Virginia Sen. Mark Warner made millions in the murky world of government-issued cellular licensing. He parlayed his riches into a governorship and U.S. Senate seat. Today, from his perch as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Warner has produced a 20-point plan to take on Facebook , Google and other tech giants with “potentially insuperable competitive advantages over new entrants.” Insuperable! Of course most of his proposals would end up locking the big guys in place while freezing innovation.
No matter. The shallow-analysis pundit class jubilated. Mr. Warner and Democrats could “crack down on Big Tech,” “tame social media,” and “knock Silicon Valley into shape.” Woo-hoo. The cheerleaders’ only complaint is the lack of a 21st proposal: breaking up the tech giants. Still, Mr. Warner wants to show that techland has gotten too big for its breeches and that the center of power radiates from the Hill—not the Valley. But he forgets that there’s one market to rule them all.
Good luck getting through Mr. Warner’s 23-page report. It’s filled with impossible-to-implement mandates (identify bots), silly bromides (addressing the safety and security of at-risk individuals), and dangerous power grabs (updating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act). If even a handful of these proposals become law, faceless bureaucrats would control the internet instead of energetic entrepreneurs. No one would win under this new internet. And compliance costs would be so massive that no new startups would emerge.
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