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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A new global wave of government rulemaking for online platforms has some experts and advocates sounding a "be careful what you wish for" alarm before proposals get baked into law, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.
Why it matters: In taking a bigger role deciding who can say what online, governments may aim to limit the distribution of hate speech, violent content and misinformation. But they could end up narrowing free speech and privacy rights, curtailing political dissent, and harming the internet in other unintended ways.
Driving the news:
The big picture: Internet laws, even more than other kinds of regulations, have a way of creating unintended consequences.
What they're saying:
Our thought bubble: For years activists sought to protect the internet from regulation to preserve its value as an open forum for ideas and global dialogue. The argument carries less weight now that so many Americans see the online realm in a negative light. That leaves opponents of regulation instead saying, "Let's not make things any worse."
Flashback: The first major internet regulation in the U.S., the Communications Decency Act, passed decades ago as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Be smart: The long-term impact of today's lawmaking might prove just as counterintuitive. And if enough different laws are passed in enough countries, the very idea of a "global internet" could become history.
Speaking of hate speech, Capitol Hill is busy this week with more hearings on online speech and its discontents.
What's happening: The House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday on the role of social media in the rise of white nationalism and related hate crimes featured appearances by representatives of Google and Facebook as well as Candace Owens, the black conservative, who argued that Democratic politicians were "fear-mongering."
Today, action shifts to the Republican-controlled Senate, where the Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to explore the frequently raised but never substantiated claim that the Big Tech platforms censor conservatives.
As Axios' David McCabe reports, the committee leadership rejected the witness Google planned to provide.
Photo courtesy of The Shubert Organization
The live theater industry is looking for ways that technology can help bring the business of Broadway into the modern era.
Why it matters: Live theater, like other entertainment industries, is both trying to embrace technology in its work while also being mindful of technologies that might make their core businesses less popular or valuable.
The big picture: Broadway is behind other live-event businesses when it comes to embracing technology, Shubert digital project director Kyle Wright tells Axios.
How it works:
The bottom line: The goal is threefold, Wright says, to use technology to help broaden the diversity of voices that find their way onto the stage, to keep the theater industry relevant so people want to keep seeing live events, and to make sure the industry remains relevant a decade from now.
The venerable Helvetica font is getting a makeover, per The Verge.
Google is holding its big cloud event, Google Cloud Next, this week.
KW (Kleenex warning): You don't have to be a Miami Heat fan, or really even an NBA fan, to appreciate this touching tribute to retiring guard Dwyane Wade.