Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty joined a growing chorus of technology executives lambasting web platforms, like Google and Facebook, over their set of user information and urged authorities to target regulation in those companies.
Without naming company titles, Rometty pointed to the”reckless handling of personal data by a few dominant consumer-facing platform companies” as the origin of a”trust crisis” between users and tech businesses, according to an advanced copy of her opinions.
Rometty’s remarks, provided at a Brussels occasion with top EU officials Monday, echoed recent statements from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in October slammed Silicon Valley competitions over their use of data, equating their solutions to”surveillance.”
The IBM chief lasts her two-day visit to Brussels on Tuesday, meeting with the European Commission Vice-President in charge of jobs and growth, Jyrki Katainen. On Monday, she satisfied with the EU’s privacy chief Vera Jourova and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and, in the case, appeared on a board with Andrus Ansip, the commission’s Vice President for digital affairs.
The comments from the tech executives come as equally Facebook and Alphabet’s Google are under extreme scrutiny by lawmakers in the US and Europe over privacy breaches and election hindrance in their own platforms.
IBM meanwhile has seen earnings decline since Rometty took the CEO role in 2012, largely because of decreasing sales in existing hardware, software and services offerings. She’s since been attempting to steer IBM toward more modern companies, like the cloud, artificial intelligence, and security program.
Seeking to separate IBM – which operates primarily at a business-to-business level – by the troubled tech companies, Rometty said authorities should aim regulation in consumer-facing web platforms, such as social media firms and search engines.
“Tackling the actual problem means using a regulatory scalpel, not a sledgehammer, to avoid collateral damage that would hurt the wider, more productive and much more responsible areas of the digital market.”
Specifically, Rometty pushed for more measures around the transparency of artificial intelligence as well as contentious rules about platform liability.
Tech firms such as Google and Facebook have pushed on any programs to give platforms more legal accountability over what people post or upload in their own sites, arguing it could lead to limitations on free speech if businesses need to monitor what users upload.
“Dominant online platforms have more power to shape public opinion compared to newspapers or the television ever had, nevertheless they face hardly any liability or regulation,” Rometty said. “On accountability, new thinking is needed.”
Rometty called on the European Union to change laws that have handed net platforms resistance from everything appears on their sites. The EU’s so-called e-commerce directive from 2000 was designed to boost innovation among young firms. The bloc has since introduced targeted steps giving tech companies liability over specific content, like ordering them to remove terror propaganda within one hour, but it is yet to formally change regulations.
Brussels is now eponymous in the technology world with tough digital rules, like the EU’s strict GDPRprivacy law, which came into force earlier this season.
Like Rometty, Cook also made his comments in an event in Brussels attended by leading EU officials.