The consistent problems of social media and other major internet players have prompted Democrats in Congress to draft an Internet Bill of Rights some are promising to push for if they gain the majority in the House of Representatives after this fall’s midterm elections.
It’s the latest rumble about social media coming from Washington, where politicians of both the left and right have complained about everything from data breaches and Russian election meddling to alleged bias in search results. According to Gizmodo:
Rep. Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, has proposed a series of 10 principals that, should his party reclaim control of the House of Representatives, he hopes to pass next year in the form of law. Khanna’s list states foremost that users should have access to all of the information collected about them by private companies and full knowledge of how that information is being used. It further states that Americans have the right to opt-in consent with regard to the collection and sharing of their personal data.
Khanna was reportedly tasked with producing the list by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who, depending on the midterm election’s outcome, may return to her former role as Speaker of the House.
To set the table, let’s be clear that the tech industry has long operated nearly unfettered, aided by laws that have given its major companies broad immunity and an open plain on which to operate. The goal was to foster and encourage innovation. And like the pioneers who once set out for California to make their fortune, tech companies have thrived in that regulation-free landscape.
But it has become ever clearer with every misstep — including but not limited to Russian interference on social media platforms, the amplification of hate speech and fake news, and the misuse of personal information — that tech’s freedom has come at a steep price to the American people. If voters give her the chance, the once and perhaps future speaker of the House says she will lead a push to get the industry in line.