Sputnik: Do you agree that tech giants such as Google and Facebook really are too hard to govern and regulate? Because they are too massive, aren't they?
Walter Murdoch: I don't know about too hard but they are very difficult, partially because of their size but not just that, the anti-trust laws of the United States in the late 19th century early 20th broke up similarly large cooperations and also in the telecommunications area in the 80's. It's more because they operate transnationally, we're used to laws that successfully regulate radio, television, newspapers and so on because they've largely operated within national boundaries where sovereignty applies. These things operate transnationally, but having said that, it's only next month that the European Union is launching legislation to protect privacy, which all these entities, Google, Facebook, Amazon, ect. are aware of and are frightened by, and taking measures to deal with. Yes, they are hard to regulate, but not impossible.
Sputnik: They've got to have some kind of influence on public opinion surely, what's your take on it?
We don't know how great the risk is, it's still unproven as to what may or may not have been regarding the Kremlin's role in that election, and similarly we don't know what was the role of Cambridge Analytica in the Brexit referendum in the UK. But it is very clear that there is great risk in the collapse of what you might call banner journalism. In other words, if you read the Daily Express, or if you read something by Reuters, you might have thought it was biased but you knew it was written by journalists who believed they are operating independently.
Sputnik: Do you think the human race, moving forward, is going to be more open to this, or are we going to be buying into this information continually then?
Sputnik: Is there any way to regulate these tech giants?
Walter Murdoch: We definitely need more competition, we need the break up of these big entities, they need to be seen for what they are, they are not social media, they are communications companies just like AT&T, or Verizon, or NBC, or Radio Sputnik and communications companies have special privileges and responsibilities in terms of the knowledge they give the society. The way to regulate them is to have arms length statutory authority so they are not just tools of the government but have independence and to ensure that there is again independent judicial review, you don't need to cut out the state entirely but you do need to break up the state so it's not just the government and the politicians but rather statutory bodies and the courts in the same way you'd break up the companies themselves. The first step is to force these guys to recognize they are communications entities and with that privilege comes responsibilities.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.