Tech firms becoming ‘too big to govern’, says Uber whistleblower – The Guardian

Mark MacGann says governments losing battle to regulate big tech and calls for more insiders to expose corruption
Governments are losing the battle to regulate big tech and company insiders should step forward to expose “bad apples” in the sector, according to the Uber whistleblower.
Mark MacGann – the taxi firm’s former chief lobbyist in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – leaked more than 124,000 company files to the Guardian this year, revealing how the ride-hailing company flouted laws, duped police, exploited violence against drivers and secretly lobbied governments from 2013 to 2017.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon on Wednesday, MacGann said governments were still struggling to rein in major tech firms.
“Governments and democracy are losing this battle in trying to regulate … big tech,” said MacGann, who is Irish.
“Some of these tech firms have become too big to govern, too big to regulate and are richer and more powerful than some of the states that are trying to regulate them.”
Moves are afoot to regulate the tech industry in some of its biggest markets. The EU is introducing the Digital Services Act, which addresses issues such as harmful content and ad targeting, while the bloc’s Digital Markets Act aims to tackle anti-competitive behaviour within the industry.
In the UK, however, the landmark online safety bill, which creates a framework for dealing with damaging social media content, is once again being paused after Rishi Sunak became prime minister last month.
Paying tribute to Facebook and Instagram whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Daniel Motaung, MacGann said the list of big tech whistleblowers was nonetheless “small”.
Speaking at the Web Summit last year, Haugen said the CEO of Facebook and Instagram’s parent business, Mark Zuckerberg, should step down to make way for a leader more focused on user safety.
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Asked if he had a message for would-be whistleblowers among the 70,000 in attendance at the summit or those watching it online, MacGann said: “Remember why you joined, remember the power of technology, the power of telecommunications, the power of brilliant software. And don’t let a few bad apples screw it all up.”
MacGann added that whistleblowers did not need to go public in order to highlight problems at their companies. But people with concerns about how their workplaces are run should step forward.
“You don’t have to change your life and be the public face to try to correct the wrongdoing. But if you stand back and say nothing, then you’re going to have that on your conscience for a long time,” he said.


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