Washington D.C. – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) joined CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday morning to discuss his recent op-ed in The New York Times in which he postulates that the power of Big Tech has outgrown the government’s ability to singularly protect consumer data. Instead, the free market offers innovative and compelling responses to the concerns that Big Tech monopolies have created. Leader McCarthy and the hosts also discussed the future of cryptocurrencies, and expressed skepticism over Facebook’s Libra currency.
Highlights are below, or watch the full hit here.
On Big Tech Monopolies Threatening Consumers’ Data Privacy:
“My concern is the answers that I’m hearing from Washington are really what I heard during Dodd-Frank…It’s simplistic: break the companies up — [which does] nothing to protect my privacy– or create a regulator that will make [Big Tech companies] a utility, taking away all innovation.
“I lead in that editorial something that [tech businessman] Tom Siebel and I were talking about: what if the postal service allowed you to mail for free, but they could read your letters and send you advertisements? That is how Gmail was created. Google says they no longer read your emails, but they allowed third parties to do it. […] When I’m on Facebook, I’m not the customer, I’m the product.”
On the Future of Cryptonetworks:
“We shouldn’t be afraid of technology, but we should understand it so we can get a greater sense of how we can prepare for tomorrow to be better than today…
“When I look at the rest of the world, and yes, we want our currency to be the strongest — but when you look at technology and where it’s going, and you think about China and these other countries and what they’re trying to do, we cannot keep our heads in the sand. How can we be more secure? How can we protect our own privacy? Privacy is the real concern.
“[Bitcoin presents] challenges, but that is why we should have hearings, that’s why we should discuss this, and that’s why we can solve these problems.”
On the Upcoming Congressional Hearing on Facebook’s Libra:
“Now [Facebook] wants to get into the [financial] business, but [Libra] is not bitcoin….they’re not decentralized. What I’m really looking for in this hearing is how and when will Libra actually become decentralized.
“Companies have to pay $10 million to get into this Libra and there’s only a few selected? So a small business couldn’t get in? So then you’re concerned about competition — is it really an open and free market? […] These are questions and it’s right that Washington asks these questions of where we’re going.
“What Facebook is doing — and you can’t argue against them, they’re trying to keep a monopoly — they’re trying to keep control. So they went to their biggest customers, and they’ve got a base to start with — millions of people on the platform — so let’s control another element of what they’re doing. Why? Because they see where bitcoin and blockchain are going and they want to get out in front of it.”