Quoted: At Davos, talking about tech’s rep vs. banks’ rep

“Self-regulation, no matter what you do, is just not going to be good enough.”

Paul Achleitner, chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank, on the tech industry. The Financial Times reports that business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos are warning that tech could suffer the same hit to its reputation as the banking industry did.

Why? Tech seems to be riding high in the information and innovation age, but a variety of factors could chip away at the trust and good will that it has built with users: Dominance. Privacy issues. Trust.

The FT also quoted Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN, as saying that “the collapse of trust in tech companies could be ‘just as big’ as it had been for banks.”

Tech companies are already seeing a backlash, and here are just a few examples. In Europe, the dominance of U.S. tech companies is being challenged related to issues with privacy — Google is having to take down search results when requested under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law. Speaking of Google, there’s also the European resolution calling for the Internet company’s breakup. And the EU has warned that Apple’s tax breaks in Ireland may be illegal.

FT columnist Gillian Tett, writing from Davos, points out that a survey by PR company Edelman showed that 78 percent of people trust tech companies as opposed to the 53 percent who say they trust banks. But she writes: “It is worth remembering that before 2007, faith in banks was also sky-high.” And: “When some bankers look at tech, they feel a sense of déjà vu.”


Photo from the 2015 World Economic Forum at Davos by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images


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