Sen. Mark Warner on breaking up Facebook and Congress’s plan to regulate tech

Over the past two years, Silicon Valley has faced calculations in Congress, but there was no consistent drive to regulation. When Mark Zuckerberg was called in Congress and the high-tech industry's internal activities were under the microscope, major federal legislation could not be passed and some governments would question whether the US government would intervene. During the summer, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) has created the most comprehensive plan for how Congress regulates Big Tech. His white paper presented 20 proposals from bot markings to more extensive rule implementations such as those in Europe. Common Data Protection Regulations of the Union (GDPR). Warner has made the most comprehensive effort in Congress and has become a major voice on technology industry regulation.

On October 23, The Verge met Warner at the Capitol. For someone who is waking up in the valley, his office feels much more rural. In the picture is a wall with a Virginia landscape, and in the Senator's waiting room there is a photograph of a banjo being played and accompanied by fellow Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). On the bookshelf, tech industry awards such as Symantec are alongside novelty ornaments such as wooden nameplates with Senators. "

He gathered his jacket on the desk chair and laughed with excitement, discussing where he sits, his arm on his head, as if talking to the crowd of senators at every point he made, whether or not he violated antitrust laws.

Warner has a history of distancing him from many of his fellow lawmakers, giving him an insider's understanding of the technology industry. Before jumping into politics, he spent years in venture capital He has a career and founded his own company, Columbia Capital, "This kind of technology has opened the eyes to disruptive technology," he said. In the 1980s, Warner decided to pursue political interests of college students while working in the private sector. In 2002, he became governor of Virginia, expanding broadband Internet into rural areas,

In 2008, Warner entered the Senate after running for the state, working in the Senate Commerce Committee in DC, focusing mainly on business, his friends at Venture Capital, Though he thought he would position himself as a senator struggling with technology, until his election in 2016, his career in the industry became a key part of his political career.

The white paper succeeded in heating the dialogue on regulation, The Verge expects Congress to

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


sen mark warner on breaking up facebook and congresss plan to regulate tech

I started my business career in the Senate. What is it?

At first, I was angry that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not meeting Zuckerberg. I was glad that we did not have to do it then, it seemed ignorant of some members of the other committees, but it became clear to me that two things were happening: one was not a traditional American initiative on technology policy. Because we put our hands down. Democrats were attracted to these companies. The Republican Party generally maintained a neutral territory because it did not want regulation to begin. Europeans in particular have begun protecting their privacy and have been active in California.

The reason I attacked me is because there was very little evidence that the company would take this fact seriously. What I thought I could do was to put a series of ideas into the idea area where people could choose, rather than a bill.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal on Facebook feels like the culmination of this privacy issue for Americans, not senators, earlier this year. It has brought privacy policy as a more personal space for the average American. Do you think the problem is mainly that Cambridge Analytica is misusing the data or Facebook is irresponsible?

I think it is a joint. Two companies using the system – a system without rules and regulations – Facebook had no such limitations. And at Cambridge Analytica, you had a poster for at least a subtle child.

What we have not raised in the white paper is the dismantling of Facebook. Why did not you include it?

I thought about it. I think these companies have more power than the biggest companies in the early 20th century that have oil companies and other monopolies. Teddy Roosevelt was the whole of the Trust Buster era. The way to split is one of the choices. Often people say that data is new oil. Well, in old oil companies, every time you use oil, you at least have exhausted your company's reserves. The difference with this kind of company is that each time you interact with Google, you provide more oil every time you interact with Facebook. We make them stronger. We make it harder for new competitors to enter the market.

I see goodbye as a last resort. Also we can see more companies in domestic. If we start with the dismantling of Facebook and Google, how does it relate to Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent? In a world-based economy, you can not see them at the national level. My fears are that Chinese companies that are growing faster than the growth of Facebook, Google, and Twitter do not have the constraints of other companies.

Another claim is to nationalize these companies. What do you think about it?

I have no appeal to me. I am a Democrat and I believe in government. But the idea that you are going to turn into a government-controlled entity makes innovation and cautious. It is difficult to point out in the European countries that nationalization of services has improved services or made them more efficient.

What we saw most on Facebook and Twitter is that we released a dataset for researchers. Would you suggest that the company force data disclosure for third-party research?

This is one of our ideas. There is a tremendous response to this government. One of the great ironies is that the US public is afraid of the government that has personal information or spy services for us. However, companies with active Facebook or Google users know more about you as individuals than the US government knows. It is strange that we do not see personal information residing in this company more vulnerable. At least the government has a protective device installed. The company does not have such protection. So one of the ideas in the white paper is to encourage, incentive, and regulate the way data is anonymized, but to give independent researchers the ability to see dark patterns. This extends to algorithms that can affect behavior at both ends of the political spectrum.


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What about honest advertising law ? As a hazy threat to the bill, Facebook decided to release its public ad database on its own. Do you think legislation is needed now that the industry is responding?

It is absolutely necessary. Basically, because we depend on goodwill on Facebook, we will continue to release it. And what they did did disclose information for each candidate, but when you turn on the TV, many ads will not mention the candidate. They will say "vote for candidates who do not follow strong immigration laws" or "votes for candidates who will not protect the planet." So they did not really do much about the issue advertising, and while Facebook and Twitter went into this area, Google moved a bit, but not too many. This is a low hanging fruit. The foolish behavior we could not accept this is mental. The idea that when advertising on TV, people need to tell who is behind them, but because they do not have the obligation to show and display the same ads on the Internet, people are frustrated with the political system.

What are the challenges at the time?

The problem was that the vast majority of Senators did not want to do anything about campaign finance reform. The thing is that when it gets to the bottom you will get 95 votes.

How to make anonymity on the Internet by disclosing locations and identities to be included in the Honest Advertising Act Do you juggle?

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