UNL event explores “Big Tech” and government

With technology taking such a crucial role in our lives, it's important to discuss how federal changes can affect users at the state level.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) –  There’s been a definite shift in how the public views the technology industry. It hasn’t only been the public who have changed their opinion, though.

“You go back a decade, and folks on both the left and the right kind of celebrated the tech sector”, recalls University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor of law Gus Hurwitz. “Look to today, and folks on the left and the right have a lot of concerns about the tech sector We’re seeing this at the federal level with a lot of litigation and legislation, and also at the state level.”

Hurwitz, who is also the Menard Director of the Nebraska Governance and Technology Center, says this is one of the underlying concepts behind Friday’s conference: State Level Issues in Technology, Regulation, and Economic Development.

Those high-level actions do affect us in the individual states. Part of the discussion at UNL delves into whether there’s any disconnect between state and federal concerns.

“If you’re a small startup in rural Nebraska, you might have different concerns”, Hurwitz says. “Are we being left behind, or are our concerns here in the states really being reflected in these policy discussions?”

You may wonder how these big ideas affect the everyday end users of all this tech. A good example is likely just a hop, skip, and a cyberspace jump away. Think about all the small businesses in your life. How many of them use social media as their main online presence?

“When someone says, ‘I’m concerned about what Facebook, or Meta, is doing’, ‘I’m’ concerned about, do I have access to Google as a platform?’. Well those are really important platforms for a lot of small businesses”, explains Hurwitz.

Friday’s event kickstarts two years of discussions led by UNL that will include many different groups, all to understand the ever-changing tech sector. To keep up to date with their progress, and to join in on future discussions, check out the Governance and Technology Center web page.

Categories: Nebraska News, News