Rafael Behr is absolutely right that the owners and providers of the global electronic infrastructure believe they can operate without either paying taxes or taking responsibility for the safety of their product (Tech giants know where the power lies, 31 August). The elements of that infrastructure, analogous to aircraft and airlines, leave gaping holes that allow access to hackers, virus-makers, pornographers and other criminals. Their “airports” – service providers – have no security scans for illegal material. All of them provide passage to the dark web. No wonder their profits are so enormous, for they take all the benefits of global markets without assuming any of the responsibility for basic safety and security standards. If they spent the resources they should to develop and provide secure systems, and to give users safe products the way other manufacturers have to, they might at the same time prevent some of the vicious invective that does so much harm to private individuals on social media.
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
• Rafael Behr is wrong to claim that giant technological corporations possess power that goes beyond the control of elected governments. What they do have is the power to defy weak government – a situation common in Europe, where the prevailing neoliberal doctrine states that the best societies have small and weak governments. It was the member governments of the EU that created the legislation that enabled the technological giants to avoid taxes. Only recently George Osborne with his patent box legislation gave additional opportunities for these companies to avoid tax. This contrasts to the situation in China, where all of these companies have had to kow-tow to the strong government if they wish to engage in trade. Google struck a self-censorship deal with Beijing so it could continue operating. Where there is the political will these companies can be brought to heel.