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Regent Debate: Be it Resolved that Governments Should Regulate Big Technology in the Public Interest

The C.D. Howe Institute is pleased to announce its third Regent Debate: Should Governments Regulate “Big Tech” to Protect Public Interest?

In the wake of Cambridge Analytica’s hijack of Facebook data and Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, calls for oversight, governance, and accountability of the world’s largest tech titans have grown. Companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple are criticized for failing to protect privacy, preventing the spread of misinformation, and inhibiting competition. The other side argues against any “techlash” that would restrain the industry and stunt technological progress.

As the economic and cultural powers of Big Tech expand, is it time for more regulation? How do we balance public interest, while also encouraging innovation?

Join us June 11, where four leading thinkers will debate this important and timely topic. James Comey, former director of the FBI and Melanie Aitken, former Commissioner of the Competition Bureau of Canada will argue for the proposition. David Plouffe, 2008 Obama campaign manager and current Executive Director of the Zuckerberg Foundation, and Robert Atkinson, president of the Information and Technology Innovation Foundation will argue against.

The debate will take place from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, with a reception before and after.

Arguing for:

JAMES COMEY, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2013-2017)

MELANIE AITKEN, Former Commissioner of the Competition Bureau of Canada

Arguing against:

DAVID PLOUFFE, Adviser to President Barack Obama (2011-2013)

ROBERT ATKINSON, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Register here or reserve your spot by emailing