In recent years, U.S. technology companies have been facing an increasingly hostile public reaction here in the U.S. and abroad. These concerns, expressed most prominently in the United States by political leaders at the state and federal level and in Europe by national and EU legislators are based on perceived threats to privacy created by these companies, their role in creating a new economic reality that may displace jobs, and other significant concerns. As a result, some of America’s most innovative companies have been plagued by lawsuits and claims of antitrust abuses. At the same time, the U.S. government’s relationship with these technology giants remains fraught in the aftermath of the Snowden revelations a half-decade ago and the companies’ alignment with particular advocacy groups. Technology companies today face potential federal and state legislation in the United States and even broader legislation abroad, all alongside numerous ongoing investigations and significant public scrutiny of their actions.
Despite this ostensibly negative public attention, use of these companies’ products is growing broadly and their success in developing innovative capabilities and selling products built upon them continues to drive U.S. economic success and unquestionably contributes to U.S. national security. As such, a core issue that must be addressed in the new decade is how the U.S. government can address legitimate public concerns without impairing US innovation, economic growth, and national security.