To address the harm of Big Tech, Congress should regulate surveillance and algorithmic discrimination, not speech.

Posted March 1, 2022, 3:22 PM

Today, The House Energy Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on Big Tech accountability where lawmakers will consider several pieces of legislation including the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022 and the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022. Fight for the Future supports both of these bills. Evan Greer (she/her), Director at digital rights group Fight for the Future, issued the following statement:

“The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act and Algorithmic Accountability Act are great examples of the direction we need lawmakers to be going. To reduce the harm of Big Tech, Congress should focus on ending the use of discriminatory algorithms and abusive surveillance practices, rather than limiting free expression or tinkering with Section 230. Surveillance and automation is at the root of Big Tech companies’ power and dominance. These companies rake in billions of dollars in profit by using our personal data to manipulate people’s behavior despite the harm its business model causes. 

Previous hearings in Energy and Commerce have wasted time discussing legislation that would do more harm than good, like the Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act, which would repeat the failure of SESTA/FOSTA by ripping a hole in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Bills like this would lead to widespread suppression of legitimate content, disproportionately silencing the voices of marginalized communities and social movements, and could also undermine the ability of platforms to engage in good faith moderation efforts to remove harmful content. 

If Congress is serious about protecting their constituents from Big Tech, they should continue in this direction and focus on regulating surveillance and algorithmic discrimination, not speech.”