“What I worry about is that the US taking a data sovereignty position, which is what this effectively is, sets the precedent that this will now be done against American firms that have a global presence,” says former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “Essentially, every American tech firm has data that’s stored in the US that’s subject to US law that’s used by Europeans, for example, and they bristle at that. It sets in motion a whole bunch of things that can affect American dominance.”
Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, who is launching a new podcast today, discusses how banning TikTok can spawn international retaliation that can affect American dominance:
Banning TikTok Can Affect American Dominance
I don’t know what this the confidential security concerns are about TikTok. The claimed reason for this action is data sovereignty. In other words, that the people would like to have the data for TikTok to be held in the United States. If that is the goal there is a much simpler way to do it. That is to require TikTok and other companies like it to work with a cloud provider such as Amazon, Google, or Microsoft who have the necessary security protections and are covered by US law.
What I worry about is that the US taking a data sovereignty position, which is what this effectively is, sets the precedent that this will now be done against American firms that have a global presence. Essentially, every American tech firm has data that’s stored in the US that’s subject to US law that’s used by Europeans, for example, and they bristle at that. So now you’re setting the precedent that they can insist on this too. Be very careful about the multi-move scenario, the back and forth in these things. It seems appealing but then it sets in motion a whole bunch of things that can affect American dominance.
I Worry That We’re Splintering The Internet
We have benefited enormously by American values and American technology being used globally. I worry again that what we’re doing is we’re splintering the internet because it’s so easy for a country to say we don’t like these other people. But we are safer as a world because we’re using each other’s applications and that we’re getting to understand each other better. You have to make accommodations for national security. In Huawei’s case, there was some evidence that Huawei was busy doing things that are inappropriate.
There are a number of ways of stopping that and detecting it but the best solution to Huawei is to have a strong competitor in the United States. That strong competitor should be able to wipe them out competitively. So again, we’re playing with Tiktok and with Huawei from a behind position. I’d rather have strategies where I’m quite sure the US will win. We can win these battles with focus, great innovation, all the things that we do so well, open borders, and lots of people using it outside the country.