Tech Issues Should Also Be U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities in the 2020 Race

Article/Op-Ed in World Politics Review
Wikimedia Commons
March 20, 2019

Justin Sherman wrote for World Politics Review about some tech issues to be addressed in 2020 candidates' platforms.

Elizabeth Warren, one of the 13 candidates in an already crowded field of Democrats running for U.S. president in 2020, wants to break up tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Twitter by legally designating them as “platform utilities,” she said recently, in order to “keep that marketplace competitive and not let a giant who has an incredible competitive advantage snuff that out.” Amy Klobuchar, another senator seeking the Democratic nomination, says flatly that she doesn’t trust tech companies. She doesn’t want to break them up, but instead has proposed new regulations in the form of antitrust laws, new taxes and federal legislation to protect data privacy.
These statements by Warren and Klobuchar, both made earlier this month at South by Southwest, the tech-media-politico confab in Austin, Texas, were a reminder—if one was needed after the 2016 presidential race—of how central an issue digital technology will be in the 2020 election. From what to do about the spread of disinformation on social media to how the United States can protect the principles of a free and open internet, tech promises to be hotly debated, especially in the Democratic primary. And while these issues for now might seem to be mainly domestic, they have many implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security.