By: Mark MacCarthy (Brookings TechTank)
A sectoral regulator for digital industries is an idea whose time seems to be coming. In 2019, Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge, called on legislators to pass a Digital Platform Act to deal with digital competition and content moderation issues in the online world. In 2020, a report from the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School called for a Digital Platform Agency to promote competition and enforce a digital duty of care.
The Shorenstein report was authored by an all-star lineup of policy heavy hitters: Tom Wheeler, Brookings expert and former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Obama, Phil Verveer, whose long career in government service includes positions as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy and Senior Counsellor to the Chairman of the FCC, and Gene Kimmelman, one of the nation’s leading consumer protection advocates who recently stepped down as Deputy Associate Attorney General Department of Justice. Wheeler expands upon this idea of a digital platform agency in his book, forthcoming from Brookings Press in October 2023, entitled, Techlash: Who Makes the Rules in the Digital Gilded Age?..