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Media & Democracy 04.4.2024

Salon/Yahoo! News: Rebooting digital equality: FCC to restore net neutrality, reversing Trump-era repeal

Government watchdog group Common Cause has long championed net neutrality protections, arguing that the rules protect the public's right to the equal access of publicly-funded internet infrastructure. “The internet is a gateway to democracy for many and every voter has the right to a free and fair internet. From looking up information about candidates to finding polling sites, this net neutrality proposal will make it easier for every voter to participate in our modern democracy. We strongly encourage the FCC to restore net neutrality and return control of the internet to the people. Especially in a major election year, the FCC must do all it can to protect every voter’s right to basic information online," said Ishan Mehta, director of Common Cause's Media & Democracy Program, in an emailed statement Wednesday.

Voting & Elections 03.6.2024

WIRED: Inside Election Conspiracy Groups on Super Tuesday

Election integrity group Common Cause pointed out in a post on X that the picture wasn’t actually showing a voting machine but rather what's called an “emergency drawer.” “It is a locked, secure ballot receptacle to store and scan ballots ensuring they're included in the polling place's count at the end of the day,” the group explained.

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Colorado Politics/Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado bill tasking attorney general to study online 'misinformation' sparks First Amendment debate

Andrew Barton of Colorado Common Cause, who supports the measure, said his organization has conducted an independent analysis of social media posts and that the study revealed an increasing prevalence of "misinformation" about candidates for office, election processes, and the validity of the country's voting system. "Our democratic institutions only work when we can all engage with them accurately and honestly," Barton said. "Because of the threat of misinformation and disinformation, it's imperative that data around how such information is spread through online media sources can be gathered and examined so the legislature can develop data-driven solutions that help build understanding and trust within our political systems."

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Yahoo! News/USA Today: As the cradle of tech, California looks to be leader in AI regulation

Jonathan Mehta Stein is a co-founder of The California Initiative for Technology and Democracy, a project of good government group California Common Cause, which has been advising legislators on the threats emerging technologies pose to democracy. He points to the growing use of AI in elections across the world as evidence it's no longer a theoretical, but an active practice. In the first month of 2024, deepfakes promulgating misinformation in Bangladeshi and Slovakian elections proved to be significant election disruptions. Here in the United States, AI-generated content is met with considerable concern on the heels of rising political violence and distrust in election processes. "All of these new technologies that can deceive voters and undermine elections are coming on the heels of other depressing trends," Stein said. "In our democracy, trust in institutions and in the media are all-time lows. Beliefs that our elections are being run securely and votes are counted accurately are in doubt among huge percentages of the American population."

Media & Democracy 02.8.2024

Common Dreams: FCC Announces New Rule to Confront Deepfake Robocalls

Ishan Mehta, media and democracy program director for Common Cause, said the calls in New Hampshire last month represented "only the tip of the iceberg" and warned that "it is critically important that the FCC now use this authority to fine violators and block the telephone companies that carry the calls." Mehta called on Congress to pass the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, which would prohibit the distribution ofdeceptive AI-generated audio, images, or video relating to federal candidates in political ads. "We hope that both the House and the Senate will follow the example of the FCC," said Mehta, "whose Democratic and Republican commissioners recognized the threat posed by AI and came together in a unanimous vote to outlaw robocalls utilizing AI voice-cloning tools."

Media & Democracy 02.8.2024

PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman: Elon Musk wrong to say Joe Biden is recruiting immigrants to create a Democratic majority

It’s easy to discount such "conspiracy theory nonsense" from random trolls on X, but it’s powerful when it comes from Musk, who owns the platform, said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a group that advocates for voting rights. Democracies require participation, and falsehoods "only increase the likelihood that people will lose faith in our elections and simply opt out," Gutierrez said.

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