Senator Markey says Facebook statements about child advertising seem “misleading” – archyde

Senator Ed Markey is an old school legislature like we have in Washington. While he supports partisan positions on some issues, he often seeks a middle ground in technology policy to strategize how things can be gradually improved while attracting support from Democrats and Republicans.

While on the House of Representatives Trade Committee, he helped draft landmark bipartisan laws regulating cable television and deregulating telecommunications. He then worked on privacy protection for children on the Internet, and most recently on a law that bans telecommunications equipment from China on US networks.

I can tell you that he is still proud of the 90s cable and telecommunications laws as he has copies on display in his office. The Senator chatted with Pranshu Verma and me and our editor Greg Huang last week and gave us a virtual office tour on Zoom.

The senator’s concerns about the technology remain far-reaching. He’s working to update privacy for kids in the age of social media. One goal is to increase the maximum age of protected persons from 13 to 15 years. As usual, he reaches across the aisle and co-sponsors the issue with Republican Senator from Louisiana, Bill Cassidy. Her bill would restrict the online collection of personal information about teenagers and mandate services so that children can completely erase their traces.

“The Internet has a Dickensian quality,” said Markey. “It’s the best wire and the worst of all wires.”

On the flip side, Markey is still concerned about Facebook ads targeting children.

This summer, the service, now part of the company renamed Meta, promised to prevent advertisers from picking kids based on interests and browsing history. But in the middle research Markey and two colleagues fired a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday for more information.

“With these findings in mind, Facebook’s recent statements about how it restricts ad targeting to young users seem misleading,” they wrote.

A longtime advocate of net neutrality rules, Markey also expressed support for both of President Biden’s nominations to the Federal Communications Commission. Without enough Senate support to overcome a filibuster, the FCC’s only hope is Markey and other Democrats’ only hope of reviving rules to protect Internet content from operator discrimination.

The commission, normally controlled by the party in the White House, is currently stalled with two Democrats and two Republicans. It was not until October 26, however, that President Biden nominated former FCC employee Gigi Sohn to fill the vacant seat and appointed incumbent FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for another term. Some Republican Senators make noise about Son’s blocking, but Markey praised her work on net neutrality and broadband availability.

Markey also raised other problem areas, including funding research at the National Institutes of Health on the impact of social media on children and regulating the use of automated decision-making software in areas like finance, a thing known as algorithmic justice .

But before we could delve too deeply into these issues, the wandering senator made his way to his next appointment.

Aaron Pressman is among [email protected] accessible. Follow him on Twitter @ampressman.

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