Next up, we turn to the second worst of the major 2020 presidential candidates on protecting the population from the anti-democratic power of Big Tech, Kamala Harris. To read the introduction to the Big Tech 2020 series, please point your browser to this link.
#2 Kamala Harris – Pillar of the California establishment
In contrast to Pete Buttigieg, who excitedly embraces Big Tech, US Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) pays a little bit of lip service to protecting Americans from Big Tech overreach, but the few statements she has made on the subject don’t stand up to any scrutiny. For instance, a Gizmodo article quotes her as saying: “They have not been adequately informing consumers about where they are relinquishing their privacy.” This statement blames the general public, cast diminutively as “consumers,” for the misdeeds of what are actually powerful mass media companies, while simultaneously indicating the acceptability of these same practices. The only behavior Harris finds unacceptable, it seems, is the failure of technology companies to inform people about the details of how they are, with every click they make, allegedly relinquishing their own rights.
On privacy itself, Harris said: “My first priority is going to be that we ensure that privacy is something that is intact.” Something that is intact? Here Harris is being disingenuous, because privacy today is far from intact, and one cannot “ensure” that a condition that doesn’t presently exist remains intact. At the same time, this fragile and awkward construct could hardly be a more convoluted or weak-willed way of expressing support for privacy. Had she intended to convey support, she might have instead said something like this: ‘My first priority will be to put an end to the privacy violations engaged in by technology companies, in the interests of both the general pubic and democratic norms.” This isn’t what she said, because it isn’t what she meant.
It must be concluded that, as far as Harris is concerned, the Silicon Valley oligarchs may continue to be as intrusive as they wish, as long as they let people know about it so that they can be made to take the blame. Certainly, Kamala Harris has given them free reign in her home state of California, a state that is also seeing a disproportionate share of the societal and political effects of Big Tech’s overbearing presence. Needless to say, an additional transparency requirement would in no way stop or restrict Big Tech’s aggressiveness toward the public, much less address the creeping threat to democracy it poses.
Finally, the mainstream media makes much of Kamala Harris’s answers to questions put to her as to whether Big Tech should be broken up, in which she has responded that the possibility should be “looked into.” Translation: she doesn’t want to do any such thing. At the same time, she hedges her answer so as not to offend potential voters who may feel they need protection from Silicon Valley’s increasingly powerful oligarchs.
If the prevailing situation in her home state is any indication, and given both her statements and her ongoing courting of Big Tech money, a Kamala Harris presidency would not be likely to result in anything meaningful with regard to curbing Big Tech’s increasingly ominous powers.