Bill would demand large social platforms to support data mobility
A bipartisan group of lawmakers are targeting big tech with a bill designed for big social media and other platforms to give users more control over their data.
The Increasing Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act 2021 requires platforms with more than 100 million monthly active users to make their services interoperable with those of their competitors , while providing users with the ability to transfer personal data in machine-readable formats. . The Federal Trade Commission would be tasked with creating a new privacy standard to protect user data and would have new authorities to continually assess how these platforms interact with their competitors.
“No matter how good the platform is, a user whose entire network is on Facebook can’t just switch to another social media platform that none of their friends or business contacts are using.” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), who introduced the bill earlier this summer with several fellow Democrats and Republicans, said Wednesday during the Bipartisan Policy Center’s discussion on competition, portability data and interoperability. “Conversely, a new social media platform will struggle to attract new users for the same reason.
The legislation comes after a multi-year investigation by the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee identified anti-competitive behavior and patterns of abuse among major platforms like Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google. If adopted, users of these platforms would benefit from enhanced data protection and cybersecurity tools, such as trusted third-party curation services, to manage their content and personal settings.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Said in a statement about a Senate version of the bill that “the exclusive dominance of Facebook and Google has crowded out the significant competition needed to protect online privacy and promote technological innovation “.
However, industry leaders who support goals of making user data portable and platform services interoperable have expressed several concerns about how the bill will be implemented and who will retain oversight responsibilities. .
Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said that “there are a number of issues” in the way the proposal seeks to address data portability issues, and that “the lines are not always very clear “as to who owns what data on digital platforms.
“If a platform is able to learn something about an individual … some of that data gets mixed up and it becomes difficult to tell what the platform data might be versus the user data,” said he declared during a panel organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Another issue that arises here is not just the condominium issue, but if I upload a photo of a friend, or tag a friend, or like another user’s comment, how much of is this data mine versus this other user? “
While the ACCESS Act stipulates that proprietary data should not be included in the new data portability requirements, Castro suggested that the data ownership debate could lead to significant implementation issues for the bill. .
Samir Jain, director of policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, also highlighted the potential privacy implications around data portability.
“You always want to make sure that when data is transferred from one platform to another, it is done with the consent of the owner of the data,” he said.
Chris Riotta is a writer at FCW and covers government procurement policy and technology. Chris joined FCW after covering American politics for three years at The Independent. He received his Masters degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as Class 2021 President.