Your quick public update on important Internet policy issues.
In an intense few weeks that have seen the phased reopening procedures across the country alongside national protests about racial injustice and police brutality, Congress has continued to engage with stakeholders on various tech policy issues as the legislative calendar runs down and the Presidential campaigns ramp up.
Section 230 and antitrust concerns are dominating tech policy discussions, with the“Big Tech” backlash featuring prominently.
President Trump’s Executive Order on May 28 called for the FCC and FTC to regulate and narrow the scope of the Section 230 liability shield over concerns that large social media platforms are engaging in censorship. (See our statement on this Executive Order.) The Executive Order spurred a flurry of Section 230 discussions, leading to the introduction of new Section 230 reform legislation in Congress and more expected on the way. On June 17, the Department of Justice issued an extensive Section 230 report with legislative reform recommendations that would substantially limit the liability shield and regulate online content moderation policies.
Other Spotlighted Issues:
Copyright. The Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee restarted its series of DMCA reform hearings, and the Copyright Office issued its long-awaited Section 512 Report, on which we provided a statement. Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee Chairman Tillis aims to release a draft DMCA reform bill in the fall after completing his series of hearings and before Congress pauses for the elections.
Federal Privacy. Privacy discussions in Washington continue to focus on use of contact tracing and exposure notification apps in response to COVID-19. Related legislation has been introduced in Congress.
Antitrust/Competition. Congress is continuing antitrust scrutiny of the largest American tech companies. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust which has been investigating these companies’ practices aims to hold a hearing in July at which CEOs of Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple would testify.
Broadband. Expanding broadband deployment in rural America gained new urgency as a result of COVID-19 and the massive shift to online economic activity it spawned. The Administration and Congress are working on measures to close the digital divide in rural areas, especially for the improvement of telehealth services.
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