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Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has voiced his support for regulatory changes that would rein in major tech firms, saying he would resist their “bullying attitudes.” In a September interview with the National Post, he warned that Facebook’s “business model is going to face some serious challenges” if the company continues to threaten to pull its services in response to regulatory decrees.
Daniel Bernhard, executive director of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a public broadcasting advocacy group, said the report on Thursday points to a growing consensus among Canadian media companies to address the matter.
“Publishers are sounding the alarm about a serious problem,” Bernhard said. “Right now, publishers have a choice between giving their content away to direct competitors for free, or disappear from the internet. That’s basically the choice. And that’s not much of a choice at all.”
Bernhard is optimistic that regulatory changes could begin to challenge the dominance of major tech firms but warns that it will be a long, slow climb to untangle the imbalances in the digital marketplace.
“It’s been built up over 15 years of government neglect.”
Jim Balsillie, the philanthropist and onetime Blackberry co-CEO who founded the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and several other organizations, identified two issues that demand Ottawa address the challenges posed by big tech.
“First, the nature of the data-driven economy is such that it structurally breaks markets because it features economies of both scale and scope, information asymmetries; and, network effects which subvert both public good and fair market competition.