Tech companies are becoming ‘too big to be governed’, says Uber whistleblower | technology sector

According to the Uber whistleblower, governments are losing the battle to regulate big tech and corporate insiders should step up to uncover “bad apples” in the industry.

Mark MacGann – the taxi company’s former chief lobbyist in Europe, Middle East and Africa – has leaked more than 124,000 company files to the Guardian this year, revealing how the ride-hailing company flouted the law, duped police, exploited violence against drivers and was secretive Lobbyed governments from 2013 to 2017.

Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon on Wednesday, MacGann said governments are still struggling to contain big tech companies.

“Governments and democracy are losing this battle trying to regulate… Big Tech,” Irishman MacGann said.

“Some of these tech companies have gotten too big to govern, too big to regulate, and they’re richer and more powerful than some of the states trying to regulate them.”

Steps are underway to regulate the tech industry in some of its largest markets. The EU introduces the Digital Services Act, which addresses issues such as harmful content and targeted advertising, while the bloc’s Digital Markets Act aims to tackle anti-competitive behavior within the industry.

In the UK, however, the landmark online safety law that creates a framework for dealing with harmful social media content is once again suspended after Rishi Sunak became prime minister last month.

MacGann paid tribute to Facebook and Instagram whistleblowers Frances Haugen and Daniel Motaung, saying the list of big tech whistleblowers is “small” nonetheless.

In a speech at Web Summit last year, Haugen said Facebook and Instagram’s parent company CEO Mark Zuckerberg should step down to make way for a leader more focused on user safety.

Asked if he had a message for potential whistleblowers among the 70,000 attendees at the summit, or for those following it online, MacGann said: “Remember why you joined, remember the power of technology, the power of telecommunications, the power of brilliant software. And don’t let a few bad apples screw things up.”

MacGann added that whistleblowers don’t have to go public to raise issues at their companies. But people who have concerns about how their jobs are being run should step up.

“You don’t have to change your life and be the public face to try to right wrongdoing. But if you hold back and don’t say anything, it’s going to be on your conscience for a long time,” he said.

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