Our working definition of a digital platform (with a hat tip to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge) is an online service that operates as a two-sided or multi-sided market with at least one side that is “open” to the mass market
In my previous post, I highlighted four reasons why the U.S needs a unified policy framework for an open Internet ecosystem: 1) lack of competition/incentive and the ability to discriminate; 2) collection of and control over personal data; 3) lack of transparency; and 4) inadequacy of current laws and enforcement. Many of these problems can be addressed with targeted legislative and regulatory interventions.
[Analysis] In a new article for the Georgetown Law Technology Review, I seek to jumpstart a conversation about how to shape an Internet ecosystem that will serve the public interest. First, let me lay out the rationale for a new, unified policy framework for an open Internet: 1) Lack of Competition/Incentive and Ability to Discriminate, 2) Collection of and Control over Personal Data, 3) Lack of Transparency, and 4) Inadequacy of Current Laws and Enforcement.
A group of 75 activist groups and nonprofits have urged against sweeping changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, warning that it could silence marginalized communities while making online moderation harder. “Section 230 is a foundational law for free expression and human rights when it comes to digital speech,” the letter says.
House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) outlined a plan for fellow Republican members to hammer Big Tech companies. The "Big Tech Accountability Platform” serves as both a rallying cry for Republicans in the minority and an outline for some policy changes that could win bipartisan support. McMorris Rodgers suggests working with Democratic lawmakers on an agreement to sunset or establish a reauthorization date for Section 230 as a legislative starting point.
President Biden is inheriting tricky tech questions including how to rein in powerful digital superstars, what to do about Chinese technology and how to bring more Americans online. Here’s a glimpse at opportunities and challenges in technology policy for the new Biden administration:
President-elect Joe Biden is set to have a very different relationship with the tech industry from when he served as vice president. Tech companies have grown more powerful over the past four years — and more perilous. They have continued to amass data and wealth. But they have been used as tools for election interference and disinformation, contributing to the divide in the nation.
The law firm Hagens Berman filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in New York alleges that a deal between Amazon and five major book publishers has led to higher e-book prices for all consumers, because it prevents rival retailers from selling any of these publishers’ e-books at a lower price than on Amazon.
Podcast: Former FCC Commissioner Calls for a Presidential Commission on the Future of the Internet (with Michael Copps)
Former-Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps has called on the new Biden administration to establish a Presidential Commission on the Future of the Internet. He contrasts the regulation of the broadcast industry in the public interest with the relatively hands-off treatment of internet commerce and cites privacy, disinformation, and antitrust concerns, as well as the impact of social media giants on local news outlets, as reasons why a comprehensive policy review is in order.