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.
The Supreme Court said Google did not violate copyright law when it developed its Android mobile operating system using code from Oracle, a much-anticipated ruling in the tech world that saves Google billions of dollars in potential damages. The court ruled 6 to 2 for Google in the case, which has major implications for the software industry. Matt Schruers, president of the trade group Computer and Communications Industry Association, said the court’s ruling “that fair-use extends to the functional principles of computer code means companies can offer competing, interoperable products.”
The Supreme Court vacated a lower court opinion that said President Donald Trump could not block critics from his Twitter feed, which since has been suspended by the company. The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York had ruled that because the president had used the forum to regularly communicate with the public, he could not block critical individual users.
While antitrust lawsuits and Capitol Hill hearings get headlines, Big Tech's biggest threat in Washington may come from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is gearing up to flex its muscle, by both enforcing current rules and trying to draft new ones.
Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said broadband providers pushed for reclassification of internet access as a Title I service so that authority over their service could get put in the Federal Trade Commission and "lost" among all that agency's other responsibilities, which is what he said the Trump administration ended up doing.
Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai testified before Congress for a hearing titled “Disinformation Nation: Social Media’s Role In Promoting Extremism And Misinformation.” If you tuned in looking for dumb questions, annoying partisan talking points, and exasperatingly squishy discussions of “misinformation” and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, you would not have been disappointed. However!
Sens Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Thune (R-SD) reintroduced the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency (PACT) Act, bipartisan legislation to update Section 230 of the Communications Act. The PACT Act will make platforms’ content moderation practices more transparent and hold those companies accountable for content that violates their own policies or is illegal.
Microsoft takes aim at Google as it supports bill to give news publishers more leverage over Big Tech.
The House Antitrust Subcommittee debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers collective bargaining power with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting the spotlight on a proposal aimed at chipping away at the power of Big Tech. At a hearing. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, emerged as a leading industry voice in favor of the law. He took a divergent path from his tech counterparts, pointing to an imbalance in power between publishers and tech platforms.