Business

Are technology companies too powerful?

The power held by the so-called ‘Big 4’ is unquestionable. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are the 4 largest tech companies in the world, and the data they hold is at a level almost beyond comprehension. That said, the service they provide cannot be underestimated – but is the data they hold fit for purpose, or is it simply too much and in the extreme?

Recently, leaders of all 4 firms – Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg were summonsed in front of Congress to explain the extent to which they both hold and process individual data. Concerns are bubbling from various corners of the globe, not least the general public, around just wah they hold about you, and why the hold it.

Furthermore, both Apple and Google face a legal fight against the creators of the Fortnite app, with regards to how payment is processed for in-app purchases. The two tech giants typically take 30% of any download fees, but Fortnite have found a way to side-step that fee with a payment system of their own. The issue – it’s in breach of the App Store and Google Play’s policy, resulting in the tech giants stripping their apps from their respective hubs.

Apps are the focal point of any smartphone, and their purchases contribute a substantial sum of income for both their founders, but more so, for Apple and Google. From the largest and household names, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and so forth (interestingly, all owned by the same parent company – Facebook), to some of the smaller ones – online casinos, sports betting apps, and indeed throwaway games – they’re incredibly popular.

But what data do they hold about you? A good example is online casinos developing apps. Once downloaded, the casino will hold data about you, and can then remarket to you – something that is controversial given the issues around gambling and those looking to self-exclude. Whilst the UKGC is the governing and regulatory body for the UK, it doesn’t cover any other markets – meaning casinos licensed in Curacao or similar, as well as ones not participating in the gamstop scheme, such as those at the site Casinos not on Gamstop, are still legal.

Google Home and Alexa are also commonplace, but after one person requested information about what Amazon hold on them, and received a 12,000 document, the necessity of their data storage is in question yet again. Only time will tell whether this can continue at the rate it is, or whether Congress restrict it.

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