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Sunday, January 23, 2022 | 01:25 am
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Where Is Accountability of Big Tech Companies? EAM Jaishankar at India Global Forum

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Where Is Accountability of Big Tech Companies? EAM Jaishankar at India Global Forum

Speaking at India Global Forum on the question of how big technology companies seem to be challenging democracy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that debate on big tech is present in different parts of the world including India. ”I think nobody denies forces of progress are taking us in directions of great benefit & is opening up new vistas which weren’t imagined,” he said.

He said: “I am laying out the challenge in a way a pro-technology person, someone who has seen some of its potentials but in a democratic society we have to ask ourselves. Big Tech is there. It is in my life very visibly so you have a big presence. Where is the responsibility, which comes with it, where is the accountability? This is again not an issue limited to India. They harvest our data as they do across the world so you have in the sense opposite of American revolution which is you have representation and no taxation”.

Where is the accountability? This is again not an issue limited to India, they harvested our data as they do across the world. So you have, in a sense, the opposite of the American revolution – which is you have representation and no taxation.

Amid the ongoing tussle between the government and social networking site Twitter for not complying with the country’s new Information Technology (IT) laws, he said that in democratic societies, technology companies need to accept accountability and responsibility when they have power. He also raised the question as to whether non-state players can gain more power than many countries.

External Affairs Minister, who is taking part in the forum, along with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also said that these issues cannot be brushed under the carpet. “I think these are issues. I think today what Big Tech has done one part is looking at it as a government issue as a political issue democratic issue, we also look at the influence they command. Do you know international relations have been devised based on state-based players what happens when non-state players who in some ways are bigger than many states? So these are very serious questions that need to be debated”.

“I think they can’t be brushed under the carpet saying that you can’t question them then because you are attacking freedom of speech that’s a pop-out it obviously serves their interest so it’s a very legitimate debate” Jaishankar added.

The External Affairs Minister further said ” You know right now a big debate on Big Tech is going on in different parts of the world including a very vigorous one in India. And I think there is a larger issue where there is technology there is innovation. I think nobody denies these are forces of progress which are taking us in directions which obviously are of great benefit and is opening up new vistas which we couldn’t have imagined”.

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