D.C. swamp-creature Berin Szóka sparked outrage on Monday when he tweeted that it would be “poetic justice” if President Trump died of the Wuhan Coronavirus. But who is Berin Szóka?
Szóka is the president of TechFreedom, a non-profit that presents itself as an opponent of “top-down solutions” in tech policy.
The non-profit is deeply tied to Google. Disclosures from the tech giant show that TechFreedom not only receives funding from Google, but it is also part of its Public Policy Fellowship program, which places Google-picked interns at public policy organizations around the world, including TechFreedom.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) March 10, 2020
The TechFreedom president later deleted and apologized for the tweet, saying he would “never wish death upon anyone” and that it “doesn’t represent my organization’s opinion.”
However, the tweet could come back to haunt Szóka, who has attempted in recent years to persuade Republican lawmakers that they shouldn’t use their power to tackle political bias from Big Tech companies.
In 2018, Szóka supplied testimony to a House Judiciary Committee hearing on online censorship arguing that tech companies should not be stripped of their government-backed legal privilege, which renders them immune from lawsuits relating to the removal of certain types of content, as well as lawsuits related to the hosting of content.
Szóka argued that any attempt to tackle Silicon Valley’s well-documented bias against conservatives would be akin to a “fairness doctrine” for the internet.
He has also argued against crackdowns against Big Tech companies for their numerous violations of user privacy, telling the House Energy & Commerce committee in 2012 that “As valuable as ‘privacy’ can be, its value is not absolute.”
Given that Szóka’s job appears to consist of the increasingly difficult task of persuading policymakers not to go after Big Tech, his anti-Trump social media posts may come back to haunt him. As the tweet from Rep. Banks shows, Szóka’s anti-Trump invective is not endearing him to Republican policymakers.
Szóka has not responded to a Breitbart News request for comment.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.