Biden’s pick for deputy chief of staff called for overhauling Section 230

Cristiano Lima

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday named longtime adviser Bruce Reed as his deputy chief of staff, elevating into a top role a former aide who has championed sweeping changes to U.S. laws on data privacy and content moderation.

Unpacking the pick: Reed, who served as Biden’s chief of staff from 2011 to 2013, helped craft California's landmark data privacy law, The California Consumer Privacy Act. A Biden team statement announcing Reed’s pick Tuesday highlighted his work pushing for the measure, which the transition team called “the most far-reaching technology privacy law in American history.”

Reed has also called for revamping the tech industry's liability protections under Section 230, the 1996 provision that shields online platforms from lawsuits over user content.

In announcing his new picks for senior White House staff, including Reed, Biden said in a statement that the aides “are respected leaders whose values and priorities align with my own and who will dutifully execute their roles to serve the American people.”

Background on Biden and tech: Biden called for “revoking” Section 230 entirely in January, but he has yet to articulate how he would go about either repealing or revamping the legal shield. Reed is expected to play a major role in shaping the administration’s approach to the issue, and other tech policy areas where he’s been active.

In a recent op-ed co-authored with the CEO of advocacy group Common Sense Media, where Reed has served as an adviser, the incoming Biden aide suggested that Congress could continue to “chip away” at the protections by revoking platform immunity for more types of harmful content. And he expressed support for “conditioning immunity on whether a platform has taken reasonable efforts to moderate content.”