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VOA慢速英语:美国的科技公司太大了吗?

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Are American Technology Companies Too Big?

美国的科技公司太大了吗?

Are big technology companies too big? Are they doing enough to protect users’ privacy?

科技公司太大了吗?他们在保护用户隐私方面做的够吗?

Like Europe before it, the U.S. government seems ready to try to place limits on its technology giants. But doing so may be more difficult than it seems.

像之前的欧洲一样,美国政府似乎准备去努力对国内的科技巨头加以限制。但是这样做可能比想象中更困难。

This week, the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ opened an investigation of major technology companies following months of concern expressed in Congress and elsewhere.

这周,国会和其他地方对这些公司表达了数月的担忧之后,美国司法部(DOJ)对大型科技公司实施了一次调查。

The main question: Have tech companies hurt competition, slowed innovation or caused other harm?

主要的问题是:科技公司是否损害了竞争,使创新放缓或者造成了其他的危害?

The investigation, which could look at companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, will take into account “widespread concerns” about social media, search engines and online retail services.

会查看苹果、谷歌、脸书和亚马逊的调查将关于社交媒体、搜索引擎和网上零售服务普遍担忧考虑在内。

Also this week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said that Facebook Inc. will pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to settle a government investigation into its privacy practices.

同样在这周,美国联邦贸易委员会表示脸书公司将支付一个创纪录的50亿美金的罚款来解决政府对其隐私的做法进行调查。

The FTC said that Facebook’s data policy was deceptive to “tens of millions” of people. Under the settlement, Facebook’s leaders will create an independent privacy committee.

联邦贸易委员会表示脸书的数据政策对数千万的人都存在欺诈行为。根据和解协议,脸书领导人将成立一个独立的隐私委员会。

The FTC also reportedly plans to fine Google for the way it dealt with children’s information on YouTube.

据报道联邦贸易委员会也计划对谷歌处理YouTube上儿童信息的方式进行罚款。

Both liberal and conservative American politicians have criticized tech companies. Democratic presidential candidates, for example, have called for stricter rules and even breakups of the big tech companies.

自由党和保守党的美国政治家都对科技公司进行了批评。例如民主党总统候选人已经呼吁对大型科技公司实施更严格的规则甚至将其解体。

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says Amazon is small compared to other companies in international retail. In a recent letter to shareholders, he wrote, “There are much larger retailers in every country where we operate. And that’s largely because nearly 90% of retail remains offline, in brick and mortar stores.”

亚马逊首席执行官兼创始人杰夫·贝佐斯表示亚马逊与其他国际零售公司比起来还算小型公司。在近期给股东的一封信中,他写道,“在我们运行的每个国家都有更大的零售商。并且亚马逊看起来很大是因为几乎90%的零售处于下线状态即以实体店的方式存在。”

Facebook vice president and spokesman Nick Clegg criticized calls for breaking up the company. He said Facebook “accepts that with success comes accountability.” But he argued that the government should not break up companies to enforce accountability.

脸书副主席和发言人尼克·克莱格批评了呼吁分解该公司的言论。他说脸书“脸书接受成功就是问责制。但是他辩论道政府不应该通过拆分公司的形式来强制实行问责制。”

The American technology industry developed without much government supervision, notes a paper published by Congressional Research Services or CRS.

美国国会研究服务处(CRS)发表的的一篇论文指出美国的科技企业发展过程中未受到太多的政府监督。

American antitrust law could apply to the big technology companies. But, CRS notes, antitrust actions against them would raise complex legal issues. Big tech companies are difficult targets because U.S. antitrust law does not easily apply to companies offering low cost goods or free online services.

美国的反垄断法可适用于大型科技公司。但是国会研究服务处指出对他们的反垄断行动可能引起复杂的法律问题。大型科技公司是困难的目标因为美国反垄断法律并不能很容易地适用于提供低价商品或者免费在线服务的公司。

Traditional American antitrust law centers on large businesses that harm consumers through price-gouging and similar acts. Many tech companies offer free products. Some, such as Amazon, also offer low prices on many goods.

传统的美国反垄断法律主要处理通过哄抬价格和类似操作以损害消费者利益的大型企业。很多科技公司提供免费的产品。像亚马逊这样的一些公司也以低廉的价格提供了很多商品。

I’m Jill Robbins.

吉尔·罗宾斯为您报道。

Are American Technology Companies Too Big?

Are big technology companies too big? Are they doing enough to protect users’ privacy?

Like Europe before it, the U.S. government seems ready to try to place limits on its technology giants. But doing so may be more difficult than it seems.

This week, the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ opened an investigation of major technology companies following months of concern expressed in Congress and elsewhere.

The main question: Have tech companies hurt competition, slowed innovation or caused other harm?

The investigation, which could look at companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, will take into account “widespread concerns” about social media, search engines and online retail services.

Also this week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said that Facebook Inc. will pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to settle a government investigation into its privacy practices.

The FTC said that Facebook’s data policy was deceptive to “tens of millions” of people. Under the settlement, Facebook’s leaders will create an independent privacy committee.

The FTC also reportedly plans to fine Google for the way it dealt with children’s information on YouTube.

Both liberal and conservative American politicians have criticized tech companies. Democratic presidential candidates, for example, have called for stricter rules and even breakups of the big tech companies.

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says Amazon is small compared to other companies in international retail. In a recent letter to shareholders, he wrote, “There are much larger retailers in every country where we operate. And that’s largely because nearly 90% of retail remains offline, in brick and mortar stores.”

Facebook vice president and spokesman Nick Clegg criticized calls for breaking up the company. He said Facebook “accepts that with success comes accountability.” But he argued that the government should not break up companies to enforce accountability.

The American technology industry developed without much government supervision, notes a paper published by Congressional Research Services or CRS.

American antitrust law could apply to the big technology companies. But, CRS notes, antitrust actions against them would raise complex legal issues. Big tech companies are difficult targets because U.S. antitrust law does not easily apply to companies offering low cost goods or free online services.

Traditional American antitrust law centers on large businesses that harm consumers through price-gouging and similar acts. Many tech companies offer free products. Some, such as Amazon, also offer low prices on many goods.

I’m Jill Robbins.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

innovation – n. the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods

resolve – v. to find an answer or solution to (something) : to settle or solve (something)

deceptive -- adj. intended to make someone believe something that is not true

shareholder – n. someone who owns shares in a company or business

regulation – n. an official rule or law that says how something should be done

price-gouging – n. economics a term for when a seller increases the price of goods or services in an unreasonable or unfair way


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