Minister sets out rules for Big Tech
DIGITAL giants could face further regulation as the government seeks to wrestle back its digital sovereignty.
Addressing the National Press Club on Wednesday, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the news media bargaining code proved that internet companies such as Facebook and Google could accept the rule of law.
“I accept that governments need to think carefully about how to design regulation in this new world,” he said.
“But that does not mean governments cannot or should not regulate.
“Governments should not give up their sovereignty. Yes, the digital behemoths will make all kinds of claims and threats when you impose the normal laws that apply to other businesses in your jurisdiction upon them.
“But ultimately, as our experience with the News Media Bargaining Code has shown, the global digital giants will accept the rule of law if they are doing business in Australia.”
While governments all over the world are attempting to regulate big tech, companies insist they can regulate themselves. But with the rise of revenge porn, trolls and the impact digital platforms are having on traditional markets, Mr Fletcher argued governments should look to manage the risk.
“I believe strongly that the positives of the internet and technological change greatly exceed the negatives,” he said.
“I believe we can identify and manage the risks posed by the internet.”
Mr Fletcher’s address came just hours after a powerful address to the US Congress by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
In her statement, the former Facebook data scientist said the company knew it steered young people toward damaging content and refused to make necessary changes to make its product safer.
“Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” Ms Haugen said.
“Congressional action is needed.
“They won’t solve this crisis without your help.”