Gus Hurwitz on Tech Regulation under Biden

The Washington Times – ICLE Director of Law & Economics Programs Gus Hurwitz was quoted in The Washington Times on Section 230 and other pending regulatory matters.

“My intuition is that we’re probably not going to see much there other than maybe some minor revisions and changes because centrists tacking, there’s a core group of moderates from both parties that I think are not going to want to dramatically overhaul Section 230,” said Gus Hurwitz, director of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center.

“The groups from each party that do want to have substantial change are coming from completely different perspectives and poles and so I don’t know that there’s a compromise that could actually happen that would bring factions that do want dramatic change together.”

While tech experts and analysts view the Biden administration’s plans for Section 230 as an open question, they believe that it is much easier to predict the incoming administration’s actions involving individual disputes with platforms such as Google and TikTok.

Mr. Hurwitz said Google’s strategy of not fighting the Department of Justice’s antitrust case on every possible ground before the legal battle hits the courtroom has made it much more difficult for the Biden administration to amend the lawsuit to tailor it more to its liking.

“It’s pretty rare for the federal government agencies to drop litigation adopted by the prior administration once that litigation has commenced with the exception if there’s an opportunity to drop it without losing face,” Mr. Hurwitz said.

…The regulatory and legislative landscape for social media platforms also will be shaped by Georgia’s two runoff elections for Senate on Jan. 5, which will determine which party controls the upper chamber.

“So much depends on the Republicans’ and Democrats’ respective strategies for 2022 and 2024,” Mr. Hurwitz said. “If [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell decides, ‘Look, the way to win big in 2022 is to appear to be willing to work with the Biden administration,’ that’s going to lead to a very different set of outcomes than if he decides, ‘look the way for us to do well in 2022 is to be the opposition party and obstruct.’ And the same goes for the Biden administration and Senate Democratic leadership.”