Biden wins: Here is what it means for tech

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden turned the president-elect after surpassing the 270 Electoral Faculty threshold to win the US presidency.  

Drew Angerer/Getty Photos

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Joe Biden has received the race for the presidency, unseating Donald Trump to take the White Home. Biden, Barack Obama’s vice chairman, made history with his pick of Sen. Kamala Harris as his No. 2; Harris will turn out to be the primary girl, and the primary girl of shade, to carry the workplace of vice chairman.

A number of information retailers referred to as the election on Saturday after projecting Biden would win Pennsylvania, giving him greater than the 270 electoral votes wanted. Vote counts took longer than in most years as a result of states have been deluged with mail-in ballots solid in document numbers by folks keep away from polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Media retailers calling the race for Biden included CNNFoxThe New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, in addition to ABCCBS and NBC. President Trump has mentioned he’ll problem the outcomes. 

Biden tweeted Saturday that he was “honored” to have received. “I promise you this,” he mentioned, “I can be a President for all Individuals — whether or not you voted for me or not.” Biden additionally modified his Twitter bio to learn “President-Elect,” and Harris, who additionally tweeted, modified hers to learn “Vice President-Elect.”

Although expertise points, together with net neutrality, rural broadband and on-line privacy, have been scorching matters within the major season, the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout have dominated the political dialogue over the previous a number of months. 

Nonetheless battle traces have been drawn over easy methods to rein in massive tech firms. Because the affect and measurement of firms like Google, Twitter and Fb have grown, lawmakers have questioned whether or not extra regulation and reforms to antitrust legislation are wanted. Democrats are troubled by the rampant circulate of hate speech and disinformation, together with interference by overseas nations within the 2020 US presidential election. Republicans, led by Trump, allege their speech is being censored by social media websites. The businesses strongly deny the declare.

Each side say these firms have grown too massive. 

After all, essentially the most instant subject President-elect Biden faces is the COVID-19 disaster, which has led to a fast adoption of telemedicine and digital training. The pandemic has additionally highlighted the digital divide that forestalls tens of millions of Individuals from accessing high-speed web. 

Although tech coverage did not dominate election points, Biden’s presence within the Oval Workplace over the subsequent 4 years may have a significant affect on the sector, together with infrastructure coverage on broadband deployment and nationwide safety points involving China. The president and his crew may even play a task in easy methods to deal with the expansion and affect of social media giants. Fb, Twitter and different tech firms are already feeling the warmth from politicians on each side of the political aisles. 

Learn extra: Election 2020: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube wrestle with misinformation

Throughout congressional hearings in July, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai were grilled about allegedly monopolistic practices. Zuckerberg, Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey were back on Capitol Hill in October going through powerful questions from Democrats and Republicans over a key internet law that is helped their companies flourish. 

To this point, Biden has remained comparatively quiet on tech. Harris, who hails from California, will possible be seen by the business as extra a pal than a foe due to her ties to Silicon Valley. Nevertheless it’s onerous to think about Large Tech would get pleasure from the identical type of cozy relationship it had in the course of the Obama administration. 

Here is a have a look at the place Biden stands on the problems.


The most important subject going through tech firms underneath President Biden can be reforms to antitrust legislation meant to rein within the largest tech firms. 

A scathing 449-page congressional report detailing abuses of market energy by Google, Apple, Amazon and Fb possible foreshadows troubles forward for tech corporations underneath a Biden administration and a Democrat-controlled Congress. The report put collectively by a panel from the Home Judiciary Committee laid out a street map for Congress to place the brakes on the dominance of the nation’s 4 largest tech firms. 

In the meantime, the US Division of Justice underneath President Trump filed a landmark lawsuit final month towards Google, accusing the tech large of illegally holding monopolies in search and search promoting. The go well with was the end result of a greater than yearlong investigation into alleged anticompetitive practices on the firm and the primary such antitrust case within the tech world in many years. 

It is unclear how far a Biden Justice Division can be keen to go when it comes to antitrust enforcement and reforms. Whereas Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who ran for the Democratic nomination for president, pushed to break up big tech companies, Biden has mentioned it is too early to speak about breaking apart firms and as an alternative has leaned towards regulation as a option to curb their energy.  

Nonetheless, it is clear that the US authorities has put massive tech underneath extra intense scrutiny as attitudes towards Silicon Valley firms have modified dramatically from only a few years in the past, when Google and Fb have been hailed as American success tales. Now, that dominance has turned towards these firms. 

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Legal responsibility protections: Part 230

There is not a lot that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill agree on. Reforming Part 230, a many years previous legislation, is on that quick record. The legislation protects Google, Fb, Twitter and different tech giants from lawsuits over the content material their customers publish on their platforms. 

Final month, Zuckerberg, Pichai and Dorsey appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to debate the legislation, though a lot of the speak centered on lawmaker complaints moderately than substantive reforms. Biden has been an outspoken critic of Part 230, which is a part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act

Democrats, like Biden, say Fb and different firms are getting off too simple when dangerous actors use their platforms to disseminate disinformation and hate speech, in addition to intervene in elections. 

Biden instructed The New York Instances that Part 230 “immediately should be revoked” for Fb and different platforms. “It’s propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we needs to be setting requirements not in contrast to the Europeans are doing relative to privateness,” he mentioned.

In the meantime, Republicans accuse social media giants of censoring conservatives on-line. Within the weeks main as much as the election, Trump tweeted “REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” after Fb and Twitter slowed the unfold of a New York Publish story that contained unverified claims regarding Biden’s son. 

All of this comes because the Republican-led Federal Communications Fee considers writing new regulations for Section 230 that might penalize firms for censoring content material. A Biden Administration is more likely to put the kibosh on the FCC’s efforts to jot down guidelines to police social media firms. As an alternative, he is more likely to look to Congress for solutions. 

Internet neutrality

In contrast to a number of the different Democrats who ran for president in 2020, Biden hasn’t mentioned a lot about internet neutrality. Bernie Sanders and Warren, in contrast, expressed early on of their candidacies sturdy help for the precept. 

Nonetheless, it is possible that internet neutrality will come again en vogue underneath Biden. 

A spokesman for Biden’s marketing campaign mentioned the president-elect is a supporter of sturdy internet neutrality protections. 

“As Barack Obama’s vice chairman, Joe Biden was proud to push for internet neutrality and see the [Federal Communications Fee] take direct motion to maintain the web open and free for all Individuals,” the spokesman mentioned in an announcement. Biden, he mentioned, was outraged at seeing the Open Web Rule reversed underneath the Trump administration.

However Biden’s monitor document tells a special story. When he was a senator, he did not co-sponsor or help internet neutrality laws, together with the 2007 Internet Freedom Preservation Act. Different outstanding Democrats, together with then-Sens. Obama and Hillary Clinton, have been co-sponsors of that laws, as was Sanders.

Biden additionally has a detailed relationship with Comcast executives, who’ve lobbied towards strict internet neutrality rules. Comcast Senior Vice President David Cohen hosted Biden’s first fundraiser after he introduced his bid for president.

“Biden’s document on internet neutrality is regarding, to say the least,” mentioned Evan Greer, deputy director for the grassroots group Fight for the Future. “Corporations like Comcast and Verizon have contributed huge quantities of cash to each Democrats and Republicans over time.”

However these ties aren’t concrete proof of Biden’s stance. It is price noting that Obama also held fundraisers with Comcast earlier than finally calling, in a YouTube video, for stricter regulation of broadband underneath Title II of the Communications Act. These stricter rules handled broadband like a public utility, such because the old-style phone community.

The political panorama has modified on internet neutrality since Biden served within the Senate. Internet neutrality underneath Title II is strongly supported each by Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the Home Nancy Pelosi, which signifies that going towards sturdy protections would possible defy a core precept of the occasion’s present platform.

Rural broadband

Throughout his marketing campaign, Biden referred to as rebuilding the center class in America “the ethical obligation of our time.” He sees revitalizing rural America as a cornerstone of that effort. An enormous a part of his rural economic development strategy is investing $20 billion in getting broadband entry to communities that do not have it. He is additionally referred to as for partnering with municipal utilities to carry fiber broadband connections to communities throughout rural America.

“Excessive-speed broadband is important within the 21st century financial system,” Biden’s rural coverage reads. “At a time when so many roles and companies might be situated wherever, high-speed web entry needs to be an ideal financial equalizer for rural America, not one other financial drawback.”

The COVID-19 disaster highlights the gaps in protection. And Biden’s marketing campaign mentioned that the $20 billion in broadband infrastructure funding is supposed to assist shut these gaps. 

“As we face the financial impacts of this international pandemic for months to come back, it is vital we bridge this divide and construct a digital infrastructure that’s obtainable to all,” the marketing campaign mentioned in an announcement relating to this coverage. 

The digital divide is a matter Republicans acknowledge as nicely. The White Home has labored with the FCC on the Rural Digital Opportunity program, which reallocates $20.Four billion in funding to subsidize broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. Trump has additionally included high-speed web entry as a part of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan.  

China and tariffs

Democrats throughout the board have been important of Trump’s tariff warfare with China, which has affected imports on a variety of tech merchandise. Tariffs are taxes paid by importers on items arriving from overseas nations, and Trump has used them to strain the Chinese language authorities on broader commerce points. Two rounds of tariffs, together with a 15% tariff on merchandise like phones, laptops and tablets, have gone into impact. One other spherical was prevented in a “phase one” commerce deal. 

On the marketing campaign path, Democratic candidates, together with Biden and Harris, have been mild on specifics as to how they’d take care of China. However Biden has made it clear he believes Trump’s negotiations have damage Individuals. He says the US wants “new guidelines” and “new processes” to dictate trade relationships with foreign countries.

On-line privateness

Biden did not say a lot about knowledge privateness on the marketing campaign path. Throughout his years as a US senator and as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, nevertheless, he introduced and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to make it simpler for the FBI and legislation enforcement to observe communications, together with the Communications Help for Regulation Enforcement Act, which permits legislation enforcement to surveil communications over the web, together with voice over IP calls and different web visitors. 

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Anil Kumar

Anil Kumar Gadgets writes for Review Tech smartphones, wearables, headphones and speakers based in Delhi for 360 Tech News. Anil Gadgets is a reviewer for 360 Tech News and has written in detail about smartphones, software updates and upcoming devices.

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