Bill Gates says privacy regulations on big tech 'makes a lot of sense'

As Silicon Valley tech giants face backlash from lawmakers in Washington, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that privacy regulation on the industry’s major companies “makes a lot of sense.”

“The notion that this ability to identify anyone that we’re going to think about, how do businesses get to use that and how does the government use that? It makes a lot of sense,” Gates said during an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday.”

Both Google and Facebook have come under intense scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers this year over incidents of alleged political bias and the way users’ personal information was handled. Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the allegations of bias against conservatives during a hearing on Capitol Hill last week.

“I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way,” Pichai told lawmakers in a prepared statement. “To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests.”

When questioned by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith over bias in search results, Pichai said, “It’s not possible for an individual employee or group of employees to manipulate our search result.”

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before Congress last September, discussing ways the tech companies were preparing to address online meddling ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, in addition to alleged political bias and censoring conservatives on social media. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also testified before Congress about privacy, regulations and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

“The government should be talking to these companies about what they do,” Gates said. “There’s nothing inappropriate.”

Gates, who testified in front of Congress two decades ago to address Microsoft’s business practices, said executives of today’s tech giants should build a relationship with lawmakers.

“I was naive; I didn’t have an office in Washington, D.C. I thought that was a good thing and I even bragged about it,” Gates said, reflecting on his own experience on Capitol Hill. “I later came to regret that, so these – I’m sure these guys are learning better than I did, that they need to come back here and start a dialogue.”