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Senator Mike Lee Op-ed: Big Tech Insists They’re Protecting Americans From China While Importing Chinese-Style Social Controls


Mike Lee

Commentary By Mike Lee | OCTOBER 22, 2021

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2021/10/22/big-tech-insists-theyre-protecting-americans-from-china-while-importing-chinese-style-social-controls/

If you need evidence that Big Tech firms are starting to worry about the growing movement to diffuse their immense market power, look no further than their newest scare tactic: using China as an excuse to avoid antitrust scrutiny.

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and the nonprofit proxies they pay to defend them have put a lot of effort into trying to convince America that subjecting Big Tech to more stringent antitrust enforcement or regulation would have dire consequences. They’ve warned that innovation would suffer, but that rings hollow when so many of the new innovative companies are already being bought up (and then often shut down) by Big Tech.

They’ve suggested that antitrust action might result in the loss of the free services we’ve come to depend upon. But how do they call their services “free” when we pay for them by giving them all of our personal data, which they store and monetize, and when they rely on our content to make their platforms valuable in the first place?

Big Tech firms have told us we should be grateful for the superior quality of their services, which could suffer if they were broken up. But then again, one could argue that Google Search was better before it was filled with ads.

YouTube was better before its algorithms tried to corrupt our children and amplify the reach of terrorists. Facebook was better before it censored people of faith and conservatives, while protecting those who post revenge porn. Instagram was better before it drove our teenagers to anxiety and depression. Amazon was better before it silenced conservative authors and raised questions about its influence on a multibillion-dollar defense contract.

Having failed with each of those claims, Big Tech has turned to a new bogeyman: China. Antitrust enforcement actions against Big Tech—or legislation aimed at restoring and protecting competition in Big Tech markets—would risk crippling America’s ability to combat the growing threat from Communist China, or so the line goes. The cynicism would be offensive if the argument weren’t so laughable.

It’s not just lobbyists bringing these arguments to my office and others on Capitol Hill. Earlier this summer, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in an interview, “These gross proposals like breaking them up and so forth, it’s not going to be helpful because it’s going to set us back against China.”

Last month, the National Security Institute began a series “examining the national security implications of antitrust challenges at home and abroad.” The first panel featured Big Tech defenders suggesting the antitrust laws were written for late-19th-century monopolists and are too outdated to deal with Big Tech, and that Big Tech is a driver for research that is essential to national security. Antitrust scrutiny, they implied, might hinder the companies’ ability to compete with China, who won’t be imposing the same restraints on their own companies.

Like every other excuse Big Tech has made, this too rings hollow and we should flatly reject it. That doesn’t mean the antitrust laws should be enforced in the absence of actual anticompetitive harm. Nor does it mean that we should radically alter our antitrust laws to embrace a “big is bad” philosophy. But the idea that Big Tech should be treated with kid gloves makes no sense. The fact is, American ingenuity is strong enough to compete and win on the merits without coddling or amnesty from our antitrust laws.

Competition, and the innovation and disruption that facilitate it, are what made these companies American success stories. That same competition, innovation, and disruption are what will keep them at their best or make way for the next great American success story. You see, competition in Big Tech doesn’t threaten American, it threatens the monopolists—and that makes America stronger.

Insulating American companies from competition out of a fear of foreign competitors will do the opposite of what Big Tech claims to want: we will be stuck with stagnant monopolists too complacent either to benefit American consumers or to protect us from foreign threats.

In fact, it is Big Tech companies themselves that pose the greatest threat when it comes to China. They not only can’t protect us from foreign threats, but in some cases actively cooperate with them.

Google has been accused of working with the Chinese military, and has acknowledged developing a filtered version of its search engine to satisfy Chinese censors. Amazon has been working with a Chinese partner to expand its web-hosting services in the highly censored country.

The New York Times revealed earlier this year that Apple—which assembles nearly all of its products in China— has stored data on Chinese government servers, shared customer data with the Chinese government, removed apps from its App Store to appease the Chinese government, and banned apps from a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. The Times also alleged that Facebook was courting the Chinese government in 2016 by developing a censorship tool. Facebook has admitted to sharing data with Chinese state-owned companies, and last year it undertook to expand its Chinese ad business.

These are the benevolent corporate heroes who are going to save us from the Chinese threat? Give me a break.

Far from saving us, it seems like the habits of their new Chinese friends are rubbing off on our Big Tech big brothers. In a way, Silicon Valley is helping America keep up with China: now we too have censored speech on the internet, constant surveillance, and tightly controlled marketplaces.

Instead of embracing the very crony capitalism that has been so destructive to American prosperity in the past, American firms should spend more energy competing on the merits for Americans’ business, and less time cozying up to Chinese bureaucrats. The free market should pick winners and losers, not Communist apparatchiks.

This whole episode leads me to only one conclusion: insisting that antitrust enforcers pull their punches or risk impairing our ability to face the threats from China is nothing short of corporate extortion, a protection racket at a global scale. What we need is more competition, and less protectionism. The only way we will defeat the economic threat of communist China is by empowering American businesses to challenge and disrupt the would-be Chinese collaborators that make up Big Tech.

The hypocrisy is glaring: Big Tech wants to assist Communist China in exchange for access to its economy, while pointing to the Chinese threat as an excuse for anticompetitive and monopolistic conduct in the United States. Americans deserve better, and we should refuse to entertain this disingenuous and insulting excuse.

Mike Lee is a U.S. Senator from Utah and author of “Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document.”

The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 


The Trump Purge Makes Living In America More Like Living In China 

After the terrifying ransack of the U.S. capitol Wednesday during a Donald Trump “stop the steal” rally, big tech companies are joining leftist elites in the media and government in their effort to squash the Trump movement once and for all. Seizing on the backlash from the riot, they have seamlessly banned President Trump from TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

What happened at the capitol was an embarrassment for our country. Now, the hypocritical outcries from Democrats, who proudly condoned left-wing Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters as they terrorized American cities all summer, are ushering in a great reckoning.

The Jan. 6 demonstrators, the vast majority of whom were peaceful, were there to protest legitimate claims of election irregularities and voter fraud. But Google-owned YouTube doesn’t want you to know that. They announced Thursday that they will ban all videos about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

The one free speech haven, Parler, Apple is keying up to ban from its app store and bar from iOS devices, claiming content on the website contributed to the capitol unrest. Google has already jumped the gun, banning Parler yesterday.

Every corner of the Trump movement is being publicly purged from the internet. Thursday, Shopify stripped all online stores for President Trump, including the Trump Organization and Trump’s affiliated campaign account.

Anyone who has supported the president is in for it, as well. Rick Klein, the political director at ABC News, in a now-deleted tweet said that getting rid of Trump is “the easy part.” The more difficult task will be “cleansing the movement he commands.” Democrats have already created a “Trump Accountability Project,” an enemies list to ban, cancel, or fire anyone who staffed, donated to, endorsed, or supported President Trump and his administration.

Trump subverted the elites who run our country. He took on big pharma and China. He negotiated, renegotiated, and destroyed trade deals in his mission to put America and American workers first. He went to war with critical race theory institutionalized in our schools and in government.

He stood for things that those who run our biggest corporations and hold our highest government positions detest. For virtually his entire presidency, they tried everything to delegitimize his administration, beginning with the now-debunked Russiagate. Trump showed their corruption, and now he will pay.

The man, the administration, and his supporters will likely go down in history books as delusional and dangerous. Why? Because the left has a monopoly on power, so they can control what people see and therefore think.

As the left’s arbiters of “truth,” big tech has been banning users they don’t agree with and suppressing stories like The New York Post’s blockbuster investigation into Hunter Biden‘s laptop and sketchy deals with foreign governments and companies with ties to the Communist Chinese government. With the help of their partisan “independent fact checkers,” big tech and the media made sure average Americans never knew about this before they went to the polls.

Following the riot among Trump supporters in the capitol, Facebook removed President Trump’s video calling for peace and rule of law, claiming it instigated violence. Then Facebook de-platformed him. Trump’s speech didn’t fit the narrative that he was a pro-violence, lawlessness insurrectionist.

This disturbing reality we live in, where one political party now has the power to control the narrative in all aspects of our lives — school, work, social media, and government — might make us feel eerie echoes of living under Chinese Communist Party influence instead of in the United States of America.

Perhaps what’s most troubling, and something that we might not have even considered in the chaos of the last few days, is the long-term impact this will have on American children. Generation Z or Zoomers, aged 13 to 21, may be one of the first generations that is more influenced by what they see and read on social media and the internet than what they hear at the dinner table from mom and dad.

A Business Insider’s poll found that 59 percent of Zoomers listed social media as their top news source. While technology used to serve as a way to make information accessible, a way to have the world at your fingertips with just a quick search, it has become something much different. It is teaching the youngest and most impressionable among us that suppression is normal and personal censorship is an important survival mechanism.

Children are being taught to watch what they say and think, lest they be labeled a racist, white supremacist, homophobe, or xenophobe. Indeed, making a pro-Trump TikTok video can get your college admission rescinded and subject you to intense personal harassment. A three-second insensitive or politically incorrect Snapchat video from 2016 can get you featured in a New York Times article and your college admission rescinded, and subject you to bitter bullying.

For young people today, it’s becoming normal to see political leaders in our country deemed “dangerous” to be ousted from public platforms and ostracized from society. They watch their parents self-censor at work, fearful of backlash from employees or coworkers that could get them fired.

Americans used to support the right of people to hold and express opinions others disagree with. Yet the newest generation believes feelings are more valuable than freedom. Study after study finds that younger people are more supportive of limiting speech than are older generations.

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison think the government should be able to punish “hate speech.” Of course, “hate speech” is simply the left’s ambiguous term for anything veering from the leftist orthodoxy on issues such as abortion, sex, race, and immigration.

Silicon Valley oligarchs have an agenda. They aren’t platforms, they are publishers, which should nullify the privileges they enjoy under Section 230. Will the Democrats who are now running our government do anything to stop big tech tyranny? Of course not.

This problem is not going away. America’s ethos of free speech and expression is going extinct at the hands of big tech and the leftists controlling media and government.

The U.S. Capitol riots are over, thanks to law enforcement. However, the censorship that followed has created a dangerous precedent.

For young people, their “normal” is beginning to feel increasingly like it’s heading towards life in China. It’s less free and tolerant than the America their parents grew up in. Imagine how much worse things will be when today’s youths are running the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Evita Duffy is an intern at The Federalist and a junior at the University of Chicago, where she studies American History. She loves the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, & her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1

More Politically INCORRECT Cartoons for Today January 18 2018


Trump Wins Over 3 Tech CEOs in Private Meeting


URL of the original posting site: http://conservativetribune.com/amazon-google-apple-ceos/

The CEOs of Apple, Google and Amazon offered praise for Donald Trump after a meeting with the president at the White House on Monday, Breitbart reported. According to The Hill, the meeting was a brainstorming session for Jared Kushner’s Office of American Innovation, which seeks in part to modernize the federal government through technology.

The session was attended by a number of tech industry CEOs — including Google’s Eric Schmidt, Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — as well as roughly two dozen business experts. In the aftermath of the meeting, the three CEOs came out with praise for the president.

“I’m absolutely convinced that during your administration there is going to be a huge explosion of new opportunities because of the platforms that are getting built in our industry,” Google’s Schmidt told the president.

Schmidt said that “huge” growth due to entrepreneurship, immigration and skilled workers was “going to happen soon during your leadership.” Schmidt was far from the only one predicting growth. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos praised the administration’s emphasis on information technology for improving government and saving taxpayers money, saying that Trump’s presidency could be the “innovation administration.”

“I think you guys are already headed that way,” Bezos said. However, he said there needed to be more emphasis on artificial intelligence.

“I think it would be impossible to overstate this, is that the United States needs to — in every way at every level — be working on machine learning and artificial intelligence,” he said. “That can be used in every part of government to improve the services that government provides to citizens.”

Apple’s Tim Cook also offered support for the administration’s efforts to streamline government.

“The U.S. should have the most modern government in the world, and today it doesn’t,” Cook said. He advocated a citizen-centric focus for how the federal government works.

“The government should be focused on its citizens, and the services of the government should be measured on how pleased the citizens are with receiving its services,” Cook said.

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He added that learning how to code for computers should be “a requirement” in America’s public schools: “We have a huge deficit in the skills that we need today, vs. the skills that are there,” he said.

It’s worth pointing out that none of these individuals are on the Trump train. According to Newsweek, Bezos and Cook both openly opposed the president’s travel ban and Google filed an amicus brief in the case. Google also opposed President Trump’s reversal on the Obama administration’s guidance on transgender bathroom policy for public schools.

An administration official said that Monday’s meeting was just the start of the administration’s technology initiative.

“This is just the beginning of a multiyear process,” the official said.

“The problems we are looking at in the Office of American Innovation are not quick fixes,” they added. “These are things that are going to require years to really make significant progress on. Our systems are in some cases 10 to 20 years out of date, so we’re not going to fix that in one day. But we have to start now. And this day we believe will be a significant one in terms of generating ideas and potential solutions to some of the problems.”

Needless to say, the left wasn’t happy about the meeting. A liberal group called Tech Solidarity urged employees to force CEOs to boycott the meeting.

“This meeting doesn’t have to happen. Tech employees have the power to stop it,” the group said in a statement. “We’ve learned in the last six months that there is no clean way to do business with the Trump Administration. The President does not respect boundaries or institutions. You are either for him, or against him. That decision doesn’t belong to our CEOs; it belongs to us as an industry.”

That clearly doesn’t seem to have worked.

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