The Internet under Joe Biden

 


The presidential election raised a lot of questions about the future of Internet policy in the U.S. Now that the results are in and we begin to gear up for the coming year, we’re looking towards what a Biden administration means for your digital rights. 

We will hold decision-makers from all parties to account for their policies, and fight for the Internet we all want and need regardless of which party is in power. 

And now that the election’s over, there are quite a few issues on the horizon that we’re going to need to keep fighting with President-Elect Joe Biden in the White House. Below, you’ll find a little bit on what you can expect for some of our major campaigns with the new administration. 

Encryption 

We’ve been fighting a bill called EARN IT, which threatens encryption by punishing platforms that offer end-to-end encryption to their users. Unfortunately, this bill shows no signs of going away after the election. President-Elect Biden has a poor track record on encryption, and has even introduced several other anti-encryption bills in the past.1 We’re going to need all the support we can get to stop EARN IT from passing in 2021. 

Facial Recognition 

The rise of facial recognition technologies is growing rapidly, without any oversight or accountability to protect citizens from its extensive reach. While President-Elect Biden has not yet made direct statements about facial recognition, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris has addressed the racial and gender bias in facial recognition technology.2 Unfortunately, she has stopped short of advocating for significant limitations – like moratoriums or bans – on the dangerous technology.3 We’re going to need more than words to protect us from facial recognition’s dangerous grip. 

Net Neutrality 

Ever since the repeal of Net Neutrality in 2018, we’ve been working hard to make sure this critical protection for the open internet is restored. And a Biden administration could secure the return of Net Neutrality forever. President-Elect Biden was a part of the administration that implemented the original 2015 Net Neutrality protections, and while it won’t be an easy path forward, the appointment of a new FCC Commissioner means that the rapid reinstatement of Net Neutrality protections is now possible. 

Online censorship

While there are a number of concerns about the types of content being shared on the Internet, there are also a lot of misconceptions. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is what’s allowed the Internet we love to come to fruition, but now it’s under threat. President Trump has already attacked it, and President-Elect Biden has said he’s going to repeal it in order to punish the likes of Facebook.4 But Section 230 has been called “the most important law protecting Internet speech,” and ensures that we have a space for our voices to be heard.5 If Biden is successful in his misguided wish to repeal it, he’ll be doing more harm against websites like Wikipedia and Yelp, while actually concentrating power in companies like Facebook. We can’t let that happen. 

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