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Everything else we're watching in tech policy in 2024

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Jan 4, 2024
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Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

The states, courts and Europe are where we're likely to see definitive action on tech policy this year.

Here's what we're paying attention to so far.

AI bills in the states: In 2023, nearly 200 AI-related bills were introduced in legislatures but only 14 became law, Axios' Ryan Heath reported in September.

  • Bills are focusing on deepfakes, government uses of AI and impact assessments. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an EO on AI.
  • In 2024, industry is expecting a lot more legislation, David Edmonson, TechNet senior vice president of state policy and government relations, told Axios. Keep an eye on states like California, Connecticut, New York, Colorado and Washington.
  • Edmonson said: "It's inevitable that there will be AI bills that cross the finish line, and we want to be productive partners working with policymakers."

Online speech fights at SCOTUS: This term, the Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases, NetChoice v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, regarding laws in Texas and Florida preventing tech platforms from restricting political posts and accounts.

  • Tech platforms are watching nervously as longtime GOP grievances about how social media makes and enforces its content rules reach the country's highest court.
  • We're also watching Murthy v. Missouri, in which SCOTUS will hear arguments over whether Biden administration officials violated the First Amendment in their communications with social media companies like Meta about COVID and election content.

Antitrust cases: U.S. v. Google, weighing whether Google used its dominance in the online search space to illegally edge out rivals, is expected to wrap up this year, with closing arguments in May.

Kids' online safety: In addition to ongoing work in Congress, states, attorneys general and class-action lawsuits are all trying to hold social media platforms accountable for alleged harm to children and teens.

  • A number of class-action lawsuits have been brought by families and school districts against tech companies, in addition to AG cases.
  • Meta, for one, is fighting both an attempt by the FTC to prevent the company from monetizing teens' data and a state AG suit accusing the company of purposely addicting kids to its products.

Europe: As usual, tech companies have their hands full when it comes to complying with European rules.

  • This year the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act will be enforced and the AI Act will continue to move forward; other liability regimes are on the horizon.
  • We'll be watching to see whether any companies pull out of Europe entirely and if companies that change user experiences in Europe to comply with laws will do the same elsewhere across the globe.
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