The GAFA: are they our best enemies?

The grievances that scatter our daily lives against the GAFA

  • Tax optimization….

The National Assembly votedon Monday, April 10th, 2019 to introduce the GAFA tax (Google, Amazon, Facebook et Apple) for the first reading. This tax will apply to companies with a turnover on their digital activities of more than €750 million worldwide and, in France, of more than €25 million. The tax rate will be 3% of the turnover generated in France on online advertising, the sale of personal data to third parties and so-called “intermediation” activities.

  • Abuse of a dominant position….

On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, the European Commission once again sanctioned Google, this time for abuse of a dominant position and imposed a fine of €1.49 billion. The decision concerns AdSense for Search, a contextual advertising system from the world’s leading online search company.

The problem, according to the Commission, is that Google artificially limited the possibility for sites to use competing contextual advertising services: first, the online search giant imposed, in its contracts, the “exclusivity” of its service from 2006 to 2009. Then, he required partners to post “a minimum number of advertising links” from AdSense for Search and reserve “the best locations” for it.

  • Non-compliance with the DGMP….

The National Commission on Information Technology and Liberties recently fined Google €50 million for lack of transparency, information and valid consent regarding the personalization of advertising.

As for Facebook, it was also condemned on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by the Tribunal of Paris for lack of transparency in the use of the personal data of its European users.

According to the court, the rules for using the social network regarding personal data are not clear enough.

In this regard, according to a report by the UK Child Protection Commission, by the age of 13, parents will have posted an average of 1,300 photos and videos of their child on social media. And by the time she turns 18, there will be 70,000 publications on the Internet about her.

So how can we anticipate possible breaches of our privacy?

It is important to know that alternative solutions exist. In this respect, some digital services respect the confidentiality of our personal data.

Concerning alternatives to Google, Qwant is an independent search engine, this “French Google” uses its own algorithms. It does not collect any personal data related to the requests and guarantees the neutrality and impartiality of the results.

There is also the French search service Lilo, which is a meta-search engine that transfers 50% of advertising revenues to social and environmental projects that can be chosen.

As for alternatives to Facebook, Whaller, the French platform for collaborative social networks, guarantees the confidentiality of its users’ data. This French company, a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group, has already convinced several companies and organizations such as Mc Donalds and Carrefour Market to adopt Whaller for their corporate social networks.

And if we agreed to change our point of view, our paradigm…

If the GAFAS are targeted, the question arises as to the legitimacy of this persecution.

In this respect, Amazon’s success is also due to the fact that consumers choose it, and for good reason the platform offers less expensive products, and makes it easy to acquire them, saving time.

Also, regarding the advancement of science, the GAFAs guarantee their researchers that their work will be shared with the rest of the scientific community.

In addition, Google and Facebook advertising platforms benefit other companies by providing advertisers with ways to target their messages and reach the right people at the right time.

It should also be noted that many of these founders contribute to helping humanity.

For example, Bill and Melinda Gates, Elon Musk, Dustin Moskovitz and Tim Cook, among others, all participate in The Giving Pledge, having solemnly declared that they want to give the majority of their fortune before their death to humanitarian causes. It is true that American inheritance tax law encourages them to do so…

The Bill-et-Melinda-Gates Foundation is an American humanistic philanthropic foundation that aims to bring innovations in health and knowledge to the world’s population. In addition, most of Bill Gates’ estate should be transferred to his foundation, through which he has become one of the world’s largest donors in the fight against poverty, with several billion dollars of his personal wealth. In 2006, he announced that he would bequeath 95% of his fortune to fight diseases and illiteracy in the countries of the South.

Jeff Bezos, for his part, is reinvesting a large part of his fortune at a rate of one billion dollars a year in his other company Blue Origin, competing with Space X to democratize access to space.

Finally, Mark Zuckerberg is working on a project to distribute high-speed Internet from the sky via drones. He also increased his donations, particularly in the fields of education and health, to which he and his wife announced that they would devote 99% of their wealth during their lifetime.

Despite the practices of the GAFAS pointed out, should we not review the retaliatory position that modern states are adopting towards them?

The debate is open.