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Survey Highlights Demand For Stricter Rules For Large Tech Companies Over Privacy Issues By Americans

Survey Highlights Demand For Stricter Rules For Large Tech Companies Over Privacy Issues By Americans
A recent national representative survey conducted on 2500 adults in the U.S. has revealed that regulation of major technology companies is desired by majority of Americans. Such tech companies also need to own the blame for what appears on their platforms. The Americans also demanded greater punishment for breaches of data privacy.
There is now close scrutiny in the manner in which tech companies secure and handle our private data and moderated and controls content following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Content includes fake news, hate speech and terrorist propaganda.
84 per cent of the respondents were of the opinion that the legal onus of the content being carried on their systems should fall on the tech companies while 85 per cent of the respondents expressed their desire for greater and more stringent laws for regulating tech companies. Stricter regulations to punish tech companies in case of data breaches was demanded by 83 per cent of the respondents. In the U.S., the section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects most technology companies from legal responsibility for most content.
The survey was conducted by HarrisX and was titled Tech Media Telecom Pulse Survey.
“Public opinion last year was largely evenly split on the need to regulate technology companies,” said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX. “It has now swung in the opposite direction due to a series of scandals around fake news, platform bias, foreign interference and privacy concerns, which have rightly been called the ‘annus horribilis’ of the tech sector.” 
The timing of the survey was set to coincide with the completion of the testimony in front of the Congress by Facebook founder Mark Zuckernerg. There was also section of questions Facebook in the survey.
Majority of the respondents did not believe in the neutrality of Facebook as a social media platform. While 66% of the respondents thought of Facebook as a media company that allows priority to be given to certain types of content over others, and among them 55% believed that the platform has political bias and censorship in its results. This view is held by 70% of Republicans.
Facebook stood out as a worse medium in comparison to other companies such as Twitter, Google, YouTube, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Snapchat. While 44% percent disagreed with the statement “Facebook cares about privacy”, there were 46% respondents who disagreed with the notion that it “protects my personal information”. In this category the second worst social media platform was twitter.
16% of the respondents wanted to see the CEOs of other tech companies being summoned to testify before the Congress and explain their data privacy and security practices, even though Facebook has borne the brunt of the scrutiny over the last couple of weeks.
“The public has a complex relationship with personal technology. Broadly speaking, a majority of Americans perceive technology to be a good force on the world,” said Nesho. “But dig deeper and you find very conflicted views on a series of important social issues.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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