Jon D. Michaels

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Analysis and Commentary

Tech Giants At The Crossroads: A Modest Proposal

by Jon D. Michaelsvia Aegis
Friday, August 10, 2018

Major technology and social-media companies— think Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google— wield tremendous power. Given their reach, their financial heft, their importance to vast swaths of customers dependent on their goods, services, and platforms, and their ability to influence (if not altogether dictate) transnational public policy, these firms often look and act the part of proprietors, stewards, and even governors of digital public squares.

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Tech Giants At The Crossroads

by Jon D. Michaelsvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, July 30, 2018

Major technology companies find themselves at the center of two critical and vexing conversations. First is the digital public square conversation: millions of citizen-consumers wholly depend on these companies’ goods, services, and platforms to remain socially, politically, and economically engaged. Second is the deputization conversation: those same companies are often obligated to facilitate or intensify state surveillance over citizen-consumers. Thinking about the two conversations in combination—and thus viewing the tech firms as both victims and perpetrators in inherently unequal, imbalanced relationships—presents opportunities for a grand regulatory bargain that fixes the pair of problematic links in the broader chain of private-public relations.