SUMMIT: The EDPS Civil Society Summit “Big tech: from private platforms to public infrastructures”

The intensely centralised nature of the global platform economy presents fundamental challenges for our times and future generations. A limited number of big tech companies exercise significant control over the internet as a network whereby sharing of information, freedom of expression and people’s choices are increasingly under the influence of corporate interests. In addition, we see the outsourcing of public authority to private companies, as holders of essential infrastructures, to safeguard and regulate our digital lives.

Corporations which started as search engines and social media platforms are now exercising significant influence in healthcare, education and public administration. Others have become indispensable to a huge number of business users or to enable work processes. Some other big tech companies, dictate the terms of our social interactions, and occupy the public space of freedom of expression and formulation of political opinions. This power grabbing has further intensified the power and “indispensability” of big tech companies as platforms but also as service providers, decision-makers, and gatekeepers.

In a dynamic exchange between civil society and the European Data Protection Supervisor, we explore the wider consequences of the data intensive business models of dominant tech companies. In particular, speakers will outline the consequences for fundamental rights, and broader societal concerns. Who is in the end paying the costs of the societal shift of changing control of public infrastructures? We ask, on whose terms is such a shift taking place? How does this impact people and their fundamental rights? What are the requirements of data governance models to address this?


Check out the full programme here.

Registrations are open until 24 January, 2021 here.