The state of state tech policy | The TechTank Podcast

Darrell M. West,
Darrell West
Darrell M. West Senior Fellow - Center for Technology Innovation, Douglas Dillon Chair in Governmental Studies

Matt Perault, and
Matt Perault Director, Center on Technology Policy - UNC-Chapel Hill
Scott Brennen
Scott Brennen Head of Online Expression Policy at the Center on Technology Policy - UNC-Chapel Hill

January 16, 2024

  • In 2023, states took a leading role in shaping technology policy in the United States, with 65 tech policy laws enacted.
  • State legislatures prioritized online child safety, passing 23 laws in 13 states. These laws included age verification requirements, limitations on social media use by minors, and enhanced parental control.
  • There was a significant surge in state legislators’ interest in regulating artificial intelligence (AI), with 20 laws enacted across 15 states. These laws aimed at building capacity and addressing specific AI-related concerns rather than comprehensive regulation.
A child wearing headphones looking at a tablet computer.
A girl during online school while her parents work from home and take care of a toddler amid surging COVID-19 cases, January 7, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

In the rapidly evolving realm of technology policy, a nuanced understanding of the intricacies between legislation and innovation is imperative. The latest report, “The State of State Technology Policy 2023,” by Scott Babwah Brennen and Matt Perault from the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serves as a comprehensive guide through the dynamic landscape of state-level technology policy developments in the United States, with a specific focus on the pivotal year 2023. Unraveling the complexities of six key issues—broadband access, right to repair, intellectual property, digital privacy, online child safety, and artificial intelligence (AI)—this report is a valuable resource for decoding the nuanced roles that states play in shaping the future of technology regulations.

In this week’s episode of the TechTank podcast, co-host Darrell West kicks off 2024 with an insightful conversation on the state of tech policy with returning guests, Matt Perault, director of the Center on Science & Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Scott Brennen, the head of Online Expression Policy at the Center on Technology Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. Together, they discuss the intricacies of state policy within the dynamic and ever-evolving tech landscape, exploring key challenges and potential solutions that shape the future of technology governance. 

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