What We’re Tracking: Tech

This is the latest installment in our series highlighting the policy areas we’re watching leading up to inauguration–and how we’re expecting President-elect Biden’s administration to approach them. Read our previous entries on Health Care and Food & Ag.

The twin lawsuits recently filed against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general foreshadow the tough approach a Biden administration may take towards large tech companies.

Here’s what we’re expecting from the new administration:

On the executive front:

  • Enhanced antitrust enforcement
  • Continuation of Trump Administration investigations of/lawsuits against dominant tech platforms 
  • Bi-partisan support for addressing “Big Tech” dominance
  • More stringent merger reviews with an implicit bias against consolidation

On the legislative front:

Though cooperation from congressional Republicans remains the wild card, Biden’s administration is likely to pursue legislation strengthening enforcement and merger standards including:

  • Increased resources for enforcement
  • Shifting the burden of proof to merging parties
  • Prohibitions on dominant e-commerce platforms competing with third-party sellers
  • A strong push for comprehensive privacy and data security legislation

We also expect the incoming administration to seek heavy investment in broadband infrastructure including: 

  • Emergency pandemic relief
  • Enhanced telehealth support
  • Prohibitions on internet service providers cutting off broadband to households
  • Multi-billion-dollar investment to deploy broadband nationwide
  • Prohibitions on state regulations which inhibit local governments from deploying and offering broadband to consumers

It’s also likely the Federal Communications Commission will reinstate Title II Authority (Net Neutrality)—though this will need to wait for Senate confirmation of a new FCC Chairman – likely 2H 2021.