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The Lawfare Podcast: When States Make Tech Policy

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Tech policy reform occupies a strange place in Washington, D.C. Everyone seems to agree that the government should change how it regulates the technology industry, on issues from content moderation to privacy—and yet, reform never actually seems to happen. But while the federal government continues to stall, state governments are taking action. More and more, state-level officials are proposing and implementing changes in technology policy. Most prominently, Texas and Florida recently passed laws restricting how platforms can moderate content, which will likely be considered by the Supreme Court later this year.

On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our occasional series on the information ecosystem, Lawfare senior editor Quinta Jurecic spoke with J. Scott Babwah Brennen and Matt Perault of the Center on Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. In recent months, they’ve put together two reports on state-level tech regulation. They talked about what’s driving this trend, why and how state-level policymaking differs—and doesn’t—from policymaking at the federal level, and what opportunities and complications this could create.

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