Intelligence Squared

Thursday, December 5 at 2:00 pm

Europe Has Declared War on American Tech Companies

European regulators are taking on American technology companies, including Apple, Facebook, and Google, in a big way. Is Brussels waging war against Silicon Valley? Proponents of European regulations argue that these tech giants make billions of dollars while avoiding taxes, and they engage in risky activities that jeopardize user privacy with little to no consequence. Regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), they say, will bring power back into the hands of tech consumers by protecting their data and will restore faith in tech companies, ultimately benefitting all. But not everyone agrees. Their opponents argue that regulations like the GDPR are bad for business, and Silicon Valley was built on the idea that innovators need the room and freedom to create without constraint. Tight regulations, they say, will stifle innovation, which will be a detriment to the West’s global influence – and an impediment to societal progress. Is Europe right to wield a regulatory sword at American tech companies?

Roslyn Layton
Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Roslyn Layton is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where she focuses on evidence-based policy for information, communications, and digital technology industries. Using empirical methods, she assesses regulations and policies for digitally connected domains such as mobile wireless, telecom, cable, internet, online advertising, e-government, media, software, financial technology, and telehealth, among others. Layton is also a visiting researcher at Aalborg University Center for Communication, Media, and Information Technologies and vice president at Strand Consult, both in Denmark.

Berin Szóka
Founder and President, TechFreedom
Berin Szóka is the founder and president of TechFreedom, a Washington D.C.-based think tank dedicated to analyzing the policy and legal questions raised by technological change. He is a former senior fellow and director of the Center for Internet Freedom at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, and prior to that, he was an associate in the Communications Practice Group at Latham & Watkins LLP.

Marietje Schaake
International Policy Director, Stanford's Cyber Policy Center & Fmr. Member, European Parliament
Marietje Schaake is international policy director and international policy fellow at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center and Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, respectively. She is a former member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands, and was a member of D66, part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe political group. She is also the founder of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda for Europe, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and an adviser to the Center for Humane Technology. Schaake was featured by Politico as one of the 28 most influential Europeans in the class of 2017.

Ramesh Srinivasan
Director, UC Digital Cultures Lab & Professor, UCLA
Ramesh Srinivasan studies the relationship between technology, politics, and society and is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is also the founder and director of the UC Digital Cultures Lab. Srinivasan is the author of “Whose Global Village?: Rethinking How Technology Impacts Our World” and “After the Internet.” He earned his doctorate in design studies at Harvard and is a regular speaker for TEDx Talks. Srinivasan’s writings have been widely published by CNN, Wired, and Forbes, among others.

John Donvan
Host and Moderator

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