👊🏼 States take the lead in internet legal reform 

Section 230 reform and antitrust progress are not happening quickly at the federal level, so states are starting to regulate the internet in their own ways. 

  • 100-plus tech regulation bills have been introduced this year at state legislatures: That’s according to the New York Times. And these bills tackle anti-competitive issues and speech, among other topics. Twenty-seven of the bills regard privacy, up from just two in 2018.

  • They’re filling a federal void: Antitrust actions take a long time, and the partisanship of Congress hasn’t exactly been helping Section 230 reform get jump-started this year, even though Republicans and Democrats want change. Tom Wheeler, a former chair of the FCC, told the NYT, “The failure of policymakers at the national level to act has invited both state and foreign regulators to act.”

Tech companies are in a complicated situation

Thanks to a few bills that have been passed, internet life is now different in various states. Virginians for instance can request Google and Facebook not sell their personal data. 

  • Amazon and Facebook have criticized states taking the law into their own hands. They say it will end up being complicated for internet users, too. 

The Verdict

There are 50 states and just one Congress. Expect more of these one-off state laws to happen before the federal government makes a major move.