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
Senator Schmitt Introduces Legislation Aimed at Stopping the Federal Government’s Collusion with Big Tech to Censor Speech
Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO) introduced the Curtailing Online Limitations that Lead Unconstitutionally to Democracy’s Erosion (COLLUDE) Act, in order to halt the collusion between Big Tech and the federal government which has led to censoring Americans’ speech. The COLLUDE Act prevents Big Tech companies from colluding with government to censor free speech, by stripping them of their Section 230 protection if they commit such actions. Specifically, the bill:
Are the FTC’s tools strong enough for digital challenges?
In a period of only nine days—April 25 to May 3, 2023—the the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced initiatives to look at unfair and deceptive acts involving AI and proposed banning Meta Platforms from targeting young users. These come on top of two years of antitrust aggressiveness and consumer protection assertiveness. But both actions beg the question, “Are the tools strong enough for the task?” Both the AI and Meta activities are indications of the limitations that FTC Chair Lina Khan and the agency face as a result of being tied to industrial-era statutes and procedures.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan threatens to hold Google in contempt of Congress for failing to produce subpoenaed documents
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) threatened enforcement action against Google that could include holding the company in contempt of Congress for failing to produce documents the committee subpoenaed. In a letter to a lawyer for Google shared exclusively with CNBC, Chairman Jordan called the company’s compliance so far “insufficient” and demanded it hands over more information.
A plan to redesign the internet could make apps that no one controls
Dfinity is building what it calls the internet computer, a decentralized technology spread across a network of independent data centers that allow the software to run anywhere on the internet rather than in server farms that are increasingly controlled by large firms, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. The company will be releasing its software to third-party developers, who it hopes will start making the internet computer’s killer apps. Rewinding the internet is not about nostalgia.
Maryland Supreme Court Urged To Strike Down Digital Ad Tax
Comcast and Verizon urged Maryland's highest court to strike down a 2021 law that imposes a tax on some digital ads, arguing both that the statute violates the Constitution, and that it conflicts with a 1998 federal law. The hearing centered on a 2021 Maryland law that imposes taxes on some online companies with more than $100 million in digital ad revenue.
A torpedoed Biden FCC nominee shows the power of dark money campaigns and a ‘perfect storm’ of industry interests
When President Joe Biden nominated Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, the longtime consumer advocate expected to face criticism over her desire to expand free internet access and improve competition among broadband providers. Instead, Sohn found herself the target of an aggressive campaign funded by a conservative group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. The American Accountability Foundation called Sohn too partisan, anti-police, and soft on sex trafficking.
Tech industry keeps outracing the government
While CEOs of the companies leading the AI wave met at the White House on May 4, the leaders of the Biden administration's antitrust campaign against tech giants were also gathering for a stock-taking a few blocks away. In each arena, the industry has so far lapped its would-be regulators — but at least with AI, the race is still young.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Promote Responsible AI Innovation that Protects Americans’ Rights and Safety
The Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to further promote responsible American innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and protect people’s rights and safety:
FTC Proposes Blanket Prohibition Preventing Facebook from Monetizing Youth Data
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed changes to the agency’s 2020 privacy order with Facebook after alleging that the company has failed to fully comply with the order, misled parents about their ability to control with whom their children communicated through its Messenger Kids app, and misrepresented the access it provided some app developers to private user data. As part of the proposed changes, Meta, which changed its name from Facebook in October 2021, would be prohibited from profiting from data it collects, including through its virtual reality products, from users under the a
Big Tech-funded groups try to kill bills to protect children online
Federal efforts to pass children’s online safety protections have languished amid disagreements between House and Senate leaders about which proposals to rally around.