Sensor technologies turn the whole world into data. We access this data through digital platforms. Platforms are sets of rules that enable two or more groups to interact efficiently, by specifying user behavior, data collection, and the feedback loops between them.
Platforms naturally aim towards monopolistic positions, and because platforms make our life easier, we readily and willingly let them govern our lives. Life on platforms is enticing: Facebook and Google both count their users in the billions.
Living life on platforms leads to the strengthening of the role of platforms as a form of governance. Digital platform companies set the standards and security measures for many services from taxi drives to home-sharing.
In 2019 we need to focus on developing new instruments for enabling users to have an impact on the rules of the platforms. Governments and supranational organizations can (and do) use taxation, negotiations over data ownership and control, publicity laws, and a variety of other standard measures for this task. In addition many operators themselves have realized that they can’t behave however they like. The platform companies that wish to stay relevant in 2019 should pay attention to the ways their regulations treat users and non-users.
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