In government versus social media fights, there’s only one loser: the user – Mishi Choudhary & Eben Moglen

(Mishi Choudhary is legal director of Software Freedom Law Centre, New York and Eben Moglen is Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia Law School. This column first appeared in Times of India on July 27, 2021)

  • GoI-Twitter hostilities are a variation on a current geopolitical theme. Social media platforms offer simple consumer-facing digital services ‘for free’, but actually in return for mind-boggling quantities of personal data they can exploit and monetise. They are coming to the end of their extraordinary laissez-faire relationship with the world’s democratic governments. These companies’ data and messaging services have transformed electoral politics more completely than TV did 60 years ago. So political parties and officials need them. In the authoritarian world, governments’ need has been expressed in the creation of local providers (Yandex, Tencent, et al) who answer to one state master. But in North America, Europe and India politics hemmed in the state to one extent or another, for the benefit of platforms…

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