The censoring and de-platforming behavior of the tech giants is basically China’s social credit system being deployed in the US, in a stealth campaign to turn this country into a one-party state controlled by the DNC.
Is it OK that social media companies implement powerful behaviorist technologies that coerce users without their knowledge? These transnational corporations are only required to provide profits to their shareholders, they’re not required to provide democratic principles; human rights, civil rights or the rule of law.
This is an excellent interview by Epoch Times journalist, Simone Gao with Brigadier General Robert Spalding, former Senior Director for strategic planning at the National Security Council at the White House, in which they discuss this new Cold War in our globalized world and what role the Big Tech companies should play.
Spalding suggests that the time has come to craft a digital environment that corresponds to the founding documents of the US, where we would have control over our data, get compensated from companies that want to use our data and have an ability to opt-out from allowing those companies to use our data, giving us the ability to protect ourselves from an oppressive government, whether that be the US government or any other government.
Blockchain technology could enable this and I personally think that networks using such technology would out-compete those with the current invasive model and create lots of jobs and liberty, all-around.
Simone Gao: Let’s talk about China. I know you went to Poland a few days ago and the US and Poland signed a deal to strengthen cooperation in 5G technology. So does that mean Huawei is out in Poland?
Robert Spalding: It does mean Huawei is out in Poland but it isn’t the end of the story, because quite frankly, no OEM equipment-maker in the infrastructure portion of the network is really building a secure network.
A 5G network without security is really dangerous for democracies and unfortunately, most of the security standards and the underlying technology has been developed by China and so to this date, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung which would really be the major equipment manufacturers other than Huawei and ZTE have not come out and said we are going to absolutely commit to creating a one-of-a-kind, secure network that would protect people’s data, in a way that is required by GDPR in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation or in a way that in the United States would ensure that elections can’t be tampered with or the individuals can’t be influenced by state actors, which is what happens today.
Simone Gao: So, can Huawei still be stopped and how?
Robert Spalding: I think the question we have to ask is, can the Communist Party – the Chinese Communist Party – be stopped, in creating this global network and essentially app services and business models that are built on the 5G infrastructure? Can we prevent that; from allowing the Communist Party to influence outside their borders?
I think the answer to that is yes but as I said all along, the United States, the government actually needs to take a leadership role in the digital space. So when it just allows tech companies to essentially harvest data and do whatever they want with that data and allows foreign nations, like China, like the Russians, like the North Koreans or the Iranians to do the same, without essentially committing to protecting the American people, their data, then you’re essentially ceding the battlefield to the Chinese Communist Party and others.
Simone Gao: Do you think the American leadership is ready to take a leadership role in this area?
Robert Spalding: I think the President’s ready. Remember, I referred to Eisenhower. What did Eisenhower say? He said, “Beware, the undue influence of the military-industrial complex,” okay?
So, one of the things that’s supported by a very hawkish military national security policy is the military-industrial complex – they make money from that, the F-35, aircraft carriers, tanks, submarines – all of those things end up [making] enormous profits for these companies and so there’s an enormous profit incentive behind continuing this type of interventionist foreign policy – or militaristic foreign policy, if you will.
Simone Gao: So, at the end of 2017, the co-founder of Google Sergey Brin said in a company-wide meeting, regarding Google’s involvement in a Pentagon project, he said he thought that it was better for peace if the world’s militaries are intertwined with international organizations like Google, rather than working solely with nationalistic defense contractors.
So, I’m a little confused, here is Google an international organization or is Google a US company?
Robert Spalding: Well, it’s a multinational corporation and I think one of the things that I can say is that I actually applauded Sergey Brin for originally taking Google out of China. Coming from the former Soviet Union, he understood I think the implications of totalitarianism and certainly what the Chinese Communist Party was going to do but of course, as he stepped away from a day-to-day leadership role in the company and allowed more of a multinational, corporate structure to evolve in Google, the company has gotten away from its core values which is, “Don’t Be Evil”.
And when you essentially partner with a totalitarian regime that creates concentration camps or does organ harvesting or does any of the the really oppressive things that the Chinese Communist Party does, it begins to corrupt your soul.
The problem with being a multinational corporation in today’s day and age, globalization really comes without democratic principles; human rights, civil rights or a rule of law. It’s really the law of the jungle in the international order, because the Chinese Communist Party is basically determined not to follow any of the rules.
When the second biggest economy in the world is intertwined with everybody and is determined not to follow the rules, then pretty soon others stop following the rules and it really becomes a free-for-all and Google has joined that free-for-all and what they’re doing is they’re aligning themselves with where they think the future is, which is a growing Chinese economy.
Unfortunately, when they do that, they have to abandon the principles of the United States, where they were founded and adopt international principles. But since the International order is really like the Wild West, there end up being no principles other than power and control.
So, while large tech companies can fight for power and control very effectively in that environment, they’re not as effective as the nation-state. So, the Chinese Communist Party has far more leverage to pull an international order than Google does.
So, Google ends up being a fast follower but still, it sees where its future lies – and that lies in the free and open data rules within China that allows the government to actually monitor and control everything that everybody does.
That’s a world that Google can appreciate, because it can see where it can make a lot of money doing that and of course, what happens is, that model runs into problems of a free society, where privacy and rules about what you can do with other people’s data begin to bump up against our own values.
Simone Gao: I think Google’s identity does matter. I mean, does Google equate themselves to an international organization? To me, an international national organization would be like the Red Cross. Does Google, like you said, Google considers itself a multinational corporation? Does it need to stay loyal to the United States of America?
Robert Spalding: Well, if it wants to be a have a soul, I think it does but unfortunately, in today’s globalized world, if you want to…be doing business in China, then you do it according to how the Chinese Communist Party wants and if you don’t do it according to how the Chinese Communist Party wants, then you’re not doing business in China and so, Google as a business wants to do business in China and in order to do that, the Chinese Communist Party requires that Google essentially abandon all of its values, other than power, control and profit when it crosses the threshold into China.
Simone Gao: The bottom line is you think Google doesn’t have a obligation to stay faithful to its country.
Robert Spalding: Under our current laws and convention and the rules of the United States, no. It essentially has a requirement – both the directors and the executives of Google have a requirement to deliver value to the shareholder. That’s it. There are no other legal requirements and so, to the extent that they are not, by law providing value to the shareholders, then they’re actually violating their fiduciary responsibilities.
So, in a lot of ways, our system is set up so that it’s very – it’s not only easy for companies to abandon US values and principles – it’s also mandatory, when when dealing with the Chinese Communist Party, in particular.
Simone Gao: So, Google turned down several Department of Defense projects worth tens of billions of dollars and instead, Google builds AI centers in China. So, do you think the AI research Google does can directly benefit the PLA [People’s Liberation Army – the Chinese military]?
Robert Spalding: Well, I’m sure it probably can but I think it’s more going to support organizations like the United Front Work Department ,that is really responsible for creating propaganda and influence around the world.
I think that’s what the 5G architecture and the business models, which means, in this case the Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms that get developed on data with these AI partnerships that Google has created in Beijing and elsewhere in China.
Actually, that contributes to understanding the intent of consumers and then influencing their shopping habits but the Chinese Communist Party takes those algorithms and adapts them to not just influencing your your shopping patterns but also everything else you do in your life, so that they can suppress the outliers automatically and ensure that they only have people that are following the rules, according to the way that the Communist Party wants.
So it’s an incredibly powerful tool in the hands of totalitarian regimes. Of course, from Google’s perspective it’s also a powerful tool for influencing you to buy shoes.
Simone Gao: Talking about money, Google turned down tens of billions of dollars in defense contracting in the US but the project they took on in China, like the Dragonfly search engine project or this AI project, the AI Center – I don’t think it’s – at least for now, is generating even a fraction of the revenue that they can make in the US.
So, I can’t help but thinking that Google is not after money in China. Am I wrong?
Robert Spalding: Well, they are after money, because if you think about it, if they increase market share in China with regard to search and their advertising clicks go up, as that goes up they’re looking at tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year that they currently don’t have and so, yes, the the defense contracts might be worth a few billions but ultimately, if you can get into the search market in China, it could potentially be worth hundreds of billions and of course, now that means that you have to get in bed with the Chinese Communist Party and work to prevent the Chinese people from knowing anything about their history or culture and censoring them and helping the Chinese Communist Party oppress them.
But when your entire value proposition as a company is based on revenue, because that’s what the laws of America say, it’s a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholder, then that drives everything you do – and oh by the way, that hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for the company means that the executives and the directors of the company the people that are really responsible for the strategy of where Google is involved get compensated quite handsomely.
Simone Gao: The state attorneys general from four dozen states have announced they’ve launched investigations into Google about their market power and corporate behaviors. Do you think Google should be broken up into smaller companies?
Robert Spalding: I think it’s important that people in a free country have control over their data, that they get compensated from companies that desire to use that data and they have an ability to opt-out for them from allowing those companies to use their data.
Currently, they don’t have that option. Even when they decide not to use Google services, Google is still collecting information on them in Android devices and this has been shown time and time again. Essentially, these tech companies want to collect as much data about me, about you as possible, so they know everything; all your intentions and they can sell that data, via advertising or just sell the data, itself…
Really, if you want to protect that, if you want to prevent that, breaking up Google’s not going to do that. You actually have to create a network that secures that data, so identity management, access, control and encryption become key features of building an Internet in a free society, because it allows people to actually know who’s on the network, so we don’t have state actors, like the PLA or the Russians creating influence or otherwise stealing people’s data.
At the same time, the citizens themselves have the ability to protect themselves from an oppressive government, whether that be the US government, whether it be any other government. It’s really about creating the same type of digital founding technology that corresponds to our physical founding documents.