United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday (January 11th) called on the US Congress to “hold tech giants to account” and to legislate to strengthen government control over large companies in this sector. In a column published on the website of the wall street journalthe American head of state called on elected officials on both sides to unite to strengthen legislation on the protection of personal data and minor users, as well as to fight against discrimination, “sexual exploitation” and cyberbullying”.
The Democratic president said he was “proud” of what the technology sector had accomplished, but also “worried”, “like many Americans”, “about the way this industry collects, shares and exploits our most personal data. , reinforces extremism” and “puts our children at risk”. “Millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma” and “mental health” issues, the president insisted. “We must hold social networks to account for the experiments they conduct on our children, to generate profits.”
Several initiatives in Congress
Joe Biden recalled having encouraged, since the beginning of his mandate, Congress to legislate on the subject. The American president spoke of his government’s efforts to protect personal data, to fight against online discrimination and to strengthen the means of the American State to sanction anti-competitive practices. “But our current prerogatives have limits,” he explained, calling on elected officials to expand the legal framework to which the technology giants are subject.
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After decades of immobility, several initiatives in Congress have begun to move the lines. In September, a text on competition was adopted in the House of Representatives in order to strengthen the prerogatives of States to sue technology companies and increase the financial means of regulators. It has not yet been considered in the Senate.
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A bill aimed at protecting minors on the Internet, supported by elected Republicans and Democrats, has also been tabled in the Senate. Some of the elected Republicans are firmly opposed to a tougher fight against anti-competitive practices, on the grounds that the government does not have to encroach on the functioning of the private sector and that such measures could curb innovation.