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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

How Congress' Parade of Tech Hearings Totally Lost the Plot


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Illustration depicts Congress as a theater.

Ignorance and inflexibility have made Congress unable to tackle tech, and the wealthiest corporations have worsened the problem.

Getty Images; Protocol

Privacy, big data, surveillance, online safety, competition, and disinformation are major challenges of our era, and the laws and regulations we have in place—from the 1990s and often far older—have not kept up. It would seem, from the the endless parade of "Shake Fist at Tech" hearings, that Big Tech's luck has run out in Washington.

Instead, these hearings, meant to help advance lawmakers' understanding, are nothing but a repetitive farce from which almost nothing changes. They become the end, rather than the beginning, of any change. And Congress has only itself to blame.

From Protocol
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