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Ashley Johnson


Senior Policy Analyst

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-524-5549

Twitter: @ashleyjnsn

Ashley Johnson is a senior policy analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. 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

August 8, 2023

New Evidence Shows Blaming Social Media for Political Polarization Is Misguided

Four new research papers in the journals Science and Nature studied the impact of Facebook and Instagram on key political attitudes and behaviors during the 2020 election cycle. They found little evidence that key features of the platforms led to polarization.

July 31, 2023

Restoring US Leadership on Digital Policy

The United States could regain its position as a global leader on digital policy by prioritizing a pro-innovation agenda, cooperating with its allies to advance free trade and democratic values, and pushing back against harmful narratives and policies.

June 13, 2023

Proposals for Tech to Pay for News Rely on Flawed Arguments

In Congress, California, and Canada, lawmakers are relying on faulty logic—the argument that news aggregators take advantage of publishers—in a misguided attempt to save local journalism. History shows that these measures are not likely to succeed at anything more than limiting consumers’ access to quality news content.

May 30, 2023

For Teens on Social Media, the Jury Is Still Out, But the Judgment Is Already In

The effect of social media on children has been at the center of recent debate, with multiple bills at the federal and state level and recent advisories from the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Psychological Association. Despite a lack of scientific consensus on how social media affects children, lawmakers have been rushing to implement policies that would, in many cases, create more problems than they solve.

May 19, 2023

Supreme Court Upholds Section 230, But the Future of the Internet Still Isn’t Guaranteed

Section 230 may not be out of the woods yet, with some members of Congress still pushing for changes to the law that, in most cases, would have negative unintended consequences for businesses, consumers, and online services.

May 10, 2023

Stopping Child Sexual Abuse Online Should Start With Law Enforcement

STOP CSAM Act of 2023 is not an effective solution for protecting children and would come at the cost of decreased privacy and security for all users. Instead, Congress should focus on enabling law enforcement to more effectively protect victims and punish the perpetrators who create, solicit, or enable child sexual abuse material.

May 3, 2023

Florida Privacy Bill Is Bad for Business and Consumers

Florida’s proposed data privacy legislation is among the worst given its likely damage to the Sunshine State’s digital economy while failing to protect consumer privacy.

April 12, 2023

Generative AI Is the Next Challenge for Section 230

To avoid an influx of lawsuits targeting online services that would stifle innovation and ultimately harm consumers, Congress should expand Section 230 to protect AI-generated content.

April 5, 2023

AI Could Make Age Verification More Accurate and Less Invasive

To avoid infringing on privacy and free speech online with controversial provisions that aim to protect minors, lawmakers should hit pause on these proposals and instead make necessary investments into artificial intelligence (AI) tools for age estimation and electronic identification.

March 27, 2023

The Impending Patchwork of Privacy Is Bad for Business and Consumers

With five state privacy laws coming into effect this year and 19 states actively considering new bills, the future of American privacy could end up as an expensive patchwork of 50 or more different laws, where an individual’s privacy rights vary depending on where they live.

March 15, 2023

Utah Law to Protect Children’s Privacy Will Violate Everyone’s Privacy

Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill into law that will require minors to obtain parental consent to use social media. Social media platforms will have to verify the ages of all users in Utah and restrict access to anyone under the age of 18 without their parents’ permission. This will require all Utahns, not just those under 18, to give up their personal information as a condition of using social media, violating everyone’s privacy in the name of protecting children.

March 6, 2023

Balancing Privacy and Innovation in Smart Cities and Communities

Smart city technology could modernize local government services and improve residents’ quality of life. To reap these benefits and maintain public trust, cities and communities need to balance the interests of innovation and privacy.

More publications by Ashley Johnson

Recent Events and Presentations

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.

May 27, 2020

Cybersecurity in a Time of Physical Distancing

ITIF hosted a video webinar to discuss the cybersecurity risks facing workers, students, and organizations during the pandemic and how policymakers can help them become more resilient and better prepared to face future challenges.

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