From Cecilia Kang's "As Europe Approves New Tech Laws, the U.S. Falls Further Behind" in Saturday's New York Times:
The United States may be the birthplace of the iPhone and the most widely used search engine and social network, and it could also bring the world into the so-called metaverse. But global leadership on tech regulations is taking place more than 3,000 miles from Washington, by European leaders representing 27 nations with 24 languages, who have nonetheless been able to agree on basic online protections for their 450 million or so citizens.
In the United States, Congress has not passed a single piece of comprehensive regulation to protect internet consumers and to rein in the power of its technology giants.
It’s not for lack of trying. Over 25 years, dozens of federal privacy bills have been proposed and then ultimately dropped without bipartisan support. With every major hack of a bank or retailer, lawmakers have introduced data breach and security bills, all of which have withered on the vine. A flurry of speech bills have sunk into the quicksand of partisan disagreements over freedoms of expression. And antitrust bills to curtail the power of Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, have sat in limbo amid fierce lobbying opposition...
The prospects that any legislation will pass imminently are dim, though regulations at some point are almost inevitable because of the way tech touches so many aspects of life. Of all the proposals currently in front of Congress, an antitrust bill that would bar Apple, Alphabet and Amazon from boosting their own products on their marketplaces and app stores over those of their rivals has the best shot.
My take: A good round-up by a reporter who's been covering the beat forever. My favorite paragraph links to a classic moment of congressional cluelessness (see video below)...
There’s no single reason for the sludge of progress in Congress. Proposals have been caught in the age-old partisan divide over how to protect consumers while also encouraging the growth of business. Then there are the hundreds of tech lobbyists who block legislation that could dampen their profits. Lawmakers have also at times failed to grasp the technologies they are trying to regulate, turning their public foibles over tech into internet memes.