On the Issues

Safer Technology for a Better Future

The internet and social media should make us more connected, better informed, and help us see the common humanity in each other. Unfortunately, much of the internet has become overrun with hate and negativity, misinformation and even abuse. Our kids are bearing the brunt of this toxic environment online, harming their mental health, relationships and performance in school.

In Congress, I will work to make the internet a safer and more positive environment–especially for kids.

Don will support legislation to:

  • Mandate age verification and prevent kids under 13 from joining social media sites that aren’t designed for kids and lack safeguards.
  • Prohibit internet companies and social media from using minors’ data to target them with new content or ads. And prohibit them from showing ads for age-restricted products–like tobacco, alcohol and pornography.
  • Ensure that tech companies can be held legally liable when they allow illegal child pornography to circulate on their platforms, or otherwise fail to prevent their platforms from being used to sexually exploit minors.
  • Require that platforms allow users to easily turn off harmful and addictive features–like endless scrolling and unwanted push notifications
  • Prohibit tech companies from using our own data to algorithmically target us with content that we never asked for — this means the chance to see more posts from our actual friends and pages we follow, and less clickbait and influencer videos.
  • Ensure that big tech companies can be held legally liable when content on their platform causes real-world harm.
    • Believe it or not, a special law called “Section 230” shields tech companies from liability for content that users post on their platforms. This outdated law allows tech companies to avoid accountability for content that incites violence, inspires hatred, pushes medical misinformation on vulnerable communities, or degrades a child’s mental health to the point where they resort to self-harm. If a company fails to take reasonable steps to remove this harmful content, they should be liable for damages under the law.

Companies are increasingly using algorithms and artificial intelligence to complete important tasks and make big decisions. These tools are used to screen job applications, approve or reject applicants for loans, credit cards, and apartments–and artificial intelligence will only supercharge these trends.

Equity and justice in algorithms and artificial intelligence

Unfortunately, research has found that algorithms and A.I. tools sometimes discriminate–too often at the expense of people of color, women, immigrants, religious minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Why? Because these programs learn from the data that humans give them. For example, an A.I. tool used to screen job applications might learn from the demographics of past successful job candidates. If the company has had biased hiring practices in the past, the A.I. tool may “learn” to screen out black or female–for example–because the company’s past hires have been disproportionately male and white.

Artificial intelligence should work for us, not the other way around. Without oversight and responsible development, A.I. could perpetuate discrimination and racial injustice in the economy. In Congress, Don will work to enact safeguards and ensure that A.I. actually reduces prejudice in the economy. Don will support legislation to:

  • Make clear that discrimination done by algorithms and A.I. tools violates federal civil rights laws. And ensure that companies and individuals can be held liable when they knowingly use or develop an A.I. tool that engages in illegal discrimination.
  • Require that developers prove that their A.I. tools and algorithms are safe, fair, and not discriminatory before they can be used to make sensitive decisions in areas like hiring, lending, housing or education.
  • Require developers to be transparent about A.I. programs and algorithms, by requiring them to publicly disclose information about how they work, what factors they consider, and what data they are trained on.
  • Promote fair competition and economic justice by prohibiting companies from using A.I. or algorithms to collude to fix prices or violate antitrust laws
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