A Q&A with NYT Tech Policy Reporter David McCabe on Big Tech's Presence in DC

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A Q&A with New York Times tech policy reporter David McCabe. 

When asked, "How is Silicon Valley having an impact on Washington (DC)?", McCabe said, "Washington has become intertwined with the Valley in lots of different ways. Every major tech company has ramped up its presence here. Small armies of lobbyists work Capitol Hill and a vast swath of the administration to fight attempts to regulate the industry or to shape the rules when they become inevitable."

When asked, "How has the tech fluency among lawmakers changed, or not, over time?" He said, "Many lawmakers have become more fluent in tech — or at least more conversant — since the infamous Mark Zuckerberg hearings in 2018...In both the House and the Senate, lawmakers are often asking sharper questions than they used to and doing a better job of diving into the specifics. There’s a related issue: For years, 'tech policy' largely meant communications policy. It was about regulating the infrastructure that allows us to share information with one another. That has much wider implications than it used to. If you oversee banking, you have to grok Facebook’s attempt to build a cryptocurrency. Google’s use of patient records is a health policy question as much as it’s a tech policy one. I’m interested in how lawmakers and their staff members adapt to this moment, when major tech companies are trying to play in more and more parts of modern life even as they face scrutiny for the business models that made them successful."


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