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Data privacy is the biggest regulatory threat to Big Tech, says GlobalData

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA) will face regulation in ten main areas over the coming years, with data privacy representing the main focus, according to GlobalData.

GlobalData’s latest report, Data privacy – Thematic research’ states that Big Tech companies have persistently evaded any form of accountability for data breaches, election manipulation, obstruction of justice, promotion of terrorist material, fake news, and online abuse perpetrated through their own internet platforms.

Once deemed consumer champions, Big Tech now appears to be the new dark side of capitalism, arguably presenting a bigger risk to society than bankers were in 2007. Public outrage at their actions is now forcing regulators to act.

After several years of regulatory missives emanating from the European Union (EU), US regulators are also initiating formal probes.

On both sides of the Atlantic, data privacy regulation is gaining prominence as the very future of the ad-funded business model that supports Facebook, Google, and many others is at stake.

Even antitrust regulators are shifting their focus from investigating abuse of significant market power in product markets to investigating abuse of power when it comes to the control of customer data.

Advertising companies and internet platforms will be the biggest losers from the increased regulation, as they rely on an advertising-funded revenues model which is inherently averse to data privacy. 

Laura Petrone, senior analyst for GlobalData commented, “Advertising-funded companies are forging pure ad business models for the collection, sale, and use of personal data, with a number of non-material costs for customers, as they are designed to optimise the user’s attention to the detriment of data privacy.

“While compliance costs for Big Tech are almost certain to rise in the short-medium term, these companies will still have a rosy future in the long run, thanks to their resources and ability to adapt”.

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