Senators propose creating new agency for regulating big tech

Senators propose creating new agency for regulating big tech

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Senators Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham are sponsoring a bill that would establish a new agency for regulating big tech companies. 

The bill, which is known as the Digital Consumer Protection Commission Act of 2023, was detailed today. If passed, it would establish an agency called the Digital Consumer Protection Commission. The agency would be tasked with regulating big tech firms’ activities across several different areas. 

“For too long, giant tech companies have exploited consumers’ data, invaded Americans’ privacy, threatened our national security, and stomped out competition in our economy,” Warren stated. “This bipartisan bill would create a new tech regulator and it makes clear that reining in Big Tech platforms is a top priority on both sides of the aisle.”

“For years I have been trying to find ways to empower consumers against Big Tech,” Graham said in a statement. “I have heard too many stories from families who feel helpless in the face of Big Tech.”

Some tech giants operate online platforms through which they distribute their own products alongside third-party offerings. Apple Inc., for example, offers internally developed apps through the App Store. The Digital Consumer Protection Commission would be responsible for ensuring that tech giants don’t give their own products an unfair edge over competing offerings.

As part of its regulatory activities, the agency would also prohibit tech giants from using certain types of contracts. Those contracts include pre-dispute arbitration agreements and class-action waivers, which can make it more difficult to pursue litigation against a company. Additionally, the agency would ban agreements that prevent tech firms from hiring away one another’s employees.

Warren and Graham are seeking to make company acquisitions another focus area for the Digital Consumer Protection Commission. Under the senators’ bill, the agency would have the ability to authorize reviews of new acquisitions made by tech giants. It would also have authority to investigate already completed deals.

When it comes to privacy, the Digital Consumer Protection Commission would require tech giants to let users access their personal data and to know when that data is collected and processed. New privacy restrictions would be applied to targeted advertising. The senators’ bill also specifies that such companies should establish “duties of loyalty, care, and mitigation of harms, including discrimination, for all data processors.”

The proposed legislation covers a number of other areas as well. It specifies that tech giants should publish their terms of service and content moderation practices. Additionally, it would mandate that “dominant platforms” be owned by U.S. citizens or have a U.S. subsidiary, limit data processing in restricted countries and identify bots.

Photo: Unsplash

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