Biden urges bipartisan action to rein in Big Tech

In an op-ed published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, President Biden pushed for sweeping reforms for the tech giants, passing updates to data privacy, competition and content moderation laws.

Biden’s op-ed was light on details and did not endorse specific policy proposals, but focused the president’s attention on several hot-button issues raised by bipartisan criticism of big tech companies.

“We need bipartisan action from Congress to hold Big Tech accountable. We’ve heard a lot about creating committees. Time to get moving and get things done,” Biden wrote.

As part of his push, Biden said the U.S. needs “strict federal protections for the privacy of Americans.”

There is bipartisan support in Congress for a comprehensive federal data privacy bill, as was evident last year when the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a proposal with bipartisan support. But there are lingering hurdles from the U.S. Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), the proposed proposal. Democrats from states with strict privacy laws, primarily California, do not want the bill to override their state laws.

Republicans, however, generally view federal pre-emption rights as critical to their support for federal privacy laws.

In his op-ed, Biden also pushed for action to “bring more competition back to the tech industry.”

“When technology platforms get big enough, many people will find ways to market their products while excluding or disadvantaging competitors — or charging competitors huge fees to sell on their platforms,” ​​he said. wrote.

Antitrust reform garnered bipartisan support in the last Congress, but two key proposals backed by supporters — including a bill designed to prevent companies from favoring their own products and services — failed to pass.

Those bills are now less likely to pass within the next two years because current House Republican leaders have opposed them.

Instead, House Republicans said they wanted to focus on content moderation — another issue Biden raised in his op-ed.

The president reiterated his call to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a controversial provision that provides companies with liability protection for content posted by third parties.

There is bipartisan support for reforming the provision, but sharp disagreements over how to proceed.

Democrats say the provision leads tech companies to carry too much hate speech and harmful misinformation, while Republicans say it allows companies to censor content with an anti-conservative bias.

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