i2Coalition September 2023 Legislative Brief
Your brief update on important Internet policy issues
The House and Senate returned to Washington, D.C. in September and resumed negotiations on stopgap legislation that would keep the federal government funded and avoid a shutdown on October 1. Lack of bicameral, bipartisan agreement and progress on that legislation by mid-month forced federal government departments and agencies to ready contingency plans in anticipation of furloughs of numerous government employees. Procedural scheduling and other planning for the future criminal trials in federal and state courts against the indicted former President and current Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump advanced during September. On September 12, the Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry about Democratic President Biden. The House Oversight Committee held its first hearing addressing the basis for the Biden impeachment inquiry on September 28.
TECH POLICY PRIORITIES
Section 230/Intermediary Liability/Content Moderation. As the 2024 Presidential election year approaches, some lawmakers and policymakers have growing concerns about the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review whether laws passed in Texas and Florida can constitutionally restrict social media companies from removing certain political posts or accounts.
Federal Privacy. No significant action on federal children’s privacy legislation or comprehensive federal consumer data privacy and security legislation advanced in Congress during September. On September 28, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it is seeking comments on best practices to protect children’s mental health, safety, and privacy online. The FTC issued a staff recommendations report about children and digital advertising.
Copyright/IP. The Copyright Office invited public comments on a Notice of Inquiry about artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has held stakeholder events addressing issues including AI and IP, and IP standards-setting.
Antitrust/Competition. On September 26, the Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com, Inc. The suit alleges that Amazon.com uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power. The federal court trial for the government’s antitrust case against Google regarding its online search business started in September.
Broadband. The Senate confirmed Anna Gomez to be an FCC Commissioner in September, filling a long-vacant seat and establishing a 3-2 Democrat majority at the FCC. The FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the FCC would vote on initiating a net neutrality rulemaking on Oct. 19. Congress is still working on reauthorizing the FCC’s spectrum auction authority which lapsed earlier this year in March.
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