US President Joe Biden called for Republicans and Democrats to “unite against Big Tech abuses” in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal.
Biden expressed concerns over how some companies collect, share, and exploit US citizens’ personal data, deepen extremism and polarization in the United States, tilt its economy’s playing field, violate the civil rights of women and minorities, and even put the country’s children at risk.
The op-ed first addressed the administration’s work to counter these challenges before urging representatives of two major political parties to unite in their battle against such violations.
“This is yet another call for yet more regulations to hold Big Tech and social media companies accountable for exploiting personal data and even endangering children,” Dan DeMers, CEO and Co-Founder of Cinchy, a tech company changing how the world works with data, commented.
Biden furtherly addressed large amounts of data collected by corporations, as well as other online challenges, such as bullying and violence.
He also suggested that social media are running “an experiment” on American children for profit. Biden cited several examples, such as cyberstalking and extreme content linked through data sharing.
“Innovation has always taken a toll on privacy. We get new technologies to create more data, but we lose ways to control that data. Sometimes, this is from nefarious intent; but more often, it’s because the data is embedded within the apps that create it and the silos that store it,” DeMers said.
He noted three major areas where reform is needed: privacy, algorithms, and competition.
To start off, Biden argues for federal protections for Americans’ privacy, putting limits on how companies can operate user data. He suggested that transparency in data usage is not enough since “much of that data shouldn’t be collected in the first place.”
Algorithmic responsibility is also important, meaning that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from legal responsibility for content posted on their sites, should be reformed.
Finally, competition needs to be re-introduced, allowing more small and mid-sized players to enter the tech niche.
“There are better options emerging – for example, the Zero-Copy Integration framework, poised to become a national standard in Canada this year and also gaining popularity in other jurisdictions. It enables real-time collaboration on operational data without the need for any copying—a simple advance with huge benefits. Organizations gain meaningful control of their data, accelerated delivery times for developers, simplified compliance and the absence of costly data integration tasks,” DeMers added.
Despite acknowledging the work already done by the administration, Biden also called for bipartisan action from Congress to hold Big Tech accountable. He argued that in spite of their disagreements, Republicans and Democrats need to work together “to protect our privacy and our children.”
“We don’t have to slow down innovation to enable privacy and compliance. By rethinking how we work with data, we get the benefits without the downside,” DeMers concluded.
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