Is the Techlash Justified?

Are the perils of the Internet rooted in technology or humanity? The Internet is messy, but so is the world that it has been woven into. Amidst all of this complexity, the Internet has connected the world and made the flow of commerce and information more efficient. Unfortunately, this can be used for good or bad. We now see a growing backlash against technologies that were once praised. This session will discuss issues underlying “Techlash,” the regulatory trends that have emerged in the wake of the Internet’s perceived role in these issues, and solutions to address concerns while preserving the promise of benefits the Internet makes possible. If you’re feeling the tech backlash, this session is for you!

Short Description

Let’s talk about Techlash. The Internet and new technologies improve our communication, collaboration, and commerce, but it can also exacerbate the worst aspects of human behavior.

Panel Hashtag



Lee Rainie


Karen Kornbluh Portrait.jpg

Ambassador Karen Kornbluh Edit Bio

Council on Foreign Relations

Ambassador Karen Kornbluh is senior fellow for digital policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, Kornbluh was executive vice president of Nielsen, responsible for global public policy, privacy strategy, and corporate social responsibility.

Kornbluh served as U.S. ambassador in Paris to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. As the representative of the largest donor, she served on the OECD governing board and audit committee. She spearheaded development of the first global Internet Policymaking Principle and launched both the OECD's Gender Initiative and the Middle East-North Africa Women's Business Forum. In addition, Kornbluh led efforts to expand the OECD's reach to emerging economies and expanded anticorruption and governance efforts. Her work was featured in a New York Times profile and a Washington Post op-ed on "The Foreign Policy of the Internet."

Previously, Kornbluh served as policy director for then-Senator Obama. She served in the Clinton administration as deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, and as director of the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Communications Commission.

Prior to her government service, Kornbluh was a management consultant at Telesis and Townsend-Greenspan & Co. Kornbluh has written extensively on economic, technology, and family policy in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, and Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. She founded the New America Foundation's Work and Family Program.
@karenkornbluh     -    LinkedIn

Maureen Ohlhausen Portrait.jpg

Maureen Ohlhausen Edit Bio

Federal Trade Commission

Maureen K. Ohlhausen was sworn in as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission on April 4, 2012, to a term that expires in September 2018.

Prior to joining the Commission, Ohlhausen was a partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where she focused on FTC issues, including privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity.

Ohlhausen previously served at the Commission for 11 years, most recently as Director of the Office of Policy Planning from 2004 to 2008, where she led the FTC's Internet Access Task Force. She was also Deputy Director of that office. From 1998 to 2001, Ohlhausen was an attorney advisor for former FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle, advising him on competition and consumer protection matters. She started at the FTC General Counsel’s Office in 1997.

Before coming to the FTC, Ohlhausen spent five years at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, serving as a law clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle and as a staff attorney. Ohlhausen also clerked for Judge Robert Yock of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims from 1991 to 1992.

Ohlhausen graduated with distinction from George Mason University School of Law in 1991 and graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1984.

Ohlhausen was on the adjunct faculty at George Mason University School of Law, where she taught privacy law and unfair trade practices. She served as a Senior Editor of the Antitrust Law Journal and a member of the American Bar Association Task Force on Competition and Public Policy. She has authored a variety of articles on competition law, privacy, and technology matters.

Ohlhausen lives in Virginia with her husband, Peter. They have four children.
@MOhlhausenFTC     -    LinkedIn