As the tech industry gains more power, it faces less regulation, less liability for the harm it causes and less accountability for its decisions — all while reaping more profits from its exploitative business models.
Black communities deserve and demand regulatory counters to the discrimination and exploitation from Big Tech’s control over online commerce, content and social connections.
The tech industry has attempted to persuade us that the best solution is to let them decide how they should be regulated. They continue to present false choices between leaving them alone or giving up their services. Let us not be fooled.
There must be consequences for putting people in harm’s way, spreading misinformation and/or disinformation, promoting racial and ethnic violence online and facilitating discrimination.
We need equipped regulators; strong prohibitions against discrimination and biased outcomes; and affordable, equitable access to the future.
Black communities need Congress to regulate Big Tech. And The Black Tech Agenda and Scorecard are the way forward. Join us and help to make racial justice in tech policy a reality for us all!
The Color Of Change Black Tech Agenda Scorecard (The Scorecard) reflects the policy solutions set out in the The Black Tech Agenda, and measures how members of key committees of jurisdiction (i.e. the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees) align with our affirmative agenda for holding Big Tech companies accountable and advancing racial justice.
The current status quo of self-regulation — where tech companies decide how to operate with little to no government oversight — means no regulation. And no regulation means the tech industry makes problems worse, not better. Color Of Change and its members are urging Congress to move us toward real solutions, and the Scorecard is a powerful tool to mark Congress’ progress toward advancing tech policy solutions that protect Black communities.
Technology is an essential part of our daily lives and a determining factor in who gets access to educational, employment, health care and financial opportunities. True racial justice requires a comprehensive, proactive agenda from Congress addressing systemic discrimination and inequity in the technology and telecommunications industries. Racial justice must be a priority in efforts to rein in Big Tech. The Black Tech Agenda offers real solutions to move us closer to safe digital spaces for Black communities. View the full agenda here.
The Scorecard identifies legislation in each of the six pillars of the Black Tech Agenda that Congress should advance to address Big Tech’s outsized power, and it explicitly names racial justice equities.
The Scorecard process began with listening sessions in March and April 2022. The listening sessions allowed congressional staff to learn more about the Black Tech Agenda and Scorecard. Following the listening sessions, we circulated a video presentation with details about the Black Tech Agenda to members on the committees of jurisdiction, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 117th Congress. These committees have jurisdiction over the tech industry and antitrust laws.
Between April and September 2022, we sent a questionnaire to assess commitments and co-sponsorship in line with the Black Tech Agenda and met with staff members from the congressional offices of committees of jurisdiction at their request to discuss the Scorecard and to answer questions. Congressional offices were provided multiple opportunities to confirm their scoring and to submit additional information that would update their scores.
We are committed to presenting the most accurate information at all times. If you identify an error or would like to provide updated information on how a member of Congress was evaluated, please let us know before Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, at this link.
Antitrust: Directing antitrust agencies to block companies from mergers that will harm Black communities.
Privacy + Facial Recognition Tech: Creating a data privacy enforcer protecting our civil rights online and preventing law enforcement biometric surveillance.
Algorithms: Requiring that algorithms, or automated processes, be evaluated for bias and prevent biased algorithms from being used.
Broadband Access: Supporting investments in broadband infrastructure or protecting community broadband.
Net Neutrality: Restoring net neutrality so that Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, cannot block access to sites and charge additional fees for access.
Disinformation/Misinformation: Directing social media companies to evaluate algorithms that shape the online experience and to follow civil rights laws.
Members of the 117th Congress took concrete steps to introduce tech policies with racial justice frameworks. More than 24 members of Congress, including 17 of the 148 members surveyed, introduced legislation in alignment with policies detailed in Color Of Change’s Black Tech Agenda. However, these bills did not have a majority of co-sponsorship support from the committee members we surveyed.