Washington – New research from the CCIA Research Center and the Copia Institute analyzes the unintended impacts of policies targeting internet services in seven countries, finding that rules increasing government control over online content moderation and increasing liability on apps and websites for user-generated content tended to result in harms to investment, innovation, and free speech. The examined policies were also found to have failed to achieve stated goals and, in some cases, provided a regulatory roadmap for regimes to quickly replicate rules that consolidate power and suppress speech.
The study explores the impacts of a variety of app and website liability policies in China, Germany, the U.S., Australia, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia in recent years and evaluates outcomes based on stated goals, impact to internet innovation, and effects on competition and investment in digital markets. The research finds that not only did evaluated policies fail to achieve desired outcomes, but they often had significant unintended consequences, including decreasing investment in covered startups by between 15.2% and 73.4% in the jurisdictions examined. The evaluated policies also imposed significant, disproportionate compliance burdens on small and startup services, discouraging investment and innovation. These results suggest that policymakers should carefully consider possible peripheral effects of tech-targeted regulation in order to advance innovation and avoid social, political, and economic harms.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for tech policy that advances innovation for over 50 years.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Director of Research and Economics Trevor Wagener:
“Our research finds that policies imposing increased liability on digital services for user-generated content harm investment and innovation in the digital space, impose disproportionate compliance burdens on smaller services, and fail to achieve their stated goals. When such policies originate in leading economies, they may also inspire copycat policies in less free jurisdictions around the world that can harm free expression, particularly for minority groups and dissidents.”