Technology

White House releases six proposals for reforming tech industry regulation


The White House has released six proposals for reforming tech industry regulation that span areas such as privacy, algorithmic decision-making and market competition.

The proposals were published Thursday following a listening session held at the White House about the tech industry. The session included the participation of more than a dozen experts and practitioners.

The first of the six proposals published by the White House is designed to promote competition in the tech sector. “A small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market entrants, to engage in rent-seeking, and to gather personal information,” the proposal stated. To remedy the situation, the White House is calling for the implementation of new rules capable of ensuring “small and mid-size businesses and entrepreneurs can compete on a level playing field.”

The second proposal focuses on privacy. The White House stated that clear limits should be placed on the ability of companies to collect, use, transfer and maintain Americans’ personal data. Additionally, the proposal highlights the need for increased regulation of targeted advertising.

The White House on Thursday also expressed support for lawmakers’ efforts to pass federal privacy laws. “We are encouraged to see bipartisan interest in Congress in passing legislation to protect privacy,” the White House stated.

At the center of the legislative effort is the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. The bill has reportedly faced scrutiny from California lawmakers over its potential impact on the state’s privacy laws, but earlier this year advanced to the House floor. The proposed legislation would create new rules to regulate how tech companies may collect and process user data.

The third policy proposal that the White House detailed this week focuses on protecting children’s privacy. Tech giants, the proposal states, should apply safety by design standards and practices across online platforms, products, and services. Additionally, the White House is supporting the implementation of new rules to restrict excessive data collection and targeted advertising.

The White House is also seeking to remove the special legal protections that major tech firms have under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “The President has long called for fundamental reforms to Section 230,” the White House stated.

Another area where the White House has identified room for improvement is the transparency that tech giants provide into their algorithms and content moderation decisions. Online platform operators “are failing to provide sufficient transparency to allow the public and researchers to understand how and why such decisions are made, their potential effects on users, and the very real dangers these decisions may pose,” the White House detailed. 

The sixth policy proposal published by the White House on Thursday is designed to stop discriminatory algorithmic decision-making. “We need strong protections to ensure algorithms do not discriminate against protected groups, such as by failing to share key opportunities equally, by discriminatorily exposing vulnerable communities to risky products, or through persistent surveillance,” the White House stated.

Photo: Wikipedia

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