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It’s long past time for Congress to demonstrate leadership in protecting American citizens and corporations online. In 2 of the three largest economies in the world – the E.U with $17T in GDP1 and China with $13.4T2 in GDP – are moving decisively to protect their own citizens and promote their respective cultural values.
Ted Talk: Let’s talk about software – part 1

The EU is being particularly assertive, with the Digital Services Act3 , the Digital Markets Act4, and the AI Act5. China has take its own measures to rein in the tech sector. But their values are not our values. Nor are their economic interests congruent with our economic interests. We need a strong counterweight of American Federal legislation/regulation that will simultaneously protect the interests of American citizens and American companies.

However, in the US we are not seeing that Federal leadership for the common good. Multiple US states have ratified laws and published regulation. Many large cities have done so as well.

We cannot afford to end up with a patchwork of different, perhaps conflicting legal requirements. It will place an undue burden on our businesses. It will make it even more difficult for American citizens to be able to exercise their right to privacy. Now it’s time for Congress to act.

Regulation plays an important role in the American economy. As I like to say, we put brakes on cars so we can drive faster safely. After nearly three decades of nearly unrestricted experimentation online, we’re seeing just how dangerous it is to continue driving fast without brakes. On-line platforms are plagued with a range of problems:

  • cyber hacks and data breaches
  • politically polarized people dominating social media
  • firms capturing personal data and secretly reselling it
  • foreign and domestic botfarms generating misinformation
  • run-away algorithms promoting the most extremist viewpoints to maximize audience engagement (and thereby maximize ad revenue)

And by the way this makes it difficult for the Federal government to meet the American taxpayers expectations for superior customer service. Citizens expect digital access to personalized services from the Federal government. Driven by their experiences as consumers, they’re also expecting seamless service experiences across digital and physical channels. Digital channels, especially online platforms and social media have emerged as an important customer service mechanisms for the Federal government. Yet many of those same online channels are suffering from the problems I just described.

Congress, it’s time for you to act. Our motto is “e Pluribus Unum”. Develop a common approach. Establish coherent regulation for the tech sector. Protect American citizens. protect American companies. Protect American values. Protect the American way of life.

 

[1] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD?locations=EU

[2] https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-by-gdp

[3] The Digital Services Act package | Shaping Europe’s digital future (europa.eu)

[4] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20211209STO19124/eu-digital-markets-act-and-digital-services-act-explained

[5] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52021PC0206

Michael Conlin

Michael Conlin​

Chief Technology Officer​
Phone: (703) 216-5856​
michael.conlin@definitivelogic.com​