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Politics

What tech policy could look like in Biden’s first 100 days

More antitrust laws and bridging the digital divide should be top of mind for the incoming administration.

Joe Biden

A coordinated effort to approach tech could help the White House navigate the future more easily.

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Although it is too soon to tell with certainty how President-elect Joe Biden will address the questions surrounding tech policy, it is clear that his inaugural transition on Wednesday will affect the world of tech.

Protocol reporters Issie Lapowsky and Emily Birnbaum, virtually met up with panelists Tuesday to discuss what tech policy and regulation could look like in Biden's first 100 days in office — as well as the next four years.

According to Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, more antitrust laws that promote competition and protect consumers from anticompetitive mergers and business practices should be implemented. But she also mentioned that much of the backlash on this issue stems from users who "resist government antitrust intervention."

"What we are seeing is, on the one hand, imminently appropriate actions being taken by companies to stop violence. And on the other, we're seeing really important questions surface about the fact that those decisions are lying in the hands of private companies with enormous market power," Slaughter said.

As the FTC seeks to enforce these laws that address outsized market share, investigations are looming. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, who is leading a suit of 38 AGs against Google for anticompetitive conduct, said he thinks the depth of Google's totality needs to be examined.

"We would like to see the DOJ [Department of Justice] broaden their case against Google. We believe that the breadth of Google's anticompetitive conduct needs to be examined because it hurts consumers by limiting choice and hurts innovation," Weiser said, referring to the DOJ's antitrust suits against the company.

Antitrust enforcement is the big lesson going into the Biden administration, Weiser said. And bridging the digital divide should also be top of mind, said the Brookings Institution Director for the Center of Technology Innovation Nicol Turner Lee.

"It's not just about tech for certain functions, it's about tech for all of reality. Not just in terms of getting kids online, but the ability to have an environment where people are being trained on how to build the infrastructure and how to use the technology," Lee said. "With over 100,000 business permanently closed as a result of the pandemic, we are going to be trusting tech to be the new economic driver, which means we need more multi-stakeholder conversations."

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