A bill has been introduced and is currently under consideration in Colorado’s state legislature seeking to establish new regulatory bodies to deal with the tech industry.
This legislation aims to put pressure on tech companies when it comes to what content and practices their users are allowed to post and engage in, and allow those making claims of unfairness and discrimination to take their complaints all the way to the court – once administrative proceedings the bill aims to set up have been exhausted.
The bill, whose main sponsor is Democrat member of the Colorado General Assembly Kerry Donovan, proposes creating the the digital communications division and the digital communications commission, that would register online platforms like social media sites that operate in this US state.
The job of the division would be to investigate accusations that these online platforms let their users engage in behaviors that are listed in the bill and described as unfair or discriminatory, while the commission would be able to organize hearings regarding those claims.
Some of the practices that the bill aims to “outlaw” are already used by tech companies themselves as an excuse to carry out waves of censorship on their platforms: alleged promotion of hate speech, conspiracies, fake news, or undermining election integrity.
Other things that Colorado residents would be able to complain to the division about have to do with platforms allowing a person to violate their privacy. Other violations include harvesting users’ personal data (when done by other users, not by the tech companies themselves), profiling them based on that data, selling it for location and targeted advertising, and using facial recognition or other kinds of tracking software.
These will be considered as violations and investigated by the division if they are done in an unfair and discriminatory manner, the bill proposes.
In order for a tech company to be scrutinized and regulated in this way, it must register with the division, and those who do business or operate services in Colorado but fail to do so will be ordered to pay $5,000 dollars for each day that this continues.