WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm linked to the Trump campaign. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Big Tech can't be trusted. It's time for regulation

Updated 1935 GMT (0335 HKT) April 30, 2019

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.

Mike Chapple is associate teaching professor of information technology, analytics, and operations at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

Perspectives Mike Chapple

Big Tech is under the spotlight, and for good reason.

In the past couple of years, an onslaught of incidents have shook public confidence in major technology firms. Facebook apologized for allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of more than 80 million users. Google shut down its social network in the wake of reports that it failed to disclose a serious security vulnerability that could have revealed the private information of as many as 500,000 users. The company said it found "no evidence" that any data was actually misused. Then, just a couple months later, Marriott announced a data breach that affected 500 million individuals.
It's become clear that Big Tech can't be trusted to govern itself. It's time for regulators to step in.
Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association, a technology industry lobbying group, spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference this week and reminded attendees that technology is a force for good that improves our lives. That's true. There's no doubt that artificial intelligence is transforming medicine, online learning is democratizing education, and technology businesses are creating economic opportunities. But that doesn't earn the industry a free pass to justify bad behavior or inadequate privacy practices.
Consumers have justifiably lost confidence in Big Tech. A YouGov survey released last week showed that over 80% of Americans don't trust Facebook, Google, or Dropbox.
    It seems like each time a major privacy scandal hits the news, Congress holds another series of hearings with grim-faced politicians cluelessly questioning smug technology executives. But nothing changes. It's been over a decade since Congress passed the last major privacy law in the United States: a 2010 update of health care privacy requirements.