Tech Titans and Political Pawns: A Closer Look at the Big Tech Lobby’s Power Play

By Ana, John, Ray Dai, Froilan

‘Equal Justice Under Law’ — The U.S. Supreme Court Building Washington (DC) 2016” by Ron Cogswell is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Big Tech are closing in on Government’s around the world to lobby for a range of issues that help them cement their position of power, protect their monopoly and increase commercial gain. This blog will investigate three examples that demonstrate the extent of their lobbying power, showing how their policies erode public interest.

As states move on AI, tech lobbyists are swarming in

Lobbyists for the tech industry are hedging their bets as Washington gears up to consider new AI laws this fall — not just pressuring Congress, but also fanning out to state capitals to stave off more serious restrictions nationwide.

In California, lobbyists for the software industry are helping shape the state’s main AI bill. In Connecticut, they’re in frequent contact with the senator now prepping a major push on AI. Lobbyists are also already in talks with interested legislators in New York, Massachusetts and Illinois, working to influence the conversation before AI bills are even introduced.

OpenAI ChatGPT by focal5 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Big Tech-funded groups try to kill bills to protect children online

Federal efforts to pass children’s online safety protections have languished amid disagreements between House and Senate leaders about which proposals to rally around. State officials have rushed to fill the void with a wave of their own bills, including proposals in Maryland and half a dozen other states requiring tech companies to vet their products for risks to children before rolling them out.

But the push has faced broad opposition from tech trade groups representing some of the United States’ biggest digital platforms, who have blitzed statehouses around the country in an effort to stymie the bills, even as many of their member or partner companies including Amazon remain largely mum.

Amazon by Canonicalized is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tech Lobbyists Don’t Want States to Let You Sue Over Privacy Violations

As soon as Kentucky’s legislative session opened this year, state Senator Whitney Westerfield re-introduced a data privacy bill to give consumers more control over personal information online.

He knew what would come next. Last year, when he introduced similar legislation, industry lobbyists swooped in with an alternative bill based on a business-friendly law enacted by Virginia. It didn’t advance in Kentucky but managed to sow doubt about his proposal, which foundered.

Westerfield, a Republican, spent weeks this year fending off industry-sponsored amendments, including one that would strip out the right of individuals to sue a technology company over violations. He reluctantly agreed to that change, and several others to make his measure more like Virginia’s law, and got the bill through the state Senate last week.

Preparing young people for tech sector careers by BC Gov Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

THRASHBIRD – I OWN YOU” by aisletwentytwo is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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