Who’s Afraid of Big Tech?

Date and Time
March 1, 2019 9:15 AM - 3:50 PM EST
Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute
Lindsey Barrett
Thomas Kadri
Ashkhen Kazaryan
Corynne McSherry
Alec Stapp
Matthew Stoller
Kristian Stout
Allen Dickerson

Since the 2016 presidential election, the debate over the social role and power of America’s tech giants has intensified. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google have found themselves on the receiving end of an array of complaints and regulatory proposals.

News of foreign interference in elections and allegations of mismanagement have prompted lawmakers to take action. Executives from the largest and most popular technology companies have been called before congressional committees and accused of being bad stewards of their users’ privacy, failing to properly police their platforms, and engaging in politically motivated censorship. At the same time, companies such as Google and Amazon have been criticized for engaging in monopolistic practices.

Are such criticisms and complaints legitimate? If so, how should regulators respond? The Cato Institute’s upcoming conference, “Who’s Afraid of Big Tech?” will feature policy and industry experts tackling these and other timely questions. We hope that you will join us.




Matthew Feeney, Director, Cato Institute Project on Emerging Technologies


Alec Stapp, Research Fellow, International Center for Law & Economics
Ashkhen Kazaryan, Director of Civil Liberties and Legal Research Fellow, TechFreedom
Lindsey Barrett, Staff Attorney and Teaching Fellow, Georgetown University Law Center Institute for Public Representation Communications and Technology Clinic
Moderated by Julian Sanchez, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Download the video of the “Welcome Remarks” and Panel 1
Download the podcast of the “Welcome Remarks” and Panel 1

10:35 — 10:50AM Flash Talk: The Time is Now: A Framework for Comprehensive Privacy Protection and Digital Rights in the United States

Burcu Kilic, Director, Digital Rights Program Public Citizen

Download the video of the Flash Talk
Download the podcast of the Flash Talk

10:50 — 11:00AM Break

11:00AM — 12:15PM PANEL 2: Is Big Tech Too Big?

Matt Stoller, Fellow, Open Markets Institute
Kristian Stout, Associate Director, International Center for Law and Economics
Moderated by Peter Van Doren, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute

Download the video of Panel 2
Download the podcast of Panel 2

12:15 — 1:15PM Lunch

1:20 — 1:35PM Flash Talk: Online Ad Regulation: Necessary or a Danger to Free Speech?

Allen Dickerson, Legal Director of the Institute for Free Speech

Download the video of the Flash Talk
Download the podcast of the Flash Talk

1:35 — 2:50PM PANEL 3: Free Speech in an Age of Social Media

Corynne McSherry, Legal Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Thomas Kadri, Resident Fellow, Yale Information Society Project
Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
Lori Moylan, Public Policy Manager at Facebook
Moderated by John Samples, Vice President, Cato Institute

Download the video of Panel 3
Download the podcast of Panel 3

2:50 — 3:50PM Reception