The Joe Biden administration is expected to carry out many changes that will affect the information technology sector directly and indirectly. His administration is expected to amend or overturn Section 230, restore net neutrality, increase the cybersecurity capabilities of the government, increase immigration that the tech sector depends on, continue anti-trust investigations, and increase broadband access. These IT-related policies were chosen based on the number of times they were mentioned in reputable publications that talk about Biden’s upcoming term. More details on these points can be found below.
- During the Democratic Primaries, Joe Biden said numerous times that Section 230 should be revoked. His reason for wanting it revoked was that he believed Facebook and other social media platforms were knowingly spreading falsehoods on their platforms and used Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as a shield against litigation.
- His rhetoric against Section 230 seems to be aimed at Facebook. He said that Facebook is an irresponsible company for spreading falsehoods.
- However, after President Trump signed an executive order in May that sought to narrow the scope of Section 230, Biden indicated that he will reverse that executive order or not follow through with it. President Trump signed the order after a flurry of fact-checks from Twitter.
- Allies such as Andrew Yang promised to work with Biden to amend the law rather than repeal it.
- Former FCC Chairman under Obama, Tom Wheeler, speculated that restoring net neutrality laws will be high on Biden’s agenda when he steps into the White House.
- Experts expect that broadband services will be regulated as Title II services under Biden, but the speed at which this happens depends on the Senate. The Republicans will be able to install someone to replace Commissioner Mike O’Reilly, whose term expires at the end of the year. This could deadlock the FCC and delay broadband reclassification for months.
- Biden picked Alejandro Majorkas, a man with a lot of experience in cybersecurity, as his pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security. He led key cybersecurity decisions during the Obama administration and served as chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Cyber Leadership Council.
- Biden is likely to continue the U.S. government’s offensive against Chinese 5G and Huawei and will continue the U.S. government’s work in trying to convince allies not to follow through with telecommunication deals with China.
- It is expected that he will be aggressive towards China. Even though he shares some suspicions over Chinese technology, especially in the consumer space, he’s expected to take a widely different approach in ensuring security with Chinese products, such as TikTok.
- The Biden administration is expected to restore cybersecurity structures that were removed during the Trump administration. It is also expected that the U.S. Cyber Command will be brought closer to the White House and Department of Homeland Security.
- H1-B visas have been an essential part of Silicon Valley’s ability to attract global talent. Under Trump, these visas were largely restricted. Sixty-percent of the computer, mathematics, and engineering jobs in Silicon Valley are held by foreigners. Biden is expected to reverse Trump’s restrictive policies on H1-B visas.
- Alejandro Mayorkas’ nomination proved that the Biden administration will be focused on reversing immigration restrictions during the Trump administration. It is expected that immigration reform will be the focus of Mayorka’s tenure.
- Making DACA permanent is also on the agenda. It is estimated that 72% of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies have DACA recipients on their payroll.
- Both Democrats and Republicans agree that tech companies have too much power and that they need to be broken up. They only disagree on the reason for why they should be broken up.
- The Department of Justice under Trump launched an Antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing it of using its power to stifle competition and create a monopoly. Even though Biden hasn’t spoken up about this case, experts don’t expect his Department of Justice to reverse course.
- Progressive candidates spoke a lot about breaking up big tech companies during the primary, and Biden is expected to adopt some of these policies. However, it is unclear how he will go about enforcing fairer competition among tech companies.
- Biden is expected to continue the Trump administration’s plan to subsidize broadband in rural and other underserved areas. This plan is expected to cost $20.4 billion. One of the promises of the Biden campaign is to invest $20 billion into broadband infrastructure, technology research, and development.
- In his Plan for Rural America, he intends to triple funding to Community Connect broadband grants and reform the Lifeline program which subsidizes Internet services for low-income individuals.
- Also, the plan outlines support for cities and municipalities building their own broadband networks. This may involve lobbying 22 states to overturn their laws that restrict municipal broadband.