Big Tech Comes Under Fire by Congress

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Recently, Congress has been scrutinizing the manner in which large tech companies handle our personal data. Typically, big tech companies have done as they pleased in Washington. Now, this has all changed. Congress is conducting oversight hearings in a crackdown on personal data management.
Lawmakers have stated that self-regulation is not a solution. There is constant reporting on how companies like Facebook are utilizing our personal data for marketing or other purposes. In the past month, it was unveiled that Facebook had been using the health information of its users.
Jan Schakowsky, A Democratic Representative from Illinois, has pushed for a set of standard regulations that these companies must abide by when it comes to the personal privacy of American citizens.
Although Congress is rarely united, Republicans and Democrats both agree that stricter regulations are necessary to protect our private data. According to NPR, Republicans have worked within California state legislation to implement privacy regulations. There are no real limits to what large tech companies can do with our information. Typically, individuals quickly scroll through user agreements. The fine print is rarely read.
Google was also under fire for its location-tracking function in Android phones. For many users, it can’t ever be turned off. The average consumer is unaware that their movements and actions are being tracked as a part of consumer data mining.
Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican Senator, has professed the need to change this. Google responded by stating that the data is necessary for the phone’s operational capacity.
Legislation was introduced to help protect the privacy of minors surfing the web. The legislation works to halt tech companies from collecting private data on individuals under the age of 13 without the consent of the user’s parents. Children from 13-15 years of age will be able to give their own consent.
Apart from the scrutiny regarding consumer data, tech companies are also under fire for the mergers that have recently occurred. The Federal Trade Commission has put together a task force to investigate recent large scale mergers in the tech industry.

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