‘Responsibility, accountability of big tech firms must be debated’: Indian EAM
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that issues like responsibility and accountability of the big tech companies which enjoy huge power and influence must be debated and they cannot be brushed under the carpet.
Jaishankar’s comments came amid strained ties between Indian authorities and American social media giant Twitter on a range of issues including the new IT rules.
In an interactive session with former British prime minister Tony Blair at the India Global Forum, Jaishankar said that a vigorous debate on big technology firms is going on in India like in various parts of the world, and that nobody denies that they are “forces of progress”.
“But, in a democratic society, we have to ask ourselves, big tech is there; it is in my life, very visibly in my life. You have a big presence, (but) where is the responsibility which comes with it,” Jaishankar said.
“They have huge power, where is the accountability? This is again not an issue limited to India. They harvest our data as they do across the world. So you have, in a sense, the opposite of the American Revolution, which is to have representation and no taxation,” he said, when asked about the power of technology and issues relating to it.
“These are very serious questions that need debating. I think they cannot be brushed under the carpet, saying you should not question them because then you are attacking freedom of speech. I think that’s a cop-out. Obviously, it serves their interests,” he said.