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Thune Discusses His Bill to Give Consumers More Control Over Digital Content

“One specific area where I believe consumers deserve more transparency and control is with respect to how internet platforms use artificial intelligence and opaque algorithms to make inferences from the reams of data collected about all of us that too often results in users being caught in a so-call

December 5, 2019

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today participated in a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing titled, “Examining Legislative Proposals to Protect Consumer Data Privacy.” The hearing examined multiple legislative proposals and how they intend to provide consumers with more security, transparency, choice, and control over personal information, both online and offline. 

 

During the hearing, Thune discussed his Filter Bubble Transparency Act, bipartisan legislation that would increase internet platform transparency and provide consumers with greater control over digital content.

 

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing as members of this Committee continue to work on crafting a national consumer data privacy bill. 

 

“It is my hope that we can ultimately work together on a bipartisan basis to produce legislation that puts consumers’ interests first while still allowing the private sector to innovate and grow the economy. 

 

“All of us understand—or at least should—that only a bipartisan proposal has a chance of clearing the Senate and becoming law. 

 

“And, my view is that a bipartisan outcome must include strong consumer protections while also avoiding the regulatory patchwork that is beginning to emerge at the state level. 

 

“I remain committed to working with the chairman and ranking member and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a consensus solution. 

 

“Since we started privacy discussions last Congress, I’ve said that consumers are entitled to clear and concise explanations of how the services they use are collecting and using their data. 

 

“One specific area where I believe consumers deserve more transparency and control is with respect to how internet platforms use artificial intelligence and opaque algorithms to make inferences from the reams of data collected about all of us that too often results in users being caught in a so-called “filter bubble.” 

 

“The filter bubble is essentially the unique universe of information generated on an internet platform for each user.  Many users are unaware of the filter bubble. 

 

“That’s why I’ve introduced the bipartisan Filter Bubble Transparency Act, which would give individuals a greater understanding of how internet platforms use algorithms to increase user engagement. 

 

“It would also give consumers the option to engage with a platform without being manipulated by opaque algorithms powered by the user’s own personal data. 

 

“I’m proud to have Senators Blumenthal, Moran, Blackburn, and Warner as cosponsors of this bill. 

 

“At the same time, whether it’s algorithm transparency or privacy, I understand that bills touching on highly technical issues can have potentially unintended consequences, so I welcome constructive feedback on this bill and the committee’s efforts more generally.”