Predicting the 2024 Tech Policy Climate: Looking Back on 2023’s Biggest Events in Tech Policy

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2023 was a busy year for the Glen Echo Group, as lawmakers around the world grappled with regulating the digital world. Tech dominated the news, with major stories breaking almost daily on cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence (AI), social media, online privacy, ransomware attacks, broadband funding and more. Before we release our 2024 tech policy forecast, let’s take a look at some major events that hit our maps in 2023.

January - On January 23, OpenAI signs a multi-billion investment deal with Microsoft to accelerate the development of AI. The partnership provides for scaling supercomputers for OpenAI’s research, deploying OpenAI’s models across all Microsoft products and integrating Azure into OpenAI’s work.

February - In February, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) loses its case against Meta contesting the platform’s acquisition of Within Unlimited, a VR fitness platform. The nearly $400 million acquisition allows Meta to gain ownership of one of the last corners of the virtual reality marketplace.

March - On March 2, the White House releases its national cybersecurity strategy, which focuses on five pillars: defending critical infrastructure, disrupting and dismantling threat actors, shaping market forces to drive security and resilience, investing in a resilient future and forging international partnerships to pursue shared goals.

April - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announces that his office will lead a congressional effort to develop a framework on AI regulations. AI was everywhere in 2023, and Schumer's announcement signals that the hype has finally reached Capitol Hill.

May - The U.S. Supreme Court issues key decisions on two seminal Section 230 cases, denying liability in favor of the defendants in Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh.

June - On June 13, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila grants the FTC’s request to temporarily block Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard. (The deal was later finalized).

July - Under Elon Musk’s leadership, Twitter rebrands as X. Musk’s steady disassembling of the social media app Twitter culminates in a branding change to X, as the new CEO reconsiders everything from algorithms to content moderation.

August - On August 25, the EU’s Digital Services Act takes effect for very large online platforms and online search engines. The law restricts targeted advertising, requires platforms to implement algorithmic transparency and holds online platforms legally accountable for the content posted to them.

September - On September 30, 2023 the Senate confirms Commissioners Carr & Starks as Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Alongside the Confirmation of Anna Gomez, the FCC now stands at full capacity for the first time in three years, and a renewed net neutrality push was not far behind.

October - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rescinds its directive for states to inspect water utilities’ cyber readiness after industry and Republican legal challenges. It’s the first time critical infrastructure cyber rules have been dropped.

November - National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) releases its highly anticipated National Spectrum Strategy, after several months of seeking input from industry stakeholders, setting the stage for future discussions of spectrum sharing.

December - The next EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council summit will take place in December in Washington D.C. Currently, American and European officials are centering their collaborative efforts on developing technical standards for AI, which is expected to be a focus of the upcoming biannual meeting.

Tech policy debates are far from settled, and the outlook is uncertain. 2023 was certainly stormy, but the forecast for 2024 is even stormier as debates around international regulatory schemes, data privacy and cybersecurity, content moderation, AI issues and more continue.

Our interactive timeline provides a look at what’s to come in tech policy in the states, at the federal level and in the EU.

The Glen Echo Group is here to help you track moving targets in tech policy. If you want to ensure your message is heard above all the noise, reach out to us.