For Immediate Release: September 13, 2022
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Color Of Change Launches Black Tech Agenda as a Roadmap for Racial Equity in Tech Policy
Racial justice organization outlines series of policy priorities to combat Big Tech’s unchecked power
NATIONWIDE — Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, today launched the “Black Tech Agenda” which is endorsed by several prominent members of Congress: Senator Cory Booker (NJ), Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), Representative Robin Kelly (IL-02), and Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).
The Black Tech agenda sets an affirmative vision for how to create tech policy that centers racial justice, ensuring bias and discrimination are rooted out from the digital lives of Black people and everyone. The agenda has 6 pillars which outline real policy solutions for Congress to advance racial equity in Tech:
- Advancing Robust Antitrust Policy: Create fair markets where Black businesses can compete, Black workers can thrive and Black people have abundant options;
- Protecting Privacy and Ending Surveillance: Limiting monopoly power to create fair markets where Black businesses can compete, Black workers can thrive and Black people have abundant options;
- Preventing Algorithmic Discrimination: Forcing companies to address discrimination in their decision-making through independent audits and repair the harm that has happened;
- Expanding Broadband Access: Ensuring everyone has high quality, affordable internet;
- Supporting Net Neutrality: Treat all internet traffic equally and designate the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as its regulatory body; and
- Addressing the Disinformation and Misinformation Crisis: Changing the incentives for profiting from harm by regulating optimization algorithms and reducing monopoly power.
The Black Tech Agenda, as a comprehensive roadmap to prioritizing the policies that impact Black communities on and offline, is an effort to distinguish the real solutions to advance racial equity from fake, self-regulated suggestions proposed by Big Tech.
“Silicon Valley has a very clear policy agenda full of fake solutions to real problems — empty ideas that will do nothing to address the harm Big Tech corporations cause to black people and in turn all other communities online. Letting Big Tech run the policy show means letting them chase profits no matter the cost to the rest of us,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change and Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute's Commission on Information Disorder. “Their crafty lobby in Washington claims there is no alternative, but the Black Tech Agenda proves that there is one. And this is the alternative that anyone who truly cares about racial justice must take seriously. The Black Tech Agenda outlines real solutions grounded in deep expertise, preventing Big Tech from allowing corporations to deny loans to Black people, collude with racist law enforcement practices, refuse job applications from Black people, block Black people from sharing our voices online, and give an unfair advantage to big businesses as they try to destroy Black small businesses that compete with them — all of which send us backward on racial discrimination just when we were finally beginning to move forward.”
“From facial recognition systems that open the door to unchecked government surveillance of marginalized communities, to algorithms that contain implicit biases, new technologies have often perpetuated deep-seated racial inequities in society,” said Senator Cory Booker. “We need to implement privacy safeguards and robust racial justice provisions to ensure Black people and their personal information are protected digitally, and I am proud to partner on this campaign to advance equity and justice in the tech space.”
In collaboration with key leaders in tech regulation, the agenda is endorsed by Congressional pioneers of legislation that has implemented long-awaited regulation for digital spaces. The agenda works as an extension of the groundwork laid by legislation like the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2022, Prohibiting Anti-competitive Mergers Act, and first-of-its-kind Artificial Intelligence regulation.
“The anticompetitive practices, algorithmic discrimination, and invasions of privacy committed by Big Tech firms are disproportionately harmful to Black consumers, workers, and small businesses. We need policies that incorporate racial justice and I’m glad to support Color of Change’s Black Tech Agenda,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren.
As an effort to outline the necessary action needed from Congress to prioritize users’ safety, the agenda guides’ legislative actions to ensure bias and systemic racism are eradicated from online platforms and digital products. Big Tech’s “self-regulation” at the expense of users’ safety must be met with federal regulation. Color Of Change’s Black Tech Agenda, calls on real and comprehensive steps for Big Tech regulation from Congress.
“As Co-Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Racial Equity Working Group, I am excited to endorse the Black Tech Agenda announced by Color of Change today. The Black Tech Agenda will help guide technology policy that ensures that all people have access to the internet, that racism and discrimination are pushed out of our platforms and algorithms, and that our cybersecurity is stronger. Technology is the future, and we must ensure that future is just and equitably accessible,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
“Time and time again, we have seen clear evidence or racial and deep-seated bias in our emerging technologies that have caused widespread harm to our marginalized communities and Black people in particular,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “Antitrust and privacy reform requires policies that consider a racial justice framework and protect Black communities. I am proud to endorse Color of Change's Black Tech Agenda, which will be instrumental in advancing policy that centers racial justice, accountability, and privacy.”
Color Of Change has led calls to demand equity from Big Tech corporations. One of these efforts includes implementing Racial Equity Audits, third-party overhauls of tech companies products, policies, and practices for potental discrimination and racism. Additionally, Color Of Change has led calls on the complacency of platforms like Facebook and Reddit in allowing white supremacist and hate group organizing to proliferate online including anchoring the Stop Hate For Profit campaign in 2020 which successfully called on over a thousand companies to cease advertising on Facebook for the month of July for the company’s failure to address hate speech on its platforms. The newly launched Black Tech Agenda shows how leaders in Washington can rein in the power of an unregulated tech industry that is scaling discrimination. More about Color Of Change’s ongoing tech regulation efforts can be found here.
Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over 7 million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and governments to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America. Visit www.colorofchange.org.