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 Software.org: 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.
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.
Why Not Ban Everything Potentially Dangerous for Kids?
Effective protection for children online requires a combination of parental responsibility, industry standards, and regulation, not blanket restrictions and bans.
Congress' Blame Game Won't Keep Children Safe Online
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary's most recent “Big Tech” hearing on online child sexual exploitation highlighted everything wrong with the current debate surrounding children’s online safety.
Social Media Panic Is the New Video Game Panic
While there are real concerns associated with social media, especially as it relates to children and teens, policymakers will only create more problems by legislating out of fear and public pressure.
Lacking a Federal Standard, States Try and Fail to Solve Problems Faced by Kids Online
The landscape of state legislation addressing children’s online safety and privacy demonstrates not only the difficulty of regulating social media and other online services but also the need for a federal standard.
Testimony to the Baltimore City Council Committee on Health, Environment, and Technology Regarding Facial Recognition Technology
Facial recognition has increased public safety, convenience for consumers and security for businesses.
The Facts Behind Allegations of Political Bias on Social Media
Before policymakers jump straight to regulating social media to address alleged bias—and likely running into First Amendment issues—they need answers to several key questions, namely: Is there political bias on social media? What does this bias look like? And how does it affect American politics?
The Supreme Court Could Save the Internet (Again)
If the Supreme Court upholds Florida and Texas’s laws on social media content moderation, it is likely that more states will pass similar legislation, raising the costs to social media companies and impacting even more users across the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recent Events and Presentations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.