yesPenelope BlackwellNone
×

Get access to Protocol

I’ve already subscribed

Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

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."

People

No editing, no hashtags: Dispo wants you to live in the moment

David Dobrik's new photography app harkens back to the days of the disposable camera.

Dispo turns the concept of a photography app into something altogether different.

Image: Katya Sapozhnina, Diana Morgan, Amanda Luke

Instagram was once a place to share Starbucks cups and high-contrast pet photos. After Facebook acquired it in 2012, it has turned into a competition of getting as many likes as possible (using the same formula over and over: post the best highly-curated, edited photos with the funniest captions). More recently, it's essentially become a shopping mall, with brands falling over themselves to be heard through the noise. Doing something "for the gram" — scaling buildings, posting the same cringe picture over and over — became the norm. Pop-up museums litter cities with photo ops for posts; "camera eats first"; everything can be a cute Instagram story; everything is content.

And to be clear, Dispo — a buzzy new photography app that just came out of beta — is still a place for content. It probably isn't going to fix our collective online brains and their inclination to share everything about our private lives with others online. It's still an app, and it's still social media, and it encourages documenting your life. But it runs pretty differently than any other image-sharing app out there. And that might be what helps it stand out in an oversaturated market of social networking apps.

Keep Reading Show less
Jane Seidel

Jane Seidel is Protocol's social media manager. She was previously a platform producer at The Wall Street Journal, creating mobile content and crafting alert strategy. Prior to that, she worked in audience development at WSJ and on digital editorial at NBC Universal. She lives in Brooklyn.

Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

Keep Reading Show less
Protocol | Enterprise

AWS has avoided antitrust scrutiny. That could change soon.

Legislators and regulators are looking closely for evidence of contract pricing, self-preferencing and whether lock-in is hurting customers.

AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud have all invested billions of dollars in cloud infrastructure.

Image: NurPhoto/Getty Images

The days of AWS flying under the antitrust radar are over.

Cloud computing has grown at a dizzying speed since 2006, when AWS launched its first cloud service. A generation of tech companies found themselves more than willing to pay handsomely to outsource their hardware and networking needs — as well as an ever-growing percentage of their software development tools — to the company.

Keep Reading Show less
Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET and paidContent, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

Keep Reading Show less
Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

Amazon after Bezos

Tom Krazit on Amazon's new CEO and Emily Birnbaum on the new proposals to fix antitrust and Section 230.

Photo: AWS re:Invent

This week on the Source Code podcast: Tom Krazit joins the show to talk about Jeff Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy stepping into the role and where Amazon and AWS go from here. Then, Emily Birnbaum talks about two new tech-focused proposals — one on antitrust reform and one on Section 230 — that might matter more than most.

For more on the topics in this episode:

Keep Reading Show less
David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

Latest Stories