Tuesday night, President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address to Congress, which is expected to now focus on Ukraine and Russia after Russia’s invasion last week, as well as the shifting global order.
Biden will also be expected to speak in-depth on the economy, as rising inflation is hitting families across the country hard.
But those won’t be the only topics Biden will talk about on the evening. In his speech, Biden will address the need to protect the data of children against the encroaches and omnipotent reach of the big tech companies.
Biden is expected to call for a ban on advertising that is directly targeted at children, a ban on data collection by big tech on children, and to eliminate algorithmic targeting toward children.
In a fact sheet on the upcoming address, the Biden administration highlighted the overwhelming ways in which children today are surveilled.
“Children are also subject to the platforms’ intensive and excessive data collection vacuum, which they use to deliver sensational and harmful content and troves of paid advertising to our kids. By one estimate, online advertising firms hold 72 million data points on the average child by the time they reach the age of 13,” the White House wrote.
The State of the Union will thus reflect the growing moment in both Congress and at Biden’s regulatory agencies to tackle the reach of big tech.
A number of different data privacy bills are currently making their way through Congress, as a tide of activism is pushing for the government to reign in big tech.
The FTC is currently pursuing potential antitrust legislation against Meta (formerly known as Facebook), hoping to break up the massive social network.
And in Congress, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced the KIDS ACT, a bill aimed at the harmful ways teens and children can be manipulated online.