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Powered by Battery  |  July 26, 2019
Talking Tech Regulation, Privacy and Free Speech with “The Decider”, Nicole Wong

The Powered by Battery podcast features guests from inside and outside the Battery ecosystem discussing major tech issues of the day. Guests from the Battery portfolio in this season of the podcast represent a subset of business-software and enterprise-infrastructure companies, across investment stages and geographies, highlighting the trends of marketing tech; the broader use of big data and AI; productivity software; user experience; and healthcare software. If you’re interested in learning more about these companies, or others in the Battery portfolio, you can access more information here.

Big tech is under scrutiny like never before today, with government regulators grilling—and fining—large tech companies for not adequately protecting consumers’ privacy online. Nicole Wong, a former deputy general counsel at Google who later served as deputy CTO of the United States in the Obama administration, is uniquely positioned to weigh in on the topic.

On this episode of Powered by Battery, we chat with Wong, whose team at Google dubbed her “The Decider” for her role evaluating controversial online content and making critical decisions about free expression on the Internet around the world, including on Google’s YouTube site. These days, Wong is consulting with other companies on issues such as privacy, security and big data. In our conversation here, she discusses topics including the impact of GDPR on tech companies in the U.S.; the ethical implications of facial-recognition technology; and Google’s reasons for deciding to do business in China, and later to pull out of the country.


Key takeaways:  

  • One reason tech companies are in the hot seat today is that Internet users feel an “asymmetry of power” in relation to big Internet companies: They don’t feel they’re in control of their own data, and the large firms have all the power.
  • This may fuel more tech-industry regulation. In addition, Europe’s GDPR regulations have created a sea-change in how people globally view privacy and data protection, partly because they require companies to hire people to oversee data collection and privacy, and then report back to company executives.
  • There’s a lack of tech officials in the current U.S. administration overseeing critical technology issues like privacy and security, and this could have consequences down the road.
  • The volume of content that big companies like Google have to police today is staggering: Today, there are more than 500 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Have a listen.

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This information covers investment and market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic or market conditions and is for educational purposes. The anecdotal examples throughout are intended for an audience of entrepreneurs in their attempt to build their businesses and not recommendations or endorsements of any particular business.

Content obtained from third-party sources, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified as to its accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. Battery Ventures has no obligation to update, modify or amend the content of this post nor notify its readers in the event that any information, opinion, projection, forecast or estimate included, changes or subsequently becomes inaccurate.

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