Big technology has no bipartisan consensus

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Finally we arrived The two parties reached a consensus on big technology, yes, everyone!At least this is what the press says Yes echo advertise nausea“The Facebook whistleblower reignited the bipartisan support for curbing large-scale technology”, Financial Times Last week, Frances Haugen made a big announcement after his Senate testimony on Facebook. “Legislators send bipartisan antitrust messages to large technology companies,” Weekly newspaper Written a day later. For more than a year, especially after the U.S. Senate hearing last week, the media has increasingly hinted that the Democrats and Republicans are shelving their long-term differences on technology policies.

But in addition to their triumphant headlines, many of these articles notes (Usually awkwardly) “consensus” is just an opinion Some There needs to be some kind of regulation of large technology companies. This is where the idea of ​​”bipartisan consensus” collapses, and it is also the danger of this way of expression.

Indeed, in the past few years, American lawmakers have become more outspoken about Silicon Valley technology giants, their products and services, and their market practices.But only agreed something It must be done. For this point alone, this is as superficial as the consensus reached by the two parties. Elected representatives of both parties still have disagreements about what that something is, why that something should happen, and what the problems are in the first place. All these factors are shaping the regulations proposed by Congress and the way forward to make them a reality.

Most importantly, the media that separates the national political and technological legislative process will only repeat the problems of the past few decades, imagining technology as non-political, and will help regulators and society ignore the dangers before them. This exaggerated rhetoric distorts the analysis of the difficult path to real and substantive regulation and how much threat to democracy (and democratic technical legislation) comes from within.

For decades, liberalism From the United States to France to Australia, democracies have always touted the Internet as a free, safe, and resilient democratic golden boy.Especially Bill Clinton’s American leader Jell-O-to-a-wall speech In 2000, it was called by the State Council Internet Freedom Agenda In 2010, praised the power of the Internet to overthrow authoritarianism on a global scale. Regardless of this logic, a democratic government can make the Internet support democracy as much as possible.

Today’s rising calls for regulation of large technology companies are no small changes. Although it is easy to see this transition as one-sided, some media often forget that technology is not a behemoth, and many different events have led to many different regulatory calls: Equifax Data breach, Cambridge Analysis Privacy scandal, Russian Ransomware attack, Coronavirus disease misinformation, Disinformation campaign For black voters, use Racism and sexism algorithms, Police abuse of power Surveillance technology, etc. Not all legislators are equally or not concerned about these issues.

Data breaches and ransomware seem to be the two areas with the greatest potential for consensus legislation; it is difficult for members of Congress to stand up and show that they believe in lowering cybersecurity standards and making their voters vulnerable to attacks. Earlier this year, after launching several major destructive ransomware attacks in Russia, Both Party Condemned this behavior and emphasized how Congress and the White House can respond by sanctioning Russian actors and increasing domestic security investments.House of Representatives and Senate held Ransomware Hearings July, established on Important civil society work Promote the response of the two parties to the threat.

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