Regulating Big Techs – UPSC GS3

At present the world has two visions of the internet technology:
  • Libertarianism: Under this, liberal internet policies were followed by countries such as the USA. This model was successful in the past but now under pressure due to internal conflicts.
  • Authoritarianism: Under this, Countries will enforce strict authoritative Internet policies. For example, China. This model is now getting strong support.
Both of these creating a dilemma for other countries in regulating the big techs.
What is the need to regulate the big-techs?
There are several issues with internet platforms. These issues get intensified after big-techs starts creating and generating their own contents. The issues are
  • Big tech companies acquire monopoly power in their operations. This leaves no scope for free and fair competition.
  • The algorithms used by the big-techs were opaque and not subject to accountability.
  • These big tech companies became the symbol of inequality. They acquired more economic and political power.
  • These companies viewed themselves as a sovereign power and regulated speech on their own. For example, a private CEO banning the elected president trump from social media.
  • There might be a harmful impact of big tech on democracy and democratisation. Democracies became more polarised and free speech abuses got increased.
What does India intend to achieve by regulating the big-techs?
  • The regulations against big tech are an attempt to curb the unfair advantages taken by the big techs to exploit the Indian market. India can create competition and be more self-reliant in the internet space.
  • Ideological push to Atmanirbhar Bharat: China kept out big tech companies from exploiting their market. At the same time, China did not face any difference in financial flows or investment in other areas. This is because China developed more indigenous technology. India can also create Atmanirbhar Bharat by regulating big techs.
  • Many critics have urged the government to potentially control the information as much as possible. By regulating big techs India can control the data generated by Indians more easily.
  • The government should show a moral commitment and invest in science and technology.
  • India can address complicated issues by following these steps:
  • Enhancing India’s technological capabilities.
  • Creating an institutional structure to prevent big techs from diminishing democracy and freedom of speech.
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