Good and bad effects of GAFA on the world

GAFA is a group of large corporations whose movements are attracting so much attention that it is almost impossible not to see them in Japanese media such as newspapers, television, and online news.

Known as “The Four” in the United States and Britain, their trends are attracting attention.

GAFA has the power to move the economy and even change the legal system, but what kind of changes has it brought about?

In this column, we will look back on the impact GAFA has had on the world, sorting out the positive and negative aspects.

What is GAFA?

Once again, “GAFA” is a collective name for four technology companies: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. With the addition of Microsoft, it is sometimes called the Big Five.

All four GAFA companies are US companies and are always ranked high in the market capitalization rankings of the country. And the share of the US stock market is over 20%, the highest ever. *As of July 31, 2020

Also called a “platformer”, it creates a “platform (base)” mainly for Botch such as EC and SNS on the Internet, and provides large-scale services on the platform.

For these reasons, it has a great influence not only in the United States but also on a global scale, and while it brings benefits such as improving convenience and enriching lives, it also has negative effects such as personal information leaks. is producing.

GAFA’s positive impact on the world

Let’s first look at the aspects of the impact GAFA has had on the world that will benefit us.

Improved convenience

Many of the products and services provided by GAFA are highly convenient and of high quality, even though they can be used free of charge or at a low price, which is one of the reasons why they are spreading on a global scale.

For example, Google’s search engine and Android OS, Facebook, which boasts the top share in SNS, and Amazon, which has a wide range of recommendation functions and fast delivery speeds, as well as video and music distribution, can be used at least one daily.

In terms of price, Apple is different except for the App Store, but it is creating new products and services that are unique such as Apple Watch and Apple Pay, creating new customer experiences and convenience.

Easy to use for business

There are also benefits for businesses, especially small businesses.

First of all, it is easy to conduct business activities using the platform built and operated by GAFA. Specifically, it is possible to promote by opening a store on the Amazon marketplace, transmitting information from the official account on Facebook, and placing advertisements.

These utilizations can be started small at low cost, and at the same time, it is possible to withdraw immediately if it turns out that it will not get on track. This can be said to be an advantage of doing business using the platform.

GAFA threat

GAFA has brought not only benefits but also threats to our lives.

[For users/consumers] Infringement of privacy and information leakage due to the acquisition of personal information

GAFA and other platformers acquire and accumulate personal information and use it to improve services by analyzing big data.

When GAFA et al. acquire personal information, they basically pledge to obtain prior consent and manage it appropriately, but there are some problems.

The first is the problem of information leakage. In fact, Facebook has experienced several large-scale information leaks from 2018 to 2020.

The second is an infringement of privacy in that detailed behavior logs, such as who went where and when, and what actions were taken, can be obtained from service usage records without the person’s knowledge.

Even if no information leaks occur and the collected personal information is treated as anonymous data, the possibility of privacy violation cannot be denied because individuals can be identified to some extent by combining multiple pieces of information.

Regarding the acquisition of personal information, there was a debate on the pros and cons of acquiring “cookies*” without permission, which had not been viewed as a problem until then, and led to the adoption of the GDRP in the EU. In Japan as well, in order to deal with problems such as the declining birthrate and aging population, the “Basic Law for Promotion of Public and Private Sector Data Utilization” was enacted due to the need to promote data utilization in cooperation with the government and the private sector. is required to be disclosed. GDRP will be discussed later.

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