According to a warning from the EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, technology’s potential has been “darkened” by data abuse.
The tech giants were criticised for misusing data and not being able to protect the respect of citizens, said Vestager in an interview for the BBC.
She added that the some protection is offered by the new EU rules related to what could be done with data provided.
It was becoming more important that concerted actions be taken, she added.
“Over these 12 months our relationship with tech has both been darker and more muddy because it becomes increasingly clear that all the bright and shiny positive potentials of tech are at the risk of being darkened by forced misuse of data, manipulation, supervision, no respect of the citizen, no respect of individual rights,” she said.
“There is an increasing awareness of the fact that we really need to do something and to do that together.”
The major scandals with tech companies that took place last year included:
Facebook being forced to apologise publicly for not being able to prevent harvesting of personal data of its 87 million users which were obtained by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube having ot testify over allegations that their platforms had been used by unscrupulous elements – including Russians, to meddle in elections in the West,
A record €4.3bn ($5bn; £3.9bn) imposed on Google by EU for using its Android operating system to illegally create a dominant position in consumers search
Vestager said that views about how people and society can be influenced by the tech industry have been underscored by the actions of the tech companies.
Vestager added that new privacy rights and more control over their data for people in general have been granted by the new General Data Protection Regulation of the EU which has been implemented in May 2018.
Amazon’s business practices are also being looked at by the European Commission
She added that there is a rising voice among the civil service in relation to the ways to make it mandatory for tech firms to be more “transparent” and forthright about the manner of use of data of users gathered from uploads, shares and views by people.
Vestager described herself as being positive about the future.
“One thing I do hope over the next 10 years is that we get a much more… transparent way of dealing with data and giving access to data,” she said.
“I tend to be an optimist by choice. I think it’s a moral obligation because pessimists don’t seem to get anything done.”
However, Vestager warned that id no immediate action was taken, there could a situation where one or two of the large tech firms would come to dominate the usage of the personal data of people.
(Adapted from BBC.com)