legislation isn’t up to the task of properly dealing with technology and that the industry needs more regulation.

Yang goes down the list of the usual points politicians bring up, certain that their constituents will want to hear them: protect people’s privacy, health and well-being, curb misinformation. He insists that this must be done by shedding 20th-century ways of thinking about technology and switching to a 21st-century regulation model.

What should be the crucial part of the platform – the way Yang intends to implement his intentions – is described these rather vague terms: “A 21st-century approach to regulation that increases the knowledge and capacity of government while using new metrics to determine competitiveness and quickly identifies emerging tech in need of regulation.”

He also takes on the tech giants’ ad-driven business model, but less of a privacy, and more as a “misinformation” concern. Instead of promising to have their personal data protected from advertisers to him, it’s largely a matter of compensation.

As President, Yang would propose scaling up VAT – “to ensure every person whose data is used for tech companies to sell ads and sustain their business model will get a slice of every digital ad.”

Yang would also like to see a tech industry moving away from having ads at the center of its business – something that Big Tech has done since Big Tech came to be.

In any case, his tech regulation efforts would require “disclosures on all ads” and regulation of “bot activity and algorithms” along with “addressing the gray area between publishers and platforms.”

He also speaks in favor of more transparency over collection and control of personal data, but, for example, mentions “the right to opt out of data collection or sharing” – where privacy advocates would rather see “the right to opt in.”

Yang is in favor of the concept known as “the right to be forgotten” – and he wants to see the Communications Decency Act (CDA) “amended to reflect the reality of the 21st century that large tech companies are using tools to act as publishers without any of the responsibility.”

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