Majority Of US Citizens Want Regulation In The Tech Sector

On Thursday, proponents of dismantling internet monopolies cited a new survey showing overwhelming public support for limiting Big Tech's influence as proof that Congress should go on with antitrust legislation that aims to regulate some of the most powerful businesses in the world.

While Americans were evenly split on whether tech companies are "mostly good" or "mostly bad" for the country, a nationwide survey of 1,200 registered voters commissioned by the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund and Public Citizen and conducted by Change Research revealed that 81 percent of all respondents think that large internet firms and social media companies have "too much power and influence over politics and governance." That remark was supported by two-thirds of Democrat-leaning people, 76 percent of Independents, and 96 percent of Republicans questioned.

According to the survey, respondents believe that "big technology companies are monopolies that should be broken up to ensure fair market competition and reduce their power," and that "government should strongly regulate these technology companies to better protect people's private information and ensure these companies do not abuse their power over the public conversation."

Nearly all polled voters (98%) indicated they "definitely" or "somewhat" supported legislation aimed at ensuring that internet corporations do not abuse user data, engage in "deceptive or unfair" business practises, or violate their civil rights. Nearly as many individuals (96 percent) said that enabling people to sue tech firms for privacy violations was a good idea.

A majority of voters polled, regardless of race or political affiliation, agreed that facial recognition technology should be put on hold "until problems with inaccuracies and discrimination against certain groups can be improved." Black and Asian people are hundred times more likely to be misidentified by facial recognition technology.

"These results indicate that the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's antitrust bills, which put forth numerous ideas to rein in Big Tech's power, enjoy broad, bipartisan support from Americans," Public Citizen said in a statement.

Last month, the House Judiciary Committee passed an antitrust bill aimed at better regulating or splitting up internet corporations. The most divisive of the bills, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, cleared the committee by a single vote. It would make it unlawful for dominating platforms to develop their own businesses in order to obtain an unfair edge over their competitors.

If the law is enacted, Apple may be compelled to sell off its app store or perhaps its iOS software, while Amazon may be forced to cease selling its private-label products on its website and Google may be forced to sell YouTube.

"The public is united when it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model: they demand action. They want the Big Tech corporations to be split up and consumers' privacy to be safeguarded," Public Citizen president Robert Weissman stated.

"Big Tech will spend tens of millions of dollars, if not more, to prevent anti-monopoly and pro-privacy legislation, but members of Congress who do the right thing should rest assured that the people will support them," Weissman further said. "Those who fail to act are the ones who have something to fear."