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Americans want tougher regulations for tech companies: poll

Americans want tougher regulations for tech companies: poll
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Americans want tougher regulations for major technology companies, according to a new survey.

Participants of the Tech Media Telecom Pulse survey by HarrisX said that they want tech companies to be legally liable for content on their platforms and want more aggressive penalties for companies that experience data breaches. 

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Individuals were surveyed within 24 hours of Facebook founder Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook executive hosted Kavanaugh confirmation celebration Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate MORE's testimony before Congress regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a British research firm hired by the Trump campaign improperly collected and kept data on 87 million Facebook users.

The controversy has sparked debate over technology companies data collection policies and privacy practices.

Eighty-three percent of those polled said America needs “tougher regulations and penalties for breaches of data privacy," while 84 percent agreed that “technology companies should be legally responsible for the content they carry on their system.”

Technology companies are largely protected from being liable from content users post on their platforms, but legislators on Capitol Hill recently passed legislation that would make companies responsible for sex trafficking on their platforms.

Only 19 percent of respondents disagreed that technology should “be regulated by the federal government in the way big banks are.”

While survey respondents said that they wanted to see regulation, they lacked confidence in the government's ability to do it. Only 31 percent of those surveyed agreed that "the government is capable of regulating technology companies," while 38 percent disagreed and the remaining 31 percent said that they were unsure.

HarrisX’s survey conflicts with the recent findings of a poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC. The latter found no overwhelming support for the regulation of technology firms. It was conducted over a slightly wider three-day timespan from April 8 to 11 among a smaller group of 900 participants.

If correct, HarrisX’s poll could mark a large sea change in the way the public perceives technology companies. Opinion polls conducted of technology companies last year still showed overwhelming support for such firms and did not signal a strong public desire for the government to regulate them.