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Tech newsletter: A wild year of tech policy

Here's this week's tech newsletter.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Jan 4, 2022   Updated on Jan 4, 2022, 10:18 am CST

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Internet Insider, where we dissect tech and politics unfolding online.

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Hey all, happy new year! Today’s newsletter will be a bit different. A lot happened in tech policy in 2021, and we know it can be hard to keep track of it all.

Luckily, the Daily Dot has been all over hacktivism, movements in tech policy, and sifting through the noise that shapes our lives.

Below you’ll find our best tech coverage from last year. I’d bet there are some key things you didn’t know or maybe totally forgot about. At the very least, you might have some stories to open in new tabs. (If you are like me, you always have at least 40 tabs open at once.)

Let’s do it all again in ’22.

Andrew Wyrich, deputy tech editor

People walking and using devices.
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A year of the Daily Dot’s tech coverage

January 2021

  • With Trump leaving office, we looked at how the task of archiving the Trump internet was going to be monumental—not to mention incredibly important
  • With the election in the rearview mirror, we noted how a cynical ploy by Republicans to deadlock the FCC failed. (Although, as you readers know, it took a long time for Biden to actually fill out the agency). 
  • Right before leaving his position, Ajit Pai gave up on Trump’s highly controversial attempt to have the FCC involved with targeting Section 230

February 2021

  • With Biden in the White House and Democrats controlling Congress, it made the restoration of net neutrality a real possibility. But Republicans seem dead set on polluting the debate via their unrelated gripes about big tech. 

March 2021 

  • Facial recognition is having a reckoning, with dozens of cities banning the technology. We wondered when the U.S. will finally get its act together on laws that regulate it. 
  • We had a long chat with Gigi Sohn, a prominent public interest advocate who would eventually be nominated by Biden to the FCC. Check out our interview with her here
  • A judge ruled against ISPs who wanted to block California’s “gold standard” net neutrality law. We took a look at how that decision might have a ripple effect with other states moving forward
  • You’ve seen the viral videos of those robot police dogs. Well, someone strapped a paintball gun to it and we got to test it out

April 2021 

  • We spoke with short-form YouTube creators who noticed that the platform forced their videos have a significant drop in revenue for two weeks. The company said it was because of an “issue” that caused pre-roll ads not to show up for videos that were less than 2 minutes long.

Check out more of our coverage throughout the year below. 

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Advocacy groups briefs net neutrality california court
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May 2021 

  • Surprise! Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, found that a majority of people think their ISPs aren’t looking out for their best interests. We took a look at the numbers
  • Surprise! (If you can’t tell by now, the surprise is sarcastic.) New York’s Attorney General found that broadband companies funded a campaign that flooded the FCC with fake comments ahead of its controversial repeal of net neutrality in 2017. 
  • Facebook’s Oversight Board opened up public comments for people to weigh in on Trump’s ban from the site. However, we dug into the comments and found that they were awash in misinformation about Section 230. 

June 2021 

  • We took a look at why Amazon’s indefinite continuation of its self-imposed ban on selling its facial recognition software to police doesn’t go far enough to protect civil rights and people of color. 
  • Biden’s lofty goals for broadband in the infrastructure bill were cut. We asked experts if $65 billion is enough to close the digital divide. 
  • We spotted how Citizen, the controversial app, had the same man show up in several unrelated broadcasts
  • We spoke with a hacker who revealed that smart meters were spilling secrets about that massive snowstorm in Texas. 

July 2021 

  • Prominent conservatives were hawking a so-called “Freedom Phone.”  Turns out the phone was a security nightmare, and we got experts to weigh in. 
  • The roll out of the FCC’s “Emergency Broadband Benefit” had some hiccups. We sifted through hundreds of consumer complaints where Americans detailed their frustrations with ISPs in the sign up process. 

August 2021 

  • Apple’s controversial plan to scan iPhones for CSAM was met with a wave of criticism. Here’s the dire warnings experts had about the company’s planned roll out. 

Keep scrolling for more recent tech policy coverage.


Two ethernet cables delivering broadband internet.
Shutterstock (Licensed)

September 2021 

  • Biden’s continued delay with filling out the FCC suddenly made a 2-1 Republican majority at the agency a reality. We spoke with experts to find out why. 
  • massive hack of the hosting company Epik revealed subpoenas and preservation requests directed at the company. We took a look at them
  • We looked into how affiliates of the hactivist group Anonymous launched “Operation Jane,” which targeted people trying to enforce Texas’ controversial law banning abortions. 

October 2021 

  • It finally happened! Biden ended his months-long FCC pick delay. We took a look at when you could expect net neutrality to come back. 
  • A testing version of Trump’s upcoming “Truth Social” platform got overrun by hackers and trolls. We spoke with the hacker who found it. 

November 2021 

  • The Daily Dot was all over the confirmation hearings of Biden’s FCC picks. Here’s what now-FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel had to say
  • Other social media platforms have banned multi-level marketing schemes, but we looked into why YouTube still lets them run rampant

December 2021 

  • Hacktivism came roaring back throughout 2021. We look at how that happened
  • We dug into some records and found that Buffalo Public Schools were aware of its security risks months before it was hit with a $10 million ransomware attack. 
  • FTC Chair Lina Khan is spurring optimism and even has big tech leaders shaking in their boots. That’s why we named her our 2021 person of the year for tech. 

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*First Published: Jan 4, 2022, 10:10 am CST