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America Leads in Information Technology, But U.S. Big Tech Still Has to Heal Itself



Screenshot of Steve Clemons of The Hill during the Thursday event

January 18, 2021—“Congress needs to better organize itself around technology,” said Rep. Bill Foster, D-Illinois, a member of the Financial Services and Science, Space, and Technology Committees.

Foster, along with a panel of tech innovators and policymakers, explained the steps the United States should take to remain a global leader in technology and innovation, during a webinar by The Hill that aired Thursday.

“The current Congress representing America” is outdated, Foster said, calling for new life to be breathed into the U.S. Office of Technology. Further, he suggested a new Committee on Information Technology to be established.

Other panelists believed greater distribution of broadband resources will help America remain competitive. “In order to get trade and technology right in this current age, proper infrastructure must exist,” said Ambassador Michael Froman, former U.S. Trade Representative and vice president and chairman in strategic growth at Mastercard ,

Froman also stressed the importance of having an open digital economy that protects privacy.

When it comes to homeland security, “America can not take its eye off the ball,” said Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., ranking member on the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation Subcommittee. Katko recognized the challenge in balancing security and innovation, but ultimately said he believes foreign input in the American tech sector is a positive thing.

Katko said he favored easing student visa regulations to allow scholars from around the globe  to stay in America, rather than taking their knowledge and expertise back home, where America will have to compete against them.

The technology industry needs to establish norms for free expression and safety

“Tech needs to have norms and rules to make sure people have free expression while also being safe,” said Karen Kornbluh, senior fellow and director at the Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative, member of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and former ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“It is critical civil rights, consumers, and even campaign finance transparency are protected,” said Kornbluh. “America needs more than standard media literacy. It needs more investment into civic infrastructure like broadband, and to use its public institutions in the best way possible, such as libraries.”

Kornbluh went on to say that the federal government needs more tech literate people. No longer can government separate pillars like economic issues from tech issues. It needs to have techonomic—a blend of technology and economics—appointed people, and other roles including Housing and Urban Development Tech.

Kornbluh also said that the IT sector needs to take ethics and values seriously, because ethics in tech is not optional.

The coronavirus pandemic is driving greater focus on health care

Of the many areas panelists said the U.S. needs to remain competitive in, one stood out in particular: Health care. Citing the coronavirus pandemic, James Manyika, senior partner at McKinsey & Company, said this includes boosting research and development in medical supplies, equipment and vaccine research.,

Ambassador Daniel  Sepulveda, senior vice president in policy and advocacy at MediaMath and a member of the Biden-Harris Transition Agency Review Team, said when he worked with then-Sen. Barack Obama, it was important to ensure nascent technologies were not hindered by regulation.

He maintained that this should be an important priority for the Biden-Harris administration. “Technology must be governed since it has potential to be used to harm,” said Sepulveda. “Ensuring interagency cooperation is important to prevent state-level malicious actors from harming U.S. interests via cyberattacks.”

Sepulveda maintained that keeping an openness to the world by accepting and welcoming talent, including low age and immigrant populations is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.

Squeezing the inequities out of the technology industry

Technology can and continues to perpetuate systemic inequalities in racism and gender. “The first thing America must do is milk out the inequities in the tech industry,” said Mia Dand, CEO of Lighthouse3 and founder of Women in AI Ethics.

“There is not enough representation of women. Women and women of color still sink into the single when it comes to representation in tech,” said Dand.“The right people needed are not sitting at the table to help change this. Not only is this a problem for women, but any minority group as well.”

Nicol Turner Lee, senior fellow of Governance Studies and director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution., further argued  that the people developing technology are often not inclusive of the people tech is applied to.

Issues stemming from the digital divide go well beyond hurting women and people of color. This includes farmers, rural people, and lower-class people also face deep systemic inequities in the digital world,  she said.

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FTC Commissioner Concerned About Antitrust Impact on Already Rising Consumer Prices

Noah Phillips said Tuesday he wants the commission to think about the impact of antitrust rules on rising prices.



Screenshot of Federal Trade Commissioner Noah Phillips

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Rising inflation should be a primary concern for the Federal Trade Commission when considering antitrust regulations on Big Tech, said Commissioner Noah Phillips Tuesday.

When considering laws, “the important thing is what impact it has on the consumer,” said Phillips. “We need to continue to guard like a hawk against conduct and against laws that have the effect of raising prices for consumers.”

Current record highs in the inflation rate, which means money is becoming less valuable as products become more expensive, has meant Washington must become sensitive to further price increases that could come out of such antitrust legislation, the commissioner said.

Phillips did not comment on how such movies would mean higher prices, but that signals, such as theHouse Judiciary Committee’s antitrust report two years ago, that reign in Big Tech companies and bring back enforcement of laws could mean higher prices. He raised concerns that recent policies are prohibiting competition rather than facilitating it.

This follows recent concerns that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, currently awaiting Senate floor consideration, will inhibit America’s global competitiveness by weakening major American companies, thus impairing the American economy. That legislation would prohibit platform owners from giving preference to their products against third-party products.

This act is one of many currently under consideration at Congress, including Ending Platform Monopolies Act and Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.

Small businesses have worried that by enacting some legislation targeting Big Tech, they would be impacted because they rely on such platforms for success.

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Big Tech

Small Business Owners Call for FTC, DOJ to Institute Antitrust Measures Against Big Tech

Small business owners vocalized concerns at a forum hosted by the FTC and the DoJ.



Screenshot of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Small business owners and employees urged the Federal Trade Commission last week to take further action against big tech company mergers that dominate their markets.

With Washington’s focus on scrutinizing potential mergers, small business members that appeared on a forum Thursday hosted by the FTC and Justice Department pushed for antitrust measures against market monopolization that they said undermines small business success. Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general for the antitrust Division, called this a “new generation of digital giants.”

Saagar Enjeti, host of a media podcast, expressed his inability to participate in a truly free and open internet due to the influence of big tech companies, in which he said there has been a rash of misinformation on the coronavirus, the 2020 presidential election, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bradley Tusk, a venture capitalist who invests in tech startups, said he wants the FTC to have “more scrutiny” on big tech mergers. “The FTC should aggressively do everything in its power to do the job itself,” said Tusk.

Erin Wade agreed for more scrutiny on monopolies in which DoorDash and UberEats compete. As a restaurant owner, she said delivery mega platforms are harming restaurant profits and disrupting their business via tactics including underpricing their delivery fees and “bund[ling] orders so badly it damages customer relations.

“Small businesses are central to the American economy and American democracy,” Wade said during the event, pushing for the FTC to place more scrutiny on big tech companies.

According to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, as several digital platforms continue to control the market today, anti-trust agencies should do what they can to encourage competition and provide checks on these big tech companies.

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Section 230

Parler Policy Exec Hopes ‘Sustainable’ Free Speech Change on Twitter if Musk Buys Platform

Parler’s Amy Peikoff said she wishes Twitter can follow in her social media company’s footsteps.



Screenshot of Amy Peikoff

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2022 – A representative from a growing conservative social media platform said last week that she hopes Twitter, under new leadership, will emerge as a “sustainable” platform for free speech.

Amy Peikoff, chief policy officer of social media platform Parler, said as much during a Broadband Breakfast Live Online event Wednesday, in which she wondered about the implications of platforms banning accounts for views deemed controversial.

The social media world has been captivated by the lingering possibility that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk could buy Twitter, which the billionaire has criticized for making decisions he said infringe on free speech.

Before Musk’s decision to go in on the company, Parler saw a surge in member sign-ups after former President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter for comments he made that the platform saw as encouraging the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, a move Peikoff criticized. (Trump also criticized the move.)

Peikoff said she believes Twitter should be a free speech platform just like Parler and hopes for “sustainable” change with Musk’s promise.

“At Parler, we expect you to think for yourself and curate your own feed,” Peikoff told Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark. “The difference between Twitter and Parler is that on Parler the content is controlled by individuals; Twitter takes it upon itself to moderate by itself.”

She recommended “tools in the hands of the individual users to reward productive discourse and exercise freedom of association.”

Peikoff criticized Twitter for permanently banning Donald Trump following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and recounted the struggle Parler had in obtaining access to hosting services on AWS, Amazon’s web services platform.

Screenshot of Amy Peikoff

While she defended the role of Section 230 of the Telecom Act for Parler and others, Peikoff criticized what she described as Twitter’s collusion with the government. Section 230 provides immunity from civil suits for comments posted by others on a social media network.

For example, Peikoff cited a July 2021 statement by former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki raising concerns with “misinformation” on social media. When Twitter takes action to stifle anti-vaccination speech at the behest of the White House, that crosses the line into a form of censorship by social media giants that is, in effect, a form of “state action.”

Conservatives censored by Twitter or other social media networks that are undertaking such “state action” are wrongfully being deprived of their First Amendment rights, she said.

“I would not like to see more of this entanglement of government and platforms going forward,” she said Peikoff and instead to “leave human beings free to information and speech.”

Screenshot of Drew Clark and Amy Peikoff during Wednesday’s Broadband Breakfast’s Online Event

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, 12 Noon ET – Mr. Musk Goes to Washington: Will Twitter’s New Owner Change the Debate About Social Media?

The acquisition of social media powerhouse Twitter by Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, raises a host of issues about social media, free speech, and the power of persuasion in our digital age. Twitter already serves as the world’s de facto public square. But it hasn’t been without controversy, including the platform’s decision to ban former President Donald Trump in the wake of his tweets during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Under new management, will Twitter become more hospitable to Trump and his allies? Does Twitter have a free speech problem? How will Mr. Musk’s acquisition change the debate about social media and Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act?

Guests for this Broadband Breakfast for Lunch session:

  • Amy Peikoff, Chief Policy Officer, Parler
  • Drew Clark (host), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Amy Peikoff is the Chief Policy Officer of Parler. After completing her Ph.D., she taught at universities (University of Texas, Austin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, United States Air Force Academy) and law schools (Chapman, Southwestern), publishing frequently cited academic articles on privacy law, as well as op-eds in leading newspapers across the country on a range of issues. Just prior to joining Parler, she founded and was President of the Center for the Legalization of Privacy, which submitted an amicus brief in United States v. Facebook in 2019.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

Illustration by Mohamed Hassan used with permission

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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