None of us signed up for an Internet composed of "a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four", but here we are, watching as hyper-concentrated industries rack up catastrophic victories against net neutrality, right to repair, security auditing, and a host of other issues.
These gains come at the expense of the public interest, and endanger the public interest Internet: the parts of the net that let anyone, anywhere collaborate with anyone, anywhere without permission from someone who has interposed themselves between them. They represent a triumph of lobbying over evidence, and such lobbying is only possible because the industries behind it are so fantastically concentrated that their top executives literally fit around a modest boardroom table.
In 2019, EFF became part of a global movement to restore competition to our markets. Our competition work cuts across so many of the issues that we've been committed to for three decades: privacy, the right to tinker, coders' rights, independent security research, the right to repair, and the right of users to technological self-determination.
It's a critical juncture: lawmakers are circulating pro-interoperability legislation and holding hearings, even as leaks reveal that the Big Tech companies grew through cheating and the Department of Justice is greenlighting disastrous mergers in the telecom sector.
EFF has a unique contribution to make in this new era of trustbusting: it's not enough to restore the historic commitment to antitrust (though that would be a start). Tech has always had its own levers for maintaining a dynamic, competitive market, chief among them "adversarial interoperability," which allows upstarts to fell giants by using their own dominance against them.
The world is at a turning point on competition: market concentration is on the increase in many sectors, from eyewear to professional wrestling. As the political will for change mounts, we're excited to be part of the movement—and we're committed to making sure that the ways we hold Big Tech to account don't inadvertently become Perpetual Internet Domination Licenses.
This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2019.