“Techlash – Public Concern & Addressed”


Techlash”, by Ron Mader, licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0

What is Techlash

Big Tech companies including apple, amazon, microsoft, google, and facebook” by Huzaifa Aberdeen, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The “techlash” phenomenon refers to people’s growing hostility towards large technology companies (also known as “big tech”), as well as more general opposition to modern technology itself, especially innovation driven by information technology. Techlash is not created spontaneously. With the development of the Techlash boom, more and more people support policies aimed at slowing down the pace of innovation, including bans, taxes, and strict supervision of certain technologies. Techlash stands for something broader: a negative reaction, not only for a few large technology companies but also for the technology itself, especially the IT industry. The emergence of Techlash has both reasons why consumers lose trust in technology giants, and there are reasons why governments are dissatisfied with the growing power of these companies (Atkinson et al., 2019).

Public Concern

  • Invasion of user privacy

Many industry experts and popular business publications including The Economist have recently confirmed that the most valuable resource in the world is data, not oil. Industry experts coined the term “data economy” to describe the impact and importance of big data in society (Rosebrough, 2020).

The concept of “data is the new oil” is that, just like oil, the original data itself has no value. But when it is collected completely and accurately, connected with other relevant data, and completed in time, the value will be created. After proper refinement, the available data quickly becomes a decision-making tool—information—that enables the company to respond to market forces and be forward-looking and purposeful in its decision-making (Rosebrough, 2020). For example, when social media (Google) collects personal public information, it is often associated with advertisers. Advertisers place ads on Google, and Google will serve ads to people based on the collected information.

Once the personal public information is collected, then consumers consider their privacy issues. Regarding who owns their information, and more importantly, what they intend to do with the information. The digital footprint of the average person is huge, so it is difficult to take back control (Atkinson et al., 2019).

  • Tech monopoly

To be sure, many technology companies are large in scale and have won considerable market shares (King, 2019). These “big tech” companies often make use of the market’s strong position to formulate some market competition rules. Like some time ago, Facebook had a 6-hour breakdown, and many businesses (Instagram, Messenger) implicated by Facebook were affected. This failure not only affected daily communication but also affected businesses that advertised their business on Facebook.

  • Surveillance Capitalism & filter bubble

The so-called “surveillance capitalism”: that is, universal data collection, including but not limited to website tracking, is eroding all online privacy. Surveillance capitalism unilaterally claims that human experience is a free raw material that can be transformed into behavioral data (Atkinson et al., 2019). Although some of this data is used to improve products or services, the rest is declared as proprietary behavioral surplus. These data are input into an advanced manufacturing process called “machine intelligence” and processed into predictive products, which can predict what you will do now, soon, and in the future (Atkinson et al., 2019).

The computer monitor is a one-way mirror that reflects your interests. The observer of the algorithm observes what you click. Pariser refers to this response as the “filter bubble” or “personal information ecosystem.” It isolates us from any cognitive dissonance by limiting what we see. At the same time, almost everything that people do online is monitored for the benefit of others. A personalized filter is invisible automatic propaganda that instills our ideas, amplifies our desire for familiar things, and turns us blind to the dangers lurking in the unknown and dark realms (“How Filter Bubbles Distort Reality: Everything You Need to Know – Farnam Street”, n.d.).



  • Self-Regulation

This approach requires companies to consider their social impact before entering the market. This approach usually falls into the category of “corporate social responsibility” and can cover everything from environmental protection to solving sexual harassment in the workplace (Hemphill, 2019).

The tech companies he itself self-regulation, self-regulation, of course, is for the business will be more efficient because science and technology company is very aware of their business, also know very well the problem is where, that if the company want to change certain places, it may be more efficient to do a transmission, It’s when you have some programmer or some engineer in the company improve a part of their technology product, make a change (Castro, 2011). However, this method is usually referred to as a social responsibility category of enterprises because they may also commit to social fairness, justice and equality, so some companies will voluntarily make such a commitment and self-regulation. One advantage of self-regulatory enforcement is that it is faster, which means consumers can get faster privacy protection. However, while self-policing can be more efficient, it also means that the platform itself needs to have a self-policing awareness or motivation. But often find the platform at the time of self-regulation can be very lax, because big technology companies like these, it is essentially a for-profit company, that a company operating a motive or is it a business growth motive is to get more money through business growth capital, or the global expansion to achieve their profit, Therefore, when some problems arise that violate user privacy or monopolize the market, this aspect of public value is not a key consideration of the platform companies, so it is difficult to ensure that the technology companies themselves will supervise themselves fairly and impartially. Because most of the time, if he monitors himself fairly and fairly, he will realize the same interests as himself, and profit growth is a contradiction between the two.

  • Government regulation

The traditional approach has been to have government policymakers and regulators step in and implement regulatory regimes to address policy issues such as privacy, public safety, and national security (Hemphill, 2019).

In addition to the deep oversight of the tech companies themselves, a third party is needed. One is government regulation. One contrast between government regulation and that of tech companies is that it is more enforceable. As an external supervision system, the government can implement some supervision through some industry rules or some laws, and the supervision is more powerful and effective (Government Regulation, n.d.). However, the government’s supervision is too slow to keep up with the pace of scientific and technological innovation. The speed of technological innovation will always be much faster than the speed of supervision, and there will be some regulatory gaps in many cases. Some industrial rules or laws formulated by the government may be difficult to achieve, or it may be difficult to implement in specific work. Therefore, there may be some gap between the formulation of a goal and the specific implementation. And is, like the government is regulating Internet companies, now is more a limitation is discussed, because now many are international Internet companies, like Facebook, although he at home ah, domestic users rarely use Facebook, it is a multinational company, although it is based in the United States, like, in Australia, in Europe, in many other countries, it’s Facebook. Because legal systems vary from country to country, it is difficult for one government or one government in one region to make a rule that can be enforced across borders (Hemphill, 2019).

  • Civil society organizations

Representatives of Civil Society at the consultation with Civil Society Organizations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda” by UN Women, licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0

Citizens’ participation in the supervision of technology companies can greatly improve our citizens’ awareness of protecting rights and interests. The participation of civil society can also improve the awareness of individual protection of rights and interests, and promote public opinion, and then support some regulatory actions or some regulatory promotion (Hutter & O’Mahony, 2004). And it’s not like government or civil society science and technology of the company itself is involved in some of the force is unitary, the civil society very diverse forces can be solved, it may be not only attracting legal people, business people, or the process industry, attract people from all walks of life to discuss, there is bottom-up feedback, etc. It is also more flexible and can assemble more diverse information. However, the supervision of civil society organizations is more about advocacy, and the real implementation requires cooperation with the government or technology companies. Ultimately, they have to resort to laws or regulations of industry organizations (Hutter & O’Mahony, 2004).




Atkinson, R., Brake, D., Castro, D., Cunliff, C., Kennedy, J., & McLaughlin, M. et al. (2019). A Policymaker’s Guide to the “Techlash”—What It Is and Why It’s a Threat to Growth and Progress. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://itif.org/publications/2019/10/28/policymakers-guide-techlash.


Castro, D. (2011). Benefits and Limitations of Industry Self-Regulation for Online Behavioral Advertising. Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://itif.org/files/2011-self-regulation-online-behavioral-advertising.pdf.


Government Regulation(n.d.). ScienceDirect. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/government-regulation


Hemphill, T. (2019). ‘Techlash’, responsible innovation, and the self-regulatory organization. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2019.1602817.


How Filter Bubbles Distort Reality: Everything You Need to Know – Farnam Street. Farnam Street. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://fs.blog/2017/07/filter-bubbles/.


Hutter, B., & O’Mahony, J. (2004). The Role of Civil Society Organisations in Regulating Business. Wlse.ac.uk. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from http://wwww.lse.ac.uk/accounting/assets/CARR/documents/D-P/DissPaper26.pdf.


King, F. (2019). What is Techlash and what does it mean for the digital industry?. Balticapprenticeships.com. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://www.balticapprenticeships.com/blog/what-is-techlash-and-what-does-it-mean-for-the-digital-industry.


Rosebrough, M. (2020). Is Data Really “The New Oil”?. Kenway Consulting. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://www.kenwayconsulting.com/blog/data-is-the-new-oil/.


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