每日英語跟讀 Ep.K406: The Hands-Off Tech Era Is Over
It’s clear more than ever that governments will no longer leave technology alone.
Europe mandated standard phone chargers for portable electronics while Texas passed a contested law to restrain social media companies’ policing of online speech. Tech companies can count on more changes like those as government minders wade into how they do business and how we use their products.
That most likely means new technologies like driverless cars and facial recognition systems will take longer to spread into the world than they might have. For many tech proponents, more deliberation and oversight will slow invention. For others, that’s exactly the point.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by (or tune out) all the attempted government regulation. In just the past few weeks, journalists have written about pending congressional bills involving data privacy and tech antitrust; the employment classification of drivers for companies like Uber; multiple countries setting standards about how data can and cannot move around the globe.
Those are all the result of a still-evolving rethinking of what had been a relatively laissez-faire approach to tech since the 1990s. With exceptions, the prevailing attitude was that new internet technologies, including digital advertising, e-commerce, social media and gig employment through apps, were too novel, fringe and useful for governments to constrain them with many rules.
Just one example: A decade ago, Facebook said U.S. rules that require TV and radio to disclose who is paying for election-related ads shouldn’t apply to that company. The Federal Election Commission “should not stand in the way of innovation.” a Facebook lawyer said at the time.
Those ad disclosures aren’t always effective, but after Russia-backed propagandists spread social media ads and free posts to inflame American political divisions in 2016, Facebook voluntarily started to provide more transparency about political ads.
Better laws or ad disclosures probably wouldn’t have prevented hostile foreign actors from abusing Facebook to wage information wars in the United States or other countries. But the hands-off conventional wisdom most likely contributed to a sense that people in charge of tech should be left alone to do what they wished.
更好的法律或廣告揭露，可能不會阻止敵國行動者濫用臉書在美國或其他國家發動資訊戰，但「放手」的傳統想法很可能助長一種觀念，亦即管理科技的人應不受干擾做自己想做的事。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6464843