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Ash Johnson

Ash Johnson

Senior Policy Manager

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-524-5549

Twitter: @ashleyjnsn

Ash Johnson is a senior policy analyst at ITIF. She researches and writes about Internet policy issues such as privacy, security, and platform regulation. She was previously at the BSA Foundation and holds a master’s degree in security policy from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Brigham Young University.

Recent Publications

June 10, 2024

New York Children’s Safety and Privacy Proposals Take Control Away From Parents

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a three-pronged proposal that, while well-intentioned, would take too much control away from parents and add to the state-by-state patchwork of legislation that complicates compliance and creates confusion for consumers.

June 6, 2024

How to Improve the American Privacy Rights Act

America desperately needs a federal privacy law—but it needs the right federal privacy law. In its current state, APRA is not that law. But with a few important changes, it could be.

June 3, 2024

How to Address Children’s Online Safety in the United States

Protecting children from online harms requires a careful balance between ensuring safety and safeguarding free speech, user privacy, and parents’ rights. The most effective approach would split responsibility between the government, parents, and online services.

May 24, 2024

Age-Appropriate Design Codes Are Just Age Verification in Disguise

Age-appropriate design codes come from a noble place—the desire to protect children—but have serious flaws and threaten to do more harm than good. Instead of ID-based age verification, Congress should require device makers and platforms hosting age-restricted content to establish a “child flag” system—so everyone is assumed to be an adult unless they are marked as a child.

May 24, 2024

Debunking Two Big Myths From the Recent Hearing on Sunsetting Section 230

Repealing or sunsetting Section 230 will make the Internet a worse place, but there is much Congress can do to make the Internet better. Unfortunately, until policymakers understand the reality of Section 230 and how it protects not only large tech companies but any online services that hosts user-generated content, as well as users themselves, Congress will not make meaningful progress on content-related issues.

May 15, 2024

Sunsetting Section 230 Will Make the Internet Worse for Everyone

In its current form, Section 230 allows for a diverse Internet ecosystem, allowing online services to moderate content in a way that best suits their needs and the needs of their users. It is highly unlikely that, in 18 months, Congress will come up with a better solution.

April 12, 2024

Review of the Proposed American Privacy Rights Act

In many regards, the proposed American Privacy Rights Act is a reasonable bipartisan compromise, though its draft language still has plenty of opportunities for fine-tuning and three provisions in particular that would have serious negative economic consequences if passed into law.

April 10, 2024

Privacy Bill Faceoff: Comparing the APRA and ADPPA

Recent history has demonstrated that any federal privacy bill faces an uphill battle toward becoming law. However, the vast similarities between the APRA and ADPPA are cause for cautious optimism.

March 18, 2024

Redefining Privacy Harms Would Unleash a Flood of Litigation

In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has aggressively scrutinized the tech sector, going after virtual reality, artificial intelligence, online marketplaces, and Internet service providers. Now in its latest case against data brokers, the FTC and the courts could change the definition of privacy harms, unleashing a flood of litigation and potentially undermining the data economy.

March 11, 2024

Comments Before the Federal Trade Commission Regarding the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule

Protecting children’s privacy online is an important goal, especially given the continued lack of comprehensive federal privacy regulation in the United States. With a few minor changes to proposed provisions, the FTC’s updates to the COPPA rule would improve protections for children while ensuring operators of online services do not face overly burdensome requirements.

March 6, 2024

Updated Children’s Safety Bills Still Contain Serious Flaws

Though Congress is finally making progress on federal children’s online safety legislation with the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0), they contain serious flaws that would threaten online free speech, privacy, and the digital economy.

February 20, 2024

How Congress Can Foster a Digital Single Market in America

In areas ranging from data privacy to content moderation, states are creating patchworks of regulation that confuse consumers, complicate compliance, and undermine the digital economy. It’s time for Congress to step in and establish a consistent national approach to digital policy.

More publications by Ash Johnson

Recent Events and Presentations

May 16, 2024

Social Media and the First Amendment

Watch now for an expert panel discussion exploring the intersection between digital policy issues and the First Amendment, the free speech implications of proposals to address online problems, and how lawmakers could address these problems without infringing on users' or companies' speech rights.

November 15, 2023

Children on Social Media and the Multistate Lawsuit Against Meta

Watch now for a panel discussion on the facts of the case, the claims against Meta, and how this lawsuit fits into the broader discussion over content moderation, privacy, children’s safety, and the responsibilities of social media platforms.

July 18, 2023

Age Verification Tech for Social Media: Exploring the Opportunities and Pitfalls

Watch now for the panel dsicussion focusing on age verification technology for social media, AI age estimation, and current capabilities and limitations that policymakers should consider when crafting legislation designed to protect children.

May 16, 2023

AI, Education and Children’s Privacy Concerns

Gillian Diebold and Ashley Johnson moderate discussions about AI and education and children’s privacy concerns with emerging technology at the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) Annual Conference, hosted by BBB National Programs.

March 9, 2023

Big Tech & Speech Summit: The Fragility of Section 230

Ashley Johnson speaks at the Big Tech & Speech Summit, an exclusive forum addressing the red-hot controversies impacting Big Tech in Washington.

February 22, 2023

Supreme Court Argues Section 230: What’s Next for Congress?

Ashley Johnson offers her perspective on the oral arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, the broader Section 230 reform debate, different legislative proposals for altering Section 230, and the implications of potential changes to Section 230.

February 7, 2023

What Will It Take for Congress to Pass Bipartisan Privacy Legislation?

Watch the discussion about the progress Congress has made in crafting bipartisan privacy legislation, the ADPPA’s current legislative status, and the remaining areas of debate regarding the legislation.

January 11, 2023

Police Tech: Maximizing Benefits and Reducing Risks

Join ITIF in-person for a discussion about what emerging technologies are on the horizon for law enforcement and how police departments can get the most out of these technologies while addressing some of the legitimate concerns.

June 15, 2022

Children’s Privacy in Review: The Future of COPPA

View ITIF's panel discussion on whether and how the FTC or Congress should update COPPA to protect children’s privacy while increasing the quality and quantity of online services for children.

November 9, 2021

Protecting Political Speech While Reducing Harm on Social Media

ITIF hosted a discussion on how Congress and social media platforms can balance free speech and harm reduction in the regulation and moderation of political speech online.

July 15, 2021

Removing Barriers to Accessibility on Federal Government Websites

ITIF hosted an expert panel discussion on federal government web accessibility and policy proposals for agencies to improve their compliance.

February 25, 2021

If Congress Overhauls Section 230 to Make Platforms More Liable for User Speech, What Will Change?

ITIF hosted a discussion of these issues with leading experts on intermediary liability, free speech, and content moderation to discuss the current debate surrounding Section 230 and how the debate may unfold in the coming year.

More Events & Presentations by Ash Johnson

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