Details: 2020 saw a global push for government-imposed crackdowns that are threatening a new era of tech-enabled censorship. Protocol takes a look at the top policy issues to watch — both in the U.S. and abroad — in the coming year:
The global competition crackdown
"When it comes to antitrust enforcement, tech companies are getting hit from all angles: a trend that is certain to continue throughout the new year."
US broadband implementation
"A longtime staple of tech industry wishlists, the digital divide might actually begin to close in earnest this year thanks to the $65 billion in broadband funding set aside in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. That includes $42.45 billion for states to build out new broadband networks, as well as $14.2 billion in monthly discounts for low-income Americans, $2.75 billion for digital literacy programs and $2 billion for rural broadband construction."
The race against China
"The Senate scored a major bipartisan victory in 2021 with the passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which included more than $200 billion in funding for science and tech research, chip manufacturing and more....There are also ongoing efforts inside the White House to form a global front to stand up to authoritarian uses of the internet by countries like China."
Post-Privacy Shield deal-making
"The U.S. and EU are still trying to come to an agreement on transcontinental data transfers in the wake of 2020’s monumental Schrems II decision. That ruling invalidated the Privacy Shield framework, which had enabled companies to transfer data between the U.S. and EU for years. Ever since, all U.S. companies that handle European data — but particularly tech companies that handle a whole lot of it — have been hanging in the balance."
The ‘AI Bill of Rights’
"In 2021, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced it intended to draft what it’s calling an AI Bill of Rights to “clarify the rights and freedoms we expect data-driven technologies to respect.” To do that, the office put out a request for information on how biometric data is being used. The office plans to use that information to develop this bill of rights over the course of 2022."
State privacy laws come into focus
"This is usually the part of the year-end roundup where we tell you that this, yes this, is the year for a federal privacy law. But honestly? We’ve been wrong about that before, so at the risk of repeating history, we’ll focus on where the action really is: the states....In 2022, California’s newly created privacy agency will have to promulgate rules and regulations related to the California Privacy Rights Act, the successor to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which passed in 2018. The new CPRA law gives widespread power to this agency to define regulations around concepts like 'automated decision-making' and 'cybersecurity.'"