At MediaJustice, we remain committed to fighting for a world where we are all connected, represented and free. Even with a new administration, our mandate will continue to remain the same. To keep building power in a digital age, here are our priorities for the Biden administration:
PROTECT BLACK DISSENT
Police were unprepared to address the White supremacist attack at the Nation’s Capitol, because, for years, the FBI has weaponized its resources and “domestic terrorism” categorizes to criminalize communities of color. It’s been three years since the FBI was exposed for surveilling Black activists under the “Black Identity Extremism” designation. Trump escalated his war against Black people and our freedom fighters, so we urge the incoming Biden Administration to investigate the FBI, subpoena the bureau for documents on “BIE” and Racially-Motivated Violent Extremism designations, hold a hearing, and, most importantly, demand they revoke these racists designations.
BAN FACIAL RECOGNITION
Facial recognition is racist and dangerous technology that should not be in the hands of police. It routinely misidentifies people of color, women and people who are gender non conforming. There is no level of regulation that will make facial recognition technology safe for people of color, immigrants and other communities at the margins. We demand the Biden Administration pass Senator Markey’s ban on government use of facial recognition.
BREAK UP BIG TECH/DEPLATFORM HATE
Tech companies have an unprecedented level of influence over public discourse and democratic norms. The monopoly power of today’s tech companies have allowed them to further exploit the labor of essential workers, amplify dangerous disinformation, and secure partnerships with local and federal police departments that have increased surveillance in already overpoliced communities. Big Tech has proven to be incapable of regulating itself and must be broken up.
Since their inception, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have been happy to provide platforms for white supremacists to organize hateful activities as long as it benefits their bottom line. Technology is mirroring the same systemic violence that undervalues Black lives and we can’t allow Big Tech billionaires to be passive by-standers until a crisis emerges. Instead of gutting important protections like section 230 that protect our freedom of speech online, the incoming administration should utilize FTC to enforce content moderation and fine social platforms for violating their own content moderation rules.
INVEST IN COMMUNITY: Close the Communication & Access Gap
The undeniable need for human connection and communication has never been more apparent than during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We sit in a transitional period where decades of divestment and exploitation of Black, indigenous and other communities of color led us to this moment. Federally mandated redlined housing maps of our past have transformed into a federally funded digital divide of our now. The new administration must take bold action to make sure everyone has access to high quality, affordable and reliable phone and internet services; including those who are incarcerated and their families and communities serving time with them. In addition to fixing our exploitative prison phone systems, we also need an administration that will expand federal programs for communications and that commits to breaking up the market hold of a few giant ISPs and cable companies with a new generation of investment in our communities. We must connect those left out of our society whether they be in urban, rural, tribal areas or any part of our country.