Joel Dusek

Attorney General Phil Weiser seems to have never met a problem that doesn’t have an overreaching government solution. And this is particularly evident in his approach to technology policy. Whether it’s data privacy, broadband access and 5G, social media regulation or abusing antitrust statutes, Weiser is always on the lookout for nails to hit with his government hammer.

He said as much to a 5G trade group in 2019: “What governments also have to have a dialogue with industry about is this concept of a social license to operate.” I’m not sure what agency one visits to acquire a “social license," or if the wait is as long as at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but the idea that governments are entitled to oversee industries in order to mold and shape society falls right in line with Wilsonian progressive administration concepts. Weiser would have governments determine what is best for individuals and civilizations, then force businesses to comply with that narrative.

Thanks to the new Colorado Privacy Act, only the third such state privacy act in the country, Weiser and the AG's office now get to set rules for Colorado’s data providers. Consumers in a free market always have a choice to use a data provider’s service or not, to find alternatives, to make substitutions and to determine their own best interests. Service providers are well-equipped to respond to their users’ requirements and desires, and Apple, Google, Facebook and others have made data privacy a major component of their products even absent government interference. The Colorado Legislature doesn’t seem to think so, and Weiser is relishing the opportunity to make rules he thinks we all should follow. The one law that always gets ignored by progressives is the “Law of Unintended Consequences.” Government is a disinterested third-party in between providers and customers and rules have a way of restricting the voluntary exchange that is the basis of a free market.

Weiser also doesn’t like the fact that people are free to engage in speech he doesn’t like, as demonstrated in his support for regulating social media. “Misinformation” is anything governments don’t agree with, and every point of misinformation is labeled a “threat to democracy." Of course, the solution to bad information is good information, along with the ability of informed consumers to determine what is true or false. Weiser either doesn’t believe in free information sharing, or the intelligence of people to determine what’s correct, or perhaps both. As Milton advised, “Let truth and falsehood grapple." But regulators like Weiser can’t risk that truth will win out and their falsehoods will be lost.

And beyond his gripes with social media platforms, he’s served as the nationwide tip of the spear on countless antitrust lawsuits against technology companies, attacking everything from the way they structure their search functions to the way they manage their app stores. With digital platforms providing more value than they ever have, it appears Weiser has entirely abandoned the “consumer harm” standard that has long defined antitrust enforcement. And beyond the flimsy legal case Weiser’s office has to make, it is worth noting the tremendous time and resources that he has dedicated to these lawsuits over the last two years  when, as we all know, they could have been better spent elsewhere.

And, lastly, he’s heavily supportive of municipal broadband, an idea that was over faster than the speed of ones and zeroes. While municipal and state agencies tried to treat municipal broadband as the next great public utility, the industry passed them by with fiber-optic infrastructure and 5G wireless. Fort Collins and Greeley are just two local examples of the failure of the idea that government can provide broadband service better than the free market. As far as providing consumers with what they want or need, it’s a waste of perfectly good tax money.

The Office of Attorney General is the top law enforcement office in the state. They need to focus on enforcing existing laws, such as violent crime reduction, illegal immigration and drug laws. Phil Weiser seems more intent on creating technology policies that fit his vision of the anointed rather than genuine enforcement of laws and the freedom of Coloradans. It’s neither the role nor within the power of government to provide “social licenses” to tech providers and consumers. In the case of the CPA wherein he’s been tasked to create rules, these rules must not punish technology companies that respond to customers’ desires by daring to innovate, burdening them with extra costs that will be passed on to consumers. The purpose of the AG is to enforce laws that protect the citizens in life, property and natural rights.

Joel Dusek is an Aurora voice network engineer who has spent 29 years in the telecommunications industry. He’s also an elected councilman for the conservative social-media site CaucusRoom.com.

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