Unite to hold tech accountable

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House January 5, 2023 in Washington, DC.

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President Joe Biden called on Republicans and Democrats in Congress to unite and pass legislation that puts new barriers to the tech industry, wrote in a statement. The Wall Street Journal op-ed Fourth, the current authority of the administration to rein in Big Tech is not enough.

“We need bipartisan action from Congress to hold Big Tech accountable,” Biden wrote.

The Op-ed is one of the president’s clearest-ever calls to Congress to act on topics including digital privacy, competition and online safety. line. The White House has previously voiced support for legislative efforts to address these issues and install progressive enforcers in key agencies. But as the last Congress drew to a close, the most ambitious technology proposals gained some momentum at the start of the year. still in limbo.

Biden’s bipartisan call on tech issues is notable because a divided Congress would further complicate the landscape of passing legislation in any area. The decision to focus op-ed on technology suggests that this may be a rare area that offers hope for advancement as working across the aisle.

Biden focused on three key areas of tech legislation that he hopes to see in this Congress. First, he urged lawmakers to pass federal privacy protections to limit the collection of sensitive data and advocate for a complete ban on advertising targeting children.

Next, he repeated a more tempered version about the call he made during the 2020 campaign to “fundamentally reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act,” a law that protects online platforms from liability. jurisdiction over user posts while maintaining the ability to moderate such content. He also called for more transparency around the algorithms tech companies use to determine what information users see to ensure they don’t expose unsafe content to children or discriminate against them. user groups.

Finally, Biden called for “fairer rules of the road” when it comes to competition in the tech sector.

“As tech platforms get large enough, many seek to promote their own products while excluding or disadvantageous to competitors – or charging competitors to sell on the platform,” he writes. their. “My vision for our economy is one in which everyone – SME, retail store, entrepreneur – can compete on a level playing field with the biggest companies.”

Biden emphasized throughout the article the special need to protect children on the internet, referring to a line in his State of the Union address last year that wrote: “We must hold the blame to social media companies about the testing they’re doing on our kids for profit.”

“There will be many policy issues on which we disagree in the new Congress, but bipartisan proposals to protect our privacy and our children; prevent discrimination, sexual exploitation education and cyber stalking; and addressing anticompetitive behavior should not divide us,” Biden wrote. “Let’s unite behind our shared values ​​and show the nation that we can work together to get the job done.”

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