Tech policy issues could drive decision-making at the polls in 2018, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), whose district includes Silicon Valley, told Bloomberg Law.
“Net neutrality is a voting issue, especially for young folks,” Khanna said.
Net neutrality will be one of the technology issues that will be on voters’ minds, said Khanna, who opposed the Federal Communications Commission’s December vote to undo the Obama administration’s rules that guide internet networks. The rules banned internet service providers from blocking or slowing traffic or charging content providers, such as Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc., fees to get their content to customers.
“Net neutrality is a huge issue,” Khanna said. “So many millennials and others basically live online. This is their existence.”
Internet service providers like AT&T Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. say the deregulatory move would allow them to invest more in their networks. But Khanna said the FCC’s repeal would allow ISPs to remake their internet services to resemble cable television offerings, which come with tiered services and prices.
Khanna said he also anticipates that tech will change the nature of jobs and work.
“We know we’re going into this digital age where every industry will be impacted,” Khanna said.
He also warned that technology can endanger the political process even as it empowers political campaigns.
“We know that the tools of technology were abused in this past election,” he said. “But we also know that technology and social media is incredibly empowering. I wouldn’t be in Congress if it weren’t for social media.”
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