Colorado AG rushes into tech sector | Opinion
Attorney General Phil Weiser seems to have never encountered a problem that didn’t have an excessive government solution. And this is particularly evident in its approach to technology policy. Whether it’s data privacy, broadband and 5G access, social media regulation or antitrust abuse, Weiser is always looking for the nails to hit with. his government gavel.
He told a 5G trade group in 2019: “What governments also need to engage with industry on is this concept of social license to operate.” I don’t know what agency one visits to acquire a “social license”, or if the wait is as long as at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the idea that governments have the right to oversee industries in order to shape and shaping society falls squarely within progressive Wilsonian concepts of administration. Weiser would ask governments to determine what is best for individuals and civilizations, then force corporations to conform to that narrative.
Thanks to Colorado’s new privacy law, only the third such privacy law in the country, Weiser and the AG’s office can now set rules for service providers. Colorado data. In a free market, consumers always have the choice of whether or not to use a data provider’s service, find alternatives, make substitutions, and determine their own best interests. Service providers are well equipped to meet the demands and desires of their users, and Apple, Google, Facebook and others have made data privacy a major component of their products. — even in the absence of government interference. The Colorado legislature doesn’t seem to think so, and Weiser relishes the opportunity to set rules he thinks we should all follow. The one law that is still ignored by progressives is the “law of unintended consequences.” The government is a disinterested third party between suppliers and customers and the rules have a way of restricting the voluntary exchange that is the basis of a free market.
Weiser also doesn’t like the fact that people are free to engage in discourse he doesn’t like, as evidenced by his support for social media regulation. “Disinformation” is anything that governments disagree with, and every point of misinformation is branded as a “threat to democracy”. Of course, the solution to bad information is good information, as well as the ability of informed consumers to determine what is true. Or wrong. Weiser does not believe in the free sharing of information, nor in people’s intelligence to determine what is correct, or perhaps both. As Milton advised, “Let the truth and the lie attack each other.” But regulators like Weiser can’t risk the truth winning out and their lies being lost.
And beyond his issues with social media platforms, he’s been the spearhead nationwide in countless antitrust lawsuits against tech companies, attacking everything the way they do. structure their research functions the way they manage their app stores. With digital platforms offering more value than they ever had, it seems Weiser has completely abandoned the “consumer harm” standard that has long defined antitrust enforcement. And beyond the shaky legal case Weiser’s office must make, it’s worth noting the considerable time and resources it has devoted to these lawsuits over the past two years. — when, as we all know, they could have been better spent elsewhere.
And, finally, he strongly supports municipal broadband, an idea that ended faster than the speed of ones and zeros. While city and state agencies have tried to treat municipal broadband as the next big utility, the industry has overtaken them with fiber optic infrastructure and 5G wireless. Fort Collins and Greeley are just two local examples of the failure of the idea that government can provide better-than-free-market broadband service. To provide consumers with what they want or need is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The Attorney General’s Office is the state’s primary law enforcement office. They should focus on enforcing existing laws, such as reducing violent crime, illegal immigration and drug laws. Phil Weiser seems more determined to create tech policies that align with his vision of the anointed rather than true enforcement and freedom for Coloradans. It is neither the role nor the power of government to provide “social licenses” to technology providers and consumers. In the case of the CPA where it was tasked with creating rules, those rules should not punish tech companies that cater to customer desires by daring to innovate, burdening them with additional costs that will be passed on to consumers. The purpose of the AG is to enforce laws that protect citizens in life, property, and natural rights.
Joel Dusek is an Aurora voice network engineer who has spent 29 years in the telecommunications industry. He is also an elected councilor for the conservative social media site CaucusRoom.com.