2023 has been a doozy of a year for anyone keeping their ear to the ground on technology-related legislation. In just seven months, numerous US states have passed age verification laws and parental content requirements for kids to access social media which would have been impossible to imagine only a few years prior. TikTok, possibly the most important app for sharing culture and discovering content, has already been banned in one state and Congress is gunning for it federally. Other bills up for consideration could fundamentally nuke end-to-end encryption.
The good news is that most of the examples listed above either haven’t passed into law yet or are guaranteed to go through rigorous legal fights in courts. How courts rule on those cases later this year and next year could set the baseline for future tech policy. Counterintuitively, ruling against legally dubious laws could actually make it more difficult for cynical lawmakers or surveillance-obsessed wanna-be Stalins to push forward similar legislation.
Below are just a few of the worst internet bills proposed or passed this year. The list will almost surely grow larger.