Senator Mark Warner has proved himself to be a sort of braintrust on tech issues in the Senate. Through his questioning of tech execs in hearings and the oft-cited white papers produced by his office, the Virginia Democrat has arguably raised the Senate’s game in understanding and dealing with Big Tech.ADVERTISEMENT
After all, Warner and tech go way back. As a telecom guy in the 1980s, he was among the first to see the importance of wireless networks. He made his millions brokering wireless spectrum deals around FCC auctions. As a venture capital guy in the ’90s, he helped build the internet pioneer America Online. And as a governor in the 2000s, he brought 700 miles of broadband cable network to rural Virginia.
Government oversight of tech companies is one thing, but in this election year Warner is also thinking about the various ways technology is being used to threaten democracy itself. We spoke shortly after the Donald Trump impeachment trial and the ill-fated Iowa caucuses. It was a good time to talk about election interference, misinformation, cybersecurity threats, and the government’s ability and willingness to deal with such problems.