House Vetting Tech Diversity, Or Lack Of It

Consumer Protection subcommittee slates hearing
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In a victory for ISPs, advertisers and tech companies that had opposed the new Federal Communications Commission's broadband privacy rules, the House voted primarily along party lines 215 to 205 yesterday, March 28, to repeal those rules, with only the president's signature needed to make it official. More than a dozen Republicans voted against it.

The House Consumer Protection Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on "Diversity and Inclusion in Tech."

Silicon Valley has long been under scrutiny over the dearth of various minority populations in its workforce and the impact of its algorithms on those populations

“People of color, women, and older Americans are largely absent from the workforce of American technology companies,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chairman of the parent Energy & Commerce committee and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), chairwoman of the subcommittee, in a joint statement.

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“Tools like algorithms are being used to make decisions, like who gets a job or a loan, that deeply affect people’s lives," they said. "Yet designers of these technologies often don’t take into consideration the full diversity of America. As a result, their products often have biased results that lead to discriminatory outcomes. We look forward to exploring the effects of these biases and need for inclusion in the sector’s workforce.”

No word on witnesses, but both Democrats and Republicans have been getting top edge providers execs to make the trip to D.C. as they express increasing concern about the size and power of companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.


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