Control the technology giants – the 2018 Hugh Cudlipp Lecture

Former BBC director of news James Harding added his weight to the demands for control over the technology giants in a high profile lecture last night (March 21st).

Harding, former editor of the Times who recently left the BBC said the tech companies had to abide by new standards or have them set for them. He was giving the annual Cudlipp Lecture organised by the London Press Club to an audience of more than 200 at the British Library. The event was sponsored by the Mirror and Cision. A selection of photos from the evening is available here.

The i website reports:

Politicians should legislate to stop the abuse of people’s personal data by technology giants such as Facebook, the BBC’s former Director of News, has said.

Giving the annual Hugh Cudlipp journalism lecture, Mr Harding, a former Times editor, said the Cambridge Analytica scandal, gave legislators an opportunity to seize back control. Mr Harding said: “The tech companies face a stark, but obvious choice. Either they are going to set new standards by which they operate – or their future will be decided for them. They should delete or demote dangerous information online; they should be transparent about what they’re doing with our data, particularly in politics.”

Mr Harding said: “Let’s not underestimate the power of the state. If it wants to require companies to behave in the public interest and sustain our system of democracy, it can.” He added: “We need to know more about possible foreign meddling in the UK’s recent series of votes.”

“We also need to understand better how political campaigns purchase and use our personal information – and how technology platforms market the data. For this is not a loophole; it’s a business.”

Read the complete article here.

The event has also been covered online by The Mirror which features a video of the lecture:

Former BBC News boss James Harding launches blistering attack on tech giants such as Facebook for allowing ‘the weaponisation of the news’

In a provocative speech James Harding said the ‘charge sheet against Big Tech’ included ‘facilitating hate speech, enabling child pornography, avoiding billions in tax and plundering privacy’

Democracy faces being “destroyed” if tech giants fail to stop the rise of fake news, hate speech and propaganda, the former head of BBC News declared last night.

James Harding called for a crackdown on “staggeringly self-serving” firms as he warned technology is “squarely on the hook for the weaponisation of the news” in the annual Cudlipp Lecture.

Read the complete article here.

The Press Gazette article is available here.

Richard Dymond

Honorary Treasurer and Director of the London Press Club and the London Press Club Ball.

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