2. OTI urges tech focus on ‘marginalized’ civil rights protections; author is named Shorenstein fellow
New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) released a report this week outlining how problems with companies’ data practices disproportionality affect marginalized communities. It proposes steps to protect their civil rights and mitigate any harms.
“As policymakers consider passing meaningful privacy legislation, civil-rights protections are a critical but mostly overlooked component. To have effective privacy legislation, we must ensure that companies’ data practices do not violate individuals’ civil rights — especially when it comes to marginalized communities. Problematic commercial data practices disproportionately harm people of color—especially Black and Brown communities — women, immigrants, religious minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, low-income individuals, and other marginalized communities.”
The report supports giving the Federal Trade Commission more rulemaking authority and giving individuals multiple ways to rectify perceived violations of privacy and civil rights. As discriminatory practices are making it into the digital realm the report states that “Further guidance and broader policy changes are needed to resolve the ambiguities around applying civil rights laws to these novel means of discrimination.”
The report’s authors include Becky Chao and Eric Null, who both work at OTI, and Brandi Collins-Dexter, who was just named a 2019-2020 fellow at the Harvard-JFK Shorenstein Center to “write a paper on the digital ecosystem and how it has forever altered the political, economic, sociological and psychological ways in which we engage offline.”