Former State Department Adviser Calls For Online Bill Of Rights To Protect Against Social Media Abuse

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

Former State Department adviser under George W. Bush, Morgan Wright, called for an online bill of rights Friday to protect consumers from the abuses of big tech.

“The biggest problem is we don’t know what’s being done with our stuff,” Wright said on “Fox & Friends” Friday. “If we knew completely what was being done with our stuff, that is was being to given to Cambridge Analytica — in addition to that we also have data breaches where they’re not protecting our privacy — I’d say, yeah, that’d be a different thing. But this is not one of those things to where we understand really what’s going on because there’s no way to. It’s buried under rules and regulations and all this legal stuff.”

“Until we have a clear bill of rights that tells consumers, ‘Here’s what we do exactly with your data’ like what the EU’s doing with the GDPR, I think we’re going to have these problems … It means more and more of our information gets exposed. So it’s actually more dangerous to us the more information they collect on us.”

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said Fox reached out to Facebook and the tech giant said it has never sold clients’ data and has been mischaracterized and smeared in the press. (RELATED: UK Parliament Releases Internal Facebook Documents Raising Questions On How They Handle User Data)

“Documents gathered for their baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context … But the facts are clear: We have never sold people’s data,” the statement read.

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“I think it was George Orwell [who] wrote a book called ‘Animal Farm,’ where he said, ‘look some animals are more equal than others.’ Some data is more equal than others,” Wright replied. “What they were going to do is say, ‘look you advertisers if you spend more money with us, you’re going to get more access to more user data.’ So technically, maybe they aren’t selling data. But on the other hand there is definitely a quid pro quo. You advertise more, you get more access to our data. And again they’re collecting it from us for free.”

“At some point, as much I don’t like government regulation, we’ve tried the litigation. We’ve tried the regulation and now it’s going to end up with legislation like Sarbanes-Oxley. We’re going to certify what they do with our data, that they’re protecting it right,” he added. “There ought to be penalties for misuse.”

Wright also said asking 70- and 80-year-old lawmakers to regulate something they barely understand could be fraught with peril, but claimed there’s no other way to fix the problem.

“We’re asking people to regulate and legislate things they don’t know anything about. But what’s the alternative? We’ve tried self-regulation. That clearly doesn’t work. Do we leave it to the courts and sue the pants off of people? At the end of the day, Facebook, Google, Twitter what they call FANG [Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google] … they’ll throw lawyers at it and we’ll get buried under legal warfare,” he concluded.

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