Zooming in on the Tech Picture

We live in a world loaded with chain-reactions and domino effects. Every decision or action of ours comes with some sort of consequences, good or bad, attached to it. Hence, we are told right from the beginning to practice a level of caution in our daily life and across different areas. Nevertheless, even with all the warnings, it’s too big of a risk to leave certain situations unsupervised, therefore in order to make sure that we are in a position where we can minimize every potential negative; we have set up dedicated regulatory bodies throughout the spectrum. These governing forces don’t just jump into action when something has gone off the rails already. Instead, they consistently instil decorum within their area of concern through meticulously designed regulations, but only if it was that easy! The organizations and people expected to follow these regulations are often finding ways to bypass them, and as good as technology has been for the humanity, it has made this unscrupulous activity a lot easier to pull off. Equipped with slick tools and a lot more channels for exploitation, some companies have changed the dynamics of their respective spheres, resulting in dented competition and an unhealthy business environment. However, the regulatory industry isn’t looking to stay behind for long, and a recent announced by CFPB does everything to validate that claim.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a string of orders in its attempt to gain more information about the functioning of some popular payment systems currently out there. As per the reports, the companies to have received these orders included Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square. CFPB has gone on the record to say that the directive should be viewed more as a segway into a phase where the bureau is actively involved in shaping the landscape for tech companies’ consumer products, rather than associating it with any lapses. The decision, however, comes after a serious spike in cases where big companies would use consumer’s personal data for malicious purposes.

When asked about what exactly the bureau will be focusing on once they have gained enough information about different companies’ operations, CFPB Director, Rohit Chopra said:

“For example, will the operators engage in invasive financial surveillance and combine the data they collect on consumers with their geo-location and browsing data? Will the payment platforms be truly neutral, or will they use their scale to extract rents from market participants?”

From a general standpoint, the bureau’s orders fit in conjunction with the recent efforts of FTC in broaching the issue of tech antitrust and its long-term implications.

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