Our technology companies are being forced to look out for our best interests.
New UK regulation will soon compel tech firms (thousands of em) to adhere to a standard of providing statutory 'duty of care' to their users, protecting them from online harms including terrorism and terrorist content, disinformation, and age-inappropriate material.
Last week we wrote that Mark Zuckerberg was asking for new regulation. (Regulate me. Regulate me pleeeeease -- still laughing about that). I suppose we're doing as we're told. Snapchat's Evan Spiegel put a nice warm spin on things, saying that "the more that companies can align with the government to do what’s right for customers, I think everyone will win.” Yeah we will. But the problem as we said last week is what if our Government is bad at this?
Duty of Care is an interesting concept - it leaves alot of the interpretation flexible to change, it empowers existing systems of enforcement and oversight, it solves many of the challenges surrounding "who watches the Watchmen" (it's the Watchmen) - but it still hides the fundamental flaw of regulatory solutions: we're conceding on the argument that companies are the arbiters of our basic rights.
Say it with me. I. Don't. Want. Zuckerberg. To. Decide. What's. Good for me.
I want to decide. I want Zuckerberg to take my decision and say "thank you very much, here's your newsfeed." I am modern human, hear me assert my basic rights and authority. I know we need him to do good work as well, but this is a thing that should really be up to the person.
Yours in HAT,