A group of seven Democratic and Democratic-caucusing senators sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Kahn on Wednesday calling on the agency to use “every tool at its disposal” to protect marginalized groups from discrimination in the marketplace.
The letter, sent by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), largely focuses on the impact of technologies such as facial recognition and location data collection on minorities.
“We write to urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to use the full scope of its authority to protect members of Black communities, other communities of color and immigrant communities in the United States,” the senators wrote. “Individuals in these communities are uniquely vulnerable to threats from discriminatory online practices, biometric surveillance, consumer predation and anti-competitive behavior.”
The letter was first reported by Politico.
The senators pointed to a wide range of research showing that apparently neutral data collection practices and algorithmic technologies can have discriminatory effects.