Category: Policy analysis

Giant internet platforms are failing us – we need fair market rules

The pursuit of profits might work as an organizing principle for an individual corporation, but it cannot be the basis to set market rules Over the past two years, the pandemic and other significant events have revealed how misinformation online can have dire consequences. They are a reminder of how key markets – including the markets for news and information

The Rise, Fall, & Return of the Consumer Broadband Label

With contributions from Laurel Lehman, Policy Analyst. Imagine you’re shopping for a new automobile, but as you go from car to car and dealership to dealership, the window stickers each look completely different. Some include a breakdown of the component charges and taxes, while others reveal just the bottom line. Some list the expected gas mileage, while others do not.

Inside the Clock Tower: An Interoperability Story

Editor's note: Last week, the House Judiciary Committee introduced a package of bills to address concerns with the market power exerted by large online platforms. One of these is the ACCESS Act. It would mandate interoperability for large online platforms, meaning, in part, that a consumer could still connect with her friends through Facebook even if she moved to another social

The ACCESS Act of 2021

People across the nation tell CR they are concerned about the growing power and influence of big tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. Six in 10 Americans favor stronger government action—including new laws, regulations, and enforcement actions—to discipline platforms and reduce harmful conduct, according to a CR survey conducted in 2020. Now Congress is taking action. The House Judiciary

Lab notes: May 2021

CR's Digital Fellows deliver lightning talks on consumer tech harms Earlier this month we hosted an event to showcase the innovative work of our Digital Lab Fellows who have received generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies over the past 10 months. The Fellows presented updates on their projects that aim to help uncover and

Calling all public interest tech researchers!

Are you passionate about privacy, security, or digital rights? Do you work on consumer protection research or new methods to study the digital world? If so, keep reading! At CR’s (Consumer Reports) Digital Lab, we are now accepting applications for paid, non-resident fellows to uncover and solve for consumer harms in the digital world. This ten month fellowship provides a

Racial Discrimination in Algorithms and Potential Policy Solutions

As part of Black History Month, CR is highlighting some of the consumer issues that disproportionately affect Black communities. We have witnessed the troubling ways in which discrimination and bias from the analog world have migrated to the digital space. Algorithmic discrimination occurs when an automated decision system repeatedly creates unfair or inaccurate outcomes for a particular group. CR’s investigative reporters and

A New Approach to Protecting Online Privacy

Though consumers have a fundamental right to privacy, there is no comprehensive federal privacy law granting consumers baseline privacy and security protections. Apps, including dating and period-tracking apps, send sensitive personal information on consumers (such as location data) to dozens, if not hundreds, of companies for advertising and profiling. Our personal information can be sold without our permission or awareness, or otherwise

CR’s Section 230 2020 Legislative Round-Up

Along with all else proffered by the year 2020, the year witnessed an unprecedented number of bills introduced in Congress that would alter or amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Passed in 1996, the law’s legal shields removed disincentives that could otherwise discourage consumers from sharing content and information, internet services from hosting consumers’ content in the first

Big Tech’s thirst for data hurts vulnerable groups most affected by COVID

March may seem like a distant memory, but it was just a few months ago that the United States was first confronted with the realities of the global coronavirus pandemic. As health experts, government leaders, and citizens struggled to understand the scope and severity of the rapidly growing pandemic, Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, launched an ambitious

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