Microsoft co-founder says it is time for governments to help regulate technology giants like Facebook, Google
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said he believes the government should help regulate technology firms like Facebook and Google to help ensure the positives of these platforms will outweigh the negative.
His call comes growing government concerns about how pervasive technology has become in people’s lives. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has this year called for more regulation of internet firms in general, with an “international framework” that would put all internet firms on a level playing field.
Bill Gates meanwhile is not afraid of confronting big issues. Last year for example Gates expressed major reservations about cryptocurrencies, and accused the technology of killing people in a direct way.
But now Gates has waded into the debate surrounding the growing power and influence of tech firms, in comments made at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, on Monday.
“Technology has become so central that governments have to think: What does that mean about elections? What does that mean about bullying?” Gates was quoted as saying by CNN.
“What does it mean about wiretapping authorities that let you find out what’s going on financially or drug money laundering, things like that,” said the former boss of Microsoft. “So, yes, the government needs to get involved.”
Gates said he expects “there will be more regulation of the tech sector,” particularly as it relates to privacy issues.
“The fact that now this is the way people consume media has really brought it in to a realm where we need to shape it so that the benefits need to outweigh the negatives,” he was quoted by CNN as saying.
Charities have called for such regulations for years, and a number of high-profile incidents in recent months, ranging from massive data breaches to the live-streaming of the Christchurch shootings in March, have increased pressure on governments to take action.
Over the years Bill Gates has used the huge personal fortune he gained as founder and CEO of Microsoft, on an ambitious philanthropic drive.
In 2017 he made one of his largest donations of 64 million Microsoft shares, worth $4.6 billion (£3.6bn), to charity.