COPIED Act Seeks to Protect from Deepfakes, Training Abuse

The Senate has introduced a bill that takes on tamping down deepfakes while also protecting creative content from use for AI model training. The Content Origin Protection and Integrity from Edited and Deepfaked Media Act, to be known as the COPIED Act, seeks to enact safeguards to protect journalists, actors, songwriters and other artists “against AI-driven theft,” while establishing new federal transparency guidelines for marking, authenticating and detecting AI-generated content. Emphasizing accountability, the bill stipulates that those found in violation will be subject to legal action. Continue reading COPIED Act Seeks to Protect from Deepfakes, Training Abuse

U.S. Surgeon General Calls for Social Media Warning Labels

United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has renewed his push for Congress to enact social media warning label advising of potential mental health damage to adolescents. Murthy also called on tech companies to be more transparent with internal data on the impact of their products on American youth, requesting independent safety audits and restrictions on features that may be addictive, including autoplay, push notifications and infinite scroll, which he suggests “prey on developing brains and contribute to excessive use.” His federal campaign joins a groundswell of local laws restricting minors’ access to social media. Continue reading U.S. Surgeon General Calls for Social Media Warning Labels

Government Advances Online Safety Legislation for Children

The Senate has cleared two children’s online safety bills despite pushback from civil liberties groups that say the digital surveillance used to monitor behavior will result in an Internet less safe for kids. The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) are intended to address a mental health crisis experts blame in large part on social media, but critics say the bills could cause more harm than good by forcing social media firms to collect more user data as part of enforcement. The bills — which cleared the Senate Commerce Committee by unanimous vote — are also said to reduce access to encrypted services. Continue reading Government Advances Online Safety Legislation for Children

CES: Federal Tech and Innovation Priorities for the New Year

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), a former computer programmer, brought Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Ben Ray Luján (D-New Mexico) to the CES stage to talk about their top technology interests in the new year. All of them serve on committees with core interests in the future of technology. In addition to serving on six committees, Rosen is on the subcommittee on cybersecurity; Warner is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence among other committee assignments; and Luján is a member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation among others. Continue reading CES: Federal Tech and Innovation Priorities for the New Year

Online Child Safety Gains Steam at State and Federal Levels

Online privacy protections for consumers are in focus on Capitol Hill, with the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) getting particular attention. A coalition of more than 100 organizations, including Fairplay and the American Psychological Association are calling on senators to advance KOSA this month. Co-sponsored by senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), the legislation would require social media platforms to conduct annual audits to identify risks to minors as well as more concrete steps like opting out of algorithmic recommendations and disabling “addictive” features.  Continue reading Online Child Safety Gains Steam at State and Federal Levels

Big Tech Faces Global Pressure to Step Up Child Protections

UK-style child protections are coming to the U.S. if a pair of California state lawmakers have anything to say about it. Assembly members Jordan Cunningham, a Republican, and Buffy Wicks, a Democrat, last week proposed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, a bill modeled after what is popularly known in the UK as the Children’s Code, and more formally tagged the Age Appropriate Design Code. If enacted, websites and social platforms would have to limit the collection of children’s data in California, enact safeguards protecting minors from other users, minimize addictive features and simplify privacy settings. Continue reading Big Tech Faces Global Pressure to Step Up Child Protections

Kids Online Safety Act Advocates Holding Tech Accountable

A bipartisan bill to protect kids online was introduced Wednesday by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee). The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) would give parents more control over social media settings, add opt-out features and establish a “duty of care” that opens the door to liability and lawsuits. “Big Tech has brazenly failed children and betrayed its trust, putting profits above safety,” said Blumenthal. “This measure makes kids’ safety an Internet priority.” The bill follows a media blitz and months of Congressional hearings on the danger of social media to the mental and physical health of young users. Continue reading Kids Online Safety Act Advocates Holding Tech Accountable

CES: Bipartisan Panel of Women Senators Weigh Tech Issues

CTA senior vice president of political and industry affairs Continue reading CES: Bipartisan Panel of Women Senators Weigh Tech Issues

CES: Government, Tech Firms Partner to Curtail Cyberattacks

During a panel at CES 2022, CTA specialist in government affairs Quentin Scholtz queried panelists from government and technology on their priorities and plans for stepping up effective enforcement against cyberattacks, especially those originating from nation states. Jamie Susskind, tech policy advisor for Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee); former U.S. representative Will Hurd (R-Texas); and Samsung Electronics senior manager and counsel of public policy Eric Tamarkin offered complementary priorities on how to act in 2022 and going forward. Continue reading CES: Government, Tech Firms Partner to Curtail Cyberattacks

Senate Tells Instagram CEO the ‘Time for Self-Policing is Over’

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri spent more than two hours in the Senate hot seat last week, answering questions about the platform’s safety policies and impact on teens’ mental health. A bipartisan phalanx grilled the executive on topics ranging from algorithms to eating disorders. Mosseri, who was appearing in Congress for the first time, defended his social platform, a division of Meta Platforms, which also owns Facebook. He resisted pressure to throw in the towel on launching an Instagram for kids, telling lawmakers only that no child would have access to such a platform “without their explicit parental consent.” Continue reading Senate Tells Instagram CEO the ‘Time for Self-Policing is Over’

TikTok Debuts Safety Center Following Survey on Teen Users

TikTok has added a Safety Center to its platform, simultaneously releasing a 38-page summary of the months-long global research project on the impact its challenges and hoaxes have on adolescent users. The study — which queried more than 10,000 teens, their parents, and teachers across Asia, Europe and the Americas — was written by independent agency Praesidio Safeguarding. The move is a response to negative attention TikTok has received from media and lawmakers involving allegations of “blackout challenges” and slap-a-teacher dares. Critics are saying the social video platform’s new safety features do not go far enough. Continue reading TikTok Debuts Safety Center Following Survey on Teen Users

Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

Whistleblower Frances Haugen said on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that Facebook was cognizant of problems with apps, including Instagram, that allowed misinformation to be spread and caused societal harm, especially among young girls. Haugen revealed on the CBS news show to be the source of documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal that led to congressional inquiry. She also filed eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging Facebook hid research from investors and the public. The former product manager worked for nearly two years on the civic integrity team before exiting the social network in May. Continue reading Whistleblower Contends Facebook Values Profits Over Safety

Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

The U.S. Senate introduced the Open App Markets Act to give consumers more control over their devices; stop app stores from ‘disadvantaging’ developers and allow them to inform consumers about lower prices and offer competitive pricing; improve the ability of startup apps, third-party app stores and payment services to compete; require devices to allow ‘sideloading’ of apps; and continue to protect privacy, security and safety of consumers. If voted into law, the Act could end Apple and Google’s monopoly over the app ecosystem. Continue reading Senate Measure Could Impact Developers, App Store Models

Internet Firms Battle Government’s Plan to Limit Section 230

The Internet Association, representing Amazon, Facebook, Google and others, urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject the Trump administration’s effort to limit Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which shields social media companies from liability for content posted by users. The IA said the effort is “misguided, lacks grounding in law, and poses serious public policy concerns.” The Consumer Technology Association agreed, saying new rules would “make compliance all but impossible.” Yesterday, Senate Republicans introduced legislation that would hold social platforms more responsible for content. Continue reading Internet Firms Battle Government’s Plan to Limit Section 230

Senate Bill Calls For Search Engines to Divulge Algorithms

For search engines such as Alphabet’s Google, their algorithms are the secret sauce that they claim gives the best results. Not all consumers agree with that, arguing that these algorithms filter their searches in a way that is tantamount to censorship. Now, a bipartisan group of legislators proposed the Filter Bubble Transparency Act, a law that would require search engines and platforms to provide an optional unfiltered search and force them to disclose the algorithms they use to rank searches. Continue reading Senate Bill Calls For Search Engines to Divulge Algorithms