Open-source investigations and public interest research using platform data (e.g., Facebook, YouTube) have enabled the collection of evidence of human rights atrocities, identified the role of foreign adversaries in manipulating public opinion before elections, and uncovered the prevalence and reach of terrorist radicalization and recruitment tactics. Nascent data privacy legislation such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act have placed increased pressure on platforms to restrict third party access to data. In an overly cautious interpretation of these laws, platforms are increasingly restricting third-party access to the data they collect. In doing so, platforms shield themselves from public scrutiny and accountability.
To support transparency and accountability of platforms, the next administration should work with Congress to ensure that any new data privacy legislation proposed at the federal level does not inadvertently block the ability of third parties to gain access to platform data for open-source investigations and public interest research. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy should take the lead by convening a workshop among key actors to make progress on these goals. Out of the workshop, a federal working group should be formed to develop principles and operational guides to support ethical third-party access to platform data, including the formation of technical standards to ensure data privacy and security.
A supply-side tax credit (STC) could offer a tax incentive to material suppliers and professional service consultants that provide goods or services to affordable housing projects.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Commerce, and Department of Transportation should jointly develop and manage a data resource—a Housing Production Dashboard—to track housing production within and across states.
Exempting affordable housing from volume caps would address the underlying issue and have the greatest impact in this housing emergency.
The U.S. should establish a national housing loss rate to stand alongside the national unemployment rate as a key indicator of social and economic well-being.