Bloomberg: Congress Should Think Bigger Than TikTok Ban, Tech Critics Say 

March 19, 2024

Advocates of stronger internet regulation believe there are legally sustainable ways to regulate software such as TikTok’s content recommendation engine. Calli Schroeder, senior counsel and global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), says federal rules should require tech companies to be transparent about how their algorithms prioritize content. This would apply not only to TikTok but also to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, X and other services that have been accused of inciting violence, distorting elections and showing dangerous content to children. 

At least 15 states have passed their own privacy laws, some modeled on Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EPIC and other groups have called for a federal data privacy standard that would allow users to know who has their personal information, give them the ability to protest, remove consent for sharing and correct or delete their data. Such a rule, in Schroeder’s view, should also define sensitive categories such as race, gender, sexuality or political affiliation that necessitate extra protections. 

Even if TikTok had a new owner, the broader dangers of online information and data sharing would remain. “If you think of the internet ecosystem as a colander with a million holes in it, I don’t know why they think plugging one of those tiny holes is going to fix these problems,” Schroeder says. 

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