Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty joined a growing chorus of technology executives lambasting web platforms, such as Google and Facebook, within their set of consumer data and urged authorities to target regulation in these companies.
Without naming company titles, Rometty pointed to the”irresponsible handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platform firms” as the cause of a”trust crisis” involving users and technology businesses, based on an advanced copy of her remarks.
Rometty’s remarks, provided at a Brussels occasion with leading EU officials Monday, given current announcements from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who at October slammed Silicon Valley competitions over their usage of information, equating their solutions to”surveillance.”
The IBM chief continues her two-day trip to Brussels on Tuesday, meeting with the European Commission Vice-President in control of growth and jobs, Jyrki Katainen. On Monday, she met with the EU’s privacy chief Vera Jourova and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and, in the case, appeared on a board together with Andrus Ansip, the commission Vice President for electronic affairs.
The comments by the tech executives come as both Facebook and Alphabet’s Google are under extreme scrutiny by lawmakers in the usa and Europe over privacy breaches and election interference in their own platforms.
IBM meanwhile has seen revenue reduction since Rometty took the CEO function in 2012, largely due to decreasing sales in existing hardware, software and services offerings. She has since been trying to steer IBM toward more modern companies, such as the cloud, artificial intelligence, and security program.
Wanting to separate IBM – which operates primarily at a business-to-business degree – by the troubled tech companies, Rometty said authorities should target regulation in consumer-facing web platforms, such as social media firms and search engines.
“The power dynamic is quite different in the business-to-business markets,” Rometty said. “Tackling the actual problem means using a regulatory scalpel, not a sledgehammer, to prevent collateral damage that could hurt the wider, more productive and much more accountable parts of the digital market.”
Specifically, Rometty pushed for more measures round the transparency of artificial intelligence in addition to contentious rules around platform liability.
Tech companies such as Google and Facebook have pushed on any plans to give platforms more legal liability over what people post or upload in their websites, arguing it could lead to limitations on free speech if businesses need to monitor what users upload.
“Dominant online programs have more power to shape public opinion compared to newspapers or the television had, yet they face very little regulation or liability,” Rometty said. “On liability, new thinking is needed.”
Rometty called on the European Union to change laws that have handed web platforms resistance from what appears on their websites. The EU’s so-called e-commerce directive from 2000 was developed to improve innovation among young companies. The bloc has since introduced targeted measures giving tech firms liability over specific content, such as ordering them to eliminate terror propaganda within a hour, but it is yet to formally change the law.
Brussels has become eponymous in the technology world with tough digital rules, like the EU’s strict GDPRprivacy law, which came into force earlier this year.
Like Rometty, Cook also made his comments at an event in Brussels attended by top EU officials.