Top Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, spoke with civil rights leaders June 1 as the company confronts a wave of backlash over its decision not to moderate President Donald Trump's controversial posts. But the roughly hour-long call, intended to show the company takes concerns from the black community seriously, only further inflamed tensions. Color of Change President Rashad Robinson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Sherrilyn Ifil and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights chief executive Vanita Gupta immediately blasted Zuckerberg following the call. Robinson
The Government Accountability Office's Science and Technology Assessment and Analytics group, created in 2019, is ramping up its work: It wants to double its current ranks of about 70 people providing technical assessments to Congress on topics such as artificial intelligence in health care or 5G wireless. “At such a time as this, you can't avoid” tech issues, said Tim Persons, GAO's top scientist tasked with leading the group. "There's so much disruption going on and so much potential for good in solving our complex adaptive systems problems of the day.
Over the last decade, lawmakers and regulators slowly woke up to the consequences of the tech industry’s unchecked rise in power. In the 2020s, they'll try to take back control. Here are (some) of the top issues the Washington Post will tracking at The Technology 202 in 2020:
Experts are proposing that Congress pick eight to 10 up-and-coming tech cities away from the coastal hubs and heavily invest in research and workforce development. They want lawmakers to run a rigorous selection process to pick the rising tech centers, but suggested a list of potential candidates such as Madison (WI) and Minneapolis. The proposal may have a moonshot price tag, but it could gain traction in today's political climate: Economic inequality is emerging as a central theme of the 2020 elections.
Phone logs subpoenaed from Verizon and AT&T put a spotlight on the powerful tools at lawmakers' disposal as they seek to investigate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry. The records were some of the strongest circumstantial evidence included in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report, revealing extensive contact between President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and the Trump administration during critical points of the Ukraine saga.
How lawmakers plan to keep the pressure on Big Tech heading into Fall 2019.
Silicon Valley doesn’t just have to worry about antitrust action in Washington. States are becoming an important and perhaps more formidable force when it comes to addressing competition in the technology industry. “There’s been a tendency to just rely on the federal government to play the lead role,” said Gene Kimmelman, a senior adviser at Public Knowledge.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s new tech task force leader, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), wants to use her perch to hold tech companies accountable.
Technology experts are skeptical of President Donald Trump’s call for Internet companies to work with law enforcement and the Justice Department to develop tools to detect mass shootings before they even happen. They say the Trump administration has an especially bad track record on addressing violence on social media -- and has ignored major opportunities to take action on this front both at home and with other countries.
The Federal Trade Commission’s record-breaking settlement with Facebook will slap the company with a $5 billion fine and grant regulators exceptional oversight of the company’s business practices. But the FTC’s two Democratic commissioners, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, voted against the order and issued a warning that the fine was too small and the remedies should have gone farther. While the settlement winds down the FTC’s sweeping sixteen-month probe, it’s likely to trigger greater examination of whether the country’s top privacy cop is able to hold tech giants accountable.