Power wrangle puts tech titans at odds with Washington

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/6 23:18:40

"Are Facebook, Twitter, and Google American Companies?" asked The Atlantic last week. The magazine has good reason to raise its concerns, because when asked if the tech giants would apply the same policy to the US intelligence community that they'd apply to an adversary's intelligence services in a Senate hearing over Russiagate last Tuesday, Twitter's acting general counsel replied that "as a global company, we have to apply our policies consistently … We're trying to be unbiased around the world."

The relationship between these tech titans and Moscow is not the only thing bothering Washington. The US is now more worried about the fact that those data-mining machines can be effortlessly utilized for surveillance services. What's worse, they can be used by any capital provider.

It seems that the companies can be taken advantage of in the game of thrones in the US, the nation where capital forces have long been playing a crucial role in the struggle for power. For example, under the framework of the US political system, democracy equals elections. Yet money is playing an increasing role in American politics.

After substantial quantities of capital flowed to election campaigns, the politicians who accepted the money would naturally endorse the interests of big companies and the rich. Even US think tanks are affected too. Bill Goodfellow, the executive director of the Center for International Policy, once told media that "It's absurd to suggest that donors don't have influence. The danger is we in the think tank world are being corrupted in the same way as the political world." Ultimately, the power of capital is swaying US politics, which has become a predicament of the country's system.

At this moment, such a transfer of power is occurring between the US government and big tech companies, which largely control public opinion. That's why they are utilized by Russian companies.

Washington is hurt by Internet freedom, which it once spared no efforts to advocate. The way that color revolutions worked in many countries is copied and applied to the US, using the enormous influence of US technology companies. The White House has not yet mastered governance in the Internet era and seems to be at a loss as to how to deal with the infiltration of foreign forces.

Powered by capital, US technology companies have grown to the degree that they face little restraint. The US' partisan politics is also limited by the influence of the capital, which gives external forces the opportunity to infiltrate American politics. Tied by current institutions, Washington can do nothing about it.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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