President Joe Biden is asking Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together to rein in big tech companies.
Biden warned the "Big Tech" in a Wall Street Journal opinion article published Wednesday, that his administration is working to curtail its worst abuses.
The op-ed starts by commending the tech industry for its hard work (and its contributions to the GDP) before criticizing it for preying on children and other vulnerable individuals. "Big Tech companies collect huge amounts of data on the things we buy, on the websites we visit, on the places we go and, most troubling of all, on our children," he wrote.
Biden cautioned that some in the sector are stifling free trade, breaching consumers' rights to privacy, and promoting extreme language.
"I'm concerned about how some in the industry collect, share and exploit our most personal data, deepen extremism and polarization in our country, tilt our economy's playing field, violate the civil rights of women and minorities, and even put our children at risk," Biden wrote.
He lists privacy, algorithmic responsibility, and competitiveness as the three main areas where the federal government needs to step in.
The president further said he is concerned about privacy since businesses "gather, use, and exchange highly personal data," mostly for targeted ads. He claims that "new privacy standards for commercial data" are being developed by the White House.
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act, a long-awaited bill that will change how organizations like Amazon, Google, and Facebook obtain user data, was advanced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in July 2022.
Despite receiving a strong 53-2 vote in favor of passing the committee, it was never brought to the full House floor for a vote. The ADPPA is anticipated to be reintroduced this year by Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State.
How do websites track your online activities to serve ads?
Websites and social media platforms have become increasingly sophisticated in their ability to track user behavior and serve targeted advertisements.
By using cookies, tracking pixels, and other technologies, these platforms can build detailed profiles of users that allow them to show ads that are tailored to the unsuspecting users' interests.
While this technology has revolutionized the advertising industry by allowing companies to target specific demographics with precision, it also raises questions about privacy and data security.
The increasing prevalence of this practice has raised questions about the ethical implications of using this data without the knowledge or consent of users. It also raises questions about how secure this data is, as it can be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Children are particularly vulnerable to targeted advertising as they are not always aware of the implications of their online activities. Companies use tracking technologies to collect information about children's online behavior and preferences to target them with specific ads.