Quiz Of The Week: Tech Watchdogs

Watchdog guard dog ICO Ofcom FTC FCC © Zelenenka Yuliia Shutterstock

Who watches the watchdogs? TechWeek does – and so can you, with our quiz about regulators!

Technology companies have great ideas but they need someone to keep them on the straight and narrow. That’s why bodies like Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) exist.

When Facebook’s experiment to manipulate emotions via social media was revealed, it caused outrage. But it’s now down to the ICO to ascertain whether the social media giant crossed the line and infringed on its customers’ rights and dignity. Similarly, when people have complaints about communications, Ofcom gets to step in and pronounce.

Guard dog watchdog ICO Ofcom FTC FCC © Erik Lam ShutterstockWorld of Watchcraft

Of course, these bodies have their counterparts elsewhere around the globe, and some of them have imposed massive fines on tech firms if they are found to have abused a monopoly or infringed people’s right to privacy or freedom.

But different national regulators behave very differently – as we found with the incident when Google’s Street View cars slurped private information from Wi-Fi data streams, while they patrolled the streets, mapping the world. Some countries fined the giant, while others accepted its apology and its promise to never do anything like that again.

Copmetition regulators are among the most powerful, with the ability to scrutinise big mergers such as Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, and then hold them up, or apply conditions – sometimes, even deny them altogether. These bodies can scarcely avoid straying into politics, if Europe is objecting to anti-competitive behaviour by US giants.

We’ve taken a look through the history of regulators, their fines, and their decisions. And we’ve come back with a a super-entertaining set of questions.

Are you ready?

Take the quiz!

And if you like it, try some of our others.