Kamala Harris Wants to Give States Millions to Update Tech


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(via geralt/Pixabay)

Elizabeth Warren isn’t the only one fighting to break up big tech.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) this week introduced legislation that would earmark millions of dollars for governments to “update and rebuild” their systems.

It also supports the United States Digital Service (USDS), formed in 2014 to offer IT consultation services to federal agencies.

“Americans deserve a government that works for them and that just plain works,” Harris said in a statement. “We must do more to empower our state and local governments to tap into the power of technology to provide seamless, cost-effective services for the 21st century.”

The Digital Service Act promises an annual $50 million to USDS, plus $15 million per year for state and local administrations to invest in “digital services”—small teams of technologists, designers, and civil servants.

The latter would be dispensed as two-year grants, in the amount of $200,000 to $2.5 million per year, according to The Verge.

There are some conditions, though: Harris stipulates that at least 50 percent of each grant should be used “for talent rather than technology,” and that recipients must report their progress before the end of two years.

“The Digital Service Act represents an opportunity to help government move fully into the digital age—to get better outcomes that cost less and, ultimately, rebuild faith and trust in our public institutions,” Jennifer Pahlka, executive director of Code for America and former U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, said.

If passed, this would be “an important step towards making government truly work for all Americans,” she added.

Read more about the history of Harris’s proposed legislation online, as well as the full bill text.

Calls to break up big tech companies like Facebook and Google has spurred a larger discussion about technology competition among Democratic presidential candidates, many of whom support the proposal.

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