Democracy & Elections

The Lawfare Podcast: When States Make Tech Policy

Quinta Jurecic, J. Scott Babwah Brennen, Matt Perault, Jen Patja
Monday, January 23, 2023, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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Tech policy reform occupies a strange place in Washington, D.C. Everyone seems to agree that the government should change how it regulates the technology industry, on issues from content moderation to privacy—and yet, reform never actually seems to happen. But while the federal government continues to stall, state governments are taking action. More and more, state-level officials are proposing and implementing changes in technology policy. Most prominently, Texas and Florida recently passed laws restricting how platforms can moderate content, which will likely be considered by the Supreme Court later this year.

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our occasional series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare senior editor Quinta Jurecic spoke with J. Scott Babwah Brennen and Matt Perault of the Center on Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. In recent months, they’ve put together two reports on state-level tech regulation. They talked about what’s driving this trend, why and how state-level policymaking differs—and doesn’t—from policymaking at the federal level, and what opportunities and complications this could create.

Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
J. Scott Babwah Brennen is head of online expression policy at the Center on Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Matt Perault is a contributing editor at Lawfare, the director of the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a consultant on technology policy issues.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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