Cat Zakrzewski

Texas governor signs bill prohibiting social media giants from blocking users based on viewpoint

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) signed a bill that would prohibit large tech companies from blocking or restricting people or their posts based on their viewpoint, setting the stage for a legal battle with the tech industry.

Senate infrastructure bill sets stage to make broadband more available and affordable

The Senate infrastructure bill includes a package of digital initiatives that together amount to the largest one-time investment in broadband in US history, totaling $65 billion.

Federal judge blocks Florida law that would penalize social media companies

US District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida blocked a Florida law that would penalize social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, a blow to conservatives’ efforts to respond to Facebook and other websites’ suspension of former president Donald Trump. The law was due to go into effect July 1, but in issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge suggested that the law would be found unconstitutional. “The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Judge Hinkle wrote.

Federal court dismisses FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook

A district court in DC dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust complaint against Facebook, saying the agency had failed to offer enough facts to prove Facebook has monopoly power in the social media industry. The court said the FTC could file an amended complaint with more details to bolster its case, but the judge voiced outright skepticism that Facebook is a monopoly. “It is almost as if the agency expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist,” District Judge James E.

Senate confirms Lina Khan to Federal Trade Commission

The Senate confirmed Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, elevating one of the tech industry’s most prominent antitrust critics to the government’s top Silicon Valley watchdog. The vote was 69-28 in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, signaling the growing bipartisan interest in reining in large tech companies’ power. It came just days after House lawmakers from both parties unveiled bills that could force Silicon Valley companies to change their business practices and in the most severe cases, break up the companies.

The federal government is rolling out record amounts of broadband funding. It could be just the beginning

The new broadband affordability programs [the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and the Emergency Connectivity Fund] are just temporary — and advocates say lawmakers need to develop a long-term program that will ensure low-income Americans can afford the Internet. “We’re not going back to 2019,” said Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn. “The digital divide doesn’t end when the pandemic ends.

Vice President Harris will lead the Biden administration's push to bring every American online

Vice President Harris will lead the Biden administration's unprecedented effort to ensure every American has access to affordable, high-speed Internet. President Biden announced the Vice President would take the lead on the issue during his first address to a slimmed-down joint session of Congress, where he touted his proposal to create new jobs through investment in expanding Internet access.

Coronavirus relief bill includes $7.6 billion to target the 'homework gap'

The latest coronavirus relief bill sets aside $7.6 billion to help students and teachers get online, in an ambitious effort to address the “homework gap.” The funding will allow elementary schools, high schools and libraries to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, and routers for students, and also fund the Internet service that those devices use.

Virginia governor signs nation’s second state consumer privacy bill

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) signed data privacy legislation into law, making Virginia the second state in the nation to adopt its own data protection rules. The law, known as the Consumer Data Protection Act, had broad support from the tech industry, including Amazon, which is building an Arlington (VA) headquarters. The legislation will allow residents of the commonwealth to opt out of having their data collected and sold, similar to a California law that went into effect in 2020.