This week in Say More, PS talks with Anu Bradford, Professor of Law and International Organization at Columbia Law School and the author, most recently, of Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology.
Project Syndicate: In 2021, you wrote that, with the United States, China, and the European Union “all looking to crack down on Big Tech, the industry is bracing for impact in 2022.” More recently, however, you lamented that the US government’s “regulatory rhetoric has not been translated into any concrete reforms,” owing to factors like corporate lobbying and political dysfunction. How is this lack of progress affecting the innovation landscape in the US, and what rules or regulations stand the best chance of being implemented?
Anu Bradford: The conversation in the US has lately been characterized by greater skepticism about self-regulation by tech companies. Disillusioned with free markets, toxic online speech, data-privacy violations, threats to democracy, and other harms associated with unregulated tech companies, many Americans want Congress to tighten regulation of the digital economy. But, as I previously pointed out, corporate lobbying and political dysfunction have prevented public sentiment in this area from being translated into meaningful legislation.
This seems unlikely to change any time soon. The introduction of a federal privacy law seems unlikely, as does any meaningful reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields platforms from liability over content moderation. While reform of antitrust laws may seem more feasible, several carefully drafted bills have stalled in Congress.
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