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Europe and America are taking on the tech giants. Britain needs to join the fight | Will Hutton

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October 18, 2020 at 09:00AM

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The government is a bystander to attempts to break up the Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple monopolies

It’s time to address monopoly capitalism and, in particular, monopoly data capitalism, which has been turbo-charged by Covid-19, forcing the world to live and work online. A Joe Biden presidency – increasingly likely – and an EU unhampered by British reluctance to do anything bold to reform or even tax a monopolistic private sector are set to make common cause. They will act in sync to attack the now bewildering monopoly power of the hi-tech giants by tackling its foundation – the simultaneous owning of pivotal digital platforms and the unbridled provision of the services on them.

Together, they will go on to reclaim the operation of the internet and enlarge individual control of personal data. Moreover, Biden, if he fulfils his campaign pledges to challenge shareholder-value-driven US business, act on climate crisis and enlarge union rights, will Europeanise the US economy to make it more friendly to this reform agenda. It will be a sea change – with Britain a marginalised bystander.

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