NYU Stern Experts Available for Comment on the Future of Technology Regulation
— November 15, 2018
NYU Stern faculty are available to offer perspectives on the future of technology regulation. The following professors can share their recommendations on how the government should address industry issues, offer suggestions for developing and enforcing legislation, comment on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for tech companies, and explain the potential impact on consumers.
Some highlights include:
Some highlights include:
- Social media platforms should be regulated like the banks
Prof. Vasant Dhar, ranked one of the top data scientists worldwide, points to risks that the twin objectives of profit maximization and advertiser "neutrality" of social media platforms pose to society and open democracy. Pointing to the financial services industry where regulation is designed to contain systemic risk, Dhar argues for articulating systemic risk issues associated with social media platforms and suggests implementing KYC (Know Your Customer) regulation, and creating mechanisms to detect, measure, and curtail malicious activity on such platforms. He was one of the first, if not the first, to articulate the need to regulate Facebook in December 2017.
- Users should be given an “opt-out” option and paid for “opting in”
Prof. Nicholas Economides, an expert in privacy, suggests “opt-out” be set as the default by Facebook and Google when it comes to sharing personal data. Alternatively, users may be compensated for “opting in” and sharing their information.
- Don’t break apart big tech
Prof. Anindya Ghose, author of TAP: Unlocking The Mobile Economy, is against regulation and breaking apart big tech. He points out that these companies provide products that create immense value for customers while creating jobs and encouraging technological innovation. Strict regulation will significantly hinder these benefits.
- Self-regulation will not work
Prof. Joshua Loftus, an expert in machine learning and data science, compares today’s tech industry to finance before the 2008 crash -- Tech is trusted to "self-regulate" and the industry is operating with large systemic risks that the public and government do not understand. He cautions that tech companies have vast power in the form of data, including the ability to influence elections.
- Need more tech expertise in Congress and in federal agencies
Prof. Robert Seamans, who recently completed a one-year appointment as a Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers focusing on policies related to tech and innovation, recommends considering re-opening the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) with assistance from the US Digital Service (USDS).
- Regulate tech companies as you would a small benevolent dictatorship
Prof. Arun Sundararajan, author of The Sharing Economy, says large tech platforms are increasingly government-like in the scope of their global power and suggests a regulatory approach that induces “democratic reform.” He argues that the notion of “breaking up” big tech for consumer protection is outdated.