A hard European retort to an attitude that extends from Silicon Valley to the White House, which says that the United States' dominance in new technology should give it free license abroad.
PARIS —Barack Obama, who is launching a charm offensive in Silicon Valley, has decided to make some friends by accusing Europe of protectionism. The American president passionately declared that “in defense of Google and Facebook, sometimes the European response here is more commercially-driven than anything else. We have owned the Internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it in ways that they can’t compete.”
Such arrogance is surprising. In a recent interview given to Le Monde, Uber founder Travis Kalanick barely tried to hide the fact he would not comply with our laws as long as he found them unsuitable — and that he would help those working for him commit tax fraud as long as France did not follow his rules.
Let’s imagine the reaction of Uncle Sam’s justice and tax systems if a European group was to more or less openly ignore the law of the land on American soil. The truth is that every democracy has the right to defend its vision of justice and impose its laws upon those who choose to take interest in its market.
More importantly, it would be appropriate to remind President Obama that Europe is not China — the cyberspace’s only counter-power — i.e. a country that has closed its digital borders. The Internet in Europe has become a Far West without a sheriff, where the American giants are thriving in total freedom and, sometimes, with complete impunity.