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Privatisation of Privacy: Freedom and Democracy and the Threat of Global Tech Monopolies

January 26, 2018  |  Brussels, Belgium

Lina Khan and Barry Lynn spoke at “Privatisation of Privacy: Freedom and Democracy and the Threat of Global Tech Monopolies,” a panel at the Computers, Privacy, & Data Protection 2018 conference.

A main goal of open and competitive markets is to distribute information in ways that empower citizens to make wise economic and political decisions. But a growing concern is that today’s democracies face an unprecedented threat.A few immense corporations have captured control over key chokepoints in the political economy and over much of the “data” citizens use to govern themselves and their communities.More disturbing, the concern is that these gatekeepers use their monopoly power and control over data to manipulate commerce, news, and ideas in ways that violate basic rights.This raises two questions. Must citizens act? And if so, how?

This panel will examine these concerns, how citizens have used “antitrust” to master similar challenges in the past, and how antimonopoly tools may also help promote privacy and the marketplace of idea.

  • Are the products and services we receive in exchange for our personal data worth it? or should the terms for providing person data be reconsidered?
  • Is it time to break up some of today’s global platforms which hold near monopoly power?
  • Is antitrust as we know it failing? should the rules of the digital playing field be reconsidered?

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In America today, wealth and political power are more concentrated than at any point in our country’s history.

The Open Markets Institute, formerly the Open Markets program at New America, was founded to protect liberty and democracy from these extreme -- and growing -- concentrations of private power.

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