Foxglove is 5!

Foxglove is five years old. Wow.

A lot has changed in the last half-decade, to put it mildly. In 2019, Meta was still called Facebook – and no-one had yet heard of whistleblowers Frances Haugen or Daniel Motaung

Donald Trump was still in the White House and the world was yet to witness the attempted coup by his supporters to prevent the peaceful transition of power to Joe Biden – planned and instigated, in large part, on Facebook.

No one knew Covid was just around the corner, nor the profound ways in would affect Foxglove’s work, including: spy tech firm Palantir making its secret bid to take control of NHS data, the planning of the government’s pandemic response taking place via hidden, disappearing WhatsApp messages, or Amazon workers in Coventry and all around the UK, toiling in warehouses while the rest of us stayed home during lockdown – and being rewarded with a real terms pay cut

We had only begun to scratch the surface of how the government was turning over essential functions of the state, from deciding who gets visas to enter the country, to grading students on their final exams during the pandemic, over to algorithms that entrench unfairness and fail vulnerable people. 

Lina Khan was a legal fellow at the Federal Trades Commission – not yet the Chair who would launch groundbreaking antitrust cases against Big Tech and others, radically reframing the direction of competition law around the world. 

The pace of technological transformation has accelerated exponentially, and we have had to accelerate with it, expanding our team and the types of cases we bring to reflect that. 

We’re incredibly proud of everything we’ve achieved. But there’s still so much more to do. That means new campaigns – and new cases. We’ll be able to share more about that soon. 

The future is hard to predict and we’re not going to try and tell you exactly what cases we’ll have worked on in another five years. 

But one thing’s not going anywhere fast, unless we all do something about it: the stranglehold Big Tech holds over our economy, our democracy, our global public square and ultimately, our planet and its natural resources. 

That’s why we’re so invested in the global antitrust movement – spearheaded by people like Lina Khan – and using the power of the law to break up their monopoly. 

The CMA’s investigations into the “partnerships” between generative AI companies and the tech giant incumbents, like OpenAI and Microsoft, are a good start. But they need to go much further and much faster, to match the scale at which Big Tech is gobbling up AI, just like they have the rest of the online world in the last two decades.

You will be seeing a lot more on this from us. As well as on our existing cases, supporting social media’s key safety workers content moderators in Kenya, as well as the people whose lives have been torn apart by Facebook’s refusal to keep its platform safe and working with disabled people in Manchester to fight back against the government algorithm that unfairly targets them for dehumanising benefit fraud investigations.  

Thank you for supporting us. Here’s to the next five years!