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Europe’s beef with GAFA

欧洲不满美国四大科技巨头

Big tech faces competition and privacyconcerns in Brussels

科技巨头在欧盟遭遇竞争与隐私问题

And the sector may be the better for it

互联网行业反而可能变得更好



Ms Vestager is hardly at the vanguard of amovement: even in its domestic French market, Qwant has less than 1% marketshare. Nor, at first, might her focus on privacy seem linked to hertrustbusting brief. But, as she has explained, popular services like Facebookuse their customers as part of the “production machinery”. You may not pay incash to like a friend’s pictures, or every time you ask Alexa what a “cup” ofbutter is in grams—but you might as well do, given how much personal data youhave to fork over. Rather melodramatically, Ms Vestager says what seem to befree services are ones for which you “pay with your life”.

维斯塔格女士不太可能引领一场运动:即便在法国本土市场,Qwant的市场份额也不足1%。乍看起来,她对隐私的关注也不可能与反垄断职责有什么联系。但是正如她所言,“脸书”(Facebook)等热门服务平台将用户当作部分“生产设备”。考虑到用户不得不交出大量的个人数据,倒不如付费为朋友的照片点赞,或每次向智能语音助手Alexa求助:请问一“杯”黄油是多少克?耸人听闻的是,维斯塔格女士说人们是在“用生命购买”貌似免费的服务。

Those appointed, by governments orthemselves, to worry about competition have a strong interest in big tech firmssuch as Google and its parent Alphabet, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. How couldthey not, given how quickly those firms have come to dominate the businesslandscape. On both sides of the Atlantic, the reputation that big-techcompanies other than Apple have for making free with people’s data has led torules being tightened, and there is talk of tightening them more. There are otherconcerns, too. Europeans have a fairly strong feeling that the firms do not payenough tax. Everywhere there are worries about the content which theyspread—such as, for a while, video of the massacre in Christchurch—and thatwhich they are thought to suppress.

那些被政府指派或自发担忧竞争的人对大型科技公司有着浓厚兴趣,例如:谷歌及其母公司Alphabet、苹果、亚马逊、脸书。这些公司主导商业格局如此之快,他们怎能不担心。在美国和欧洲,除了苹果公司,大型科技公司擅自使用个人数据的恶名导致法规收紧,据说还要进一步收紧。另外也存在其他问题,欧洲人强烈认为这些企业没有缴纳足够的税。它们传播的内容在全球引发了普遍担忧,例如网上疯传一时的克莱斯特彻奇市(Christchurch)大屠杀视频,令人担忧的还有据认为被它们封杀的内容。

Tech groups have hordes of lobbyistsexperienced in weathering these various issues. Occasional losses—such as the1.5bn ($1.7bn) that Google was fined on March 20th for abusing its clout inthe online-advertising market—can to some extent just be treated as a cost ofdoing business. What they are not so well prepared for is the crossing of someof these streams of complaint. European regulators are bringing togetherconcerns about privacy and rules about competition to create constraints thatcould up-end the way companies do business online.

科技公司拥有大规模的游说团队,具备处理各种问题的丰富经验。在某种程度上,偶尔的损失仅仅被视为商业成本,例如3月20日,谷歌因滥用其在网络广告市场的影响力被罚款15亿欧元(17亿美元)。对于其中的一些不满,它们没有十足的把握渡过难关。欧洲监管机构正在将隐私问题与反垄断法相结合来制定约束措施,这可能颠覆科技公司的网络运营模式。

Common market power

公共市场权力

Campaigners have long lamented that,although the users of online platforms tell pollsters that they care aboutprivacy, they do not act as if they do. If privacy becomes tied to antitrustconcerns, though, users do not need to care. They merely need to be contentthat regulators armed with big sticks—European regulators are empowered to levyfines on companies operating in Europe that are a significant fraction of theirglobal revenue—should care on their behalf. Ms Vestager and her colleagues seemhappy to do the honours.

活动人士一直痛心疾首的是,尽管网络平台用户在民意测验中声称担心隐私,但行为上不是这样。但如果隐私与反垄断相结合,用户就可高枕无忧了。他们只需满足于手持大棒的监管机构代表他们去关注隐私问题:欧洲监管机构有权对在欧洲经营的企业罚款,这些公司的全球收入有很大一部分来自欧洲市场。维斯塔格女士及其同事似乎很乐意为用户代劳。



The measure of market power usually used tojustify action on competition grounds is, roughly speaking, that a company isable to raise prices without losing customers. Such an ability suggests thatthe level of competition in the market needs at least looking into, and perhapsredressing. Facebook, being free to its public users (though not to theadvertisers who buy the users’ attention), cannot have its market poweranalysed in this way. But Mr Mundt says that the company’s ability to encroachever more on its users’ privacy without seeing them leave—for example, bystarting to track them while they browse sites not connected to Facebook—isalso a measure of market power.

大体而言,市场权力的衡量标准是企业能够在不流失客户的前提下抬高价格,该标准通常被用作不正当竞争诉讼的法律依据。这种能力表明,市场竞争程度需要受到调查,并可能需要纠正。“脸书”无法以这种方式获取市场权力,因为它为公众用户提供免费服务(不包括购买用户注意力的广告商)。但蒙特先生指出,“脸书”能在不流失用户的前提下不断侵犯用户的隐私,这也是市场权力的一种衡量标准,例如:用户浏览与“脸书”无关的网站时会被“脸书”跟踪。

This analysis is leading to strict newrules on the amount of data Facebook can collect from German users. It can nolonger mesh together the data it gathers from its various services, includingWhatsApp and Instagram, as it has said it wants to do. There are alsorestrictions on how much it can track its users when they browse the internetbeyond Facebook. Mr Mundt compares these new constraints on the flow ofinformation inside the company to Facebook being “internally broken up”.

这一分析结果正在促使德国制定新的严格法规,限制“脸书”搜集德国用户的数据量。“脸书”无法再如愿以偿地整合从各个服务平台搜集来的数据,包括WhatsApp和Instagram。“当用户浏览与“脸书”无关的网站时,跟踪用户的程度也会受到限制。蒙特先生认为,这些限制公司内部信息流的新举措相当于“从内部瓦解”脸书。

The logical step beyond limiting theaccrual of data is demanding their disbursement. If tech companies are dominantby virtue of their data troves, competition authorities working with privacyregulators may feel justified in demanding they share those data, either withthe people who generate them or with other companies in the market. That couldwhittle away a big chunk of what makes big tech so valuable, both becauseEurope is a large market, and because regulators elsewhere may see Europe’sactions as a model to copy. It could also open up new paths to innovation.

除了限制搜集数据,另一个合理的举措是要求它们有所付出。如果科技公司依靠宝贵的数据获得支配地位,那么与隐私监管机构合作的反垄断机构可能理所当然地要求它们与数据贡献者或同行共享这些数据。这可能使支撑科技巨头高市值的数据大量减少,不仅因为欧洲是一个庞大的市场,而且其他国家的监管机构可能效仿欧洲的做法。这也可能为创新开辟新的道路。

Europe is not an impressive performer whenit comes to creating tech behemoths. It is as well represented among big globaltech companies as companies other than Google are in search-engine statistics:there is just one (sap, a business software company) in the top 20. Look at thetop 200 internet companies and things are, if anything, a touch worse; justeight. But in regulatory heft the eu punches far above its members’ businessweight.

欧洲在培养科技巨头方面表现平平。这一点从全球大型科技公司中可见一斑,数据显示在排名前20位的搜索引擎公司中(谷歌除外),仅有一家来自欧洲(名为sap的商业软件公司)。在排名前200位的互联网公司中,情况甚至可能更加糟糕,只有8家来自欧洲。但是,欧盟的监管力度远远超过成员国的商业影响力。

There are various ways of explaining this.One is that Europe’s keenness to regulate stops its tech firms from growing in theway that hands-off America encourages. Another is that the rigours of itszealous regulation are experienced, in the main, only by foreigners—which makesthem more palatable to, or even popular with, politicians and the public.“Would Brussels be so tough on big tech companies if they were French orGerman?” asks one American executive, rhetorically.

这种局面是多方面原因造成的。首先,欧洲的积极监管使科技公司无法以无为而治的美国所鼓励的方式去发展。其次,基本上只有外企才会遭遇积极监管的恶劣环境,这使它们更被政客和民众接受甚至喜爱。一名美国企业主管反问:“如果是法国或德国的大型科技公司,欧盟会这么严厉”?

There is also the consideration that thecompanies potentially “disrupted” by internet innovators include Europeancarmakers, telecoms companies and media groups, about whom European politicianscare a lot. New copyright regulations being voted on by the European Parliamentnext week have been widely criticised for putting the interests of copyrightholders, which largely means media companies, far ahead of the interests ofonline companies and, indeed, the free expression of users.

另一个原因是欧洲政客关怀备至的企业可能遭受互联网创新企业的“破坏”,诸如汽车制造商、电信公司、传媒集团。欧洲议会将于下周对新的版权条例进行表决,饱受诟病的是新条例将版权公司的利益凌驾于网络公司甚至用户言论自由的利益之上。

Regardless of motive, though, this is nowthe way of the world. A look at the annual reports of big tech companiesclearly shows that they have a lot of European issues to face, including taxes(see chart 1). And this means that differences between the ways in whichEuropeans and Americans think about competition and privacy matter a lot.

无论出于何种动机,目前欧洲就是如此。大型科技公司的年报明确显示,它们在欧洲市场面临诸多问题,包括纳税。这意味着欧洲人和美国人对待竞争和隐私的思维差异非常重要。

Brussels rules
Take competition first. Much of theunderlying law governing cartels, mergers and competition is quite similar onboth sides of the Atlantic. But the continents’ approaches to handling bigcompanies are leagues apart.

欧盟法规
首先以竞争为例,美国和欧洲在有关卡特尔、并购、竞争的基本法方面大部分十分相似,但对待大型企业的方式大相径庭。

In recent decades, American antitrustpolicy has been dominated by free-marketeers of the so-called Chicago School,deeply sceptical of the government’s role in any but the most egregious cases.Dominant firms are frequently left unmolested in the belief they will soon losetheir perch anyway: remember MySpace? The lure of fat profits is, after all,what motivates firms to innovate in the first place. While there is healthyacademic debate over whether online businesses naturally, or even inevitably,have a tendency towards monopoly, it has yet to have much effect on regulation.American courts view dominant firms as a problem only if their position doesclear harm to consumers.

近几十年来,美国的反垄断政策被那些主张自由贸易的芝加哥学派所主导,他们对政府在任何情况下发挥的作用深感怀疑,最糟糕的情况除外。占主导地位的企业通常免受干预,因为他们认为这些企业过不了多久就会地位不保:还记得MySpace(聚友)公司吗?毕竟丰厚的利润激励着企业争先创新。尽管学术界对于网络公司是否天生乃至必然地趋向于垄断存在合理争议,但尚未对监管形成重大影响。只有当占主导地位的企业明显损害消费者的利益时,美国法院才认为这是个问题。

By contrast, “Europe is philosophicallymore sceptical of firms that have market power,” says Cristina Caffarra atCharles River Associates, an economics consultancy. Its regulators want to seecompetitors that have been less successful continue to exist, and even thrive.Competition is seen as valuable in and of itself, to ensure innovation happensbeyond one firm that has conquered the market.

相反,“冷静的欧洲对拥有市场权力的企业感到怀疑”,来自经济咨询公司Charles River Associates(查尔斯里弗联合公司)的克里斯蒂娜·卡法拉说道。欧洲监管机构希望不太成功的竞争对手继续生存乃至发达起来。欧洲认为竞争本身是有益的,它能确保创新不局限于单独一家垄断企业。



There is not just more interest inregulating big tech in Europe; there is also more power to do so. WilliamKovacic, a former boss of the Federal Trade Commission in America, saidrecently that Brussels is “the capital of the world” for antitrust, leaving itsAmerican counterparts “in the shade”. American antitrust typically involvesprosecuting the case in front of a judge. The European Commission can decideand impose fines by itself, without the approval of national governments,though the decisions are subject to appeal in the courts. And whereas, inAmerica, only federal agencies can apply federal law, European antitrust lawcan be applied both by national authorities and the commission.

欧洲不仅有更大的兴趣,也有更多的权力监管科技巨头。美国联邦贸易委员会前主席威廉·科瓦契奇最近表示,布鲁塞尔是反垄断的“世界之都”,这使美国同行显得相形见绌。美国反垄断通常是在法官面前提起公诉,欧盟委员会未经国民政府批准即可自行裁决和处以罚款,但被告可通过法院对判决提出上诉。美国联邦法只能由联邦机构实施,而欧洲反垄断法可由各国政府和欧盟委员会实施。

Every major tech group has had run-ins withEuropean antitrust rules. Since 2017, Google has been sanctioned three times,running up 8.2bn in fines for promoting its own shopping-comparison service insearch results and edging out rivals with its Android phone software, as wellas for abusing its strength in advertising. It is appealing the decisions. In2017 Facebook was fined 110m for misinforming the eu about its plans forintegrating WhatsApp with its flagship social network.

所有的科技巨头都触犯过欧洲的反垄断法。谷歌自2017年以来被制裁过三次,罚款金额高达82亿欧元,原因是在搜索结果中推广自家的货比三家服务,利用自家的安卓手机软件排挤竞争对手,以及滥用自身的广告影响力,谷歌正在对这些判决提出上诉。2017年,脸书被罚1.1亿美元,原因是在WhatsApp与脸书社交网络的合并计划方面向欧盟提供虚假信息。

In the same year Amazon was rebuked for theway it sold e-books, agreeing to change its practices. It is now under anearly-stage investigation both in Germany and Europe-wide for the way it usessales data from its “Marketplace” platform to compete with the independentretailers who sell through it. On March 13th Spotify, a Swedish music-streamingservice, demanded that the commission step in to stop Apple levying hefty feesfrom those who sell services through its App Store.

同一年,亚马逊因电子书的售卖方式而受到批评,并同意做出改变。德国乃至全欧洲正在对亚马逊进行初步调查,原因是它利用自家“市场”平台的销售数据与该平台上的独立经销商展开竞争。3月13日,瑞典流媒体音乐服务平台Spotify要求欧盟委员会阻止苹果公司向那些通过苹果应用商店出售服务的商家收取高昂费用。

Then there is privacy. In the past centuryalmost all European countries have experienced dictatorship, either home-grownor imposed through occupation, which has raised sensitivities. “Privacy is afundamental right at eu level, in a way that it is not in America,” says AndreaRenda of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a think-tank. That right isenshrined in the eu Charter of Fundamental Rights in the same way that freespeech is protected by America’s constitution. Polls show Europeans, andparticularly Germans, to be more concerned about the use of their personal databy private companies than Americans are.

再一个是隐私问题。过去一百年来,几乎所有的欧洲国家都遭受过独裁统治,要么来自本土,要么外来势力通过占领而强制实行,这都提高了欧洲人对隐私的敏感性。“隐私是欧盟的基本权利,美国从某种程度上来说不是这样”,欧洲政策研究中心(Centre for European Policy Studies)智囊机构的安德里亚·伦达说道。隐私权已被载入欧盟基本权利宪章,正如言论自由受到美国宪法的保护。民调显示,欧洲人比美国人更在意个人信息被私企所利用,尤其是德国人。

When American tech companies firstencountered these concerns they were relatively trifling. In 2010 Germanauthorities demanded Google blur the homes of anyone who objected to appearingin its Street View service. (Rural Germany remains one of the last places wherewell-off people live beyond the service’s coverage.) Four years later, aneu-wide “right to be forgotten” provided some circumstances in which citizenscould expunge stories about them from search results.

美国科技公司最初面临欧洲的隐私问题时,相对而言没当回事。2010年,德国当局要求谷歌公司模糊处理住户反对出现在街景服务中的住宅(德国乡村至今仍是少数超出服务范围的富人居住区之一)。四年后,欧盟“被遗忘权”规定,公民在某些情况下有权从搜索结果中删除个人信息。

The General Data Protection Regulation(gdpr), which came into force last May, raised the issue to a new level. Beyondharmonising data protection across Europe, it also established a principle thatindividuals should be able to choose how the information about them is used.This is an issue not just for the companies which currently dominate the onlineworld—the provisions of the gdpr were central to the German ruling onFacebook—but also for that world’s basic business model.

去年5月实施的《通用数据保护条例》将该问题推向了新高度。该条例不仅协调全欧洲的数据保护,还确立了一个原则,即个人信息的使用方式应由其本人来决定。这个问题不仅涉及到目前在网络世界占支配地位的企业(在德国对脸书公司的裁决中,《通用数据保护条例》起到了关键作用),也涉及到网络世界的基本商业模式。

The data about their users collected byapps and browsers is the bedrock of online advertising—a business which in 2018was worth $108bn in America according to eMarketer, a consultancy. The mostvaluable part of the industry works by selling the user’s attention to thehighest bidder, a simple-sounding proposition which requires a labyrinthine andpotentially leaky “adtech” infrastructure.

应用程序和浏览器搜集的用户数据是网络广告的基石,根据咨询公司eMarketer的数据,2018年美国网络广告产业价值1080亿美元。该产业最有价值的地方是将用户的注意力卖给出价最高者,这看似简单,实则需要错综复杂和可能存在漏洞的“广告技术”基础架构。

Enterprises called “supply-side platforms”use data from apps and from cookies in browsers to pass a profile of everyperson who visits an advertising-supported page to an advertising exchange.There the rights to show adverts are auctioned off user by user. Bidders usethe data from the supply-side, along with further data procured from brokers,to decide how likely the user is to act on their ad, and thus how much it isworth to show it to him. The highest bidder gets to put its ad on the user’sscreen (see chart 2). Meanwhile, data associated with the transaction are usedto update the brokers’ records.

被称为“供给侧平台”的企业利用应用程序和网络追踪器(cookies)搜集的数据,将访问广告赞助页的所有用户的资料提供给广告交易中心。广告显示权在这里以用户为单位被逐一拍卖。竞价者利用供给侧和代理商提供的数据,判断某个用户根据他们的广告采取行动的可能性有多大,以及向他显示广告的价值有多大。出价最高者将广告推送到用户屏幕上。与此同时,交易的相关数据被用于更新代理商记录。

The more pertinent data the bidders get,the more the winning advertiser is likely to bid. This builds in incentives toget as much data to as many bidders as feasible. And that is not particularlyconducive to the protection of privacy.

竞价者获取的用户数据越多,获胜广告商投标的可能性就越大,形成了向竞价者提供的数据越多越好的激励环境,对于保护隐私尤为不利。

The introduction of the gdpr spurred legalchallenges to this system across Europe (see article). Some decisions arealready headed to appeal, and it seems sure that eventually at least a few willmake it all the way up the tree to the European Court of Justice.

《通用数据保护条例》的实施引发了整个欧洲对该体系提出合法性挑战。有些判决已经被上诉,看来至少有几起案件最终必将上诉到欧洲法院。



Tech lobbyists in Brussels worry that MsVestager agrees with those who believe that their data empires make Google andits like natural monopolies, in that no one else can replicate Google’sknowledge of what users have searched for, or Amazon’s of what they havebought. She sent shivers through the business in January when she compared suchcompanies to water and electricity utilities, whichbecause of their irreproducible networks of pipes and power lines are stringently regulated.

欧盟的科技说客担心维斯塔格女士认同一种观点,即数据帝国使谷歌等公司成为自然垄断企业,谷歌的用户搜索数据或亚马逊的用户购买数据无法被其他公司所复制。令业界恐慌的是,维斯塔格女士在1月份将它们比作水电公用事业公司,因为无法复制的水管网和电网受到严格监管。

Sometimes the power of such networks getsthem broken up: witness at&t. Elizabeth Warren, a senator who wants to bethe Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2020, has suggested Facebookand Google could also be split up. Ms Vestager pours cold water on the idea.But Europe’s privacy-plus-antitrust approach offers a halfway house: force thecompanies to share their data, thus weakening their market power and empoweringthe citizenry.

有时公用事业公司因这种网络的力量而被拆分,例如:美国电话电报公司(AT&T)。参议员伊丽莎白·沃伦希望在2020年成为民主党总统候选人,他提出脸书和谷歌也可以被拆分。维斯塔格女士对这一观点泼了冷水,但欧洲将隐私与反垄断结合的方法提供了折中方案:强制这些企业分享数据,从而削弱它们的市场权力,增加全体公民的自主权。

In mid-March a panel appointed by theBritish government and led by Jason Furman, a Harvard economist who was anadviser in Barack Obama’s White House, advocated such an approach, suggesting aregulator empowered to liberate data from firms to which it provided “strategicmarket status”. An eu panel with a similar remit is expected to issuerecommendations along the same lines soon.

3月中旬,一个由英国政府任命的专家小组支持这种方式,组长是曾担任巴拉克·奥巴马总统顾问的哈佛大学经济学家杰森·福尔曼。该小组提议赋予监管机构权力,让那些依靠数据获得“战略性市场地位”的公司交出数据。预计欧盟一个职权类似的专家小组将很快提出同一思路的建议。

The idea is for consumers to be able tomove data about their Google searches, Amazon purchasing history or Uber ridesto a rival service. So, for example, social-media users could post messages toFacebook from other platforms with approaches to privacy that they prefer. Theinnovative engineers of the tech incumbents would still have vast troves ofdata to work with. They could just no longer count on privileged access tothem. The same principle might also lead to firms being able to demand anonymisedbulk data from Google to strengthen rival search engines. ViktorMayer-Schönberger of Oxford University points to precedent: large Germaninsurers have to share data with smaller rivals to help them gauge risk.

目的是允许消费者将自己的谷歌搜索数据、亚马逊购物历史、优步打车记录转移到对手的服务平台。例如:社交媒体用户可将其他平台的消息发布到脸书上,前者的隐私政策受到用户的喜爱。在位科技公司的创意工程师仍有海量数据可用,只是再也无法独享了。这一原则还可以使企业向谷歌公司索要匿名批量数据,以加强竞争对手的搜索引擎。牛津大学的Viktor Mayer-Schönberger指出先例:德国大型保险公司必须与规模较小的竞争对手分享数据,以帮助后者评估风险。

This may not be as fine a solution as itmight sound. Getting lots of personal data to move freely while also keeping itsafe is not straightforward. Users would be required to give serious thought tothe question of with whom they wanted to share their information, as opposed toblindly clicking “Accept” buttons to get rid of pop-ups, as mostly happenstoday. Anonymising a large dataset—such as a compendium of Google searcheswhich might then be used to train a rival’s algorithms—is harder than it mightseem. Identifiable data about individuals can seep regardless.

这一解决方案可能不像听上去那么美好。自由转移大量个人数据的同时又要确保数据安全,这并非易事。用户会被要求认真考虑与谁分享个人信息,而当今的用户基本上盲目点击“接受”按钮来避免弹窗。匿名处理大型数据库不是表面那么简单,例如谷歌搜索汇编可被用于训练竞争对手的算法。可识别的个人数据仍会被泄露出去。

And there may not be much appetite for it.Following Britain’s lead, the eu has forced banks to allow their clients tomove their data to third parties. But demand for services that letpersonal-finance apps look at your bank statements has yet to take off. Googleand Facebook offer their users the possibility of downloading a portion of thedata those users have provided to the firms (though those taking the offer upare best advised to have a large hard drive). But few rivals have invested incomplementary systems that allow you to upload those data, suggesting that alack of user data is not the factor limiting their ability to take on today’sincumbents.

而且人们对此可能不太感兴趣。在英国的引领下,欧盟强制银行允许客户向第三方转移个人数据,但允许个人理财手机软件查看用户的银行结单这类服务的需求并不强烈。谷歌和脸书允许用户下载一部分他们本人提供给其他公司的数据,但接受该提议的用户最好准备一块大容量硬盘。然而,没有几家竞争对手投资建造允许用户上传数据的互补系统,说明缺少数据并不是限制它们挑战当今在位企业的因素。

Still, the assumption remains that acombined focus on antitrust and privacy could, over time, both reduce theincumbents’ market power and open up new routes to competition. Enthusiastspoint to ibm, faced with antitrust action, divorcing its software and hardwarebusinesses in 1969. That created a new industry for software writers toexplore. A world of social networks empowered to share aspects of Facebook’smap of who knows whom and likes what, while being free to explore businessmodels other than advertising could produce all sorts of profitable, sociallyuseful innovation by firms in Europe and around the world. And though Facebookmight not do as well in such a future as it would if given free rein, it couldstill prosper. The past half-century has not been an irredeemably shabby onefor ibm.

但仍有人认为,反垄断与隐私保护相结合可逐渐削弱在位企业的市场权力和开辟新的竞争途径。支持者指出1969年,遭遇反垄断诉讼的IBM公司将软硬件业务拆分,形成一个供软件开发人员探索的新行业。如果社交网络界有权分享“脸书”的人际关系与喜好图谱的同时,自由探索广告以外的商业模式,就能使欧洲乃至全世界的企业开展利润丰厚、对社会有益的各种创新。在这样的未来,“脸书”可能不像自由时那么风光,但仍可蓬勃发展。过去的半个世纪对于IBM来说并非糟糕透顶。

Europe alone might not be able to bring allthis about. But a mixture of the accommodations companies make to it and theexample it sets to others could have a catalysing effect. The appearance of aEuropean commissioner at sxsw is a rarity. ProgressiveAmerican politicians were this year rarely a thumbdrive-throw away. Theycould have done worse than stop by and listen. Demanding that tech giants bebroken up may get the odd rally chanting, but it would be hard to bring about.Calling on them to give power back to the people, though, has a certain ring toit.

单靠欧洲可能无法实现这一切,但企业对欧洲的适应和欧洲树立的典范可产生催化作用。欧盟委员出席SXSW大会实属罕见,开明的美国政客今年罕见地靠边站,他们本可以更强硬而非洗耳恭听。要求拆分科技巨头也许能赢得少数人的赞许,但实现起来很难。然而,呼吁它们还权于民有一定意义。