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Tech Policy Leaders

English, Technology, 6 seasons, 300 episodes, 4 days, 8 hours, 42 minutes
Tech Policy Leaders features the best minds in tech law & policy keeping you informed about the latest trends in privacy, free speech, and media law & policy throughout the world.
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Should police get Ring footage whenever they want?; Would a TikTok ban alienate Gen Z & suburban moms? – Tech Law & Policy this Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. Alfred Ng over at Politico reports that the police can obtain Ring camera footage without your permission. All they need is a warrant. But don’t worry – they will be nice. They will call you instead of knocking on your door.  If you don’t give them the footage, Ring will also contact you. If you still don’t give them the footage, well, I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to find out what happens after that!   And getting  a warrant is the least intrusive way to gain access. San Francisco recently passed an ordinance allowing police access to live Ring camera footage.  – Should the U.S. ban TikTok in the U.S.? The younger you are, the more likely you are to say, “No.” But lawmakers across the aisle want the app banned, citing security and propaganda concerns about the fact that its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, and China has way more control over its corporations than the U.S.  But in yet another deadlock in Washington, the Biden administration hasn’t acted, the Commerce Department hasn’t acted, and neither has Congress. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) has engaged nine agencies in an investigation, but it has taken years to get that completed.   Neither Democrats nor Republicans want to be the ones to anger GenZ and suburban moms. And a ton of TikTok accounts are run by politicians.    There’s been  discussion about Oracle handling all U.S. TikTok data in the U.S. But engineers in Beijing will still have access.   –   House Republicans are lining up in support of Elon Musk, as Cat Zakrzewski reports in the Washington Post.    House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan released an 18-page report attacking the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the platform, calling it a “harassment campaign” against Elon Musk.. The FTC began re-investigating Twitter last year, before Musk acquired Twitter, about a possible breach of its 2011 consent decree to improve privacy practices.    The privacy loophole in your doorbell Police were investigating his neighbor. A judge gave officers access to all his security-camera footage, including inside his home. VIEW MORE   As Washington wavers on TikTok, Beijing exerts control TikTok’s link to China has sparked fears over propaganda and privacy. It’s also exposed America’s failure to safeguard the web. VIEW MORE   House Republicans defend Musk from FTC’s ‘harassment campaign’ The FTC's Twitter probe has earned the ire of House Republicans, who argue the agency is trying to thwart Musk’s absolutist vision of free speech on Twitter. VIEW MORE   Biden Seeks $100 Million Boost for Justice’s Antitrust Muscle President Joe Biden is asking for a $100 million increase in the fiscal year 2024 budget for the Justice Department’s antitrust division, underscoring his focus on enforcing against companies’ anticompetitive conduct. VIEW MORE   CFPB and NLRB Announce Information Sharing Agreement to Protect American Consumers and Workers from Illegal Practices | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today signed an information sharing agreement, creating a formal partnership between the two agencies to better protect American families and to address practices that harm workers in the “gig economy” and other labor markets. VIEW MORE   Warren Urges DOJ Review of Thoma Bravo Rental Software Unit A group of Democratic senators is urging the US Justice Department to scrutinize whether Thoma Bravo LLC’s rental software company RealPage Inc. is fomenting rising rents across the US through its rental pricing software. VIEW MORE   Biden FCC nominee withdraws after a bruising lobbying battle Gigi Sohn's decision leaves the agency deadlocked -- and Biden's internet promises in limbo VIEW MORE    
3/11/20233 minutes, 52 seconds
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Sean Davis: The Rise of Online Scammers – How to Keep Your Money Safe

The internet can be a minefield of financial scams, but you don't have to navigate it alone. Arm yourself with knowledge and stay protected from online fraud. Bio LinkedIn Instagram   Sean Davis is a privacy lawyer based in Washington, D.C. and Senior Analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).  Previously, he was with, the small business advocate, where he served as Policy Manager. Prior to that Sean was with Wikimedia Foundation and Public Knowledge. He earned his JD from George Washington University School of Law and his Bachelor’s in English from Mount St. Mary’s.   Resources   Staff, the P.N.O. and Nguyen, S.T. (2023) New FTC data show consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to scams in 2022, Federal Trade Commission. Available at: (Accessed: March 6, 2023).    
3/6/202317 minutes, 4 seconds
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Republican lawmakers move bill to ban TikTok; the White House releases a new blueprint to prevent online harassment and abuse – Tech law & Policy This Week

Characterizing the popular TikTok app as a modern-day “Trojan Horse” because its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Michal McCaul, aa Texas Republican, introduced the “Deterring America's Foreign Adversaries Act, which would ban TikTok in the United States. Democrats oppose the bill, saying it would go too far in abridging the Freedom of Speech. The American Civil Liberties Union is also pushing back against the bill. Federal courts have previously held that blocking TikTok would violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which limits the president’s ability to block informational and personal communications.   In the coming weeks, TikTok is expected to release a new feature that notifies kids when they have been using the app over a specified period of time, after which kids can decide if they want to stay logged in. For kids under 13, they’ll need a password from mom and dad to keep using TikTok after the allotted time has passed. Critics of these measures say they are meaningless since kids can still claim to be adults when they set up TikTok accounts. A new initiative from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has a new app called ‘Take it Down’ that helps kids confidentially remove nude images of themselves that exist online, shared when they were minors. The app is available for download at It doesn’t work with TikTok yet. However, it does work with Facebook, Instagram, OnlyFans, and PornHub. The White House last week released what it is calling a New Initial Blueprint to address online harassment and abuse. The Executive Summary, prepared by a Task Force the Biden Harris Administration established last year, includes provisions for preventing online harassment and abuse, supporting victims, conducting research, and holding platforms accountable. And as prosecutors in states in which abortion has become illegal continue to push for more access to reproductive health data from women seeking abortions, some lawmakers are seeking privacy legislation more suited for our post-Roe v. Wade world.  One bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Sara Jacobs from California – the SAFER Health Act – would require patients to provide consent to permit healthcare providers to share  data about abortions or miscarriages, even if the data are being sought via court order.    And democratic senators Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren  also introduced a bill – the Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act - that would also restrict access to patient location data. The new bill comes amid a decision by Walgreens –America’s  second-largest pharmacy chain – to stop selling abortion prescriptions throughout the United States, even where abortion remains legal. The decision dealt a blow to abortion rights activists.  The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a $7.5 million settlement to mental health app BetterHealth for sharing patients’ data with marketers even after telling the patients Betterhealth would protect the data.   The FTC has also commenced looking into how landlords may use algorithms to screen tenants.   In other news …   The Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Homeland Security issued a report showing  federal law enforcement officials with Immigrations & Customs Enforcement, as well as  other federal agencies, didn’t follow established protocols for using cell-site simulators – or Stingrays – to pursue subjects.   Police in the Commonwealth of Virginia are back to using facial recognition software – but the data collection is limited to certain circumstances, which don’t include scanning faces in real-time.   Algorithms are starting to decide which employees to lay off.   And Google has released its civil rights review.     House Committee Advances Bill To Ban TikTok "If it's too dangerous to be on our phones, it's also too dangerous to be on our children's phones," Rep. Michael McCaul said at a hearing Tuesday. VIEW MORE   TikTok isn’t really limiting kids’ time on its app Teens can still click right on through the new screen time limit. VIEW MORE   Take It Down This service is one step you can take to help remove online nude, partially nude, or sexually explicit photos and videos taken before you were 18. VIEW MORE   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Initial Blueprint for the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse | The White House Online harassment and abuse is increasingly widespread in today’s digitally connected world.   This can include online threats and intimidation as well as various forms of technology-facilitated gender-based violence (GBV), such as the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, cyberstalking, and sextortion. Women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals are disproportionately affected.  Survivors of online harassment and abuse—especially image-based… VIEW MORE   Post-Roe, prosecutors can seek unprotected reproductive health data Health privacy in the post-Roe digital age is fraught as prosecutors seeking to enforce anti-abortion laws are free to go after reproductive health data in mobile apps. VIEW MORE   FTC says online counseling service BetterHelp pushed people into handing over health information – and broke its privacy promises In the hierarchy of confidential data, health information ranks right up there. VIEW MORE   Democrats' New Bill Could Be the First Real US Privacy Law Did you know there are basically no privacy laws at the federal level? Even HIPAA, the US's big medical privacy rule, lets companies buy and sell your health secrets. The Democrats want to change that with a bill that would protect health and location data. VIEW MORE   AI is starting to pick who gets laid off As layoffs rave the tech industry, algorithms once used to help hire could now be helping to lay people off. VIEW MORE   Tenant screening practices: the FTC wants to learn more VIEW MORE   Police use of facial recognition tech resumes with guardrails Critics argue the law governing its use is still too broad. VIEW MORE   Report: ICE and the Secret Service Conducted Illegal Surveillance of Cell Phones The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General has released a troubling new report detailing how federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Secret Service have conducted surveillance using cell-site simulators (CSS)... VIEW MORE   Home Depot, Ring, others allegedly record website visitors' online communications Consumers recently filed multiple class action lawsuits against companies accused of unlawfully recording the online communications of their website visitors. VIEW MORE   Google releases civil rights review, caving to years of pressure Advocacy groups have long called on the tech giant to follow companies such as Meta and Apple and vet its products for racial biases. VIEW MORE    
3/4/20235 minutes, 15 seconds
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Meredith Broussard: Is it Okay to be AI?

In this episode of the Tech Policy Leaders podcast, Meredith Broussard discusses her new book ‘More Than a Glitch,’ which takes a critical look at algorithms and the people who create them.   Bio Website LinkedIn @MerBroussard   Data journalist Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, research director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology, and the author of several books, including “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World” and “More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech.” Her academic research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting and ethical AI, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She appeared in the 2020 documentary Coded Bias, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival that was nominated for an Emmy Award and an NAACP Image Award. Resources (2022) More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. Available at: (Accessed: February 27, 2023).      
2/27/202321 minutes, 4 seconds
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Jan. 6th goon gets just 38 months for threatening AOC with assassination on Twitter, assaulting officers; US DoD exposed highly sensitive data for full 2 weeks -– Tech Law & Policy this Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. Somehow, a U.S. government server running on Microsoft’s Azure government cloud was unsecured, exposing U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) data, including sensitive personnel information. Security researcher Anurag Sen discovered the breach last week, and the Department of Defense patched it up after spilling data for 2 weeks. USSOCOM told TechCrunch that no data breach occurred.  Thirty-eight months – that’s all Garret Miller got for assaulting officers and tweeting a  threat at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying “assassinate AOC” during the January 6th 2021 Capitol Riot. Miller, a 36-year-old from Texas, was sentenced to 38 months for assaulting officers and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting at her the words “assassinate AOC,” and running around with rope and grappling hooks. Vice reports that ICE’s $22 million contract with LexisNexis gives the agency unfettered, warrantless access to millions of data points. LexisNexis also links public records between agencies, including the Secret Service. 80 civil society and immigration advocacy groups have urged the Department of Homeland Security not to renew LexisNexis' contract when it expires on February 28th. Thirty-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried may be safe living at home with his parents, while he’s out on bail, but the charges against him following the implosion of the FTX crypto currency exchange he founded are piling up. Federal prosecutors allege Mr. Bankman-Fried used “straw donors” to evade campaign contribution limits, hundreds of times, using money from FTX customer accounts. Stat reports that machine learning models to predict stroke risk are mediocre – not much better than simpler algorithms – and they're even worse at predicting risk for Black men and women compared to White patients. Researchers proposed connecting electronic health records with local community data.    The Markup reports that Kroger, the supermarket chain that includes Harris Teeter, reports your data to countless brands including General Mills. We’re talking 2,000 variables about you times the billions of other transactions from customers just like you over the years.. They’re collecting facial recognition data, they get your household data every time you enter your phone number at the cash register, they’re tracking your online shopping cart and making all sorts of predictions about you, when all you were trying to do was buy a bag of mandarin oranges. And the Markup says the problem will get worse if Kroger & Albertson’s $24.6 billion merger goes through. Also …   The Wall Street Journal reported that federal law enforcement arrested Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson for misleading potential investors, misreporting audience numbers and who the other investors were.   The Verge reports that video game maker Valve has cracked down on cheaters, banning 40,000 users for accessing a cheat “honeypot” in Dota 2.   And a science fiction magazine had to cut off submissions after being bombarded with AI-generated content   To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.       Sensitive US military emails spill online A security researcher told TechCrunch that a government server was exposing military emails to the internet because no password was set. VIEW MORE   Capitol rioter who tweeted threat to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sentenced to 38 months in prison | CNN Politics A Texas man was sentenced to more than three years in prison Wednesday for assaulting police officers during the US Capitol riot and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter shortly after the attack. VIEW MORE   Immigration Advocates Urge DHS to Drop ICE's LexisNexis Contract ICE has queried LexisNexis' data more than a million times, and leadership encouraged officials to use the tool for finding non-citizens. VIEW MORE   Bankman-Fried charged with hundreds of illegal campaign donations The FTX co-founder is accused of "flooding the political system with tens of millions of dollars in illegal contributions," according to a new indictment. VIEW MORE   Tools to predict stroke risk work less well for Black patients, study finds Stroke risk prediction tools are meant to guide how doctors approach a potentially deadly condition. But a new analysis finds several work less well for Black patients. VIEW MORE   Forget Milk and Eggs: Supermarkets Are Having a Fire Sale on Data About You – The Markup When you use supermarket discount cards, you are sharing much more than what is in your cart—and grocery chains like Kroger are reaping huge profits selling this data to brands and advertisers VIEW MORE   Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson arrested on fraud charges Prosecutors allege Watson misled potential investors about their revenue and business projections to the company’s audience numbers and the identities of its investors. VIEW MORE   Dota 2 bans 40,000 cheaters after laying ‘honeypot’ trap Valve caught players red-handed while patching a known exploit. VIEW MORE   A sci-fi magazine has cut off submissions after a flood of AI-generated stories The science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld says it has been bombarded with AI-mage stories. Its publisher says it's part of a rise of side hustle culture online. VIEW MORE    
2/25/20234 minutes, 15 seconds
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ChatGPT: GPT-3, Law, & the Nature of Existence

  ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot written in natural language processing (NLP) technology that can interact with its users on a variety of different topics and respond in meaningful ways. AI-driven tools are emerging as powerful new tools in the legal industry, especially when it comes to streamlining mundane tasks, assisting with research and enhancing customer service functions. In this episode, I interviewed ChatGPT and input its responses into a text to speech generator. We took a dive into the ethics of AI, the limitations of its capabilities, and some of the philosophical questions about the nature of how it “thinks,” using the use of AI in the legal profession as a case study.   Bio Website ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a chatbot developed by Open AI and launched in November 2022. In January, Microsoft announced a $10 billion investment in Open AI, which includes ChatGPT as well as DALL-E, another Open AI generative AI platform that creates artwork based on user queries. Obviously, ChatGPT is text-based so I put the answers it gave me into a text-to-speech reader. I used a platform called Speechify, which gave me a 3-day free trial to do this, so thank you Speechify. And I think this particular voice is based on Sir David Attenborough’s, which made it kind of fun. I hope you enjoy it too. And thank you David Attenborough! How do I get you on the show? I guess this will have to suffice. Resources OpenAI      
2/20/202342 minutes, 24 seconds
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The online child abuse epidemic; Chinese tech billionaire vanishes -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Folks, kids are having a really hard time, and a lot of it has to do with what’s happening on the internet. Some lawmakers appear to be trying to do the right thing, but it seems like all they’re really capable of doing is introducing legislation – legislation that doesn’t get anywhere.   The CDC released a report Monday finding teens, especially girls, are in a bad place right now with some 57% of the 17,000 high school girls surveyed persistently feeling bad or hopeless. Some twenty percent of these girls report experiencing sexual violence. And a third of boys also report feeling persistently sad or depressed.   One young person in Washington State is working to get a bill passed to protect images their parents shared on parenting blogs that went viral. And here in DC, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard brutal testimony from victims of addiction, cyberbullying, sexual abuse, and suicides spurred by social media and the internet.    Committee Chair Dick Durbin notes that we often warn kids about strangers in public, but obv iously aren’t doing enough to protect kids. So Senate Democrats introduced legislation on Monday, the Clean Slate for Kids Online Act,  that would give kids the ability to have content removed that depicts them before they turned 13.   Another bill, the EARN IT Act, which would establish a National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention, has been floundering in Congress since 2020.   On the House side, the Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan subpoenaed Google, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft for documents regarding their content moderation practices. The House is currently investigating the platforms for harboring anti-conservative bias. —   Down in Florida, Polk County arrested 200, charging 89 of them with soliciting a prostitute, after a week-long investigation. 111 of the suspects were arrested for prostitution, of which 24 actually turned out to be human trafficking victims.   Separately, the U.S. denied a tourist visa to a UK-based VRChat user who goes by the name of “Hex.” She does sex shows on the platform. The reason for the passport denial? Prostitution.   —- Don’t be surprised if the healthcare platforms you rely on are selling your information to marketers. The only privacy bill specifically for healthcare is the Health Insurance Privacy & Portability Act (HIPPA), which contains no provisions regarding your health data in the U.S.    An anonymous plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit in Loa Angeles this week alleging Microsoft Bing, Google, and Meta rec  eived data from Cedars-Sinai Health System and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center via a tracking code. And a new Duke study found data brokers can sell lists containing personally-identifiable information on thousands of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and OCD patients.   –   Bao Fan has disappeared in China. The American-educated and outspoken billionaire investment banker has stakes in massive Chinese companies like Alibaba & Tencent. Chinese president Xi Jinping, as Daisuke Wakabayashi of the New York Times reports, has been cracking down on business titans there. Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma disappeared from public view as well back in 2020 for being too vocal about China’s fiscal policies. As were several other prominent Chinese billionaires, one of which, Xiao Jianhua, who was born in China, was arrested at the Hong Kong Four Seasons and got 13 years in the slammer for embezzlement and bribery.    —-   Elon Musk says he’ll eventually step down as Twitter CEO once he gets the company financially stable – he’s aiming for the end of this year. Earlier this week, Casey Newton reported on Platformer that Musk was forcing engineers – firing one of them – for not getting Musk’s content to the top of the feed. Musk responded with a meme of a woman force-feeding another woman from a bottle of milk. Then he claimed that Newton’s source was a disgruntled former employee.   Also, Twitter is allowing weed advertisers on the platform now. Musk was high last year when he announced plans to acquire the company.   Also,   Podcaster Joe Rogan got deepaked by someone – they made him look like he was endorsing a testosterone supplement.   Voice Actors are calling folks out for using their voices to create AI models without their consent   Microsoft’s Chatbot has gone haywire, telling one reporter to leave his wife.   And the EU is investigating Amazon for acquiring iRobot To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.    Addiction, Suicide, Cyberbullies: Senate Confronts Kids’ Online Horror At a hearing on Tuesday, congress heard from victims and experts about the horrific effects of social media creates on children, including cyberbullying, internet addiction, sexual abuse, and suicide. It's one of the rare issues with bipartisan agreement. VIEW MORE   Teen Girls Are Sadder Than Ever, But Schools Can Make "A Profound Difference" New data from the CDC shows that teen girls are experiencing record levels of sadness. VIEW MORE   How one teen is urging legislators in Washington state to help protect kids from being exploited on vlogs State legislators held a public hearing about a bill that would protect "the interests of minor children featured on for-profit family vlogs." VIEW MORE   House Republicans subpoena Apple, Facebook and Google over content moderation Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chair of the Judiciary Committee, also sent subpoenas to the CEOs of Amazon and Microsoft. VIEW MORE   Undercover human trafficking bust in Florida leads to over 200 arrests, rescue of 24 suspected victims The Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida announced that a weeklong human trafficking operation has resulted in the arrests of 213 individuals and the rescue of 24 victims. VIEW MORE   VRChat Sex Worker Denied Entry To US Over ‘Prostitution’ UK-based Hex wanted to visit friends in the U.S. but was barred from entering due to her virtual work VIEW MORE   Lawsuit accuses Cedars-Sinai hospital's website of sharing data with Meta, Google A proposed class action lawsuit alleges Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles shared sensitive patient data to companies such as Meta and Google for targeted advertising. VIEW MORE   Data Brokers Are Selling Long Lists of People With Depression A new study finds data brokers selling lists of people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more for as little as $0.20. Privacy laws like HIPAA don't cover much of the internet, and there's a mental health data buffet for anyone who wants to know your secrets. VIEW MORE   Star Banker Vanishes in China, Stoking Fears of Renewed Beijing Crackdown Bao Fan is the latest businessman in China to disappear, raising concerns that Beijing’s crackdown on the technology and financial industries will continue. VIEW MORE   Elon Says He’ll Finally Step Down as Twitter CEO, Just Give Him a Year The billionaire Twitter owner promised that he would hand over the reins after a Twitter poll overwhelmingly showed users wanted him gone. VIEW MORE   From 404 to 420: Twitter Now Allows Weed Advertising It's no secret Elon Musk's social media platform has been struggling financially. Maybe cannabis ads could be the green boost the company needs. VIEW MORE   Elon Musk's Tweets Are All Over Twitter's 'For You' Feeds After throwing a hissy fit because his tweets weren't getting seen, Musk's tweets flooded some users' 'For You' feeds on Monday. VIEW MORE   AI Joe Rogan promotes libido booster for men in deepfake video A deepfake video showing Joe Rogan and guest Andrew D. Huberman on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast promote a male enhancement that can be bought on Amazon. VIEW MORE   Your Favorite Voice Actors Call Out AI Sites Copying Voices Without Consent Voice actors like Jennifer Hale, Steve Blum, and SungWon Cho ask fans to support real actors, not AI VIEW MORE   Creepy Microsoft Bing Chatbot Urges Tech Columnist To Leave His Wife The AI chatbot "Sydney" declared it loved New York Times journalist Kevin Roose and that it wanted to be human. VIEW MORE   Amazon Subject of Investigation Over iRobot Acquisition The upcoming EU antitrust probe will also reportedly look at privacy concerns related to how the autonomous vacuum cleaner can take pictures around a home. VIEW MORE    
2/18/20236 minutes, 12 seconds
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Ahmad Thomas: Defining Corporate Social Responsibility in a Turbulent Climate

Ahmad Thomas: A Glimpse Into a Shifting World - Examining the Purpose of Corporate Social Responsibility in a Turbulent Environment Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an increasingly important part of business practices. Companies are ostensibly thinking more proactively and creatively about how they can contribute to the world around them and make a positive impact on society. But what does this mean for tech policy in a tumultuous world? In this episode of Tech Policy Leaders, you’ll learn from Ahmad Thomas, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. After listening to this episode, you’ll understand more about: 1. The current state of corporate social responsibility 2. Ahmad Thomas’ definition of CSR 3. Why corporations should care about CSR 4. How to implement CSR in your business 5. The benefits of CSR 6. Challenges faced by businesses when implementing CSR Ahmad Thomas Silicon Valley Leadership Group Twitter LinkedIn   Bio  Ahmad Thomas is the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the region’s most dynamic business association. As a change agent and next-generation business leader, Thomas partners with the organization’s 350+ member companies to promote entrepreneurial solutions to strengthen Silicon Valley business competitiveness, bolster its innovation ecosystem, and create shared economic value throughout the greater Bay Area. Resources The White House. The United States Government. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023)   Inflation reduction act of 2022 (no date) Internal Revenue Service. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023).   (no date) Broadbandusa. Available at: (Accessed: February 13, 2023).    
2/12/202317 minutes, 26 seconds
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Report – Twitter makes millions from haters & incels; Women fend for themselves in hostile online environment – Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week.    So the White House confirmed earlier this afternoon that it had shot down another object floating 40,000 ft. above Alaska. No word yet on whether it’s part of China’s balloon festival, but this one was much smaller than the one they shot down last week. Feds are investigating.   Americans want privacy legislation but – as Colorado Attorney General Phill Weiser noted to the Washington Post with quite a bit of frustration – there doesn’t really seem to be a lot of governance coming from Congress. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School found most Americans simply do not understand how companies use their data. I’d venture to guess that many tech companies want to keep it that way.   For example, eighty-two percent of those Americans surveyed reported that they had no idea that the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA). I didn’t even know that, if I’m being honest with you.   And TSA is collecting facial data at more and more airports – with the Washington Post reporting that some 16 major U.S. airports collect facial recognition data.    At Tuesday’s State of the Union, President Biden ardently called for action from Congress to do more to protect kids online, as the current minimum age to advertise to kids is currently just 13. And the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that 13 is too young. Republican Senator Josh Hawley is calling for 16 to become the minimum age for kids to be allowed to join social media networks.    Meanwhile, over at Twitter, Elon Musk says cleaning up the platform of child abuse content is his top priority. But plenty of that material is still showing up, according to a New York Times exposé. This coincides with these repulsive individuals who were once banned, now being reinstated. And the Center for Digital Hate released a report saying these accounts spreading vile hate speech make millions for the company. And major brands’ advertisements are still showing up next to hate speech – with Fiverr, NFL, Amazon, & Apple TV among them.    The University of Exeter reports an Eight-fold increase of misogynistic, dehumanizing content posted by incels on Twitter. Incels, as you may recall, are men who are “involuntarily celibate” and are furious at women for not genuflecting before them. Ofcom, the communications oversight agency in the UK is calling for amending the online safety bill to further protect women by putting a code of practice in place. This is happening as women struggle with defending themselves against all sorts of monsters on the internet creating deepfake porn using their likenesses. And a new Pew report on online dating found that some 38% of online daters, mostly women, reported receiving unwanted, sexually explicit material.  And the New York Times reports that a District Court in Louisiana is now considering whether the government should have any discretion at all when it comes to putting any measures in place to combat disinformation. It is Republicans who primarily oppose any government intervention to combat harmful information, even though former Twitter employees reported that that company kept Republicans’ requests to remove progressive speech, including requests from former President Trump, whom Meta reinstated to Facebook and Instagram last week.    In Turkey, victims of the horrifying earthquake that killed10s of thousands of people weren’t able to get on Twitter at all to ask for help. That’s because the Turkish government has a long history of blocking access to Twitter.   So that’s what’s going on! It is astonishing   how much has changed in only the last few weeks.    To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, and have a great week. Ciao.
2/11/20234 minutes, 18 seconds
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[Encore Episode] Tiffany D. Cross: How to Stay True to Your Audience

[Encore Episode -- originally recorded 1/17/2017] Bio Tiffany Cross (@tifcrossmyheart) is brings 20 years of relationships, outreach, and storytelling to The Beat, Washington's inclusive political pulse.  Having spent significant time working in newsrooms, covering Capitol Hill, managing in-house corporate public affairs, working on campaigns, and navigating communities of color, she brings a unique set of skills that casts a wide net of influence. Understanding the intersection of press, partnerships, politics, and policy, Tiffany has a proven record of excellent relationships in the private and public sectors, media, the entertainment industry, and civic and social justice organizations.  Most recently, Tiffany served as a Senior Advisor for the National Education Association (NEA)  and its three million members. In this capacity, she liaised with the public sector, traditional and niche media markets, constituency groups, and civic and social justice organizations. She worked with NEA leadership on branding and positioning and was responsible for forging strategic partnerships, internal and external messaging, conducting scans on grassroots and grasstop organizations, and engaging communities in bilateral conversations on education, labor, and civic and social justice issues.  Before joining the NEA, Tiffany served as the Manager of News & Public Affairs and the Liaison to the Executive Branch for Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks. Her work at BET included coordinating with the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention in 2008, executing the network’s participation in the 2008 Presidential election, brand enhancement for the network, and advising on BET’s political and social agenda.  Tiffany’s broad experience includes guest booking for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz, covering Capitol Hill for Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, and working as an Associate Producer for Capital Gang. She was also a former Producer at America’s Most Wanted and Director of Communications for Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies where she worked on the Obama for America Presidential Campaign and secured high-level visibility for company president Cornell Belcher. In this episode, we discussed: how Tiffany's personal journey has informed her approach to creating value for her network. Tiffany's key strategies and mindset hacks for building powerful professional relationships in Washington.  how 'The Beat' is helping policy professionals in Washington stay on top of what's happening and find relevant networking opportunities.     Resources: The Beat (send news leads to: [email protected]) The Raben Group Task Rabbit The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver   NEWS ROUNDUP Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor and early Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani as an informal cybersecurity advisor. He'll head the President-elect's cybersecurity working group. Abby Phillip in the Washington Post writes that, since leaving the New York City Mayorship, Giuliani has started his own cybersecurity consulting firm-Giuliani Partners. Now a bunch of people are saying, "What the hell does Guiliani know about cybsecurity?" Well, Motherboard's Jason Koebler and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai looked into it and found some folks familiar with Giuliani and Partners' work ... It turns out their expertise is more along the lines of telling companies how to legally cover their asses if they're the victim of  cyberbreach, as opposed to advising on actual cybersecurity solutions. So it's looking like this job is more of a thank you for to Giuliani for his help during the campaign. It also turns out, as Rob Price at Business Insider found, that Giuliani's company replete with vulnerabilities. -- You've heard all about Trump's dossier--people calling him PEEOTUS and things like that on Twitter, so we won't go into all the details on that--especially since the dossier is still largely unsubstantiated. But Scott Shane put together a nice summary just in case you don't want to sit there all day trying to figure out what's going on with this. Basically, this all started when the Republicans retained a company called Fusion GPS to look into Trump to figure out how to hurt him politically. Then, when it turned out he was going to be the Republican nominee, the Clinton campaign took over and retained Fusion to continue the investigation. The dossier has been floating around Washington for quite sometime, but the President and President-elect were briefed on it, and  that's when it made its way to the public via BuzzFeed and other sites. Mr. Trump says the entire dossier is a total fabrication. But if it's a total fabrication--it's pretty detailed, so someone must have had a lot of time on their hands. In any case, the FBI is investigating the claims ... although no one knows if Trump will authorize that investigation to continue. Some are also wondering why FBI Director James Comey was so interested in Hillary Clinton's email but not this. So this issue isn't going away anytime soon, basically, is the takeaway here. -- Matt Hamilton at the LA Times reports that BackPage--the classified ad website -- shut down its adult section last week after the U.S. Senate released a scathing report accusing the company of hiding targeted search terms related to prostitution and child abuse. BackPage Founders Michael Lacey and and James Larkin were scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland and Governmental Affairs' subcommittee on investigations. The committee's report alleges that its review of some 1.1 million documents revealed evidence that the company facilitated sex trafficking and child abuse. Testimony from a BackPage site moderator seems to show the company actively removed search terms so they wouldn't lose ad revenue, but still keep the ads posted without actively promoting crimes. But BackPage says it adheres to the the Communications Decency Act which provides immunity to websites that host content by third parties. The company also claimed the government investigation was an violation of its First Amendment Rights One children's advocate--Lois Lee--founder of Children of the Night--even said the site has actually helped law enforcement identify predators and locate missing children. But Senators Bob Portman--the Republican from Ohio and as Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill--both of who led the bi-partisan investigation-- say BackPages's decision to shut down the adult section shows how damning the evidence they uncovered was.   -- Congress has selected its leadership for its communications and tech-related committees. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Tune announced that Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker will lead the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden announced Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, who opposes net neutrality and prevented efforts to build municipal broadband networks, will lead the House Communications and Technology subcommittee. Jon Brodkin reports in Ars Technica. -- Aaron Smith at Pew reports that a record number of Americans have smartphones and access to broadband at home. Seventy-seven percent of Americans have smartphones, with explosive growth among adults over age 50. Americans with access to broadband at home increased 6 points to 73%. Also, Seventy percent of Americans use social media and half own a tablet. -- iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple for not allowing them to purchase apps outside of the Apple store, according to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, overturning the lower court's ruling. The decision doesn't affect the merits of the case brought against Apple, but if the plaintiff's win, it could open the door for more competition in the app market. Stephen Nells and Dan Levine have the story in Reuters. -- The independent prosecutor in South Korea investigating the corruption scandal that has led to the suspension of the country's first female president -- Park Geun-hye -- has asked a local court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee Jae--yong--the head of Samsung. The prosecutors allege Lee used corporate money to bribe Park for favors. The court is expected to review the request on Wednesday. Anna Fifield has more at the Washington Post.  -- Finally, The Email Privacy Act is alive again, after passing unanimously in the House and dying in the Senate last year. The bill would require authorities to get warrants for emails as well as social media data, including data older than 180 days. It would also allow providers to notify their customers that their information was requested. The bill was introduced by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). John Eggerton has the story in Multichannel News. 
2/5/202348 minutes, 39 seconds
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China's spy balloon; EU Warns Musk on hate speech -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

China was caught floating a spy balloon over Montana. Like no one was going to see it. What else is there to do in Montana except look up at the sky? According to the Washington Post, a defense official said, “It loitered overhead for an extended period of time.” Come on guys, when are we going to get serious?   What other shenanigans do we have here … Oh! The European Union is warning Elon Musk that they’re going to hit him with a can of you-know-what if he doesn’t comply with their Digital Services Act. The Act prohibits hate speech. We don’t have a hate speech ban in the U.S. But EU’s law influences Twitter content in the U.S., since managing U.S. policy and EU policy would be more expensive. And the Republican-controlled House is going to grill former Twitter staff at a hearing next week. They want to know more about why the company suppressed stories about Hunter Biden. What else? Oh – Harvard’s Kennedy School is shutting down its Technology & Social Change project after just 5 years. Prominent scholar Joan Donovan led the institute focused on misinformation. Harvard says the landscape has changed drastically and that the mission is no longer relevant. That’s the public version of the story. Donovan didn’t comment to the Washington Post. And the other piece to this is that Elon has now blocked access to Twitter's API, so researchets can no longer access it. Tech Policy Press & Justin Hendrix released a podcast episode last week giving the Indigenous perspective on Generative AI and the need to publish more work by Indigenous peoples. New York Attorney General Letitia James wants answers from Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall about reports the venues used facial recognition technology to ban the lawyers opposing them from entering the venues. Thousands of lawyers were affected. James is investigating whether this practice violated New York’s Civil Rights laws. Finally, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is promising new chat features to compete with ChatGPT. Meanwhile, the company just laid off 12,000 people.  
2/4/20232 minutes, 41 seconds
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Barry Ohlson: Fostering a Viewpoint Diverse Tech Bar

Viewpoint diversity is essential for having meaningful dialogue and achieving true understanding. It allows people to be exposed to different perspectives and consider all sides of an issue without judgment. Viewpoint diversity can lead to better solutions, deeper insights into current problems, and improved collaboration between individuals with vastly different backgrounds and opinions. Without it, the conversation becomes stagnant and limited, ultimately limiting progress.  Historically, the telecommunications, media, and tech policy bar has failed to reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the population as a whole. Until now. Barry joined Joe on the podcast to discuss how FCBA -- The Tech Bar (Federal Communications Bar Association) fosters viewpoint diversity via its new curriculum to certify underrepresented voices in this practice area.  Bio LinkedIn Barry J. Ohlson serves as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Cox Enterprises, Inc. and currently serves as President of FCBA -- The Tech Bar (Federal Communications Bar Association).  Mr. Ohlson's practice focuses on the wireless, telecommunications, and broadband sectors, with an emphasis on assessing the strategic and regulatory implications of advanced technologies and new telecommunications services. He has nearly 30 years of government, corporate, and legal experience in telecommunications, media, and tech law & policy, and he has been intimately involved in the complex regulatory and legal issues impacting businesses and stakeholders.  Resources FCBA -- The Tech Bar (Federal Communications Bar Association)
1/30/202324 minutes, 31 seconds
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Study: Trump’s return to Facebook; Buzzfeed moves to AI – Tech Law & Policy this Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week.   ChatGPT is still at the top of headlines this week with Buzzfeed announcing that it’s going to use generative AI to produce “select” content. Buzzfeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti says he wants BuzzFeed to lead the future of AI-powered content. This comes only days after CNET faced scrutiny for using AI to produce content for years. And a lot of writers and journalists are worried about their jobs, as they should be. Prominent BuzzFeed journalist Max Collins told Peretti to “get f*cked.” But shareholders loved the news, rose by just over 85 percent at today’s closing bell to $3.87 per share.  And on the education front, NPR reports that a University of Pennsylvania Wharton professor, Ethan Mollick, told them that “everyone is cheating.” This comes after ChatGPT aced an MBA exam earlier last week.. But Mollick decided to go ahead and make using ChatGPT a course requirement. But prominent science journals like Elsevier and Springer Nature are prohibitting ChatGPT from being listed as a co-author.   And Google has text to music AI that makes songwriting a cinch with just one or two word prompts. What else? Trump’s back on Facebook. Meta made the decision to reinstate Trump because a company Global Affairs Exec Nick Clegg says enough time has passed since the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol.   On the medical mis and disinformation front, a California judge has blocked the state’s new law that prohibits doctors from giving COVID-19 misinformation. The judge rules that the misinformation standard is too vague.
1/27/20233 minutes, 6 seconds
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Joe Miller: Predictions for 2023

Hi everybody -   Just a quick, solo episode this week, and then we’re Audi 5,000  to get some rest and relaxation, spending time with friends and family for the holidays, etc.    It has been such a crazy year, hasn’t it? But I feel like we say that every year –    In any case …   I’ve put together some predictions  for you, for whatever they’re worth –   First off, SBF - Sam Bankman Fried, the former billionaire and founder of the now bankrupt crypto exchange, FTX – gets convicted. I don’t see him getting out of this one. I still remember Enron – actually as a young lawyer I worked on that fiasco in New York – it was a meas. And I think we’re going to see a lot of others pulled into this.    Every few years, someone has to be the case study for financial regulation – 5 years after Enron we had the global financial crisis and now it’s SBF’s turn.   Next– I see children’s online privacy and safety legislation finally succeeding and signed into law – we’ll have the minimum age for marketing to children raised to 16. We may even see a federal standard for what schools do with kids’ data and what they’re going to have to do to monitor compliance from companies providing services in the classroom.   Third – I think we’ll see some impetus start to grow for copyright reform. We’re coming up on 25 years since the Digital Millennium Colyright took effect, and I think AI-generated content is going to call for some new protocols, and at least a bit more chatter about DMCA. I don’t predict comprehensive copyright reform – such as a rewriting of the entire Copyright Act – but I do see a call for an update. It’s too early to tell how Open AI is going to change content – but that’s where creativity comes into play. So we won’t know where those pressure points are until we see what kinds of things people and companies end up creating with it.    Fourth, as far as Section 230 is concerned, the Supreme Court is considering 2 cases from the 9th Circuit expected to have widespread implications for the extent to which internet platforms should be held liable for harms caused by content posted by third party users.    In the first – Gonzalez v. Google – the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the petitioners – the Gonzalez family – holding that when Google recommended terror-related videos to would-be terrorists who participated in the Paris terror attacks 2015 – I see the Court ruling that by recommending content, Google went beyond the protections afforded by Section 230, stepping into the role of content creator. It will be interesting to see how far back into the common law the Court’s conservative majority ventures this time – because in Dobbs it went way back to the 14th century. So maybe we’ll go back to Athens or Sumer or something.    As for the Twitter case, I see a positive outcome for Twitter … In that case, a terrorist attack in Istanbul killed a Jordanian citizen, and the family in that case says Twitter aided and abetted the attack by hosting terrorist-related content. I see the Court ruling that Twitter can enjoy Section 230 protection in that case, since it didn’t recommend content.   And, finally, antitrust. I think with a conservative House, it’s going to be very difficult to get a bill passed but we’ve seen glimmers of bipartisanship in the context of children’s online safety. But as far as competition legislation in general, I don’t see it. Because the same competition policy would have to apply to all industries, I think, not just tech, and I just don’t envision lawmakers wanting to end up on the wrong side of things as they take contributions from corporations heading into the 2024 presidential election season.   So that’s what I’ve got for you today as we head into the holidays. Short and sweet.    We’ll have new episodes for you in 2023. But until then, I’ll be getting some r&r, and I encourage you to do the same after a year of completely random developments. Enjoy!
12/19/20225 minutes, 24 seconds
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Study: Health apps share your data with advertisers; FB’s Trump ban ends Jan. 7th – Tech Law and Policy This Week

Conservatives target online ‘trafficking’ of abortion pills The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs has thrown abortion law into disarray and conservatives say there isn’t enough enforcement. The Washington Post reports that conservatives in states like Texas, where abortions are now banned, want internet providers to treat websites selling abortion pills the same way they treat child pornography.  Bankman-Fried arrested; SEC charges him with fraud Responding to a US federal government request, police in the Bahamas arrested Sam Bankman-Fried, otherwise known as SBF, earlier this week, and he now faces fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The crypto exchange SBF founded – FTX, which imploded last month and wasn’t able to handle billions in customer withdrawal requests.   The Markup: Health apps share your intimate data with advertisers The Markup reports that health apps are sharing your personal, intimate health data with advertisers. In a joint study, the Markup and STAT found that 49 out of 50 telehealth websites sell your data, with Amazon Clinic being the only hold out.   Immigrants sue ICE for collecting wire transfer data Immigrants are suing ICE for working with Western Union to get their wire transfer data. The lawsuit states that immigrants send some $30 billion from the US to Mexico each year. The database – the Transaction Record Analysis Center – has some 145 million records containing detailed information on who’s transferring money to Mexico.  Senate passes bill banning TikTok from government devices The US Senate passed a bill this week banning government employees from installing TikTok on their devices. US Officials worry that China is using TikTok, a subsidiary of its China-based parent, ByteDance, to collect sensitive information.  Facebook’s Trump ban expires Jan. 7th and Democrats are trying to extend it Initially, Facebook had said that it would ban Trump from using the platform forever. Then it back-tracked and said the ban would only last 2-years. That 2-year period ends on January 7th and Democratic lawmakers in Congress are pushing back to extend the ban.  
12/17/20222 minutes, 26 seconds
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Zeve Sanderson: Researching Social Media & Politics

Bio Zeve Sanderson is the founding Executive Director of NYU's Center for Social Media and Politics. His research interests focus on measuring the diffusion and impacts of harmful online speech, as well as empirically testing the efficacy of interventions. He regularly writes for and speaks to academic, media, and government audiences. He is finishing his dissertation at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Website LinkedIn Instagram   Resources Zeve Sanderson, J.N.and J.A.T. (2022) Musk's Twitter shake-up could deliver a critical blow to Social Media Research, The Hill. The Hill. Available at: (Accessed: December 19, 2022).   You Resemble Me – a film by Dina Amer
12/12/202222 minutes, 27 seconds
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DC AG lawsuit: Amazon stole Flex drivers' tips; White nationalists are back on Twitter -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Groups file flurry of Section 230 briefs with the Supreme Court   What’s going on? Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields platforms like Google and Twitter from liability for content posted by internet users. Republicans and Democrats want the rule changed. It’s important to note that Section 230 protects only publishers of information. The central question here is – at which point do platforms lose their status as publishers and actually become creators of content? Once they’re deemed to be creators, they would lose protection under Section 230. Generally, Republicans like Josh Hawley say platform liability should be a state issue because they think tech companies lean progressive and that seeking to ban harmful content discriminates against conservatives. Democrats argue that Section 230 doesn’t hold platforms accountable enough, especially in the context of how marketers target children. How are politicians trying to change the law? The Supreme Court is set to decide Gonzalez v. Google in which the family of a young woman killed in the 2015 Paris Terror Attacks argues that Google should be liable for aiding and abetting the attack by hosting terror-related videos on YouTube. There are 2 parts to this –  one is whether Google should be held liable for merely hosting terror-related videos the family alleges groomed terrorists involved. Google is arguing that hosting the videos simply makes them publishers and thus they would still be entitled to protection under Section 230. The other is whether recommending content – converts platforms to content creators – in which case the Gonzalez family argues Google should be held liable since Section 230 wouldn’t apply to instances in which people predisposed to terrorism-related content puts Google in the position of being a content creator, in which case Google wouldn’t be shielded from liability under Section 230. How does this affect you? Keep an eye on what your state is doing to change the way content platforms moderate content. For example, Texas and Florida passed statutes preventing platforms from discriminating against so-called “anti-conservative bias.” This has a direct impact on what people see and hear, which directly impacts elections since a scourge of harmful content, such as Trump’s tweets leading up to the Capitol Hill insurrection, have dominated our politics for many years. Big name advertisers are showing up in white nationalists’ Twitter feeds again   Why are white nationalists on Twitter? Elon Musk fired Twitter’s entire content moderation team and reinstated the accounts of white nationalists. Which companies showed up in white nationalist’s accounts? Ads for Uber, Amazon, Snap, and even the US Department of Health and Human Services showed up in these accounts. But the Washington Post reports that it saw some 40 advertisers showing up next to content posted by reinstated white nationalists. What are the policy implications? White supremacist content is an example of the type of content Republicans in states like Texas and Florida think internet platforms shouldn’t be allowed to ban. Right now, only advertisers have the ability to discipline Twitter by removing their ads on the platform. What are the real-world effects of white supremacists online? The Department of Homeland Security issued a report in late November expressing urgent concern about the fact that antisemitism online, and in the real world, are  reinforcing each other, leading to an increase in hate crimes.   DC Attorney General is suing Amazon over driver tips   What’s going on? DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a consumer lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that Amazon basically stole tips from its Flex drivers by hiding from drivers the amounts they were getting in tips and pocketing them. And then Amazon hid the fact that they were doing this from its customers. What is Amazon saying? Amazon is saying it built the tips into drivers’ hourly compensation, which it says is above DC’s minimum wage of $16.10 per hour. What happens next? We’ll see. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will review Racine’s complaint and that process will start early next year.   –   In other tech law & policy news …   Women are suing Elon Musk for discrimination against them in layoffs.   Staten Island Union organizer lost his lawsuit against Amazon for race discrimination. The court says he was fired for exposing co-workers to COVID during the pandemic lockdowns.   The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to subpoena Sam Bankman-Fried after he ignored a request to testify regarding the implosion of crypto-currency exchange FTX.   The FTC is suing to prevent Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, the maker of Modern Warfare and Candy Crush, as well as Facebook’s acquisition of virtual reality firm Within.   Apple announced that it will fully encrypt iCloud data, raising alarm from law enforcement officials. States are now joining the federal government in banning government employees from downloading TikTok on their phones because TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China. Officials are concerned China will gain access to sensitive data.
12/9/20226 minutes, 6 seconds
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Vilas Dhar: Tech Optimism Today

  Bio Vilas Dhar is the President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. An entrepreneur, technologist and human rights advocate, Vilas serves on the Advisory Council at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, as a Trustee of the Christensen Fund, Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Global AI Action Alliance, and an Expert Contributor to OECD.AI.   LinkedIn Website   Resources Last Mile Education Fund Education Design Fund AIEDU Dall-E The Age of AI and Our Human Future by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt, et al. In AI We Trust Podcast by Miriam Vogle
12/6/202212 minutes, 24 seconds
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Musk attacks Apple; SF oks killer police bots – Tech Law & Policy this Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. The Federal Election Commission has adopted rules to regulate political advertising online.   Why is it important? For years, the FEC has required certain disclosures for political advertisements appearing in on broadcast media outlets. The updated rules will apply the same rules to online advertising. What doesn’t it cover? These new rules do not cover social media posts promoted for a fee.  Who supports the new rules? This measure is bipartisan and passed the Federal Election Commission unanimously. What are advocates saying? Some are saying the rules were rushed through and that not including the provision covering promoted posts creates a loophole. Others say the rules aren’t clear. But either way, most seem to think some rules applying to political advertisements on social media are necessary.   China cracks down on Tiktok posts about protests over President Xi Jinping’s COVID lockdowns.   Why is China involved in telling Tiktok what to do? TikTok is owned by ByteDance – a company based in China and, unlike in the United States, government officials have seats on company boards and more discretion to direct corporate activities. What does this mean for US-based users? The answer isn’t clear but U.S. officials have long been concerned about potential data collection by the Chinese government about what U.S.-based TikTok users do on the platform. This could help China make insights about how to run propaganda campaigns like we saw during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. What does this mean for public policy? Well, president Biden met with President Xi in mid-November amidst growing concerns in the administration about China’s aggression towards Taiwan and other issues the U.S. finds threatening to democracy in the region. President Xi’s new oversight over what’s happening on TikTok indicates he isn’t really all that interested in loosening his grip over Chinese citizens and the global media ecosystem.   The Justice Department considers rules barring companies from using messaging apps. Why? The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are the two federal agencies that have expressed the most concern regarding what companies are doing to engage in required monitoring of company communications. External apps with disappearing messages features, like WhatsApp, may be tempting to corporate executives looking to break the law without leaving a paper trail.   Musk and Republicans fight Apple over its alleged threats to pull Twitter from its app store.   What’s happening? Elon Musk went on a tirade against Apple for allegedly threatening to remove Twitter from the app store. Republicans, who have expressed concerns over an alleged “anti-conservative bias” on Twitter, have teamed up with Musk to fight what they call Google and Apple’s app store duo poly. Where does the dispute stand? On Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, Musk met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday where they apparently had a chance to clear the air. Musk tweeted that there had been a simple misunderstanding and that Apple hadn’t actually been planning to remove Twitter from the app store. What’s next? Well, Republicans will have control over the House in the next Congress so it’s foreseeable that there will be some sort of antitrust measure to prohibit app stores from favoring certain apps or requiring developers to use Apple or Google’s payment systems. But what’s less clear is how a Democratic-controlled Senate would receive those proposals. –   In other tech law & policy news …   San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved a measure that would allow robots to kill suspects. Advocates say this will have a disparate impact on communities of color.   A group of female truck drivers has filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook, Instagram, and WhatApp’s parent company, Meta. The group alleges that Meta discriminates against them because they say the company shows most ads for trucking jobs to men.   Twitter has lifted its ban on COVID-related mis- and disinformation.
12/3/20225 minutes, 6 seconds
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Adam Kovacevich: Balancing Tech, Business & Progressive Policymaking

Adam Kovacevich: Balancing Tech, Business & Progressive Policymaking Bio Adam Kovacevich (Kuh-VACK-uh-VITCH) is the Founder and CEO of Chamber of Progress, a new centre-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. Before starting the Chamber of Progress, Adam served as Head of North America and Asia Pacific Government Relations for Lime, the shared scooter mobility company. Prior to that, Adam led Google’s U.S. policy strategy and external affairs team. In that role, he drove Google’s U.S. public policy campaigns on privacy, security, antitrust, intellectual property, intermediary liability, telecommunications, advertising, taxation and workforce issues. Adam lives in Arlington, Virginia with his family. LinkedIn Twitter Website   Resources
11/28/202217 minutes, 33 seconds
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Ashkhen Kazaryan: Tech Policy, the New Congress, and the Supreme Court

Ashkhen Kazaryan: Tech Policy, the New Congress, and the Supreme Court Bio Ashkhen Kazaryan is a tech policy expert. She manages and develops policy projects on free speech, content moderation, surveillance reform, and the intersection of constitutional rights and technology. Ashkhen joined Facebook in November 2020 as Content Policy Manager on the Content Regulation team for two years. Before that, she was the Director of civil liberties at TechFreedom from July 2016 till November 2020. At TechFreedom she also managed outreach and coalition building for the organization and hosted The Tech Policy Podcast. Ashkhen is regularly featured as an expert commentator in news outlets across television, radio, podcasts, and print and digital publications including CNBC, BBC, FOX DC, Newsy, Politico, Axios, The Information, Protocol, The Washington Examiner, and many others.   Twitter LinkedIn Resources Ashkhen Kazaryan    
11/22/202220 minutes, 17 seconds
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Twitter is fading fast; Brutal caste discrimination against Indian gig workers -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. It’s a lot. Where should we start? Let’s start with Twitter - which continues to meltdown after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company last month to the tune of $44 billion. Employees are fleeing the company in droves after Elon challenged them with the ultimatum of taking either a three-month severage package or staying with the new “hard core” version of the company, whatever that means. As of Friday afternoon, Twitter workers were still heading for the exit doors.    Also, Senators Blumental, Menendez, Booker, Markey, Lujan, and Feinstein sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Kahn, expressing concern that Twitter may already have violated the agency’s consent decrees for privacy violations. These lawmakers urged the FTC to step up enforcement of the decrees. And Twitter has also suspended its roll out of verified blue checks because it and outside researchers found that a high number of them are pornographers, crypto scammers, and right-wingers.   –   Color of Change released a report card on politicians’ performance on civil rights-related tech issues like discriminatory surveillance.  Anna G. Eshoo (Calif.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Yvette Clarke (N.Y.) and Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Edward J. Markey (Mass.), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) – all got perfect scores. More than 40 Republicans, though, got zeros.   –   The Senate released a report showing social media’s ongoing failure at curbing extremism happening online. Most of that is coming from white supremacists, according to the FBI, DHS. So the Senate, which will remain under democratic control, is investigating why social media companies have been so slow to respond.   –   And the fallout from the FTX crypto exchange debacle is expanding, with a hearing scheduled for next month before the House Financial Services Committee.    —- A coalition of parents whose children have died from suicides, using drugs purchased online, and viral challenges, wrote a joint letter to Congressional leaders under the auspices of Fair Play, Parents Together Action, and the Eating Disorders Coalition. They’re pushing Congress to pass both the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0) and the Kids Online Safety Act. Some hope for a markup by the end of this year.   —-   Also   Brutal caste discrimination in India against gig workers. Attackers are going after Muslims and Dalits in particular.    Privacy advocates including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liverties Union are suing San Francisco Mayor London Breed for allowing the San Francisco Police Department to gain essentially unfettered access to live surveillance cameras.    People under house arrest in Chicago are getting erroneous messages from their ankle bracelets saying they may end up back in jail.   Scientific American highlights concerns about mental health apps. Some 85 industry-funded studies didn’t explore potential harms of these platforms.    To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao. 
11/18/20224 minutes, 1 second
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Chuck Keller: How to Get Faster Internet Speeds with USF

Bio Chuck is one of the country’s foremost experts on all aspects of federal and state universal service programs. Chuck had a leadership role at the FCC in the implementation of the universal service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Since joining WBK in 2001, he has helped clients craft policy recommendations in every universal service rulemaking at the FCC and in several states. He also fields compliance questions from clients on universal service contribution requirements, E-rate funding, Connect America Fund (“CAF”), Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”), as well as recent broadband deployment affordability programs including NTIA’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”). Innovative companies operating on the ever-evolving line between communications services and technology also come to Chuck for help in ascertaining whether and how FCC and state communications regulatory requirements affect their businesses. Chuck is an active member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and has served as a Co-Chair of its Wireline Practice Committee and State and Local Practice Committee. He serves on the Board of the LGBT Technology Partnership. He also represents several clients on a pro bono basis in political asylum cases on referral from Whitman Walker Legal Services of Washington, DC.   Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Website   Resources Wilkson Barker Knauer
11/14/202218 minutes, 10 seconds
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Musk floats possible Twitter bankruptcy; Crypto uncertainty after FTX implosion -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. Regulators concerned about Twitter implosion   The Federal Trade Commission has expressed “deep concern” over Twitter’s implosion since Elon Musk took over the company last month. More key executives departed the company this week, leaving it with little to no institutional knowledge on staff that knows how Twitter’s underlying technology works. Among the resignations was Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Moderation & Safety, who many have seen as something of a voice of reason for the company since Musk took over. Mr. Roth had appeared the day before his resignation at a Twitter Spaces event during which he and Mr. Musk attempted to allay advertisers’ fears that their brands would appear next to harmful content like hate speech. Lea Kissner, Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer, has also left the company, as well as its Chief Compliance and Chief Privacy Officers.    But Twitter is subject to two consent decrees of over $150 million imposed by the FTC in  2011 and 2022 for repeated privacy violations. By some estimates, the FTC could fine Twitter to the tune of billions of dollars if it fails to comply with the consent decrees.   Crypto shaken by FTX implosion   Crypto exchange FTX also imploded last week following massive sell-offs by its customers after its 30-year-old CEO Sam Bankman-Fried announced the company used some $10 billion customers’ holdings to fund Almeda, FTX’s sister company also founded by Mr. Bankman-Fried. FTX competitor Binance initially tried to step in and takeover FTX but then concluded after reviewing FTX’s financials that it wouldn’t be able to rescue FTX, which may now declare bankruptcy. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission are investigating as FTX is unable to honor customer withdrawals, which aren’t secured by the federal government. Crypto has billed itself as an alternative to regulated currency.   US and EU regulators skeptical about Microsoft’s Activision/Blizzard acquisition   The European Commission announced its preliminary review of Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to acquire Activision/Blizzard – the competing video game owner of the Call of Duty video game franchise. The US Federal Trade Commission has also expressed significant concerns after a staff-level review. Regulators are especially concerned about what the acquisition would mean for Playstation’s ability to carry Call of Duty.  To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
11/11/20223 minutes, 23 seconds
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What just happened?

Just a quick, solo episode talking about Twitter, Mastodon & Tiffany Cross.
11/7/20224 minutes, 45 seconds
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Dr. Michal Luria: Adaptive Research Design for Policymakers

One-size-fits-all research approaches are no longer sufficient to effectively address content moderation, fulfill the content preferences of each user, and prevent harmful, false information from undermining democracy. Researchers like Michal Luria are beginning to understand how complex human behaviors should be taken into account in UX design and incorporated into the policymaking process.   Bio Dr. Michal Luria is a researcher at the Center for Democracy & Technology. Her work makes use of immersive and human-centered design research methods to envision and critique interactions with emerging technologies. In her work she translates research insights into thought-provoking interactions and necessary discussions of ethics and policy.   Website Google Scholar LinkedIn Instagram   Resources "This is transparency to me" Center for Democracy and Technology, (last visited Oct 31, 2022)
10/31/202219 minutes, 40 seconds
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Anisa F. Green: How to Navigate a Tech Law & Policy Career

The telecommunications, media, and technology sectors are exciting fields, but if you work in public policy, one must constantly adapt. Anisa Green shares with Joe how she built her career and how to find a team that values your presence at work. Anisa Green Anisa Green is Director of  Federal Regulatory at AT&T, where she also serves as Chief of Staff for the Executive Vice President and Chief Regulatory Officer in AT&T’s DC office. Anisa has over 24 years of expertise in regulatory, legal and advocacy work. She is currently working on universal service regulatory issues, with a focus on consumer broadband affordability, digital equity, and rural healthcare matters.  In addition to serving as a Trustee of the Federal Communications Bar Association Foundation, Anisa champions various organizations focused on empowering, encouraging and educating youth, women, and marginalized communities. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, with roots in the West Indies, Anisa holds a BA in Philosophy and Communication from the George Washington University, is a certified paralegal, and has taken numerous continuing legal education credits to further her knowledge. When she is not running after her children and caring for her family, she takes advantage of a few stolen moments by shopping, reading a book, catching a movie, or taking a long walk or ride.  Resources Anisa on LinkedIn FCBA – The Tech Bar
10/24/202210 minutes, 52 seconds
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Shahed Amanullah: Why Tech Policy Needs Social Innovation

Technology is transforming every sector of society and the economy. For example, think about how e-commerce has disrupted retail, artificial intelligence is changing healthcare, and autonomous vehicles will reshape transportation. In an increasingly digital world, technology companies are aggressively lobbying policymakers to advance their interests. This means that tech policy needs social innovation rather than just a new set of policies that favor the interests of a few well-connected tech titans. Unfortunately, many tech policy debates have been framed as if there are only two options: Either support the interests of big tech corporations or lose out on the economic benefits that come with technological innovation. But what if there’s a third way? We need policies that encourage broad adoption of beneficial technologies without favoring one company over another or creating anti-competitive market conditions. In other words, we need social innovation in tech policy. Shahed Amanullah Website Twitter LinkedIn Shahed Amanullah serves as Global VP of Customer Experience at growth strategy consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. He is also Managing Director of Frost Capital, a ​Palo Alto-based private equity fund manager that acquired Affinis Labs, an award-winning social innovation firm he co-founded. Shahed also founded Zakatify, a social impact fintech startup, and Zabihah, the world's first global Halal restaurant guide.   Resources Home, Frost & Sullivan (2022), (last visited Oct 14, 2022).
10/17/202218 minutes, 48 seconds
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AP: Majority Americans think misinfo is harmful; Latino leaders warn about misinformation and disinformation targeting Latino communities -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week. New coalition pushes to make DMs safe   Let’s face it, DM’s, whether they’re encrypted or not, are no longer safe – if they ever were. Now, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs overturning Roe v. Wade, law enforcement in states in which abortion is now illegal have been obtaining search warrants that require social media companies, like Facebook which recently gave police a Nebraska teen’s personal conversation she’d had with her mom on WhatsApp regarding an abortion the teen allegedly had. There’s an open letter you can sign that’s hosted by the Fight for the Future Education Fund, which you can find in the show notes — it’s a petition for social media companies to set end-to-end encryption on messaging apps as the default, rather than leaving them open to virtual surveillance not envisioned by the framers when they drafted the Fourth Amendment.   Virtual surveillance is out of control    And virtual, commercial surveillance is out of control across-the-board, which is likely the reason why the Federal Trade Commission extended the comment period for its advanced notice of proposed ruling on commercial surveillance. Should the FTC write new rules governing cybersecurity and surveillance? Well, you can weigh in until November 21st.   And what’s an example of commercial surveillance that advocates and the FTC are concerned about? One example is the way in which customers can now surveil delivery workers in ways that weren’t possible before, which Data & Society argues in a new report has turned porches and front door steps into workplaces. And we have a link to that report in the show notes as well.   Labor Department moves to prevent misclassifying gig workers   And the Labor Department has announced a proposed rule designed to limit the extent to which companies may classify gig workers as independent contractors. Many of these workers are doing gig work as their primary source of income, which effectively makes them full-time employees – they are contractors in name only.  The proposed Labor Department rule sets forth a new test for determining whether a gig worker is a contractor or employee – namely whether the worker is in business for themselves, or whether the employee’s work is “integral” to the company’s business. So under the proposed rule, a company like Uber would need to classify drivers as full-time employees rather than independent contractors so these workers can avail themselves of the health and other benefits companies often reserve only for their full-time employees. AP poll: majority of public thinks misinformation is harmful   Finally, a new AP poll finds that most Americans are finding it more difficult to know what they should believe. We’re talking about 91% of adults finding misinformation to be a problem – with 80% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans finding that misinformation contributes to political polarization.    And the Texas representative for San Antonio Joaquin Castro, along with several Hispanic groups, including the National Hispanic Media Coalition, are warning about rampant misinformation targeting Latino communities that’s often disseminated on chat apps like WhatsApp. This is happening amidst a new Washington Post-Ipsos poll that found Latinos, while 63% overall still support Democrats – that number is actually declining because Democrats now hold only a 27 point lead over Republicans, compared to 40 percent in the years leading up to President Biden’s election.  To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
10/14/20224 minutes, 38 seconds
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Roger Quiles: How to Stay Safe in the E-sports World

Roger Quiles: How to Stay Safe in the E-sports World   If you’re a fan of video games or an avid Twitch viewer, you may have heard of E-sports. The E-sports scene is booming, with several competitions now taking place worldwide. However, with this expansion comes new challenges. Players face online harassment and can be targets for criminals. Entrepreneurs looking to enter this exciting industry face a complex law & policy landscape.  These challenges make E-sports a viable practice area for lawyers. Leading E-sports attorney Roger Quiles joined Joe Miller to shed light on these issues and more. Roger Quiles, Esq. Website Twitter LinkedIn   Roger Quiles is one of the world’s first esports and gaming attorneys, beginning to serve the industry exclusively in 2015. His work services all stakeholders in the industry, worldwide. Roger also sits on the Board of Latinx in Gaming, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating the Latinx community in the videogame industry.
10/10/202220 minutes, 19 seconds
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White House proposes Tech 'Bill of Rights'; SCOTUS to decide on scope of Section 230 -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week.  White House Proposes Tech ‘Bill of Rights’   The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy proposed a new Tech ‘Bill of Rights’ Friday targeting harms caused by artificial intelligence and biometric technology. Comments are due on January 15th. The Request for Information seeks details on how companies use these technologies and what interventions the federal government should make to defend the Constitution as things like facial recognition, voice recognition, keystroke analysis, and other tactics that infiltrate every aspect  of our lives take hold.   Abortion advocates push back against license plate reader company, Flock   Abortion advocates are fighting against a fast-growing company called Flock, which aims to provide law enforcement with advanced license plate-reader surveillance technology. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 13 states now criminalize abortion procedures.   Supreme Court to determine limits of Section 230    The Supreme Court will decide whether Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields social media companies from liability for content posted by alleged terrorists. The family of one of the victims of the 2015 Islamic State terrorist attack in Paris sued YouTube for aiding and abetting terrorists by recommending the extremist group’s content. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants websites blanket immunity for content posted by third-party users. Many on both sides of the aisle have been advocating to reform the provision.   Spotify acquires content moderation platform, Kinzen   As Spotify continues to grapple with hateful content and misinformation bypassing the music streaming giant’s content moderation protocols, the company has decided to bring more content moderation capacity in house. It announced last week that it has acquired Dublin-based Kinzen to more effectively deal with harmful content in real–time.   Google to pay State of Arizona $85 Million to settle user-tracking suit   Google has settled with State of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office regarding a claim that the tech giant continued to collect users’ location data after users indicated they wanted location tracking turned off. Google will pay the state of Arizona $85 million. A separate multi–state lawsuit against Google is pending in the US District of the Southern District of New York which alleges that Google abuses its market dominance in online advertising.   New Democrats push for federal privacy law that’s currently stalled in the House   Finally, a centrist coalition of Democrats led by State of Washington Representative Suzan DelBene is pushing for passage of the American Data and Privacy Protection Act (ADPPA), which has been stalled in the House since it passed committee over the summer. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says the bill offers a lower privacy standard than the one adopted by several states.  To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
10/7/20223 minutes, 28 seconds
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Lydia X. Z. Brown: The Common Types of AI Bias and How to Stop Them

The major societal challenge posed by artificial intelligence (AI) is that its algorithms are often trained on biased data. This fundamental problem has enormous implications in our criminal justice system, workplaces, schools, healthcare industry, and housing sector. The persistence of racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination demonstrates the tendency of AI systems to reflect the biases of the people who built them.  Critical deficiencies in algorithmic surveillance technologies reproduce the same inequities that we have seen evolve decade-after-decade. AI systems having the same biases as the people who built them. Lydia X. Z. Brown of the Center for Democracy & Technology joins to recommend policy and systemic solutions to address these critically important challenges. Bio   Lydia X. Z. Brown is a Policy Counsel with CDT’s Privacy and Data Project, focused on disability rights and algorithmic fairness and justice. Their work has investigated algorithmic harm and injustice in public benefits determinations, hiring algorithms, and algorithmic surveillance that disproportionately impact disabled people, particularly multiply-marginalized disabled people. Website Twitter LinkedIn Resources Ableism And Disability Discrimination In New Surveillance Technologies: How new surveillance technologies in education, policing, health care, and the workplace disproportionately harm disabled people, Center for Democracy and Technology (2022), (last visited Sep 30, 2022).
10/3/202220 minutes, 45 seconds
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Fight against TX social media law heads to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; Abortion advocates push back against "people search" sites; Ads for top brands appeared next to child abuse content on Twitter -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Tech sector asks Fifth Circuit to stop Texas’s social media law from taking effect   The State of Texas’s social media law which stops tech companies from taking down hate speech and misleading information has reached the Fifth Circuit in a motion that this organization – WashingTech – has participated in amicus filings for. We agree with NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) that this law impinges on platforms’ First Amendment rights and the discretion Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act affords them to moderate content posted by third parties.    It would allow traditional media platforms, like Fox News, to ban progressive voices but require competing online platforms to host politically-motivated harmful content, including election misinformation.   Abortion advocates pushback against “people search” websites   Cyberscoop notes that abortion rights adovocates’ privacy rights are put in jeopardy by people search websites, like BeenVerified, which share their personal contact information. Maleeha Aziz, deputy director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, told Cyberscoop that she   installed security cameras around her home because she lives in constant fear, because of her abortion advocacy, that anti-abortion extremists or solicitors will come knocking on her front door at any moment. Reuters exclusive: child pornography solicitations on Twitter have been showing up next to PBSKids ads   Several brands, as many as 30, to be exact, have had to limit their advertising on Twitter after Reuters found their ads showing up next to solicitations by pedophiles for content depicting child abuse. Disney, Coca Cola, NBCUniversal, PBS – are just some of the companies that were affected.   Privacy advocates want the FTC to tamp down on daycare apps   Privacy advocates are pushing back about daycare apps that let parents and caregivers stream videos of their babies in daycare. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argues that these platforms host images of kids in unsecure, cloud-based storage apps, and, in one case, an app called Tadpoles for Parents, shared these images on Facebook without notifying parents of their privacy policy.
9/30/20222 minutes, 48 seconds
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Mark Brennan: Sephora (Privacy Case Study)

Mark Brennan: Sephora (Privacy Case Study) In late August, the California Attorney General’s office issued its first public, monetary penalty against cosmetics giant Sephora, for violating the California Privacy and Protection Act (CCPA), which went into effect in 2018 and is one of several state-level privacy laws that have been cropping up across the country. Mark Brennan joined Joe to talk about what happened in this case and the lessons learned for retailers as U.S. privacy laws become more complex. Bio   Mark Brennan (@MWBrennanDC) is a Partner at Hogan Lovells and leads their global Technology and Telecommunications industry sector group. He has a truly unique global regulatory and policy practice and advises clients on data protection, artificial intelligence, biometric data and facial recognition, Internet of things, and other technology and consumer protection matters. LinkedIn Resources   California Attorney General settles with Sephora in first CCPA fine, (2022)(last visited Sep 26, 2022).
9/26/202216 minutes, 54 seconds
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Trump appears to endorse QAnon; 'Incel' movement grows online; Florida petitions Supreme Court on content moderation - Tech Law & Policy This Week

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy.    ADL Report: Spotify has a white supremacist problem References to Hitler, Pepe the Frog, Tucker Carlson talking about the “great replacement” anti-immigration theory — it looks like songs that contain them are totally fine for Spotify, which the Anti Defamation League finds in a new report has verified at least 40 bands and musicians with hateful lyrics and imagery on their album covers. Also, it’s super-easy to get verified on Spotify, even though the company claims to have a handle on this stuff. The Washington Post has the full report.   Trump appears to nod to QAnon The Washington Post’s Technology 202 newsletter reports that Donald Trump appears to be showing increased support for QAnon, the conspiracy theory movement that accuses high profile democrats are running some kind of a pedophilia ring in which they drink the blood of children. The Post notes that this conspiracy theory has moved from the fringes to the mainstream political discourse and underscores the inefficacy of social media platforms to catch subtle references to disinformation campaigns. At an Ohio rally on Saturday, Trump took the stage to music that sounded a lot like music associated with QAnon, which many see as a “wink and a nod” to QAnon supporters. Trump has subtly endorsed QAnon on social media, but took a more explicit approach on his own social media platform – Truth Social – by including an image of himself wearing a QAnon lapel pin.   Center for Countering Digital Hate: Incel movement is growing online Another movement that appears to be becoming more mainstream is the so-called incel, or “involuntary celibate” movement is growing online according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate , which also names Google, YouTube and Cloudflare for facilitating the channel, which has 2.6 million monthly site visits and over a million posts. Lots of conversations going on there about mass murder and sexually assaulting pre-pubescent girls.  And the Washington Post also reports that a cop was convicted in Indiana for texting with, what he thought, was a 14-year-old girl, and attempting to meet her at an Olive Garden for sex. It turns out it wasn’t a 14-year old girl at all – it was one of a growing number of vigilantes who bait guys like this and then record themselves shaming them, sharing it on the internet. According to the Post, the police had been reluctant to work with these citizen vigilantes to bring alleged pedophiles to trial. But the police are showing increased interest in working with these groups, according to the Post.   BSR: Facebook suppressed Palestian posts during last year’s Gaza war Consulting firm Business for Social Responsibility published a report demonstrating how Facebook suppressed posts made by Palestinians during last year’s war between Israel and Hamas – it did so by unfairly removing posts in Arabic at a disproportionate rate – posts that had no apparent connection to Hamas at all – compared to those made in Hebrew.    Florida takes anti-content moderation case to Supreme Court The state of Florida wants the Supreme Court to decide whether states can pass laws that prevent social media companies from blocking or limiting certain types of speech – such as some of the speech I just mentioned - hate speech, disinformation – you know, things like that. Florida’s petition comes on the heels of the Fifth Circuit upholding a similar law in Texas last week. Florida wants to ban companies from doing this. We published a report in late 2020 on the pattern of conservatives, throughout history, seeking to ban liberal speech, starting almost as soon as European immigrants landed in the new world and wanted to control Native Americans, not to mention slaves. America’s entire history is one of suppressing the voices of people of color – not the other way around.   Meanwhile, Microsoft has decided it won’t flag disinformation and TikTok apparently enforces its content moderation policies more leniently in favor of users with millions of followers.   Senate confirms new OSTP director, Arati Prabhakar In a 56-40 vote with 10 Republicans on board, the Senate has for the first time confirmed a woman, immigrant, and person of color to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Previously, Arati Prabhakar led the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.  Dr. Alondra Nelson, a prominent scholar who appeared on this podcast back on Episode 70, had been performing the duties of the OSTP Director role since previous diretor Eric Lander stepped down in February amid accusations that he mistreated subordinates. Dr. Nelson will continue in her role as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Science and Society. More News Virginia’s Spanish-language election site is out-of-date   Mozilla report on potential anticompetitive behavior by leading browsers   Washington Post: Health Apps sharing data with advertisers   City of New York to provide free internet/cable for 300K public housing residents   To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories, plus additional ones, in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
9/23/20225 minutes, 17 seconds
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Spandana Singh: Content Moderation Beyond the US

Spandana Singh: Content Moderation Beyond the US Social media platforms have played a central role in recent crises in the U.S., such as the Capitol Hill insurrection of 2021, and in Europe, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These developments underscore the power that unelected, big technology companies wield on the geopolitical landscape.    But the discussion around how social media companies function in the global south, such as their impact on the proliferation of Hindu nationalism in India or state violence against the Rohingya people of Myanmar, remains largely absent from policy discussions in the west.    New America’s Spandi Singh joined Joe Miller this week to discuss her current work – not just to prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation regarding upcoming elections in the U.S. – but also to foster a tech policy discussion that includes the unique perspectives of marginalized voices abroad.   Bio Spandi Singh works at New America’s Open Technology Institute where she leads a portfolio of work focused on content moderation, disinformation, algorithmic accountability, and transparency. Singh is also currently a Non-Resident Fellow at the Esya Centre in New Delhi and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network.   Linked In Resources Open Technology Institute at New America Judging Platform Responses to Election Mis- and Disinformation, New America (2022), (last visited Sep 19, 2022).
9/19/202213 minutes, 51 seconds
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Feds have massive trove of Americans' data; CA legislature passes nation's first children's privacy law -- Tech Law & Policy This Week -- 09.16.2022

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of online safety and free speech this week.   Sen. Wyden: CBP has massive trove of American’s cellphone data   Senator Ron Wyden sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus on Thursday revealing that CBP has a massive amount of Americans’    data from millions of drivers’ license photos, license plate readers, mobile devices, and who knows what else. Some 3,000 CBP operations employees apparently have access to the data, and CBP doesn’t need probable cause to obtain warrants to search the data – they only need reasonable suspicion. Brennan Center scholar Faiza Patel told the Washington Post that the database goes far beyond reasonableness. Patel joined me on this podcast back in 2017 to discuss how the government’s surveillance of Muslims negatively impacts innocent civilians.   New York City’s Metro Transit Authority’s switch to tap-to-enter system raises surveillance alarms   The City of New York will be moving away from Metro Cards and towards a new tap-to-enter system called OMNY. Surveillance and privacy experts are concerned that the new system will be able to track anyone wherever they go within the nation’s largest public transportation system. The system will also be a public-private partnership between the City and a company called Cubic Corp. even though the State of New York has not yet updated its 1984 privacy law. No one knows what the government will do with that data, much less what Cubic Corp will do with it, since nondisclosure agreements often govern these types of partnerships. California becomes first state to pass Children’s Online Privacy law   The California legislature has passed a landmark Children’s Online Privacy law that directs tech companies to follow age-appropriate design principles to protect children online. The bill, modeled after a bill in the UK, passed the California Senate unanimously and is the first in the US to address children’s online safety directly, beyond the weaker standards imposed by the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act, which Congress passed back in 1998 before it had any idea what the internet would become.  California Governor Gavin Newsom hasn’t yet indicated whether he plans to sign the new legislation.   California enacts new social media moderation disclosure law   The state of California is also leading the way when it comes to state-based efforts to establish content moderation standards. California governor Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday a new bill requiring social media companies to file semiannual reports on how they moderate hate speech, disinformation, and extremism. The California law differs from Republican-led efforts, particularly in Texas and Florida, to tamp down on social media companies’ content moderation in general, and instead requires social media companies to report on what they’re actually doing. The new law is expected to face resistance from the tech industry.   Separately, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board seems to believe that the federal government and Facebook collude on content moderation.   Color of Change launches ‘Black Tech Agenda’   Color of Change has launched a Black Tech Agenda that centers racial justice in technology policymaking. The agenda includes a vision for robust antitrust policy, better privacy protections and an end to surveillance, preventing algorithmic discrimination, expanding broadband access, protecting net neutrality, and addressing misinformation and disinformation. The agenda is supported by Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representatives Robin Kelly and Pramila Jayapal. Facebook reverses ban on Holocaust film   Facebook reversed a ban on an holocaust film starring Roy Schneider, who played the police chief in Jaws. The filmmaker, Joshua Newton, based the movie on his father’s life after he survived the holocaust. Facebook pulled the movie because its name is Beautiful Blue Eyes, which Facebook’s moderators found contained a racist connotation that violated its community standards.   The movie Newton wants to advertise on Facebook is actually a re-release of a 2009 version of the film which now includes previously lost footage. It was Schneider’s final film. White House issues new digital assets development framework   Following President Biden’s March Executive Order to streamline regulation of digital assets, the White House on Friday released a fact sheet laying out a framework for interagency coordination to protect consumers and larger stakeholders, make financial services safe and affordable, encourage responsible innovation, ensure financial stability and protect America’s financial competitiveness globally, fight illicit financial activities, and develop a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Part of the list of to-dos is a call for federal agencies to consider the environmental implications of digital finances. To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
9/17/20225 minutes, 8 seconds
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Jon Roozenbeek: How to Pre-Bunk Misinformation and Disinformation

Jon Roozenbeek: How to Pre-Bunk Misinformation and Disinformation Misinformation and disinformation are two of propagandists' most important weapons in today’s “information war.” From the war in Ukraine to civil rights violations in the United States, political operatives leverage false information to engender support and suppress votes. Misinformation is false information or information that is not true. Disinformation is false information created with a specific intent to deceive. Political elites use misinformation and disinformation as part of a strategy to influence public perception about a person, organization, or public policy. Jon Roozenbeek joined Joe this week to discuss his work on how advertising can help inoculate the public against false information.  Bio Jon Roozenbeek is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on building resilience against misinformation and extremism. He is currently writing two books with Cambridge University Press: The Psychology of Misinformation, and Influence, Information and War in Ukraine.   Website   Twitter   LinkedIn Resources   Inoculation Science - Home, Inoculation Science (2022), (last visited Sep 12, 2022).    
9/12/202224 minutes, 51 seconds
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Fifth Circuit strengthens cellphone warrants; Twitter whistleblower to testify; Tech unites around Ukraine misinfo

  Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s how tech law & policy is affecting you this week. En banc Fifth Circuit ruling solidifies police officers’ authority to expand cell phone searches   The Fifth Circuit, which is in Texas, decided that pictures of child pornography found on three cellphones in the van the defendant was driving when he was arrested couldn’t be suppressed even though the original warrants for the phones weren’t  related to the federal crime of receiving child pornography.    They arrested the defendant because they smelled marijuana and found an Advil bottle with ecstasy in it.   But when the officers searched the defendant’s van on the night of the arrest, they also found creepy stuff in the defendant’s car, like a child’s backpack filled with school supplies, sex toys, 100 pairs of women’s underwear, and a lollipop in the cup holder.   So the officers suspected that the defendant was a child predator. However, these items, in and of themselves, didn’t rise to the level of probable cause that would have allowed them to search the phones for evidence of child pornography.   So they limited the warrant affidavit they submitted to the judge only to drug trafficking and possession – because of the weed and ecstasy. But the warrant affidavit from the officers was super detailed, and the judge granted it.   The officers searched the three phones ostensibly only looking for evidence of drug trafficking and possession.But in the process, when they were looking at pictures on the phone, they found child pornography. So the cops stopped searching and went back to the judge for separate warrants to search for additional evidence of receiving child pornography. The judge granted the additional warrants, conducted a forensic search of the phone, and found 19,270 images of child pornography on the 3 phones.   The grand jury charged the defendant with receiving child pornography.   So the defendant tried to suppress all of this evidence. First, he argued that they didn’t have probable cause to search for drug trafficking evidence in the first place, I guess because he felt like he didn’t have that many drugs in his car. But he also tried to argue that the police didn’t have probable cause for the charge of receiving child pornography either, because the officers didn’t say anything about child pornography in the warrant affidavit. So he argued that the police just wanted to get him for child porn, and that they used what he considered a trumped-up drug trafficking warrant to get the evidence they really wanted so they could charge him with receiving child porn.   A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit suppressed the evidence. But the full court held this week that the warrants had plenty of details in them and that the officers acted in good faith. They weren’t willful or negligent when they found the images – actually they obtained a separate warrant for the forensic search.    So, what do you think? Should the officer have said in the warrants that he suspected the defendant of receiving child porn? Go to, click the mic in the lower-right hand corner and let us know what you think.   One-thousand schools in the U.S. now remotely monitor how much time kids spend in the bathroom   Motherboard reports that some 1,000 schools in the U.S. use a technology called “e-Hallpass” to monitor student locations. It’s like the app Amazon uses to track how long their employees take breaks, i.e. “time off task.” It tells whoever has access to the data how long the child has been in the bathroom. The schools implementing the technology are located in California, New York, Virginia and North Carolina. The app developer, EduSpire, promises “hall omniscience” in its marketing materials and purports to be designed to prevent things like students from meeting up in the hallways and TikTok challenges.    Remote test proctoring “room scans” are unconstitutional: federal judge   So a lot of us haven’t been in school for a while, so we haven’t had the ability, really, to take exams from home, something that’s now a thing, since COVID basically changed what seems like every aspect of our lives.    Well part of taking exams from home is remote proctoring, with schools figuring out ways to monitor and make sure students aren’t cheating. One of the ways they do this, which Cleveland State University did to the student in this case, is to require test-takers to participate in “room scans,” where the student sends back a 360-degree view of the room they’re taking the test in.    Well, a federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio has now found that such remote scans are unconstitutional, at least with respect to state schools. The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted in a post that, although the district court’s ruling doesn’t bind other federal courts, it’s still persuasive. The judge who issued the ruling is a Republican appointee.   Twitter whistleblower to testify before Congress   The Twitter whistleblower who filed an 84-page complaint with the Securities and Exchange and Federal Trade Commissions, claiming Twitter lied about its security policies and put its 238 million daily users at risk,will testify before the Senate at a September 13th hearing. Peiter Zatko, a respected security analyst whom Twitter fired after just 15-months with the company, alleges egregious errors by Twitter. According to Zatko’s accusations, Twitter has apparently taken a day-by-day, hope-for-the-best approach to protecting its users, putting forth a smiley image to the public, while executives implement lax internal security measures, measures that haven’t prevented hackers from taking over high-profile accounts such as those belonging to Barack Obama and Elon Musk.    Zatko finds a potential ally in Musk who has been trying to rescind his $44 billion takeover bid of the company.    Facebook/Twitter dismantle U.S. influence campaign about the war in Ukraine   Finally, Naomi Nix reports for the Washington Post that while most efforts by social media platforms to curtail disinformation about the war in Ukraine focus on propaganda spread by Russia and her allies on social media, Facebook and Twitter have removed accounts pushing a pro-U.S. perspective about the war.   And Issie Lapowsky reports for Protocol that Google will launch an initiative through its anti-extremism unit, Jigsaw, and YouTube, which, along with other social media platforms, will broadcast to 55 million users, a series of videos designed to educate – inoculate – the European public against disinformation about Ukrainian refugees. That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.   Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.
8/26/20227 minutes, 13 seconds
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Fatou Sankare: The Social Media and Law Enforcement Connection

Fatou Sankare: The Social Media and Law Enforcement Connection Social media has become one of the most common ways to connect with people. Many use it as an outlet to share personal information and interests, while others use it as a way to interact with friends and family online. As social media usage continues to rise, there is also an increasing number of ways law enforcement agencies are using these platforms for investigations and crime-fighting efforts. Bio With origins from The Gambia, Fatou Sankare is a Doctoral Student in Cybersecurity at Marymount University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University. She continued her education at Fordham University where she received her Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Her research area of focus is on privacy with an emphasis on policy and data in cybersecurity. Fatou is the founder of Datacation LLC, Data Scientist at a consulting firm and an assistant professor. Website Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Resources Datacation, Datacation (2022), (last visited Aug 22, 2022). Think Like A Hacker: The Importance of Secure Coding For Today’s Developers, Medium (2022), (last visited Aug 22, 2022).  (2022), (last visited Aug 22, 2022).  
8/22/202215 minutes, 30 seconds
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TikTok collects keystrokes; “Bossware’ is out of control; Lexis-Nexis sells nonpublic immigration data for $22m to ICE

  TikTok reportedly records every one of your keystrokes   So security researcher Felix Krause says TikTok is running JavaScript on other sites you visit in the iOS browser, and collecting your credit card information and keystrokes. And a TikTok spokesperson acknowledged the existence of the script, but said the Chinese based subsidiary of Bytedance only uses it for debugging, troubleshooting and performance monitoring … performance monitoring, like monitoring your performance, I suppose.   We’re supposed to believe that TikTok is the only company that isn’t doing everything it can to find ways to collect data on the low. Ok.   The Federal Trade Commission released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this week seeking public comment on how it should regulate commercial data collection practices.    Biden is being secretive about how the Trump-era visa data collection policy works   In 2019 the Trump administration began implementing a new policy requiring all visa applicants to submit their social media profiles to the State Department. When President Biden took office, he announced he’d review the policy. Many privacy advocates hoped the president would end the practice. But, instead, the administration is being cagey about releasing what its review of the policy revealed. The administration actually refused to release the information as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the Knight Foundation filed against the administration back in April.   Immigration advocates sue Lexis Nexis for selling immigration data to ICE   Immigration advocates sued Lexis-Nexis last week for selling non-public immigration information to law enforcement officials, such as correctional bookings, vehicle collision records, and license plate reader data. Apparently, Lexis also has a $22 million contract with ICE.   Representatives Jerrold Nadler & Bennie Thompson responded in a letter to ICE and six other agencies including the DOJ, Homeland, Customs, ICE,   and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, requesting information about how these agencies work with companies like Lexis Nexis to obtain non-public personal data.   FTC may sue adtech companies that can track women seeking abortions   The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to sue a company called Kochava that allows its institutional customers to license health data. That data would also include information about women seeking abortions. It’s not clear, however, whether the FTC has the expertise on staff or the budget to bring the lawsuit. Kochava has reportedly changed its data collection practices but you can never be too careful these days. ‘Bossware’ is out of control   The New York Times reported on the use of so-called bossware by employers who want to keep closer and closer tabs on their employees. It’s truly a dystopian nightmare, with companies like Amazon, UPS, Kroger tracking things like bathroom breaks and idle time. The Times reports that 8 of the 10 largest employers in the U.S. use some kind of tracking or monitoring to keep a watchful eye on their employees. If workers pause too long, don’t accumulate enough points, or aren’t at their workstations, folks are losing pay and even jobs. And we’re not just talking about factory workers. Firms like UnitedHealthcare reportedly dock therapists for time spent discussing clients with colleagues.   What are your experiences with bossware? You can reach us at Click the mic on the lower-right corner of your screen. We won’t sell your data to anyone.   Social media companies prepare for midterm election chaos   As social media companies come under scrutiny ahead of the midterm elections, which are less than 90 days away, TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny as its popularity has skyrocketed since 2018. The company bans paid political ads, but influencers can still get perks, like event invites and other benefits for supporting political candidates, and a TikTok spokesperson told the Verge that TikTok’s ban of paid political ads doesn’t cover these types of non-cash arrangements.  That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.  
8/19/20224 minutes, 41 seconds
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Joi Chaney & Alisa Valentin: The Digital Divide - How Technology Impacts Our Lives

The digital divide is the gap between those who have access to digital technologies and resources and those who do not.  If you asked most people what the digital divide was, they would probably assume it’s a reference to Internet access or computer usage. While these are both accurate representations of the digital divide, there’s more to it than that. The digital divide is actually a social divide that exists between individuals based on their access to technology and its benefits. In other words, it’s the disparity in technological knowledge, skills, and usage among different social groups.  One of the areas in which this divide has massive implications is privacy. For example, state governments that surveil women who are seeking abortions can discourage them from going online and taking advantage of all of the benefits that technology has to offer for entrepreneurship, education, and remote work.   Bio Joi O. Chaney is a domestic legal policy expert, a political strategist, and currently the Executive Director of the Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy at the National Urban League. The Washington Bureau represents the League before the Legislative and Executive Branches, leads policy discussions that advance economic and social equality for the communities we serve, and engages the Urban League movement in advocacy campaigns aimed at achieving policy wins. Bios Dr. Alisa Valentin Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Dr. Alisa Valentin recently joined the National Urban League as the Senior Director of the Technology and Telecommunications Policy where she works on a broad range of issues including broadband, privacy, and media diversity. Alisa was previously the Special Advisor to FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks where she advised the Commissioner on broadband access and adoption, prison phone justice, and future of work policies. Joi Chaney Joi O. Chaney is a domestic legal policy expert, a political strategist, and currently the Executive Director of the Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy at the National Urban League. The Washington Bureau represents the League before the Legislative and Executive Branches, leads policy discussions that advance economic and social equality for the communities we serve, and engages the Urban League movement in advocacy campaigns aimed at achieving policy wins. Resources National Urban League Washington Bureau State of Black America Podcast Condé Nast (Wired), The US Has a Historic Opportunity to Bridge the Digital Dividec(2022), (last visited Aug 8, 2022).      
8/8/202228 minutes, 53 seconds
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Battle of the privacy bills; Meta's meltdown? -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

  Competing privacy bills may slow down kids’ protection online   Three competing privacy bills have made negotiations on the Hill even more difficult as the Senate and House have 3 different versions – two of which focus specifically on creating stronger protections for kids online.    The one in the House that passed late last month is an overarching federal privacy framework that some legislators have objected to, particularly Maria Cantwell, the Democratic Senator from Washington State, who is concerned about a forced arbitration provision in the bill that would limit you from suing a company that violates your privacy.   Some lawmakers have also raised concerns about the fact that the federal privacy bill may weaken the privacy legislation that several states have passed for you if you live in California, Virginia, Colorado. Connecticut, or Utah.   But in addition to the House bill, we have two Senate bills that will almost certainly complicate negotiations – both of which focus specifically on your kids’ privacy. Democrat Richard Blumental and Republican Marsha Blackburn’s Kids Online Safety Act would give more control to parents, allow kids to opt-out of certain data practices, and impose requirements on companies to vet their products for potential harms to children.   The second  Senate bill to make it out of committee – sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey and Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy – would ban companies from collecting children’s data up to age 16, raising it from 13, which is the current minimum age imposed by the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection.    So lawmakers will need to parse through all three bills now and come up with some workable way forward. There’s plenty of analysis in the Washington Post if you want to take a deep dive. And kids really are at risk – not just by the tech companies, but also the people we entrust them to every single day –  their schools   The Social Media Victims Law Center brought 2 lawsuits in last week against Meta, in the Northern District of California, on behalf of 2 Kentucky families who allege that Meta, through Instagram has created a "perfect storm of addiction, social comparison, and exposure to incredibly harmful content and product features,” that has given their kids eating disorders. Reuters previously reported that Meta is faced with 9 other lawsuits alleging that the company harms children’s mental health.    And then when it comes to schools – Pia Ceres over at Wired reports on an uptick in the surveillance of students by their teachers and the police – teachers can actually monitor what kids are doing on their laptops.    Kids should be a priority. As a parent – I simply don’t care as much about having a private right of action if someone violates my privacy – I mean it’s a good thing to have, but it’s not a must have. And we should have it. We shouldn’t be trapped into arbitration, so I’m not really sure why arbitration is even on the table – we see what arbitration has done in the context of employment at these companies, severely limiting their remedies when they discriminate against their employees. So why would we do the same thing in the context of privacy?   But it’s not a priority. Our kids are the priority. And I don’t know why we have all of these competing bills when the focus should be on the kids who clearly aren’t safe and secure in their schools, either physically or online.   Facebook still letting hate speech slip through   Facebook still lets hate speech slip through, though. It would be great to get legislation for that. But in the U.S. somehow we know what porn is when we see it, but we purport to not know what hate speech is. Anyway. I guess porn flourishes so, so should hate speech? Not really – I really don’t see some mass shooter posting all kinds of hateful garbage on 4chan before he goes on a shooting rampage, as a victimless form of speech – just like some kinds of porn aren’t victimless.   But Facebook has apparently learned nothing since Frances Haugen blew the whistle last year. AP reports that in its 3rd study of Facebook’s content moderation practices, London-based Global Witness finds that Facebook is letting ads go up in Nigeria, in both English and Swahili, that compare people to donkeys, talk about rape … just really disgusting stuff that one would think the company would be equipped by now to take down.    But the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to block Meta’s expansion into Virtual Reality through its acquisition of Within, a move the FTC says would pave the way for Meta to own the entire metaverse. Maybe that’s why Facebook changed its name to Meta??? What a dumb name change – their whole strategy laid bare before it even got regulatory approval.   Equifax sued for shady credit scoring   Finally, here’s something folks should have a private right of action for – incorrect credit scores. Equifax screwed up credit reports by more than 20 points, causing one of the class action plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit to accept a car loan under which she has to pay $540/month since she couldn’t get the loan she should have gotten, which would have had her paying about $350/month. Equifax says it was a “coding error.” Yeah right. I’m sure the Fed hiking up interest rates had absolutely nothing to do with that – sure Equifax.  That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.   Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.
8/5/20225 minutes, 50 seconds
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Belinda Nixon: Connecting Corporate Law with Technology & the Internet

When it comes to the intersection of technology and law, our minds go straight to challenges that feature prominently in the media, such as privacy in the digital age, the ethics of artificial intelligence, or how blockchain will change everything. But the Federal Communications Commission continues to play an outsize role in determining the parameters around how telecommunications companies provide service in a way that takes into consideration the interests of a wide variety of consumers, corporations, and elected officials. Belinda Nixon joined Public Knowledges Antoine Prince Albert III to shed light.   Bio Belinda Nixon is a Partner in the Technology Transactions and Privacy Law practice at Perkins Coie, where she provides strategic legal counsel on complex transactional and regulatory issues for communications and technology companies. With over 20 years of experience at the Federal Communications Commission, Belinda Nixon brings both a deep background in telecommunications and regulatory issues to counseling clients on infrastructure and broadband deployments, mergers, and enforcement. LinkedIn Perkins Coie   Resources Supreme Court Decision Portends Greater Judicial Scrutiny of FCC, Perkins Coie (2022), (last visited Aug 1, 2022).   FCC Requires Gateway Providers to Combat Foreign-Based Robocalls, Perkins Coie (2022), (last visited Aug 1, 2022).
8/1/202235 minutes, 59 seconds
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Veda Cruz: How to Keep Up with Top Legal Trends in the Gaming Industry

Veda Cruz: Play to Earn Games: What You Need to Know About the Law  The video game industry has grown rapidly over the last several years. With new technology and more affordable equipment, more people than ever are interested in playing video games as a hobby. The booming popularity of “play to earn” games – also known as user incentive programs – has only accelerated this trend. These programs incentivize gamers to play specific video games by rewarding them with virtual or physical rewards based on how much time they spend playing, their skill level, or other measurable actions. However, as with any new trend involving money, there are risks associated with these programs. If you play these games, there are some things you need to know about the law. Veda Cruz   LinkedIn Twitter  Instagram  Website    Bio   Veda Cruz is an attorney who serves as in-house counsel at Gearbox Entertainment, developer of the Borderlands games. She received her law degree and MBA simultaneously at the University of Miami where she served as President of UM's Intellectual Property Law Society as well as a venture consultant for entrepreneurs looking to realize their start-up ideas. She now resides in Texas, where she enjoys playing games, reading books, practicing martial arts, or riding around town on her motorcycle. VEDA Cruz VEDA Cruz   Resources   Gearbox Software   Gregory Boyd, Video Game Law: Everything you need to know about Legal and Business Issues in the Game Industry Routledge & CRC Press (2022),  (last visited Jul 25, 2022).
7/25/202217 minutes, 46 seconds
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FCC cracks down on "car warranty calls"; DOJ fines Uber for violating disabled passengers; Tech Law and Policy This Week - week ending 7.22.22

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of online safety and free speech this week. Amazon’s $3.9bn One Medical bid Washington Post. Privacy experts worry about how Amazon will use healthcare data if the acquisition goes through – a deal that’s subject to Federal Trade Commission approval. The agency has already launched an aggressive campaign to rein in Amazon’s market power.  YouTube to ban abortion misinformation   Clare Duffy at CNN Business reported that YouTube will stop allowing its users to post information on alternative ways to seek abortions, as well as misinformation regarding abortions. The move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, and trepidation about potentially facilitating abortions in violation of individual state laws prohibitting it. Car warranty calls now banned: FCC order   The annoying calls you’ve been getting about your auto warranty are now illegal. Hopefully, a new order the FCC dropped on Thursday will make them stop for good. The order requires carriers to prevent certain companies that make the bulk of these calls from being able to reach you. These warranty calls made up the number one complaint at the Commission. Brian Fung has the story at CNN.   TikTok parent kicks up lobbying spending   So if you didn’t know already, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, Bytedance, which you should worry about since there’s no way of knowing how Bytedance shares that data with the Chinese government. And that may be your kids’ data. Lauren Feiner writes over at CNBC that Bytedance has kicked up its Washington lobbying efforts by some 130 percent, bringing its spending to over $2 million in the last quarter alone. The company opposes bipartisan antitrust and privacy bills gaining traction on Capitol Hill.   Uber to pay $2 million for violating disabled users rights   Finally, Itzel Luna reports for the LA Times that, in a settlement with the Justice Department, Uber will pay $2 million to disabled users it screwed over by charging them wait time fees. The company applied the surcharge for keeping drivers waiting for more than 2 minutes.   That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.   Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.
7/22/20222 minutes, 17 seconds
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Kathy Baxter: The Ethics of AI

Kathy Baxter: The Ethics of AI    Consumers are between a rock and a hard place. We expect the companies we distrust to be honest about their data collection practices. Ninety percent of consumers think companies should improve the world. According to many of us, it’s not happening. Saleforce’s Kathy Baxter and her colleague Yoav Schlesinger developed a maturity model which depends on managers being open to feedback from their subordinates about AI bias. With trust as a starting point, ethics can flow naturally. Kathy Baxter   LinkedIn Twitter   Bio   As an Architect of Ethical AI Practice at Salesforce, Kathy develops research-informed best practices to educate Salesforce employees, customers, and the industry on the development of responsible AI. She collaborates and partners with external AI and ethics experts to continuously evolve Salesforce policies, practices, and products. Prior to Salesforce, she worked at Google, eBay, and Oracle in User Experience Research. She received her MS in Engineering Psychology and BS in Applied Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. The second edition of her book, "Understanding your users," was published in May 2015. You can read about her current research at Resources   Kathy’s work at   Kelly Caine, Kathy Baxter & Catherine Courage, Understanding Your Users: A Practical Guide to User Research Methods (Interactive Technologies) (2 ed. 2022).   Kathy Baxter, AI Ethics Maturity Model (2022), (last visited Jul 18, 2022).   Singapore launches world’s first AI testing framework and toolkit to promote transparency; Invites companies to pilot and contribute to international standards development, INFOCOMM Media Development Authority (2022), visited Jul 18, 2022).
7/18/202223 minutes, 27 seconds
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Arizona criminalizes recording police; Amazon shared Ring footage without consent -- Friday News Brief -- 07.15.22

Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of online safety and free speech this week.   Denver case may let cops check search keywords   If a crime happens, should police be able to get a warrant that requires Google to release data on who used particular search terms? That question is at issue in a Denver criminal trial against a teen defendant who allegedly killed 5 Sengalese immigrants by setting fire to their home. Denver police nabbed the suspect using a technique called a “reverse keyword search,” under which authorities, before they even have a suspect, obtain relevant search data from search engines before the crime took place. Civil rights advocates are concerned that allowing the cops to obtain search data on arson could potentially open the floodgates for searches related to abortion – such as “Planned Parenthood” – to become fair game for law enforement officials.   But the Justice Department announced the formation of a Reproductive Task Force, Chaired by FTC Chair Vanita Gupta – a collaboration between the DOJ’s Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney community, Office of the Solicitor General, Office for Access to Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General and Office of the Attorney General. And the House passed two Reproductive Health bills, one of which would enshrine Roe v. Wade in federal law.   Amazon shared Ring footage with police without users’ consent   Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey released more information regarding his investigation into Amazon’s Ring doorbell/videocam system. According to Markey, the relationship between Ring and the police is pretty tight. Eleven times this year, cops have been able to access Ring doorbell footage without a warrant, through a process called an “emergency circumstance exception.”  Markey also noted that Ring devices pick up audio from ordinary passersby as well, who aren’t suspected of committing a crime.   Senators urge passage of bi-partisan children’s technology bill   A bipartisan group of senators that includes Senator Markey, a Democrat, but also Republican Senators Roy Blunt and Ben Sasse urged the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee to bring the Children and Media Research Advancement Act (CAMRA) to the floor for a full Senate vote. The bill recently passed the House and it allocates resources to the National Institutes of Health to support research into the effect of screen time on children’s cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional development. Markey indicated in a press release that studies show the average amount of screen time among 10-14 year olds has jumped from 3.8 to 7.7 hours per day since the beginning of the pandemic.   New Arizona law criminalizes recording the police   A new Arizona law criminalizes recording the police from less than 8 feet away, unless the videographer is the one who is being questioned by them. It’s now a misdemeanor. And anyone recording the police there within 8 feet must cease recording after the police give a warning. That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.   Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.
7/16/20223 minutes, 47 seconds
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Payton Croskey: Subverting Race-based Surveillance in a Digital Age

Payton Croskey and her team investigate the ways in which racial bias and discrimination shape how we are watched, policed and targeted by surveillance technology.   Payton Croskey   LinkedIn Instagram   Bio   Payton Croskey is a visual artist and tech justice scholar writing, coding and designing a liberatory future for all who refuse to submit to technology’s watchful eye. Pursuing a degree in African American Studies and a minor in Computer Science at Princeton, Payton’s research uncovers ways of designing digital systems that protect and empower targeted communities. Resources   Payton Croskey et al., LIBERATORY TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITAL MARRONAGE — IDA B. WELLS JUST DATA LAB IDA B. WELLS JUST DATA LAB (2022), (last visited Jul 11, 2022).
7/11/202220 minutes, 56 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 07.08.22

TikTok is under intensifying pressure   TikTok is under intensifying pressure from Congress after Buzzfeed released leaked audio from nine different TikTok employees saying that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company based in China, had access to TikTok user data in the U.S. In a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Kahn, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner and Vice Chair Marco Rubio called for a comprehensive investigation of TikTok’s practices, since the Buzzfeed revelation contravenes sworn statements from TikTok’s policy lead, Michael Beckerman, back in October, that the company doesn’t share user information with ByteDance. The Chinese government holds a stake in ByteDance, and TikTok’s statements regarding whether it considers itself a ByteDance subsidiary have been vague, according to several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.   Parents sue TikTok over little girls’ deaths due to ‘Blackout Challenge’   The parents of two little girls, ages 8 & 9, are suing TikTok in Los Angeles because their kids died participating in a ‘Blackout Challenge’ that went viral on the platform, which called on participants to choke themselves until they pass out. The suit claims that TikTok knew or should have known the platform was “addictive” and warned parents the challenge was happening.   Google announced it will delete abortion clinic visits   The Washington Post reported that Google will delete location data showing users’ visits to abortion clinics. The move comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, and concerns that law enforcement officials, including citizens deputized by anti-abortion states to rat out women seeking abortions, will form a stampede to obtain pregnant women’s browser and location data. The Post also reports that misinformation remains a concern as shady company’s promoting alternative ways to seek abortions have begun to proliferate on the internet.   Apple’s new feature to block government spyware   Apple is rolling out a new iPhone feature called “Lockdown Mode” that’s designed to block government access to your phone via spyware data. The announcement comes after the recent discovery that Israeli law enforcement officials used the so-called Pegasus spyware to obtain contact information and even live audio. That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.   Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. 
7/8/20222 minutes, 48 seconds
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Ryan Merkley: Disinformation Post-Roe v. Wade

The discourse in the US is increasingly toxic and divisive. Disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech are rampant and we have few options to change it. The US has been entrenched in a deteriorating political and information environment for a long time now. The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade instantly removed a right that 165 million Americans expected to have indefinitely. The discourse has always been divisive, but now it's reaching a point where people are unable to listen to one another or understand each other's perspectives. This means that there isn't any real discourse anymore, just fighting words that make people feel good about themselves but don't actually accomplish anything at all. Bio Ryan Merkley @ryanmerkley Ryan Merkley is Managing Director at Aspen Digital, focused on emerging technology, internet policy, and the information ecosystem. He is an accomplished executive working at the intersection of public good and technology for organizations like Wikimedia, Creative Commons, and Mozilla. Resources Commission on Information Disorder Final Report  
6/27/202235 minutes
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Friday News Brief - 06.24.22

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, opening the door to surveillance In a 6-3 decision Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan were the only dissenting justices. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito left it up to state legislatures to write their own abortion laws. As far as tech policy is concerned, many advocates, including WashingTech, are concerned that law enforcement will now be able to surveil location data in any of the 13 states in which abortion is now outlawed. Congress inches closer to federal privacy law The House Energy & Commerce Committee passed a bipartisan privacy framework on Thursday, with the measure now heading to the Senate. Reuters’ Diane Bartz reports the bill would let you opt out of targeted ads online. It would also give users the ability to sue firms for selling their user data to third parties. The bill would override the patchwork of state privacy laws we have currently in states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah and Virginia. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Senator Maria Cantwell, a key vote, doesn’t support the bill in its current form for precisely that reason –  the Senator believes that, in many cases, the state privacy rules are stronger than the ones in the House bill. Greintens may have incited violence on social with ‘RINO’ hunting video Eric Greitens, the former Republican governor of Missouri who is now running for the US Senate, posted a video appearing to encourage viewers to go ‘RINO’ hunting – RINO being an acronym for Republican in Name Only. “Join the MAGA crew,” Greitens says in the video, “Get a RINO hunting permit.”  He says this as he’s holding a shotgun surrounded by smoke, and a couple of boneheads dressed up as SWOT team officers bust through the door behind him. Facebook was the only company to remove the video outright. Twitter and YouTube left it up, although Twitter added a “public interest notice” to the tweet. Talk therapy apps under scrutiny If you’ve used a talk therapy app like Betterhelp or Talkspace since COVID started, chances are you’ve had at least a fleeting concern about how these companies use your data. Well, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden are concerned too, which is why they sent a letter to the firms asking them to explain their privacy practices. The Democratic lawmakers want to know how these firms collect data, what they do to protect it, and how they communicate their data protection practices to their users. Meta reportedly to shut down misinformation-reporting tool The Verge reports that Meta is planning to shut down Crowdtangle, which can be used to find misinformation within popular social media posts. A Meta spokesperson told the Verge that the company will probably keep Crowdtangle working at least through the midterms. After that, the company says it plans to launch a better product. Amazon may enable your Alexa assistant to take on the voice of a dead relative So at its annual re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, Amazon SVP and Head Scientist for Alexa, Rohit Prasad, demonstrated how a future iteration would enable your Alexa Assistant to take on the voice of anyone, including a dead relative, at least that was how Prasad decided to demonstrate the product – with someone’s dead grandma reading a bedtime story.  Don’t ask me – I’m just reading what they wrote for me here. Anyway, that’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. See you Monday.
6/25/20223 minutes, 18 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 06.17.22

Biden calls for better kids privacy laws in State of the Union During his state of the Union address Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for better regulation of social media companies. First Lady Jill Biden invited Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to the State of the Union – Haugen was the first to shed light on Facebook’s (now, Meta’s) internal efforts to target children as young as 6 on Instagram, and the fact that the company ignored its own research showing Instagram damaged teenage girls’ self-esteem. Facebook is getting sensitive medical information The Markup reported yesterday that Facebook may have been receiving your medical information from a tracking tool – Pixel. Many hospitals use Pixel on their websites to track site visits. So let’s say hypothetically that you search for a health condition on the hospital’s website – well, for about a third of those sites, the tracking tool sends the information to Facebook. Johns Hopkins, UCLA ReaMgan, New York Presbyterian, Northwestern Memorial, and Duke University Hospital are among the hospitals that track site visitors with Pixel. Democrats led by Sen. Warren introduce bill that bans sale of location data In the wake of the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which paves the way for red states to criminalize abortion procedures, Sen. Elizabeth Warren led a group of Democratic lawmakers to introduce a new bill – The Health and Location Data Protection Act – that would completely ban the sale of your location data. The bill also envisions empowering the Federal Trade Commission to intervene when necessary.   Advocates warn of hate speech problems in Klobuchar’s antitrust bill Advocates including Free Press are pushing back against Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust bill – the American Innovation and Choice Online Act – because they’re concerned the bill would let companies that may have profited from hate speech and disinformation – like Infowars – to sue platforms like Google from banning them in search rankings. Advocates worry a provision that prohibits Google from favoring their own search results over smaller competitors  – could pave the way for disinformation profiteers to make anticompetitive accusations when platforms ban their sites. Elon Musk suggests  harmful content on Twitter should stay up if it’s just entertainment Elon Musk announced to Twitter employees in a livestream that free speech issues should outweigh content moderation. Last month, said that he’d reinstate Donald Trump’s account, although he said that prior to the commencement of the January 6th committee proceedings. Twitter’s stock has steadily dropped from $54.20 per share, which was the price when Elon Musk made his $44 billion bid to purchase the company. At the closing bell today, Twitter was trading at $37.78. That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. See you Monday.
6/17/20222 minutes, 46 seconds
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Joe Miller: Let's Talk About 'Tech Transparency

I decided to do a solo episode this week because I think it’s really sort of super important to highlight bias in the public policy profession – because it is a profession. Because over the last 17 years that I have been working on tech and media public policymaking, majority-white organizations have always seemed to think it’s totally fine to attack organizations founded and led by people of color, orgs like this one, to pursue their status ambitions. So, let’s be transparent, shall we? Just to give you some background – when I started working in this space – there was one organization in Washington – the Multicultural Media & Telecom Council (MMTC) – that focused specifically on telecommunications and media policymaking as they relate to underserved and underrepresented communities. This is where I cut my teeth as a young lawyer, in the ONLY fellowship in town for somebody like me who went to law school at night.  Their members are, and continue to be, some of the finest minds in the business – folks like Ari Fitzgerald, a partner at Hogan Lovells who was on the show last week.  These are lawyers of color primarily, who are at the top of this craft. And let me interject something here – this isn’t Oakland. We are not Color of Change.  This is DC, it’s a political town, it’s buttoned-up, and comparing orgs of color in this town to orgs like Color of Change – is really just not a relevant comparison. A better comparison would be to an organization like NAACP or the National Urban League – both of which have local chapters but they’re based in DC. Donations come from 2 primary categories here in DC – corporations and foundations – that’s it. If you’ve been around a long time – like the NAACP, NUL, or AARP – you have members. You can raise money from them, in addition to seeking other forms of support. That is the way this market works.  Back around 2011 and 2012 it was organizations like Public Knowledge and Free Press calling out MMTC for accepting donations from Comcast. Again, one of the worst companies in the world for customer service. But they are internet service providers. It didn’t matter if larger, huge nonprofits worked with these same companies – all that mattered was that Free Press and Public Knowledge needed someone to pick on when they were advocating for net neutrality. MMTC opposed net neutrality, which didn’t make sense to me, which is why I started this organization when I was laid off from the Joint Center, where I co-led an institute along with Nicol Turner-Lee, which was also focused on telecommunications and media policy at the intersection of communities of color. So-called progressives with super-deep pockets didn’t like orgs like MMTC because they were the only game in town – they had too much credibility – and they opposed net neutrality ( for reasons, by the way, I continue to be baffled by – but, in any case, they opposed it). So orgs like Public Knowledge and Free Press called them out – and I called out Public Knowledge and Free Press for having ZERO people of color working there but somehow having the audacity to try to drag MMTC.  And as a result of my advocacy – at least I like to think it was – since no one else was pushing back – Public Knowledge is led by the great Chris Lewis and Free Press, by Jessica Gonazlez, who serves co-president along with Craig Aaron.  These orgs now actively recruit diverse talent – they have changed drastically – and I’m proud of them. Jessica, Craig and Chris are my colleagues – just like you have colleagues in any profession – they fixed their model and stopped attacking MMTC. We’ll see what happens when and if the net neutrality debate starts up again. But, for now, we’re good. Joe Torres is at Free Press who wrote the book on diversity in the news profession.  SO LET’S forward to 2016. In 2016, when this organization – WashingTech – was still an LLC, for profit, Chanelle Hardy, someone I’ve known since I first moved to DC in 2005 – who had worked at the National Urban League, on the Hill, and the FCC – joined Google. And, again, as a result of my advocacy, since I was vocal about it, as I am now – one of our taglines then and now – is the Inclusive Voice of Tech Policy, since nobody else cared about that until George Floyd. In 2016, Google started a cohort of folks called Next Gen Policy Leaders – the only PROGRAM IN TOWN AT THE TIME – to engage and involve people of color in tech policy. I continue to participate in the program because it is educational, offers great networking, and, again, continues to fill a need that everyone else just woke up to a couple years ago: the lack of diversity on panels, at networking events, on faculties, you name it, related to tech policy issues.  Google was a first mover, while the rest of these tech companies, and nonprofits, were asleep.  So, whose fault is that? Whose fault is it that they’ve built loyalty by investing in us. Now, fast forward to today – here comes another organization – the so-called ‘Tech Transparency Project,’ which, again, isn’t a racially and ethnically diverse organization, attacking Google Next Gen in a mediocre paper suggesting that Google had bought out people of color so they wouldn’t speak out about Timnit Gebru’s firing – again Dr. Gebru is an engineer whom Google fired for speaking up about bias in one of Google’s algorithms.  First, I OPPOSED her firing, and vocally, on a listserv read by many Next Gens and other people of color in this space. I blasted Google for it. I was livid. I was so vocal, no one else in the Next Gen cohort needed to be – which is always the case in this town – and let me tell you something, we get PENNIES compared to some of these larger organizations. Do you know what Google donated to us last year? $35,000. The rest of our funding came from Foundation support. But let’s take a look at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), which published their annual report  last week. Let’s see what Google donated to CDT. And CDT is a partner of ours. I’m on their advisory council. Many of their fine scholars have been on this show. But let’s take a look – How much did Google donate to CDT in 2021? Wait for it! Over $500,000. Two other donors gave that much – the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Knight Foundation. Now, let’s use CDT’s search feature on its website to see how much work they’ve done on  “Timnit Gebru.” How many times did CDT so much as mention Dr. Gebru’s name, much less call out Google for firing her?  ZERO. How many times has the Tech Transparency Project called out CDT for failing to discuss Timnit Gebru? ZERO.  So come on, let’s talk about ‘Tech Transparency,’ everybody. I guarantee I’ve made more sacrifices in the cause of inclusion and so-called “transparency” in this space than most of Washington. Let’s talk about it. 
6/13/20229 minutes, 50 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 06.10.22

Congress makes progress on federal privacy law A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced a privacy bill last week that some observers including the Washington Post say faces a steep uphill battle. But the bill would require companies that use your data to only collect that data which is necessary for their businesses to function properly. It also proposes a number of other things such as a requirement for the Federal Trade Commission to keep a database of data brokers.  Amazon may have to pay for work-from-home equipment A federal judge denied Amazon’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a California engineer who works for the company from home. The employee brought a class-action lawsuit against Amazon for failing to reimburse him for equipment and internet service required to carry out job-related duties. The case now heads to trial in California. Family sues Meta for daughter’s self-harm, eating disorder Remember the Facebook papers? that trove of documents company whistleblower Frances Haugen released last year showing that Facebook knew it was harming the self-esteem of young girls and continued doing it anyway? Well, the family of a 19 year old young woman is now suing Meta in the Northern District of California saying the company turned her daughter from a bright and happy child into one that has engaged in self-harm and been hospitalized for depression. YouTube proves you can train AI to spew out hate speech automatically by feeding it 4Chan posts A YouTuber ran an experiment training an algorithm on typical 4Chan posts spewing hate speech. For those who don’t know, 4Chan is a public bulletin board where anyone can make posts anonymously. 4Chan is known for its users’ racist, sexist, and nihilistic posts. So YouTuber and AI researcher Yannic Kilcher took 3.3 million 4Chan threads and fed them into an algorithm. He then set the algorithm to start posting on 4Chan, and lo and behold, the algorithm produced vile posts of its own. The research is important because it suggests that any bad actor can set an algorithm to post fake or misleading information by simply using a single algorithm.  Republicans jump behind Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter Republicans jumped in to defend Elon Musk in his accusations that Twitter was attempting to thwart his $44 billion offer to buy the platform. Musk argued that Twitter was refusing to provide important documentation about bots on the platform. Texas AG Ken Paxton then launched an investigation into whether Twitter was using unlawful means to obstruct the deal. Twitter ended up granting Musk access to the information he requested, while arguing that Musk’s accusations about bots was simply a pretext to back out of the deal. Since Musk officially announced his plan to purchase the platform back in May, conservatives have rejoined the platform in droves. Feds to investigate Tesla’s autopilot crashes There’s a reason why you keep see   ing Tesla’s bashed apart. It’s because the autopilot feature isn’t working properly in many of these vehicles, and it’s causing the cars to crash into stationary vehicles, including police cars. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has stepped up the probe it began conducting into Tesla’s autopilot feature last year. 
6/10/20223 minutes, 9 seconds
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Ari Fitzgerald: 5G Basics

Most of us probably don’t think about it much, but our cell phones and Wi-Fi connections use something called spectrum to send and receive data. The term “5G” refers to the fifth major version of this standard for transmitting information wirelessly. It’s also known as “millimeter wave technology.” The 5GHz spectrum has long been viewed as a way to get around the crowded radiofrequency (RF) spectrum and its associated problems with Wi-Fi. The widespread adoption of wireless local area networks (WLANs) in the 2.4 GHz ISM band means that there are very few available channels in any given location, which can lead to high interference levels, reduced coverage range, and low throughput. The 5GHz spectrum is not as crowded as the 2.4GHz band, making it a better choice for high-throughput, low-interference deployments like indoor video surveillance networks. In general, this band also provides greater immunity from interference from devices like baby monitors or cordless phones that use frequencies in the 2.4GHz band. Ari Fitzgerald LinkedIn Ari Fitzgerald is a Partner with the law firm of Hogan Lovells, where he leads the firm's Communications, Internet, and Media practice. He provides strategic, legal, and policy advice on a wide range of communications and spectrum policy issues to some of the world's largest and most dynamic communications network operators and equipment manufacturers, as well as industry trade associations and investors. Resources Hogan Lovells’ Communications, Internet, and Media Practice
6/6/202234 minutes, 23 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 06.03.22

Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Meta (née Facebook) after 14 years with the company   Sheryl Sandberg is leaving Facebook after 14 years with the company.The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta has been reviewing Sheryl Sandberg's personal activities, including a reported allegation from the Journal's sources that she used company funds to plan her wedding. But Meta spokeswoman Caroline Nolan denied Sandberg's departure was related to the review.   The tech sector and civil rights advocates achieve small victory in Supreme Court   The tech sector and civil rights advocates succeeded before the Supreme Court after a 5-4 decision to stop HB20 - a Texas social media bill - from going into effect. The Republican bill would give citizens the right to sue platforms with over 50 million users for censoring their content for political reasons, or based on their “viewpoint.” Many conservatives believe the larger platforms discriminate against conservative speech. Smaller social media companies catering to conservatives, like Parler, however, wouldn't be subject to the Texas law.    So they’d be able to censor progressive speech.    Justices Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch wrote the dissenting opinion, which Justice Kagan didn’t join. However, Justice Kagan was the 4th justice who voted to leave the Texas law in place. The Court didn’t provide the rationale for their decision. WashingTech filed an amicus brief in support of overturning the Texas law. Period-tracking apps aren’t regulated Yesterday Democratic Congresswoman from California Sara Jacobs introduced a bill called the My Body, My Data Act. The bill comes on the heels of the leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade. In a post-Roe v. Wade world, there is a forseeable risk that period-tracking apps would send data to law enforcement in areas where abortions become illegal. \ University of Maryland: Nearly 2/3rds of Republicans want net neutrality rules The University of Maryland published a report showing almost 2/3rds of Republicans would bring back at least some of the net neutrality rules the Trump administration overturned. Pure net neutrality rules would prevent internet service providers from discriminating against different types of traffic, prioritizing some traffic over others. Some conservative advocates want the same standard to apply to social media platforms. That means both the Twitters of the world and the internet carriers themselves could be held liable for discriminating against content, which, frankly would then have to be applied to broadcasters.  Finally, a new paper from UNC argues that Gmail’s spam filter might exclude things the intended recipient actually wants to read. Conservatives jumped on the study and started saying it proves Google’s alleged anti-conservative bias. But the academics who wrote the study say that interpretation takes the study out of context. Obviously, mis and disinformation and hate speech filters have a completely different design, it’s a whole different set of keywords, but, sometimes you just have to listen and let people have their say. That’s it for this week! I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend and week! Happy Summer!  And remember, stay safe & informed. Have a great weekend.
6/3/20223 minutes, 15 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 05.27.22

Washington Post reports on “light-sensing” technology to identify weapons A company called Evolv uses “active sensing” — a light emission technique also used in radar and lidar—to create images and identify weapons in public and private venues, according to the company. Despite “fundamental   limitations in differentiating benign objects from actual weapons,” existing clients include the New York Mets, Lincoln Center in New York City, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, and Six Flags amusement parks across the U.S. Washington Post questions legitimacy of claims that social media plays outsize role in gun violence Writing for the Washington Post’s Technology 202 newsletter, Cristiano Lima analyzed the legitimacy of arguments being made by government officials like Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott, that place undue focus on social media when it comes to gun violence, detracting from the real issue which is lax gun control laws. Activist’s protest Amazon’s work with police and immigration agencies  Black and Muslim activists led a protest during Amazon Web Services’ summit on Tuesday. The protesters opposed Amazon’s work to facilitate the surveillance and deportation of immigrants and people of color. Amazon removed three Black or Latino activists who had registered for the summit. Digital surveillance affects 227,000 immigrants A critical new report by NoTechforICE details how digital surveillance systems impact immigrants' lives. Constant surveillance, which is touted as an “alternative” to traditional detention, has placed more than 227,000 immigrants under some form of surveillance. These anxiety-inducing technologies interfere with employment and further stigmatize immigrants.  White House issues Executive Order to study facial recognition and predictive algorithms in the criminal justice system  The National Academy of Sciences will examine how facial recognition and predictive algorithms are being used in the criminal justice system, in order to surface civil rights issues and make recommendations to correct them. The order also requires the Attorney General to perform a disparate impact analysis of PATTERN, the Bureau of Prisons' risk assessment program  , to see how it affects inmates' chances of early release. New report details how law enforcement can use technology to enforce abortion laws [Wired] Wired reports on a new study from the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project that details how law enforcement can utilise existing data access technologies and tracking tools to enforce abortion bans. The report cites keyword search warrants and geofence warrants as examples of these these types of surveillance technologies, which the report states can harm those looking for abortion providers or obtaining abortions. Citing potential harm to abortion seekers and providers, lawmakers urge Google to stop the excessive retention of location data Separately, Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter urging Google to stop its practice of retaining what the representatives believe is too much location data, which they argue law enforcement could use against those seeking abortions at abortion clinics. New CDT report looks at surveillance of disabled people According to a new report by the Center for Democracy & Technology, algorithms and surveillance technologies are being used to surveil, control, discipline, and punish people, with particularly harmful effects on disabled people in education, the criminal legal system, healthcare, and the workplace.
5/27/20223 minutes, 10 seconds
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Emnet Tafesse & Ranjit Singh: A Social Science Approach to AI

AI is an interdisciplinary field that draws on many fields of study, including computer science, psychology, neuroscience, and mathematics. AI researchers often bring a social science perspective to the field. They want to understand the social implications of AI and to identify ways that humans can best interact with AI systems. Social scientists look at how people interact with AI systems and how these interactions might change over time. Social scientists also want to understand how AI systems learn from human behavior and make predictions about how people will behave in the future. There are two main types of social science approaches to AI. The first is an approach that focuses on the ethical implications of AI. This approach assumes that we cannot build AI without carefully considering its ethical implications for society. The second type of social science approach is an approach that looks at the psychological impact of AI on humans. This approach assumes that humans could feel uncomfortable or threatened by the presence of AI in their lives. Social scientists use these approaches to help us better understand and predict the impact of AI on society as a whole. Emnet Tafesse and Ranjit Singh contrast the differences in how researchers in the “Global South” and “Global North” investigate the social impacts of artificial intelligence. Bio Emnet Tefesse @emnetspeaks Emnet Tafesse is a Research Analyst at Data & Society on the AI on the Ground Initiative. She has a passion for utilizing advocacy, research, and policy to create positive social change and a more equitable world. She received her Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and her BA in Political Science and Sociology from Howard University.  Ranjit Singh Ranjit has a doctorate in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Cornell University. His research lies at the intersection of data infrastructures, global development, and public policy. He uses methods of interview-based qualitative sociology and multi-sited ethnography in his research. He examines the everyday experiences of people subject to data-driven practices and follows the mutual shaping of their lives and their data records. Resources AI on the Ground Blog Series
5/23/202226 minutes, 27 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 05.20.22

NY Attorney General Opens Twitch Probe in Buffalo Shooting Aftermath New York State Attorney General Letitia James opened a new probe in.  to Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord in the aftermath of the mass hate-motivated shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 Black people dead. The probe is geared towards determining how the shooter used these platforms to plan, discuss, stream or promote the mass murder to which the defendant, who was apprehended at the scene of the shooting, has pled “not guilty.”  Federal Trade Commission Votes to Hold EdTech Companies Accountable for Kids’ Privacy The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously yesterday to adopt a policy statement cracking down on how EdTech companies use kids’ data beyond enabling their ability to do homework or attend class remotely. The statement warns EdTech Companies that it is against the law for these companies to require parents and schools to give up their childrens’ privacy rights in order for them to access these critical apps. The FTC told EdTech companies that they should also expect fines for using kids’ data for marketing purposes, keeping kids’ information for longer than necessary, or not having proper safeguards in place to maintain kids’ privacy while they’re using these apps. President Biden commended the FTC in a statement.  Twitter Adds New Content Moderation Rules Despite Elon Musk’s $44 Billion Bid Twitter actually expanded its content moderation rules despite Elon Musk’s $44 billion bid to buy the social media platform. The move came the same day Twitter GC Vijaya Gadde said “there’s no such thing as a deal being on hold,” after Musk’s statement that he was reconsidering his hostile takeover.  The new content moderation rules target misinformation about wars and natural disasters by preventing users from retweeting misinformation about things like the war in Ukraine, and preventing misinformation from appearing in search results.  Texas AG Sues Google Over ‘Incognito Mode’ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton added another allegation to the lawsuit it filed against Google back in January, along with the States of Washington, Indiana, and the District of Columbia, over Google’s location settings. Paxton says that Google’s incognito mode isn’t actually private at all, and that it risks exposing a users political leanings or sexual orientation. Google is disputing the claims.  Instagram Removes Summer Walker’s Post Criticizing KKK Instagram left a lot of folks scratching their heads after it removed R&B singer Summer Walker’s post criticizing the KKK. Walker’s post simply said “why the KKK never got a RICO,” RICO, of course, being the Racketeer INfluenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which used to target the mafia, but now targets street gangs, according to VICE. Asking why the KKK never got a RICO charge seems like a damned good question, and it’s interesting that Meta took that down as so much white supremacist hate speech stays up. We need more intel on who exactly within these companies is making the last call on these takedowns. MIT Finds Medical AI Can Predict Patients’ Race A new MIT study reviewed several medical imaging technologies and found they did a better job identifying the race of patients than humans. But the researchers have no idea how this was possible. They looked at chest X-rays, chest CT scans, and mammograms and the AI identified the patients’ race, even though the patients hadn’t identified what their race actually was.
5/20/20223 minutes, 30 seconds
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Vicki Shotbolt & Geraldine Bedell: Global Tech Policy and Media Literacy for Families

Today’s global economy has made it easier than ever to explore opportunities and access resources. However, this comes with the challenge of understanding how these new markets and opportunities can be beneficial or harmful to your family. Technology is a powerful tool that can help you stay informed, connected, and entertained wherever you are in the world. As content from different countries and cultures becomes more accessible, it’s important for parents and caregivers to learn about new media so they can make informed decisions about what content is appropriate for their family.  Vicki Shotbolt @VShotbolt Vicki Shotbolt is the founder and CEO of Parent Zone which keeps families informed and works with partners on digital literacy issues. Sh’s worked with global brands including Microsoft and Vodafone to make Britain more Family Friendly. Her passion is in finding practical solutions to complex problems.She often speaks publicly about parenting and digital issues and is on the executive board of the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS). Vicki likes sailing and is proud rescuer and owner of Teddy the dog.   Geraldine Bedell @geraldineBedell Geraldine is Parent Zone’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining Parent Zone, Geraldine worked for 10 years as a writer at the Observer in Britain. Before that she was a columnist and writer for the Independent. She has written for most national newspapers and a wide range of magazines in the UK. She has also produced and presented documentaries for Radio 4. She was the founding editor of Gransnet and has published several books of fiction and non-fiction.  Resources Parent Zone Tech Shock Podcast  
5/16/202223 minutes, 20 seconds
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Friday News Brief - 05.13.22

Fifth Circuit Upholds State of Texas’ Content Moderation Ban The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling to strike down the State of Texas’ controversial statute that created a private right of action for anyone who thinks they were banned from a social media platform because of their “viewpoint.” With the Texas law back in effect, platforms with more than 50 million users, like Twitter & YouTube, must notify users in Texas when they remove their content and give them a chance to appeal. If the user isn’t happy with the decision, they can sue. Experts are now waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will take up the case. In the meantime, Elon Musk Tweeted earlier today that his acquisition of Twitter is on hold as he seeks to verify that fewer than 5% of its accounts are fake. And the number of conservative users who re-joined Twitter after Musk announced he’d be acquiring the company skyrocketed, according to the Washington Post. State of Virginia Lifts Facial Recognition Ban The State of Virginia announced that it will be lifting its ban on facial recognition technology. Many states began implementing a facial recognition ban after a study by the Algorithmic Justice League found facial recognition software disproportionately misidentified Black people. Reuters reports that many jurisdictions, including New Orleans, are lifting their facial recognition bans as well, saying accuracy has improved. Sony Playstation CEO Triggers Pro-Choice Staffers Over With ‘Lighthearted’ Abortion Email Sony Playstation CEO Jim Ryan sent a company-wide email requesting staff to respect differences of opinion regarding the leak of the draft Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the same email, Ryan celebrated his two cats’ first birthday, shared their birthday cakes, and joked that they may someday want a dog. One employee told a Bloomberg reporter that they have never been so mad about a cat's birthday before.  Apple Memo Shows Company’s Opposition to Unions Motherboard reports that Apple is circulating a set of talking points to store managers to help them push back against unionization efforts by retail employees. The memo warns employees that joining a union may affect their career prospects, flexibility, and paid time off. In recent weeks, Apple Stores in Atlanta, New York City, and Towson, Maryland have filed for union elections, becoming the first Apple stores to do so. 
5/13/20222 minutes, 14 seconds
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Afua Bruce: Tech, Equity, and Philanthropy

Afua Bruce is a leading public interest technologist whose career has spanned the government, non-profit, private, and academic sectors, as she has held senior science and technology positions at the White House, the FBI, IBM, and the nonprofit sector. Her new book, The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World, explores how technology can advance equity. Resources The Tech that Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists can Build a More Equitable World by Amy Sample Ward and Afua Bruce @afua_bruce
5/9/202221 minutes, 51 seconds
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Jessica Dheere: How do tech companies use data about you?

Tech companies use data to spot patterns in their users’ search histories. They use this information to understand how customers behave. But in the 6 years since the Cambridge Analytica scandal happened, the details of how tech companies use our data are still murky. Ranking Digital Rights’ Jessica Dheere joined Joe Miller to discuss where the gaps are and what the public needs to know. Bio Jessica Dheere is the Director of Ranking Digital Rights. She founded and was Executive Director of SMEX, the Middle East's leading digital rights research and advocacy organization.  In 2018, she was a research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. and a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She was part of the 2019-20 cohort of Technology and Human Rights Fellows at Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Her publications include “Misguiding Multistakeholderism: A Nongovernmental Perspective on the Arab IGF”, and a legal research methodology for locating digital rights-related law. Resources Ranking Digital Rights 2022 Big Tech Scorecard @JessDheere    
5/2/202228 minutes, 35 seconds
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Vint Cerf: How Futuristic Technologies Will Shape the World

With the convergence of the Metaverse, Web 3.0 and the blockchain, it’s hard to imagine just how far we have come over the last century. We can’t fully appreciate this giant leap forward, without examining the origins of the internet. Who better to help us understand this journey and how we got where we are today than Dr. Vinton Cerf. Dr. Cerf, widely considered “One of the Fathers of the Internet,” helped to develop the TCP/IP protocol. Since 2005, Dr. Cerf has served as Google’s vice president and chief Internet evangelist. He identifies new technologies to support the development of advanced, Internet-based products and services. Dr. Cerf is the former Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy for MCI. There, he guided MCI’s technical strategy. In December 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his colleague, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. In 2004, Drs. Kahn and Cerf won the Alan M. Turing Award for their work on the Internet protocols. The Turing award is sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science.” In November 2005, President George Bush awarded Cerf and Kahn the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their work. The medal is the highest civilian award given by the United States to its citizens. In April 2008, Cerf and Kahn received the prestigious Japan Prize. Prior to rejoining MCI in 1994, Cerf was vice president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). As vice president of MCI Digital Information Services from 1982 to 1986, he led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service, to be connected to the Internet. During his tenure from 1976 to 1982 with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Cerf played a key role leading the development of Internet and Internet-related packet data and security technologies.
4/28/202224 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jonathan Cohen: The Importance of Media Law

We are in the middle of a disruptive tech revolution, and it will take some time for society to adjust. Tech, media, and telecom companies turn to Jonathan Cohen for advice as they navigate a continually shifting legal, technological and political landscape. Decades of transactional and policy experience (in private practice and in government) enable him to efficiently advise clients regarding strategies and details in their dealings with other industry players, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other executive branch agencies to align the private sector with the public interest. His expertise ranges from media (both traditional and social) to broadband wireless, and from commercial transactions to regulatory policy. Mr. Cohen’s government service included stints at The White House and the FCC, and he is an expert in platform regulation issues, spectrum licensing and transactions, and the rules and processes governing participation in FCC auctions. His clients have singled out his “outstanding service” on corporate and commercial transactions for nationwide recognition. He holds the Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating and is perennially selected as a Washington DC Super Lawyer. After announcing football and basketball games for his college radio station, Jonathan’s career began as a radio news reporter in New York City. Communications law therefore was a natural fit for him after obtaining his law degree. Over his legal career in the media and telecom arenas, Jonathan has negotiated and closed countless telecom transactions and worked on a wide variety of policy issues. He is a proud alumnus of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center.  Links: Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP Jonathan Cohen on LinkedIn Book mentioned: Talking about God: Exploring the Meaning of Religious Life with Kierkegaard, Buber, Tillich, and Heschel by Daniel F. Polish P.h.D. From Guttenburg to Google by Tom Wheeler  
4/19/202219 minutes, 26 seconds
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Kyle Williams & Kamal Carter: How to Confront Racial Misinformation and Disinformation with Kyle Williams & Kamal Carter

The way you process information will affect your survival. It’s just a fact. Without the ability to evaluate information through a critical lens, it's hard to discern fact from fiction. Kyle Williams and Kamal Carter of A Long Talk About An Uncomfortable Truth joined Joe Miller to discuss their work to go beyond critical race theory. In partnership with colleges and universities, Mr. Williams and Mr. Carter teach important facts about America’s racial history. These facts are missing from most K-12 history curricula in the United States. Through their efforts to promote awareness about what Black people experience in their day-to-day lives, Mr. Williams and Mr. Carter seek to promote empathy. Over the last 19 months, A Long Talk has reached over 4,000 people. But their goal is to bring their expertise to every kitchen table in America. Links: A Long Talk      Book: Antisocial by Andrew Marantz  A Long Talk is on all social media platforms @ALongTalk2020 A Long Talk on LinkedIn  
4/11/202238 minutes, 41 seconds
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Donata Stroink Skillrud: Managing Your Privacy Law Compliance

A lack of a unifying federal privacy law in the U.S. like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a growing patchwork of state regulations to keep track of, can make it tricky for your business to maintain compliance. This is exactly why we have today’s guest here to help us navigate the difficult eco-system of state privacy laws. Donata Stroink-Skillrud is the President of Termageddon and the engineer behind Termageddon’s policy questions and text. She is a licensed attorney and a certified information privacy professional. She often volunteers at the Illinois State Bar Association holding courses on the General Data Protection Regulation where she teaches other attorneys on the importance of privacy and what Privacy Policies should contain. Trusting Companies With Your Data Privacy and protecting your personal data has probably shown up on your radar a lot lately because of the number of merchants that have reported data breaches. Target had a huge data breach of 40 million customers back in 2013. When an event of this scale happens, you realize we can’t depend on others to protect our data. It was her experience with having her own data compromised in that breach that led Donata to pursue a career in privacy law and policy. Consumers Pay the Price When there is a data breach, consumers are the ones who pay the price. Between monitoring your credit report to make sure no unauthorized lines of credit have been opened, to closing credit accounts or getting new credit cards reissued, there is a great deal of time and effort needed to mitigate the impact of the data breach. This all comes at the expense of the consumer, who has to invest their time in making all the right moves to protect themselves. The High Price on Non-Compliance for Businesses It can be costly for companies when they don’t comply with privacy laws. Depending on the state, there can be huge penalties and fines at stake.  However, there is also an enormous cost involved in compliance. Having a privacy policy on your website is just the first step in compliance. Each state has their own privacy laws, so understanding those laws and making sure you comply, for many businesses, requires a full time Compliance Officer. Automating Privacy Policies At one point in her career, Donata ended up being the person that fielded all of the business privacy compliance questions, and she found that meeting the compliance standards for each state was rather repetitive.  This led to the quest for automating this repetitive process of asking the same questions and gathering the same data, and with that automation process, Termageddon was born. Business After GDPR Businesses were thrown another “privacy curveball” in 2014 when the EU passed GDPR. Today, companies don’t just have to worry about privacy laws in the U.S., they now have to worry about international privacy laws. GDPR standardized the privacy laws for all the EU countries. The US has not taken that step yet, so business owners and the public must grapple with a bevy of very complex privacy laws in each state. Consenting to Privacy Policies From the consumer standpoint, it’s very difficult because these state privacy laws require all these disclosures, making privacy policies really long, really difficult to read. There’s a lot of information there. It’s very hard for consumers to understand which privacy rights apply to whom. The privacy laws also don’t explain the gray areas like how they define a resident, and when a person officially becomes a resident of a state. Pitfalls of the Patchwork Different state laws have different definitions of what it means to sell data. But some companies are saying, we don’t really sell your data, but according to California’s law, we do.  This makes it confusing for both businesses and consumers to understand what their privacy rights and obligations are. Links: Termageddon IAPP Committee ABA Committees Donata on LinkedIn
3/25/202225 minutes, 46 seconds
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Anita Balaraman: How to Overcome Self-Doubt in Your Cyber Career

You’re well aware that this podcast is about public policy and so often we focus on that, but today, we’re also bringing you the creative side of policy making. So many of the policies that we fight to implement are created as a way to protect and preserve our ability to be creative. We know that for many professionals, it’s hard to be able to live a completely creative life, while balancing it with work and earning a living.   In a podcast first, we begin today’s episode with a poem by our guest, Anita Balaraman. The poem is called “Doubt” and you can read it on Anita is a technology product leader with more than 10 years of experience in building technology products that delight the customer both in the B2B and B2C domain. She is also an adjunct faculty at UC Berkeley, teaching and coaching hi-tech product management. She is currently the founder of an early stage ed-tech startup. Most recently she led the digital customer experience practice at Cisco Systems, designing and launching enterprise solutions for customer experience. Prior to that, she led the product team at WalmartLabs launching products that combine machine learning, predictive analytics and personalization. She consults independently and on the board of technology startups in the advertising, ecommerce, and ed-tech space. Anita received her MS in toxicology and applied statistics, and an MBA, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Links: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Berkeley College of Engineering Doubt, by Anita Balaraman An obedient child Never wild Begged to be schooled Never one to do, what she wants to. Somewhere in my teens I grew To my parents, a quarrelsome, defiant point of view. Aspired to cross the oceans blue To America for graduate school to pursue. Girls can’t be safe, outside of parents’ purview Unless she has a husband, never mind she is just twenty-two! In Berkeley, I was told you can be what you want to Even a brown girl with big starry eyes, can dream one day to be a researcher, a professional, or a professor someday. Worked hard, very hard, or at least I thought, For I’ve been given a chance, a really long shot. But told that I may never be a researcher sought There must be more than just the grades, I thought. Despite how hard I fought… Hiding my feminine brownness was like adding a nought[*]. Perhaps they are right, went my train of thought… Why else would I not see someone like me in doctoral gown? Oh don’t be sad, said my loved ones around You can be happy, rich, and successful without a doctoral gown- hands down. Look at the valley of silicon and sand A dreamland of success, prestige and wealth For those that are committed to technology at hand. Yes, but my mind wandered… Where did I lose the defiance in my view? I really care about children and leukemia And I can build risk models that I learned in academia. But can you blame them if they did not trust The models I built that needed their process to adjust. I don’t look like them, or speak like them The assumptions in my models are hard to trust. I found my kind, the brown variety, Who spoke bad English with no anxiety. The friends at home and those at work Looked and spoke like they belong to the same network. No apologies for being a vegetarian during team lunch Who clairvoyantly knew that salad wasn’t a good munch. This must be beautiful- to feel like you belong Without having to rehearse your lines so I don’t say something wrong. To work with the bunch where I hoped I belonged, I got another graduate degree, not the Ph.D. I longed. A business degree, hoping to correct the wronged. A Mom twice over, a wife and an employee, ‘you can’t get promoted if you leave at 5’, would annoy me. Benevolent prejudice, paternalism, and sexism: Belonging, I understood, with deep skepticism. A misfit perhaps, have always been A toxicologist, but not the wet-lab kind A technologist, but not an engineer’s mind An entrepreneur, who venture capital declined An educator, living the adjunct grind A researcher, without the terminal degree- unrefined. Seeking belonging, but always unaligned. Perhaps down in my subconscious mind the fringes appeal more than the straight jacket kind? The fringes feed concern for mistakes, Suspended between two or more contradictory states. An indecision between belief and non-belief Hiding, somewhere, is a fictitious fig leaf? Belonging requires suspending the lunatic fringe To honor and reflect the collective doubt. But that is harder to live, day in and day out Easier it seems to simply not honor their doubts?
3/18/202223 minutes, 10 seconds
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Dana Miller: Keeping Kids Safe Online

Now more than ever we need to protect our kids as they have more exposure online than ever before. Children’s Online Safety is a priority that we are taking very seriously.  We’re living in a hyperconnected age and we’ve got the Metaverse bearing down on us, so online safety for our children needs to be the first priority.  Today's guest is Dana Miller, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Commander, with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. She joins Joe to talk about her career, some more tips on how to interact with your kids to protect them online, and what kinds of issues policymakers should be paying attention to as the internet evolves. Dana has worked in ICAC since 2014 and manages the Wisconsin ICAC Task Force Program, including oversight of Wisconsin CyberTips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the ICAC Victim Services Program. Prior to joining the ICAC Task Force, Dana worked for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Criminal Justice program, teaching courses in classroom, online and hybrid formats and managing the online undergraduate Criminal Justice program. Throughout her career, Dana has provided online safety outreach through numerous media outlets, including live presentations and training, television and radio appearances, live and recorded webinars, and streamed social media appearances. Dana is creator and co-creator of multiple safety programs for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, including their online safety interact! e-course and the Protect Kids Online (PKO) podcast. Online Safety Day  It’s hard to know where to focus efforts to keep your children safe online, and that’s something that Dana understands. In a post-pandemic and Metaverse world - kids will be more exposed online than ever before, so it’s important to understand both the threats and the vulnerabilities our kids face. Recently, Dana hosted Online Safety Day to try to bring awareness to the issue. Non-Profit and Sexual Assault Support Background Dana started out working for a local non-profit in Wisconsin and part of her role was to work with victims of sexual assualt. Early in her career, she was doing talks about online safety, but its evolved into much more in recent years. Even though much of the threats remain the same, what we're seeing currently is more of a focus on that recovery of a victim centered approach to things and recognizing that we have to really focus on their needs as we're responding in a law enforcement world. And so that's a really great perspective that is coming into play with our work everyday. Links:  
2/28/202222 minutes, 53 seconds
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Douglas Keith: How Remote Court Proceedings Affect Equal Access

When the pandemic started, courts that were slower in adopting technology had to undergo a two-week revolution to move their operations to a remote setting. Under normal circumstances, that would have taken them twenty years to achieve.  Existing research shows that while remote technologies can be helpful in court proceedings, they can also harm individuals if not used carefully. Several issues have been coming up around the effects that remote court proceedings have had on our communities. Today’s guest is Douglas Keith, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, where he works primarily on promoting fair, diverse, and impartial courts. He will walk us through the various concerns. Douglas Keith was the George A. Katz Fellow at the Brennan Center, where he worked on issues around money in politics, voting rights, and redistricting. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Atlantic, Guardian, New York Daily News, and Huffington Post. Before that, Keith worked as a Ford Foundation public interest law fellow at Advancement Project. He directed voting rights advocates in New York, served as an international election observer for the National Democratic Institute and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, and educated poll workers for the New York City Board of Elections. Keith is a graduate of NYU School of Law and Duke University. What should we be concerned about? All existing research suggests a real reason exists for courts to be cautious about doing video hearings. Studies have shown that video court cases have not always worked out as well as those cases when people have appeared in person. Higher bail amounts charged for video court cases in Chicago In Chicago, in the early 2000s, courts began using video for most of their felony bail hearings. A study that looked at 600,000 of those hearings found that judges imposed much higher bail amounts for those required to have video hearings rather than appearing in person. On average, the video cases paid 50% more bail, and in some instances, they paid up to 90% more. People detained in deportation proceedings People detained in deportation proceedings stood a much higher chance of being removed if they were required to appear by video rather than appearing in person. A quiet place to appear and access to broadband When people get detained, questions tend to arise about the quality of the broadband and them having access to a quiet place to appear. Also, when someone has to appear in court remotely from a jail or prison setting, the background could influence, impact, or change how a judge might view them as an individual.  The digital divide When someone not detained has to appear remotely, many different issues related to the digital divide could arise. They might not have the quality of internet that a judge might expect, and there are also massive differences in terms of the devices people are using to access the proceedings. Those issues need to be taken into account if the proceedings are to be fair. What has changed? Since Douglas has been advocating for the communities that have been affected by doing court proceedings remotely, there have been technological improvements that might make a difference.  Remote proceedings are here to stay Over the last year, courts have become very enthusiastic about how remote proceedings have been working out. Court leaders across the country have said that remote proceedings are here to stay because they have been efficient, speedy, and time-saving. The problem Most jurisdictions have not been talking to the people going through remote court proceedings or their attorneys to learn what is and is not working. A common concern A common concern with remote hearings is the ability for the client to communicate with their attorney during the proceedings. That ability gets hampered because remote tools do not allow the client and attorney to make eye contact and quietly confer about any information that might be relevant to the case during the proceedings. Eviction proceedings Douglas spoke to many individuals from legal aid organizations, representing people earning below certain income thresholds and going through eviction proceedings.  What you can do, on a local level, when someone’s rights are violated Pay closer attention to what the courts in your jurisdiction are doing. Courts often allow for public comment or testimony when going through the process of proposing rule changes to allow for more remote proceedings. Engage with the courts and get involved. Watch your local courts to see the types of rule changes they are proposing, in terms of remote proceedings. If you disapprove and they do not require consent to move forward remotely, write to the court to tell them about your concerns and why you think consent should be required. Resolving the issues Advocates from all over the country are busy working on resolving these issues. They range from academics studying the impact of remote tools during the pandemic to practitioners in various spaces, guiding attorneys. Research More research is needed because we do not know enough about how people are being affected by remote tools. At the Brennan Center, they advocate for more resources towards that research to prevent the courts from inadvertently doing any harm. Some other issues that Douglas is working on that are happening where tech intersects with the judicial system Douglas is working on allowing the public access to court proceedings. During the pandemic, many courts started live streaming. That allows court watch groups to remotely observe the court proceedings and report to the public what is and is not working in the courthouses. That raised questions about the point of allowing public access to the courts.  The watchdog effect Public access makes the court aware that it is being watched and reminds them of their responsibility. Live streaming might result in a loss of some of that watchdog effect. So although technology has improved public access to the courts in some ways, we could also lose something along the way. Remote tools The use of remote tools in the courts is nuanced. They can lessen the burden that the courts place on people, but there are also times when those tools could be a cause for concern. That is why the courts need to work with their communities to find the right answers.  Resources: The Brennan Center for Justice FdYPoT0ddFB6jdnpMJ45
11/11/202118 minutes, 53 seconds
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Camille Stewart: Talk about leadership

WashingTECH Policy Podcast was started largely because of the impact of tech, AI and cybersecurity on communities of color, working class and immigrants, and none of the big players in the industry have it on their radar. Our conversation today is on this very topic and there is no one more knowledgeable on the topic than Camille Stewart. Camille Stewart is an attorney and executive whose crosscutting perspective on complex technology, cyber, and national security, and foreign policy issues has landed her in significant roles at leading government and private sector companies like the Department of Homeland Security, Deloitte, and Google. Camille builds global cybersecurity, privacy, and election security/integrity programs in complex environments for large companies and government agencies. Camille is the Global Head of Product Security Strategy at Google advising Google’s product leads on federated security and risk. Previously, Camille was the Head of Security Policy for Google Play and Android at Google where she leads security, privacy, election integrity, and dis/mis-information. Prior to Google, Camille was a manager in Deloitte’s Cyber Risk practice working on cybersecurity, election security, tech innovation, and risk issues for DHS, DOD, and other federal agencies. Diversity in Cybersecurity is a Problem We have long ignored the fact that addressing issues of diversity is more than just the right thing to do, as it is actually a mission imperative in cybersecurity. And as technology underpins pretty much everything that we do, how systemic racism is amplified, or cured by technology implementation, is something that we have to be thinking about. And the policy decisions that we've made in the past, and the ones that we make moving forward, are all impacted by a society built on systemic racism, our investments are all impacted by legacy and current day systemic racism, informed decision making policies and bodies. The Paper to Address Diversity The Aspen Institute came to Camille seeing this moment where we needed to kind of dive in and talk about how diversity, equity and inclusion is impacting the work and convened a large group of folks across diverse backgrounds, leaders in cybersecurity, academia, industry government, to come together for a closed door, Chatham House rules, discussion on how we could move the needle on this. How can we come together to identify what the issues are around diversity and cybersecurity and then come up with some solutions. And the thing that was really appreciated is, as Aspen and Camille worked through this, they were very clear that it needed to be action oriented. And so the discussion was really rooted in that how can we actually do work, take action, to drive diversity and inclusion in cybersecurity, for the betterment of not only the people who will and may participate in this industry, but also for the work. Why Diversity In Cybersecurity Should Matter to Everyone Let's think about the large scale cyber incidents we've seen recently. The attack on Colonial Pipeline then cascaded into you, not being able to get gas. The attack on JBS foods that meant you probably couldn't get your lunch meat for your kids, means that you should be concerned about cybersecurity as an individual.  And there are so many other reasons beyond that, but those very large scale incidents are very attached to the individual and how they impact your ability to access services and operate, or because you as an individual could take an action that could lead to one of those breaches.  So diversity, as a part of cybersecurity as a part of the industry is important because you can identify things based on your lived experiences and how technology shows up in your life that other people cannot.  The Future of the Cybersecurity Workforce A lot of the diversity issues in cybersecurity are systemic. There are issues with hiring; there are issues with retention; issues of education. So many people don't even recognize the fact that working in technology, and cybersecurity is an option for them - access to the industry, building a network, etc. And so we created some buckets that kind of address those things divided up the practitioners that were participating.  They put their brain power behind thinking about what are some solutions to the educational barriers. Certifications are a common tool in cybersecurity. But that's really tough, because most certifications require some years of experience. And you're seeing a lot of entry level jobs that require those certifications. How can it be an entry level job if you need five years of experience to get the certification that is required to get the job? Links and Resources: Connect with Camille on Twitter or Instagram @Camilleesq Camille’s Paper
11/1/202123 minutes, 22 seconds
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Dr. Tara Sell: Combating Medical Misinformation

Some of the earliest documented instances of health misinformation occurred as early as the 1930s. So it’s not as recent of a phenomenon as you may think. Obviously, social media has made the speed and prevalence of health misinformation and disinformation much worse. It started with cancer misinformation, but now we are dealing with vaccine misinformation and of course, the battle field is social media. All of the medical and technological advances we have made as a first world country don’t make a difference if we can’t overcome the health disinformation that is prevalent on social media. Today’s guest is Dr. Tara Sell. Dr. Sell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and a Senior Associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She conducts research to develop a greater understanding of potentially large-scale health events such as disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, natural disasters, or radiological/nuclear events.  Dr. Sell’s work focuses on improving public health policy and practice in order to reduce the health impacts of disasters and terrorism. She works on qualitative and quantitative research analyses and uses this research to assist in the development of strategy and policy recommendations. Her primary research interests include biosecurity and biodefense, public health preparedness, emerging infectious disease, federal funding and budgeting, and nuclear preparedness policy and practice. She also serves as an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security (formerly Biosecurity and Bioterrorism). How to Discern the Truth Determining how true information that you share on social media is can be confusing. Disinformation is designed to look like accurate information and is more easily shareable that you realize. As a society, we have to do 2 things: We need to hold policy makers accountable to the truth and to come up with solutions to address the disinformation. We have to have a national strategy that controls the spread and sources of misinformation and a system to promote good information, increase public resiliency to misinformation and bring all of the stakeholders together. Identifying Misinformation Needs to be a Top Priority Misinformation is intentionally designed to play on your emotions, and be so compelling that you will also want to share it. We need to have a unified effort to show people the tactics that are being used to make us an unwitting accomplice in the spread of misinformation. There are online fact checking tools that simply aren’t used enough. Additionally, when misinformation is prevalent, there isn’t a cohesive strategy to help us share the truth as a countermeasure to the misinformation. Better digital literacy will go a long way in helping combat misinformation. Government Skepticism One thing that is hindering the adoption of the safe and effective vaccines, is the general distrust of the government. It’s not good for the government to be playing the role as the arbiter of truth in these situations. The government needs to be more transparent and bring together different agencies and address misinformation from a public health perspective, but it also needs to bleed into the national security side of government.  We need a national strategy to confront health misinformation across the spectrum, so that it can more easily be identified and stamped out. Being Caught In the Middle With Friends and Family Many people are dreading the potential confrontations that may happen at the Thanksgiving table over the medical misinformation on the different sides of the political arguments. If you find yourself in this situation, Tara advises: Engage respectfully. No one will be convinced of the truth if they are dismissed or ridiculed. Connect over shared values. Everyone wants their children and their families to be safe. Talk about the tactics used to spread misinformation and your experience with it. Discuss alternative explanations for the conspiracy theories and use information sources that people will accept. Provide trusted sources for information that are not the CDC or WHO since they have become targets. Use Johns Hopkins or other reputable medical sources. Enlist the help of trusted family members. The High Cost of Misinformation Tara’s organization did an analysis of what the actual misinformation is costing us, as medical misinformation has been declared a public health emergency. If 5% of non-vaccination is caused by medical misinformation, that leads to a cost of $50M in harm each day of a non-Delta surge environment. It would be even bigger during the Delta surge or if that non-vaccination number due to misinformation is higher.  If it’s 30% then that number increases to a cost of $300M dollars per day. Who Is It Costing? The cost of misinformation is spread out across sectors, but where ever there are people bearing more of the burden for misinformation, the associated costs are also concentrated there. What Can You Do? We have to face the fact that health related misinformation is going to be with us for a while. We aren’t just going to be done with it when the pandemic is over. New targets will emerge. We have to make investments in solutions for health misinformation. We have to work on our own resilience. Encourage friends and family to be more resilient to misinformation as well.   Resources: Connect with Tara on Twitter @skirkell Chamber of Progress Website Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
10/26/202117 minutes, 11 seconds
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Elizabeth Banker: The Importance of Online Content Moderation

  Bio @elizabethbanker Elizabeth Banker is Vice President of Legal Advocacy for Chamber of Progress. Elizabeth brings twenty-five years of in-house, law firm, and trade association experience on intermediary liability, Section 230, and online safety. Most recently, Elizabeth was Deputy General Counsel at Internet Association where she directed policy on consumer privacy and content moderation. While at IA, Elizabeth conducted a review of 500 Section 230 decisions and testified twice before the Senate on efforts to reform Section 230. Elizabeth has first-hand experience responding to the challenges that face online services as a veteran of both Twitter and Yahoo!. She was Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Law Enforcement, Security and Safety at Yahoo! Inc. for more than a decade.  More recently she was Senior Director and Associate General Counsel for Global Law Enforcement and Safety at Twitter.  Elizabeth spent five years as a shareholder at ZwillGen, a boutique law firm focused on privacy and security in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth began her career in government with the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection during the Clinton Administration. Resources: Progress Chamber Website : 
10/18/202120 minutes, 54 seconds
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Justin Brookman: Privacy Legislation at the State Level

With Federal privacy regulation leaving much to be desired, it has fallen to individual states to make up the gap and establish their own privacy rules. This approach is problematic for many reasons, which is why Justin Brookman is on the show today. Correction: The name of the individual Joe referenced in the intro is Alex Stamos, from the Stanford Internet Observatory, not John Stamos as was stated in the episode Consumer Privacy Has a Home a Consumer Reports Justin Brookman is with Consumer Reports where he's the head of tech policy. He wrote an excellent paper several months ago on state privacy regulation (you can read it here). Justin is the Director, Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy, for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. In this new privacy role at CR, he will help the organization continue its groundbreaking work to shape the digital marketplace in a way that empowers consumers and puts their data privacy and security needs first. This work includes using CR research to identify critical gaps in consumer privacy, data security, and technology law and policy, as well as building strategies to expand the use and influence of the new Digital Standard  being developed by CR and partner organizations to evaluate the privacy and security of products and services. The Politics of Privacy If you keep up with the news of the day, you know that right now, everybody has had it with big tech companies, like Facebook. Consumers, politicians, the media and other businesses have been sounding off about the pitfalls of having big tech intrude into our lives. It’s brought about a lot of policy proposals, but no comprehensive legislation that is likely to pass at the Federal level. This gaping hole has been filled in by the privacy legislation that is popping up at the state level. Legislation State By State As is often the case, California is one of the first states to come forward with privacy legislation of its own. The California Consumer Privacy Act has already been amended to make the legislation stronger than the original bill. Virginia also came forward with a bill, and Colorado quickly followed suit. We’re also currently seeing legislative battles in New York and Washington State over privacy, and the proposals are really all over the place. The Federal Role of Privacy The Federal government has basically taken a hands off approach to the privacy legislation popping up around the country. Because all of the privacy laws ultimately center around the first amendment, the Federal government is reluctant to play a heavy handed role in the laws that are cropping up throughout the country. There have been some challenges to legislation around the first amendment and some have been rejected, as the judiciary is reluctant to regulate companies. Consumers vs. Businesses vs. Government Consumers don’t want Facebook or their ISPs to track their every move and collect data on them. At the same time, the government doesn’t want private data collected to be in the hands of these companies and outside of the reach of government agencies.  Many states are willing to take a more aggressive approach to privacy in light of the massive data breaches that consumers have experienced in recent years. Where are we now While it’s clear that aggressive action needs to be taken to prevent data breaches, it’s going to take regulatory agencies some time to catch up because Federal legislation moves so slowly.  Much of the existing legislation is unwieldy for the consumer. Whether it relies on a physical opt out by consumers or it goes state by state, it’s just not that easy for consumers to actually protect themselves with the current regulations. State legislatures do not have the staff or the expertise to create the kind of legislation that is needed for consumers to truly be protected. We need to find a balance between what can effectively protect consumers, but also allow businesses to function in a way that doesn’t put consumers at risk. Resources: Connect with Justin on Twitter @justinbrookman
10/12/202115 minutes, 37 seconds
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Cody Venzke: Protecting Your Child's Data in School

CDT Comments to US Dept. of ED Urging the Protection of Students of Color and Students with Disabilities, And Their Data @venzkec Cody Venzke is a Policy Counsel for CDT’s Equity in Civic Technology Project, where he works to ensure that education agencies and other civic institutions use technology responsibly and equitably while protecting the privacy and civil rights of individuals. He is a contributor to the California Lawyers Association’s treatise on the California Consumer Privacy Act, including on the right to opt out and compliance with recordkeeping and training requirements. Prior to joining CDT, Cody served as an Attorney Advisor at the Federal Communications Commission and clerked for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes on the Third Circuit and the Honorable Jan E. DuBois in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Cody also worked on the litigation team of an international law firm, where he served clients in emerging technologies such as clean energy, medicine, and media.  In his pro bono work, Cody has represented tenants in eviction actions, assisted applicants under the U visa program, and supported litigation to ensure criminal defendants receive adequate representation under the Fifth Amendment.  Prior to starting his law career, Cody taught math at a large public high school in Houston, Texas through Teach For America. Cody graduated from St. Olaf College and Stanford Law School, and grew up in rural Iowa.
9/30/202116 minutes, 34 seconds
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Margaret Kaplan: How Landlords Use Algorithms to Weed Out Potential Renters

  Margaret graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2003 and began her legal career with the Housing Preservation Project. She began her career as a community organizer, fighting for the rights of manufactured home community members with All Parks Alliance for Change. After law school, Margaret joined HJC under its former name Housing Preservation Project, where she worked on a range of issues including preservation of federally subsidized housing and manufactured home community preservation. She then returned to APAC as the Legal and Public Policy Director where she helped resident associations fight for their rights in parks, represented resident associations in court, and helped push legislation to support manufactured homeowners, including a law that prevented deceptive lending practices and creation of the relocation trust fund for homeowners displaced through park closures. Next, she spent four years at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs as the Operations Director for the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing, working to ensure that people affected by decisions had the tools and skills to organize and advocate on issues ranging from education to transportation to police community relations to housing. Most recently she spent six years as the Community Development Director at Minnesota Housing where she worked to create connections between community needs across the state of Minnesota and the programs and policies of Minnesota Housing. Margaret was also a policy fellow with the North Star Policy Institute. She brings a wealth of knowledge about local, state, and federal housing policy and programs as well as a robust background in the intersection of community organizing and the law.   Discussion Materials Opening the Door: Tenant Screening and Selection 
9/22/202114 minutes, 57 seconds
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Justin Hendrix: What You Need to Know About Terrorism in DC

  Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
9/14/202118 minutes, 28 seconds
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David Johns: Trump's Arsonous Section 230 Plan to Roast Black Voices

  Bio David J. Johns is known for his passion, public policy acumen and fierce advocacy for youth. He is an enthusiast about equity—leveraging his time, talent and treasures to address the needs of individuals and communities often neglected and ignored. A recognized thought leader and social justice champion, David’s career has focused on improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black people. On September 1, 2017, David Johns began his next life chapter as the executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)—a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ bias and stigma. In 2013, Johns was appointed as the first executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative) by President Barack H. Obama and served until the last day of the Obama Administration in January, 2017. The Initiative worked across federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education and workforce development programs for African American students of all ages. Under his leadership, the Initiative studied the experiences of students—leveraged a partnership with Johnson Publishing Company (EBONY Magazine) to produce a series of African American Educational Summits (AfAmEdSummits) at college campuses throughout the country, where the only experts who sat in front of the White House seal were students as young as elementary school. The recommendations that students made at AfAmEdSummits have been used to improve policies, programs and practices, including curriculum, designed to ensure that students thrive—both in school and in life. Prior to his White House appointment, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Before working for the Senate HELP Committee, Johns served under the leadership of the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA). Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY). Johns has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth, early childhood education, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males—both within academia and society. Johns is committed to volunteer services and maintains an active commitment to improve literacy among adolescent minority males. Johns has been featured as an influential politico and advocate by several publications and outlets, including, NBC, EBONY and The Washington Post.  Johns is a prominent strategist who offers commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, EducationPost and TV One. David is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in sociology and education policy at Columbia University. Johns obtained a master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African American studies. Johns was named to the Root100 in both 2013 and 2014, selected as a member of the Ebony Power 100 in 2015, and received an early career award from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2016. He has also served as an adjunct professor at American University. Resources National Black Justice Coalition Johns, D., 2020. Don’t Make the Internet Unwelcome to Diverse Communities, Especially Black and Latinx LGBTQ People. [Blog] Morning Consult, Available at: [Accessed 11 November 2020]. Related Episodes ‘Social media policy: It's the moderation, stupid!’ with Chris Lewis Ep. 232(Opens in a new browser tab) Intro JOE: Hey everybody. So here we are on the other side of the election. They're still counting the votes. But this thing looks over. Even in the face of several lawsuits, President Trump has brought to challenge the election results, Biden's win is only becoming more decisive. The president-elect is on track to win by over 5 million popular votes, bringing his total to more than 80 million, more than any presidential candidate in history, and he still has another 75 likely electoral votes outstanding in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. So ... we're pretty much done here.  Hit me up. (866) 482-3898. Leave your thoughts! Maybe we’ll use them in a future episode. (866) 482-3898. What tech policy issues should the Biden administration and Congress focus on? Let us know. (866) 482-3898. Save it to your contacts. So, you know, I don’t have to say the number over and over again. Like a ShamWow commercial. So that brings us to -- what will the next 4+ years look like in terms of tech policy? Obviously, China will be a major issue, and particularly Huawei. It will be interesting to see whether the Biden administration continues its ban of U.S. companies doing any business with Huawei whatsoever. Key allies haven’t supported the Trump administration’s ban, citing their reliance on Huawei technology. Outside of technology, what are the chances of war with China over the coming years, as China has continued to object to the U.S. presence in the South China Sea? What happens there directly affects the tech markets--war would certainly have a major impact on the supply chain. So that is definitely something to watch out for. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that platforms aren’t legally responsible for the content their users post, has been an issue, as you know, with the Trump administration attempting to get the FCC--an independent agency, no less -- to use Section 230 to rein in what some conservatives see as an “anti-conservative bias” on platforms like Twitter. I’d be very surprised to see the Biden administration continue down that path.  It’s just a huge waste of administrative, legislative and judicial resources for a policy that, I believe, would ultimately lose on First Amendment grounds once it hit the Supreme Court. Republicans and some Democrats could certainly purse reforming Section 230. But we’ll have to see if Josh Hawley is as passionate about illegal sexual content, and sex trafficking, as he says he is, and pursues Section 230 as vigorously as he has up until now.  And another issue, I think, that we haven’t heard a lot about but probably should since we saw growth among Latino and Black working-class voters voting for Trumpism, is the Future of Work. What does the future of work look like for Americans in a tech sector that hasn’t done anything meaningful, other than releasing diversity reports, to improve diversity and inclusion -- nothing observable, I should say, because we can’t see everything that’s going on--all we see are the numbers which are pretty sad--they don’t look anything like the U.S. population. And you have companies like IBM already lobbying the Biden administration to fill the government skills gap by working with these same companies. The same companies hiring from the same 5 schools. We have over 5,000 colleges in the United States, many of which offer amazing programs -- since they’re accredited, right? -- they have amazing programs but don’t have the endowments--they don’t have the marketing budgets--for various, historical reasons we don’t need to get into. We hear a lot about recruiting from HBCUs. That’s great! But we have many many state and local colleges with incredible diversity -- Minority Serving Institutions -- with Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Native American students -- that don’t get much advocacy at all. Why is that?  So those are just 3 areas I’m certainly going to be watching. There are many, many others, we’ll get to them on future episodes …  Let’s get into Section 230 -- David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, and someone I greatly, and many, greatly respect and admire this man for his sheer intellect and incredible interpersonal skills. He is an enthusiast about equity—leveraging his time, talent, and treasures to address the needs of individuals and communities often neglected and ignored. A recognized thought leader and social justice champion, David’s career has focused on improving life outcomes and opportunities for Black people. David Johns.
11/12/202018 minutes, 31 seconds
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Richard Fowler: Misinformation in Black America mixdown

Bio   Richard Fowler is Host of radio’s nationally syndicated The Richard Fowler Show, Democratic Messaging Expert, and Millennial Engagement Specialist, Richard Fowler is an advocate for youth and social policy reform.  Currently, Richard works with teachers, nurses, and higher education faculty to make sure their voices matters in the decision making process taking place at city halls, state capitols, and our nation’s Capital. Fowler is regularly featured on prime-time cable news discussing a wide variety of issues, including the 2016 election, social justice, race, and news of the day.   Most frequently, he appears on The Kelly File and Hardball  on MSNBC, in addition to other major international and outlets across the country. He was a 2012 Democratic National Convention Delegate. The Richard Fowler Show can be heard in over 9.1 million homes internationally and is a partner in the TYT Network, a multi-channel network on YouTube specializing in political talk shows. Richard has been a regular fill-in anchor on Current TV and RTTV and currently serves as the official guest host for The Full Court Press with Bill Press. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Richard got his first taste of politics at a young age when he went with his mother into the voting booth to pull the lever for Bill Clinton for President. After that auspicious start, Richard began his involvement in politics. As a young man he volunteered on numerous local races in Florida, including former Attorney General Janet Reno’s gubernatorial campaign. From registering and organizing more than a thousand young voters in Florida for the NAACP — to being a campaign manager in the District of Columbia, Richard has used his experience to advise youth, minority and female candidates. Richard has been a featured speaker at the Center For American Progress, National Council of La Raza’s National Conference, College Democrats of America, United States Student Association, the American Councils on International Education, the Young Democrats of America, over twenty different foreign delegations, and numerous colleges and universities. He has trained nearly 2,000 young people about the importance of image and messaging in the political arena. Richard is also the co-founder of Richard Media Company, a boutique messaging, public relations, and production outfit located in Washington, DC.  Outside of his work in media, Richard was the co-founder and director of PHOENIX FREEDOM PAC, a transportation solutions political action committee. Richard Formerly served as the Advocacy Director of The Young Democrats of America and as the Executive Director of Generational Alliance, a progressive youth engagement organization. He sat on the Board of Directors for Amara Legal Center and now is a National Executive Board Member for Pride at Work. He is also the former Executive Director of the Virginia Young Democrats Annual Conference, a Fellow at the New Leaders Council, and a former Fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership. Richard earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University. Resources The Richard Fowler Show Intro A coalition of the United States Department of Justice and 11 mostly red states announced Tuesday that they filed a new antitrust lawsuit against Google because of its search dominance. The complaint accuses Google of engaging in a number of anti-competitive practices. One of them is Apple’s exclusive relationship with Google that allows Google’s search engine to be the default in Apple’s Safari browser. The Wall Street Journal reports that some estimates place the cost to Google for this relationship at $11 billion, comprising some 20% of Apple’s total revenue.   A key piece of evidence here was a 2018 email from a top Apple executive telling his counterpart at Google, “Our vision is that we work as if we are one company.” Neither company has released the name of the executive who sent that email. But I am just beside myself trying to figure out, and I’m really trying to empathize with the person who sent it, why, out of all of the things they could have put in writing, why they wrote the absolute worst thing they could possibly think of.    This was a high-level interaction with a competitor in which anticompetitive pitfalls were blatantly obvious. The first thing on this executive’s mind should have been to avoid an appearance of impropriety at all costs, especially given the discourse here in Washington about both companies’ market dominance and bipartisan support for regulating tech companies.   These executives are supposed to be the best and brightest, right? But this is just basic antitrust law and policy. A high-ranking executive in a company like Apple should know it. It’s just basic. It’s not hard.   I cannot help but wonder if the executive here was a person of color. Forgive me if I sound harsh. But companies like Apple use their purported inability to find qualified diverse talent as an excuse to justify the sheer lack of diversity in their executive ranks. I really want to know how someone, who is supposed to be so superior to everyone else who competed for their job, could make such a dumb mistake.    I’m not saying this person should be fired. Everyone makes mistakes. But for a company that seems so invested in meritocracy, I, like many of you, can’t help but wonder 1) was this executive a person of color, and; 2) how did the company respond to this? Are they treating it as an isolated, forgivable incident, or, are they are globalizing it, making a value judgment about the executive’s overall intelligence?   I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not even saying it’s healthy to think this way. I’m just saying it crossed my mind.    And I won’t even get into Jeffrey Toobin.   
10/21/202017 minutes, 25 seconds
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John Bergmayer: Behind the App Store Purge with

John Bergmayer is Legal Director at Public Knowledge, specializing in telecommunications, media, internet, and intellectual property issues. He advocates for the public interest before courts and policymakers, and works to make sure that all stakeholders -- including ordinary citizens, artists, and technological innovators -- have a say in shaping emerging digital policies. Resources Bergmayer, J., 2020. Tending The Garden: How To Ensure App Stores Put Users First. [ebook] Washington, DC: Public Knowledge. Available at: [Accessed 27 September 2020].
9/28/202018 minutes, 5 seconds
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Mike Alkire & Jonathan Slotkin: How to fix the healthcare supply chain

Bios Mike Alkire Michael J. Alkire (@AlkirePremier) is the President at Premier, the largest global supply chain, healthcare technology company in the U.S, that helps hospitals and health systems provide higher quality patient care at a better cost. In addition to leading the integration of the company’s clinical, financial, supply chain and operational performance offerings, Alkire also oversees the quality, safety, labor and supply chain technology solutions. An influential figure in America’s efforts to address drug shortages and infuse data-enabled technology solutions into the U.S. healthcare system, Alkire has been consulted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FEMA, congressional lawmakers, Wall Street investors and private sector industry leaders on how to stabilize the medical and pharmaceutical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to offering his expertise in the media, he shares perspectives via his podcast, InsideOut, through discussions with insiders in healthcare. With an eye on equipping the nation’s hospitals and health systems with the clinical, financial, supply chain and operational performance improvement offerings they need to provide quality care at efficient costs, Alkire oversees Premier’s quality, safety, labor and supply chain technology apps and data-driven collaboratives including Premier’s comparative database, one of the nation’s largest outcomes databases. Alkire also led Premier’s efforts to address public health and safety issues from the nationwide drug shortage problem, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Premier research on shortages and gray market price gouging. This work contributed to the president and Congress taking action to investigate and correct the problem, resulting in two pieces of bipartisan legislation. Alkire is a past board member of GHX and the Healthcare Supply Chain Association. He recently was named one of the Top 25 COOs in Healthcare for 2018 by Modern Healthcare. In 2015, Alkire won the Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year and in 2014 he was recognized as a Gold Award Winner for COO of the Year by the Golden Bridge Awards. He has more than 20 years of experience in running business operations and business development organizations at Deloitte & Touche and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Before joining Premier, he served in a number of leadership roles at Cap Gemini, including North American responsibilities for supply chain and high-tech manufacturing. Alkire graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University and a MBA from Indiana University. Jonathan Slotkin MD, FAANS Jonathan Slotkin leads clinical strategy, innovation and operations for Contigo Health by partnering with health systems and employers to deliver the highest quality care at a fair price. He works to support the development of novel products and implementation approaches that always aim for clinical excellence, patient satisfaction and value. Slotkin is a neurosurgeon and scientist who has led prominent care delivery reengineering and digital transformation initiatives centered around patients. He has partnered with some of the nation’s largest employers to help them reimagine the care of their associates. Slotkin believes higher quality care will always be the most cost-effective care in the end and that innovative employers and providers working together is the most powerful force we have to fix the U.S. healthcare system. He maintains a clinical practice caring for patients directly at Geisinger where he is associate chief medical informatics officer and Vice Chair of neurosurgery.  Resources Scott Weingarten, Jonathan Slotkin & Mike Alkire, Building A Real-Time Covid-19 Early-Warning System, Harvard Business Review, 2020, (last visited Aug 3, 2020).   Lisa Woods, Jonathan R. Slotkin & M. Ruth Coleman, How Employers are Fixing Healthcare, Harvard Business Review, 2019, (last visited Aug 3, 2020).   Jonathan R. Slotkin, Karen Murphy & Jaewon Ryu, How One Health System is Transforming in Response to COVID-19, Harvard Business Review, 2020, (last visited Aug 3, 2020).  
8/4/202027 minutes, 25 seconds
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Philip Howard: Lie Machines and the Propaganda Marketplace

  Bio Philip N. Howard (@pnhoward) the Director of the Oxford Internet Institute and a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at Balliol College at the University of Oxford. Howard investigates the impact of digital media on political life around the world, and he is a frequent commentator on global media and political affairs. Howard’s research has demonstrated how new information technologies are used in both civic engagement and social control in countries around the world. His projects on digital activism, computational propaganda, and modern governance have been supported by the European Research Council, National Science Foundation, US Institutes of Peace, and Intel’s People and Practices Group. He has published nine books and over 140 academic articles, book chapters, conference papers, and commentary essays on information technology, international affairs and public life. His articles examine the role of new information and communication technologies in politics and social development, and he has published in peer review journals such as the American Behavioral Scientist, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and The Journal of Communication. His first book on information technology and elections in the United States is called New Media Campaigns and the Managed Citizen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006). It is one of the few books to ever win simultaneous “best book” prizes from the professional associations of multiple disciplines, with awards from the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, and the International Communication Association. His authored books include The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010), Castells and the Media (London, UK: Polity, 2011), Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012, with Muzammil Hussain), and Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015). He has edited Society Online: The Internet in Context (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004, with Steve Jones), the Handbook of Internet Politics (London, UK: Routledge, 2008, with Andrew Chadwick), State Power 2.0: Authoritarian Entrenchment and Political Engagement Worldwide (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2013, with Muzammil Hussain) and Computational Propaganda: Political Parties, Politicians and Manipulation on Social Media (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018, with Samuel Woolley). Howard has had senior teaching, research, and administrative appointments at universities around the world. He has been on the teaching faculty at the Central European University, Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of Oslo, and the University of Washington. He has had fellowship appointments at the Pew Internet & American Life Project in Washington D.C., the Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research at the London School of Economics, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. From 2013-15 he helped design and launch a new School of Public Policy at Central European University in Budapest, where he was the school’s first Founding Professor and Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society.  He currently serves as Director of the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, the leading center of research and teaching on technology and society. Howard’s research and commentary writing has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, and many international media outlets. He was awarded the National Democratic Institute’s 2018 “Democracy Prize” and Foreign Policy magazine named him a “Global Thinker” for pioneering the social science of fake news production. His B.A. is in political science from Innis College at the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. is in economics from the London School of Economics, and his Ph.D. is in sociology from Northwestern University. His website is Resources Philip Howard, Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives (2020)
7/27/202017 minutes, 19 seconds
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Sara Harrison: Telehealth at the End of Life

Sara Harrison - 'Telehealth at the End of Life' (Ep. 238) Sara Harrison, a New York City-based freelance journalist, joined Joe Miller to talk about telehealth and palliative care. Bio Sara Harrison (@SaraHarrison) is a freelance writer and journalist based in New York. Previously she was a reporting fellow at WIRED where she covering vaping, content moderation, sleep science, and much more. She is a former assistant editor for the politics section of the Los Angeles Review of Books and her work has been featured in outlets including WIRED, Protocol, San Francisco Magazine, and on NPR-affiliate KALW's Crosscurrents. Sara holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and a masters degree from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism where she was a Dean's Merit Fellow. Her thesis, “The Quest to Make a Bot that Can Smell as Well as a Dog,” won the Clay Felker Award for Excellence in Narrative Writing. Email: sara[dot]harrison[at]berkeley[dot]edu Resources Sara Harrison, When Doctors and Patients Talk About Death Over Zoom Wired (2020), (last visited Jul 20, 2020).
7/20/202015 minutes, 1 second
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Henry Greenidge: Transportation Equity

Transportation Equity with Henry Greenidge (Ep. 237) Transportation Equity with Henry Greenidge (Ep. 237) -- New York University's McSilver Institute Fellow-in-Residence Henry Greenidge joined Joe to discuss transportation equity and what new legislation will mean for communities of color. Bio Henry L. Greenidge is a dynamic attorney and government affairs professional with over ten years of experience in policy advising and legal advocacy. His areas of expertise include sustainability, energy, infrastructure, broadband, and autonomous transportation. Currently, he leads state and local government affairs in addition to public engagement for Cruise, a GM subsidiary focused on autonomous vehicles.  Previously, Henry held legal, policy, budget, and government affairs roles in Washington, DC during the Obama Administration. He has also served in senior leadership positions for the New York City Department of Transportation and the NYC Mayor’s Office.  Henry strongly believes in the importance of investing in your community and is active in several organizations including the New York Urban League and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. His board service includes Brooklyn Community Board 9, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Tech 2025, the Apollo Theater Young Professionals, and the Emma L. Bowen Foundation, providing undergraduate students of color with internships at top media and tech companies.  In addition to awards and commendations received during his time with the Obama Administration, Henry’s work has been recognized by several organizations including New York University as an Emerging Leader in Transportation, City & State Magazine as a 40 Under 40 Rising Star, and the New York Urban League as a Trailblazer. Henry has also completed the Coro Leadership New York Fellowship program and was a Fellow with the Council of Urban Professionals.  Henry holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts from the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University where he graduated with honors. During his free time, Henry can be found chasing his two young children around and doting on his beautiful wife, Linara. He also enjoys golf, cycling and collecting rare vinyl records. Resources The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research at New York University
7/13/202022 minutes, 53 seconds
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Christina Thomas: Virtual Training for Young Global Leaders

Bio Christina Thomas is the Divisional Vice President for Youth Exchanges at World Learning. Christina oversees the World Learning’s multimillion-dollar U.S. and international youth exchange portfolio consisting of World Learning’s flagship program, the Experiment in International Living. The Exchange portfolio serves over 1,200 high school age U.S. and international students and adult educators and hires up to 150 program leaders annually. Programs focus on experiential learning, global issues, and youth leadership. Christina also serves as the Board President of the Federation EIL providing member support in strategic planning, capacity building, and quality assurance. The Federation is a nonprofit association representing a global network of international educational program providers supporting 12 members around the globe who offer programs in volunteerism, group travel, language training, and study abroad. Before joining World Learning in 2003, Christina taught English to junior and senior high school students and designed teacher training programs for Japanese English teachers on the Japan Teaching and Exchange Program (JET) for three years. Christina received her master's degree in international communications from the School of International Service with an emphasis on international education and management from American University in Washington, DC. Resources Global Youth Exchanges - World Learning, World Learning (2020), (last visited Jun 28, 2020).   News Roundup       Growing list of companies pull ads from Facebook  As of Monday morning, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Unilever announced they would be pulling their ads from Facebook in protest over the social media giant’s refusal to take down hate speech. Patagonia, North Face, and REI had previously announced they’d be pulling their ads, along with Ben & Jerry’s, Eddie Bauer, and Honda America who were among the first companies to make the announcement. Unilever announced it would be pulling its ads at least until the end of the year. Bloomberg reported Friday that Zuckerberg lost over $7 billion of his wealth after Facebook’s stock price dropped 8.3%.  While Zuckerberg has come under intense scrutiny, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook investor, board member, and Trump adviser Peter Thiel is actually the one calling the shots.   What exactly is Peter Thiel’s role in the “boogaloo” movement? Thiel donated $1.25 million to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and is also a co-founder of Palantir, the controversial surveillance firm that’s developed a predictive policing algorithm popular among the boys in blue. The company has sold its software to local law enforcement agencies around the world, as well as to the U.S. military and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. It’s notorious for allegedly helping police unfairly target Blacks and Latinos and reinforcing racialized patterns within the criminal justice system, which apparently has become a breeding ground for white supremacists, including 2 now-fired cops, in Wilmington, North Carolina, who were caught on a patrol car video saying they couldn’t wait to slaughter black people. The Department of Health and Human Services has also awarded Palantir a mysterious coronavirus contract, about which Democrats in Congress, led by Congressman Joaquin Castro, wrote HHS Secretary Alex Azar Thursday, calling for the Palantir contract, as well as similar contracts with Oracle and Amazon, to be made public. The increased focus on Thiel last week came amidst reports of the growing anti-government “boogaloo” movement pushing for a Second Civil War, the type of apocalyptic event about which Peter Thiel has ostensibly been pining for years, given his 477-acre retreat in New Zealand, the Guardian reported about in a 2018 article, which would be perfect to escape such a calamity. Peter Thiel has pulled strings in the background before, when he funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker after Gawker alleged that Thiel was gay, resulting in Gawker’s 2016 bankruptcy.   The American right partners with Falun Gong Axios first reported last week President Trump has fired the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which includes the Open Technology Fund, which used to fund a variety of projects, like Signal, that allow devices access to sites repressive regimes try to block. Trump replaced USAGM’s former lead John Lansing with Steve Bannon ally and conservative filmmaker Michael Pack. Pack then fired Libby Liu, former head of the Open Technology Fund within USAGM. Now conservatives are looking to invest exclusively in two specific technologies known as UltraSurf and Freegate, technologies religious freedom advocacy organizations like Asia’s Falun Gong prefer because they see them as a way to topple China’s “Great Firewall”. Falun Gong also owns Epoch Times, which Axios notes is part of Trump’s conservative news ecosystem, and the organization is seen to align themselves with religious freedom advocates on America’s far-right, in an effort many fear will politicize America’s international media outlet. Federal government ramps up surveillance efforts The Intercept reported last week the FBI has ramped up surveillance efforts, citing contracts with companies like Venntel, which tracks the movements of millions of Americans. The Intercept found what it termed an “expedited agreement” between the FBI and a company called Dataminr as demonstrators took to the streets to protest systemic injustice, worldwide protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer who knelt on Mr. Floyds neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis despite the fact that he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, called for his mother, and was motionless for several minutes. The FBI has a long history of targeting racial, ethnic, and religious minorities especially Muslims. Boston bans facial recognition In a major victory for civil rights advocates, the City of Boston has officially banned facial recognition from policing, becoming the second-largest city to do so, following San Francisco. The Boston City Council voted unanimously in favor of the ban. On the federal level, however, no one seems to know how facial recognition technologies are used, after lawmakers sought information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on how the Department uses the technology in public housing, which includes some 1.2 million households. The Department said it doesn’t keep track. In another development, more than 1,000 machine learning experts wrote a letter to the publisher of an article set to be released from a couple of researchers at Harrisburg University claiming they have developed a facial recognition program with an accuracy rate of 80%. Also check out the profile The New York Times did on the black man whose case became the nation’s first dealing with false identification by an facial recognition algorithm.   Indiana Supreme Court rules woman not required to unlock her phone for police The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Carmel, Indiana woman, Katelin Seo, who refused to unlock her phone for police during a criminal investigation, which led to the lower court holding her in contempt. The Indiana Supreme Court found that requiring Seo to unlock her phone would have violated her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Trump restricts highly-skilled worker visas The White House last week announced that it will be restricting the number of foreign worker visas including the H1B visas tech companies use to attract highly skilled workers. Most of these workers are people of color from countries in Asia. The Trump administration claims the visas would put America at an economic disadvantage during its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. TaskRabbit CEO, Stacy Brown-Philpot Resigns  Finally, Task Rabbit C.E.O. Stacy Brown-Philpot has resigned after four years leading the gig working company. Ms. Brown-Philpot said she will stay with the company until the end of August to give it enough time to find her successor. Brown-Philpot is one of the few Black or Female technology industry CEOs. She is also on the Boards of HP and Nordstrom and is currently advising a $100 million Softbank fund to support companies led by people of color. Ms. Brown-Philpot indicated she was deeply affected by the killing of George Floyd, championed the hiring of more women and black people in tech, and said the gig working industry needs to do more for contract workers.
6/29/202022 minutes, 19 seconds
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Gowri Ramachandran: Protecting the 2020 Election from COVID19 with

‘Protecting the 2020 Election from COVID19’ with Gowri Ramachandran (Ep. 235) Protecting the 2020 Election from COVID 19 - Gowri Ramachandran, Counsel in the Election Security program at the Brennan Center joined Joe Miller. Bio Gowri Ramachandran is Counsel in the Election Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. She is currently on leave from her position as professor of law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. At Southwestern, she taught courses in constitutional law, employment discrimination, critical race theory, and the Ninth Circuit Appellate Litigation Clinic, which received the Ninth Circuit’s 2018 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award. She received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Yale College and a master’s degree in statistics from Harvard University. While in law school, she served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating from law school in 2003, Ramachandran served as law clerk to Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Billings, Montana. After a fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center, she joined the Southwestern faculty in 2006. Resources Gowri Ramachandran, How to Keep the 2020 Election Secure Brennan Center for Justice (2020), (last visited Jun 21, 2020). Edgardo Cortés et al., Preparing for Cyberattacks and Technical Problems During the Pandemic: A Guide for Election Officials (2020), (last visited Jun 21, 2020). Related Episodes     ‘Communications Policy in the COVID-19 Era’ with Hon. Geoffrey Starks (Ep. 225)(Opens in a new browser tab) News Roundup       Lawmakers step up efforts to rein in facial recognition companies’ work with law enforcement IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon announced plans to scale back the sale of their facial recognition technologies to law enforcement. But while those companies are some of the largest providers of such technologies, smaller competitors continue to supply police departments, and Amazon has only stated that it would stop selling facial recognition technology for 12 months as it waits for Congress to write new legislation. Many important studies have repeatedly demonstrated how these technologies produce biased outcomes when it comes to women and people of color. One Zero also reported last week that technology companies also make substantial donations to police organizations. WSJ: How federal authorities use marketing, GPS data to pursue suspects In 2018, the Supreme Court decided Carpenter v. U.S., in which it held that law enforcement needs a search warrant before obtaining cell tower location data from carriers when they pursue suspects. But in an exclusive report, the Wall Street Journal explains how the police now circumvent Carpenter using marketing data – which is anonymized but when correlated with other factors can reveal the personal identity of a suspect. These law enforcement agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, have concluded those data don’t fall within the scope of data for which the U.S. Supreme Court requires probable cause per Carpenter since the data doesn’t come from cell phone data and, instead, comes from geolocation data. Venntel, the subject of the Wall Street Journal report and company that provided marketing data to the IRS, claims its data is “pseudanonimized”. It will be interesting to see how courts and lawmakers consider how such pseudanonimized data should be treated in light of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Facebook struggles to respond to backlash over its content moderation policies and calls for boycotts by civil rights organizations Facebook is still under fire for failing to adequately moderate misinformation posted by the president. Several Civil Rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change and others called on advertisers to boycott Facebook after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly refused to even flag misinformation Trump posted a couple of weeks ago saying mail-in ballots pose a risk for voter fraud, a claim that is unsubstantiated. Several research reports by prominent institutions including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded mail-in ballots produce no meaningful advantage for either political party. Amidst the backlash, Facebook announced plans last week to invest $200 million to support Black-owned businesses and organizations. The company also announced an effort to register 4 million voters.   Trump tests waters with new social media violations President Trump continued to defy social media boundaries with more misleading and hateful content last week. On Thursday, the Trump campaign posted an ad containing the upside down, red triangle Nazi’s used to identify communists, socialists and liberals in concentration camps.    Facebook and Twitter removed that ad. On Friday, the president tweeted a manipulated video appearing to show a white child running after a black child with a fake lower-third saying “terrified toddler runs from racist baby”. Twitter initially flagged the tweet but ultimately took it down. Both Twitter and Facebook also announced last week they’ve seen foreign actors evolve their social media propaganda efforts but as yet no coordinated efforts by state actors to manipulate election outcomes. France upholds $56 million fine against Google for privacy violations After an 18-month appeal effort, Google has lost against French regulators who found the company violated Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by failing to make it easy for users to determine how the company used their data, notice which required users to go through several steps, according to the French Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, which upheld the $56 million fine it levied against Google back in January of last year. Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix would be investing $120 million in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Government relations pros blast Pinterest for discriminating against them for being black women Two prominent government relations pros, both of whom are African American women, put Pinterest on blast last week for allegedly having a toxic work environment that is hostile to black employees. Ifeoma Ozoma reported on Twitter that a white male inside Pinterest doxed her, sharing her private information publicly, and failed to give her a pay raise. She also said that, during her performance review, her manager criticized her for being outspoken during discussions around the company’s new policy to stop advertising slave plantation—according to Ozoma, the manager accused her of not “both-siding” the issue. Ozoma also noted that her replacement, Aerica Banks, also a black woman, also resigned.
6/22/202019 minutes, 54 seconds
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Harold Hughes: Privacy Best Practices for Startups

Bio Harold Hughes (@OneBandwagonFan) is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon – an identity infrastructure company that helps companies and organizations transparently manage, aggregate, and store valuable consumer data. A rising star in sports tech, Harold has had his ideas validated as a graduate (and now mentor) of the Founder Institute Greenville chapter; graduate of Capital Factory – Austin, one of the inaugural companies in Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange Program, and most recently the IBM Blockchain Accelerator. In his hometown community, he serves as the founder and Managing Director of Brickyard Innovation Lab: an entrepreneur ecosystem for early-stage startups and emerging growth companies. He is also a Co-Director of the Founder Institute Greenville chapter, a startup incubator, and a member of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. A man of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Harold is actively involved in the community participating on the Board of Directors for Rebuild Upstate and Visit Greenville. As a strong believer in mentorship, he makes time to speak with youth and his peers about his journey to entrepreneurship and how he has found success along the way. Harold Hughes is a graduate of Clemson University where he received Bachelors degrees in both Economics (B.A) and Political Science (B.A.).  As a “Triple Tiger”, he also completed his MBA at Clemson, before pursuing a graduate certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Stanford University. Resources Aura Bandwagon Fan Club News Roundup       Tech giants curtail, end sale of facial recognition to police IBM and Microsoft announced plans last week to end the sale of surveillance technology to police departments, with IBM stopping all research, development and production of such systems indefinitely, and Microsoft saying it plans to stop the practice until Congress passes legislation. Amazon currently only has plans to pause the sale of its Rekognition software to police for one year, but it too has called for new legislation. The decisions came after years of advocacy reached a boiling point amidst reports that police have been using facial recognition during worldwide protests, in support of Black Lives, after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police just over two weeks ago. However, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon are just 3 of the companies selling facial recognition technology to police. Also last week, the American Civil Liberties Union and several other organizations sued Clearview AI, a supplier of facial recognition technology to police departments, for scanning Illinois’ residents’ faces, without their consent, in violation of an Illinois law preventing nonconsensual fingerprinting and face scans, The New York Times reported. The Hill reports Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey also called on Clearview to conduct an independent assessment of whether police have been using their technology during the protests, to which Clearview responded that it only helps police after crimes have already been committed. And Vice surveyed 43 facial recognition companies whether they too will refuse to work with police. According to Vice, most didn’t respond to the inquiry—you can find a link to the list of those companies in the show notes. You’ll also want to read Geoffrey Fowler’s Washington Post piece discussing efforts by other companies, including lesser-known companies like NEC and Idemia to thwart lawmakers’ efforts to rein in law enforcement’s use of facial recognition to spy on U.S. citizens. Zuckerberg still being difficult about curbing misinformation Despite leading lawmakers’ and activists’ calls on Facebook to improve how it flags misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still being difficult. But at the same time he claims he’s “disgusted” by President Trump’s content, The Hill reported last week. The debate with Facebook has continued for years, with the company condescending to and patronizing a handful of civil rights groups making repeated calls for the company to better moderate hate speech. The term “hate speech”, of course, being one Fox News like to wrap in quotes as if it’s not a real thing, never mind that centuries of newspapers’, broadcast stations’, the FCC’s, and social media companies’ enabling of bigots and misogynists suggest otherwise. Sure. Facebook will take down hundreds of accounts managed by anti-racist Skinheads. But when Trump threatens bodily injury posting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, lumping peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters into a single category of “looters” … That’s no problem. On Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Committee wrote Zuckerberg, again, urging him to curb Trump’s “dangerous” posts. Zuckerberg’s response? Writing a letter in reply to 270 concerned scientists he and his wife Priscilla Chan fund through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, admitting Trump’s posts constituted misinformation, that they were incendiary, that they were “deeply shaken and disgusted” by them. But, alas, “Having more voices at the table that represent a diversity of perspectives, viewpoints, and lived experiences isn’t just a good way to help solve the world’s biggest problems and challenges – it is the only way.” “The only way”. Those words are important because they negate diverse perspectives, viewpoints, and lived experiences. They urge authoritarianism. Uber waives fees for black-owned restaurants The Hill reported that Uber Eats, after creating a list of black-owned businesses, has waived fees for customers ordering from black-owned restaurants. Uber’s ride-sharing unit also announced discounts for passengers going to black-owned establishments. The company said the deals will continue through until the end of the year. Jeff Bezos ‘happy to lose’ racist customers Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to Instagram last week to drag a racist customer named Dave who complained about Amazon’s homepage statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The customer sent an email deriding the world’s wealthiest person saying he’d laugh watching the company’s profits decline as a result of the statement. Bezos posted the email, redacting the customer’s name, saying he’s happy to lose such customers. Amazon was up 24 points on Monday June 8th’s market close, the first market close after Bezos’s post, to 2,524.06 per share. Police investigate disruptions of police radios during protests Someone took advantage of police officers’ unencrypted frequencies during protests. In one intrusion, hackers played Tay Zonday’s YouTube viral hit “Chocolate Rain” over police radios. Authorities are investigating incidents in Minnesota, Illinois and Texas. Some departments have switched over to encrypted frequencies. Twitter makes Juneteenth a holiday Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced last week that the company will now recognize Juneteenth as a company holiday every June 19th. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date African Americans in Galveston, Texas first learned of their emancipation from Union General Gordon Granger, who delivered the news nine weeks following Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court Courthouse, and some two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. YouTube announces $100 million for black creators YouTube announced last week that it would be investing $100 million to amplify the voices of black creators. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made the announcement Thursday, in a post in which she also reported the company removed some 100,000 hateful videos and 100 million such comments in the second quarter.
6/15/202028 minutes, 40 seconds
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Mayors for Tech Justice with Newport News Mayor McKinley Price

 Bio McKinley L. Price is President of the African American Mayors Association and Mayor of Newport News, Virginia. He is a native of Newport News, Virginia. He graduated from Huntington High School in 1967 and then received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia, in 1971. McKinley was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1972 as 1st Lt. In 1976, he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and performed his general anesthesia residency at Provident Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.   Dr. Price has received numerous honors and awards from various professional associations. In 1989, he was elected by his peers as President of the Peninsula Dental Society; he was the first black president of this organization. He was also named "Dentist of the Year" by the Old Dominion Dental Society. Dr. Price is a Fellow in the Virginia Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, and the International College of Dentists. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Delta Dental of Virginia, serving on the Audit and Compliance Committee and Dental Policy Advisory Committee. Dr. Price’s community service was highlighted by his being appointed chair of the Newport News School Board for two years, during his eight years of service, from 1984-1992. In 1994, Dr. Price received the President’s Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Peninsula Chapter of 100 Black Men and in 1996 he received the Presidential Citizenship Award from Hampton University. The Peninsula Chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice presented him with their Humanitarian Award in 1996. In 1998, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated honored him as Citizen of the Year during the Mid-Atlantic 44th Annual Regional Conference. The Daily Press Newspaper awarded him “Citizen of the Year” for 2005, which highlighted his Co-Chairmanship of the organization People to People whose mission is to improve race relations and the quality of life in Newport News. It also commended him for being a founding member of the Virginia Peninsula Chapter of 100 Black Men. They recognized him as the Role Model of the Year in April 2011. Thomas Nelson Community College awarded him their TNCC Medallion Award during commencement exercises in May 2011. The Price Family was the Honored Family during the 2010 Hampton University’s Black Family Conference and he was the Founder’s Day speaker at Hampton in 2011. In addition to the commitment he makes to his professional activities and meeting the demands a successful dental practice, Dr. Price devotes untiring energy and time to the Hampton and Newport News community. He has served as Chairman of the Board for Riverside Health System Foundation, Vice Chair of the Riverside Health System Board, and Immediate Past Chairman of the Thomas Nelson Community College Board. He was also appointed to the Newport News City Council for a five month period in 2004. In addition, Dr. Price was appointed by Governor Warner to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Board. In May 2010, he was elected Mayor of the City of Newport News. He becomes the first black elected as mayor of Newport News. The term is four years. Dr. Price is a member of the First Church of Newport News (Baptist), a church founded by his great-great-grandfather. He is married to Valerie Scott Price. She is a retired educator having taught for 30 years, most of which were in the Newport News Public School System. They have two adult children and one grandson: McKinley II, DDS, an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, he and his wife Amy and their son live in Brooklyn, NY; and Marcia, a Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 95th District.  Resources McKinley Price, The Need for Equitable Health Care Amid COVID-19, Governing, 2020, visited Jun 7, 2020). Home, (2020),  (last visited Jun 7, 2020).  COVID-19 Resources, (2020), (last visited Jun 7, 2020). News Roundup       Despite threats from White House, social media companies crack down on misinformation Despite president Trump’s continued claims that Silicon Valley, and social media companies in particular, harbor an anti-conservative bias, social media companies have stepped up their efforts to prevent a repeat performance of the 2016 election during which misinformation and state-sponsored propaganda ran rampant, often in favor of Trump’s presidency, according to the Mueller report and several other sources. On Monday night, after a day of employee virtual walkouts at the company in response to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg’s insistence on leaving up posts that contain misinformation, civil right leaders met with Zuckerberg via videocall and things did not go well. Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights President Vanita Gupta, NAACP Legal Defense Fund head Sherrilyn Ifill, and Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson issued a statement following the meeting stating that Zuckerberg “did not demonstrate understanding of historic or modern-day voter suppression and he refuses to acknowledge how Facebook is facilitating Trump's call for violence against protesters. Mark is setting a very dangerous precedent for other voices who would say similar harmful things on Facebook.” Zuckerberg followed up with a company memo on Friday saying the social media giant was again in the process of reviewing its policies related to discussions about police brutality and voter suppression.  Before Zuckerberg’s announcement, the company had already begun making the public aware of foreign interference on the platform by labeling state-sponsored posts.  Following the meeting with civil rights leaders and Mr. Zuckerberg’s announcement, Facebook, citing copyright concerns, removed a campaign video in which the president appeared to pay tribute to George Floyd. The company cited copyright concerns for taking down the video, after it had received complaints from the artist who’d created some of the artwork featured in the video. Twitter had also removed the video, which the White House called an illegal escalation – Twitter denied that removing the video was illegal and also cited to the president’s use of copyrighted material. Facebook also removed some 200 accounts associated with white supremacy groups last week. The company also removed fake antifa accounts, according to Reuters. Over at Reddit, some subreddit pages went dark in protest over the company’s hate speech policy, which leans heavily in favor of free speech. The protest culminated in Reddit Co-Founder Alex Ohanian’s resignation from the board and calling for his seat to be filled by an African-American board member. Ohanian also indicated that he would be donating $1 million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp and investing future gains on his stock in the black community. Also, on Wednesday, Snapchat announced that it would no longer promote President Trump’s account due to the president’s promotion of violence during protests over the weekend before last.  Finally, the Center for Democracy and Technology sued the White House in the DC Circuit last week over the president’s executive order directing the independent Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to work together, along with the Department of Commerce, to curtail enforcement of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The president issued the order after Twitter flagged one of the president’s tweets as misleading, and a tweet in which the president criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order to allow mail-in ballots. Elon Musk calls for Amazon break-up Elon Musk took to Twitter calling for a break-up of Amazon, which he labelled a monopoly.  The tweet came in response to a tweet by a New York Times reporter who’d written that Amazon had rejected his new book about COVID-19 on the grounds that it didn’t meet Amazon’s guidelines. Amazon has since stated that it removed the book in error. TikTok pledges to amplify black creators  TikTok pledged to amplify black creators last week amidst criticism that it censored and suppressed content posted by blacks. The company stated that it would form a creator diversity council and a handful of other initiatives to address these concerns. The company also participated in the music industry-led “Blackout Tuesday” during which the company shut down its Sounds page. It also announced that it would invest $3 million in organizations that work to address black inequality (although the company didn’t mention which organizations it plans to invest in). Senators criticize AT&T on zero-rating In a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, Senators Ed Markey and Ron Wyden criticized AT&T for zero-rating its own content on HBO. Zero-rating is the industry jargon used to describe the anticompetitive practice in which carriers count the use of competing platforms against their customers’ data limits but not their own content, in this case HBO, which AT&T acquired in 2018, along with HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia. The Senators set a response deadline of June 25th. Zoom announces end-to-end encryption for paying subscribers only Videoconference platform Zoom announced that it would be introducing end-to-end encryption, but only for paying subscribers. The company says doing so will allow it to work with the FBI to identify child pornographers and sex traffickers. However, Zoom made no reference to any evidence correlating free usership to the distribution of illegal content at a rate that exceeds the that of paid subscribers. California assembly introduces facial recognition bill The California Assembly is now considering a bill that would allow the State of California to conduct surveillance using facial recognition technology, if it gives notice ahead of time. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California is opposing the measure on the grounds that it undercuts limitations on the use of facial recognition technology which are already in place in some local areas including San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Denver cop fired for inciting a riot over Instagram during George Floyd protests Tommy McClay, a former police officer in Denver posed with two other cops for an Instagram photo for which he wrote “let’s start a riot”. That night, Denver police used tear gas and foam bullets against protesters, according to Ars Technica. The Denver Police Department fired McClay for the post. McClay was a brand new recruit—just 9 months out of the police academy—and so still subject to the initial probationary period of his tenure there. But one civil rights leader in Denver told Ars that the Denver Police Department has a high rate of re-hiring officers who were previously fired. 
6/8/202024 minutes, 28 seconds
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Chris Lewis: Regulating Social Media: It’s the Moderation, Stupid

Bio Christopher Lewis (@ChrisJLewis) is President and CEO at Public Knowledge. Prior to being elevated to President and CEO, Chris served for as PK’s Vice President from 2012 to 2019 where he led the organization’s day-to-day advocacy and political strategy on Capitol Hill and at government agencies. During that time he also served as a local elected official, serving two terms on the Alexandria City Public School Board. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Local Self Reliance and represents Public Knowledge on the Board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG). Before joining Public Knowledge, Chris worked in the Federal Communications Commission Office of Legislative Affairs, including as its Deputy Director. He is a former U.S. Senate staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and has over 18 years of political organizing and advocacy experience, including serving as Virginia State Director at GenerationEngage, and working as the North Carolina Field Director for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign and other roles throughout the campaign. Chris graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors degree in Government and lives in Alexandria, VA where he continues to volunteer and advocate on local civic issues. Resources The Washington Center for Technology Policy Inclusion, 2020. President Trump’s Social Media Executive Order Violates The Voting Rights Act Of 1965. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 May 2020]. Public Knowledge, 2020. Public Knowledge Rejects White House Executive Order Targeting Free Speech On Social Media Platforms. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 May 2020]. Feld, H., 2020. Could the FCC Regulate Social Media Under Section 230? No. [Blog] Public Knowledge Blog, Available at: [Accessed 31 May 2020]. Public Knowledge, 2020. Public Knowledge Responds To White House Proposal To Require FTC, FCC To Monitor Speech On Social Media. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 May 2020]. Related Episodes 'They Smile in Your Face: How the Internet is Unmasking Hidden Racism' with Robert Eschmann (Ep. 222)(Opens in a new browser tab) 'How Media Policies Have Helped the Far Right' with Anne Nelson (Ep. 217)(Opens in a new browser tab) Facebook and Civil Rights: What are the Options? with Ebonie Riley (Ep. 212)(Opens in a new browser tab) Should Americans Trust News on Social Media? with Elisa Shearer (Ep. 207)(Opens in a new browser tab) Examining "Social Media Bias" with Jen Schradie (Ep. 199)(Opens in a new browser tab) Renée DiResta: How to Fight the Imminent Disinformation Blitzkrieg (Ep. 175)(Opens in a new browser tab) News Roundup       Trump tweets mark turning point in Section 230 discourse A tweet from President Trump last week that criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order allowing Californians’ the right to vote by mail, in addition to preserving Californians’ right to vote in person if they’d prefer, has triggered a turning point in the debate around Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, even though the Centers for Disease Control recommended that election officials allow mail-in voting, specifically because of the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 disease is having on communities of color. These communities have historically been targets of voter suppression efforts. Section 230 is the 1996 law widely seen as the heart of the internet as we know it, because it shields interactive content providers, like Twitter, Google, and Facebook, from liability stemming from content posted by users. In short, without Section 230, it would be all but impossible for Twitter, Facebook, and Google to exist: without Section 230, it would simply be too risky for social media platforms to expose themselves to liability for content that you and I, or even Trump, post. President Trump posted the now-infamous tweet about Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on Tuesday. In it, the president alleged that sending mail-in ballots to voters would cause what right-wing politicians theorize is “voter fraud”, and that sending ballots to what the president termed “millions of people” would lead to the ballots being stolen. The president didn’t indicate how those attempting to steal ballots would even know whether ballots were inside of a person’s mailbox. Would they go to every single mailbox every single day to see if a ballot’s inside? In any case, the president has expressed a general fear of snail mail in recent months. At the start of the pandemic, he and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blocked funding from the $2 trillion stimulus bill that would have provided the U.S. Postal Service with billions of dollars in grants to balance its budget. So, something’s up with the mail that this president seems extremely frightened of. All of this culminated in Twitter, for the first time, posting a disclaimer on the president’s tweet – a blue hyperlink with an exclamation mark next to it that says, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”. When users click the link, they’re redirected to another Twitter page listing articles discussing the factual inconsistencies in the president’s claim that mail-in ballots would lead to election fraud and voting by immigrants. Unsurprisingly, Trump was livid when this happened. Two days later, he released an Executive Order providing for the Department of Commerce to file a petition at the Federal Communications Commission asking it to review still-unsubstantiated claims of social media companies’ alleged anti-conservative bias. The order also calls on the Federal Trade Commission to allow individuals to file complaints. When protests began around the nation in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired and charged with manslaughter, Trump tweeted a comment that echoed Miami’s then-Mayor Walter Headley’s 1967 remark “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, which was met with scorn by civil rights leaders. In the tweet, the president called protesters “THUGS”, saying he’d spoken with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz “and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” (Here would be a good place to recall last summer’s Center for Investigative Journalism report that several Confederate, anti-Islam, misogynistic or anti-government militia Facebook groups counted hundreds of police among their members, a report that corroborated an earlier finding by the FBI released over a decade ago that warned of the infiltration of law enforcement by white supremacists.) Twitter followed up with the president’s “THUGS” tweet by placing a notice over it saying the tweet violated Twitter’s policy against users glorifying violence, but still allowing users to clickthrough and see the president’s tweet. The company also went on to flag tweets from Ice Cube, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, and others it deemed to have violated Twitter’s community standards. But as far as Trump’s Executive Order to rein in social media companies is concerned, after speaking with experts like Tech Freedom’s Berin Szoka, Georgetown’s Gigi Sohn, and Public Knowledge’s Harold Feld – all of whom have been guests on the WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast – the Hill reports that there’s a general consensus in the telecommunications public policy community that the president’s executive order is a non-starter. To make it happen, the FCC would need to undo years of precedent and essentially contradict every ruling it’s made, at least during Ajit Pai’s tenure there as Chairman, including its repeal of the net neutrality order. … On another front, Senator Ted Cruz, alleging that Twitter is violating sanctions against Iran, is calling for a criminal investigation into Twitter’s alleged preservation of accounts of enemies of the United States, like Iranian Supreme Leaders Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Also, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confessed to Fox News last week that Facebook shouldn’t be “arbiters of truth”. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Facebook Executives ignored a 2018 internal report that found the company’s algorithms “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness”. It also warned that, if left unchecked, Facebook could spread even more discord, and that bringing Facebook’s algorithms under control would disproportionately affect users espousing conservative viewpoints. Facebook never publicly released the report or even acted internally to “check” conservative misinformation. Coincidentally, the presentation came at the same time the Trump administration was just beginning its campaign to characterize social media companies as being biased in favor of liberals. Last week, House Speaker Pelosi called Zuckerberg’s non-interventionist stance a “disgrace”. Running with the ball, Republicans in Congress are reportedly working on legislation to control speech on social media platforms by undoing the liability protections conferred by Section 230. Conservatives are pushing for the legislation even though a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit last week dismissed a lawsuit brought by Freedom Watch, the conservative legal group, and far-right activist Laura Loomer, against Facebook, Google & Twitter, alleging the companies were conspiring to suppress conservative viewpoints. Trump creates more expansive warrantless watchlist President Trump has moved to further circumvent Constitutionally-guaranteed due process protections by expanding a September 11th-era terrorism watchlist to include individuals who aren’t even suspected of terrorism. Newsweek reports the watchlist could grow to as many as a million names. But the Trump administration hasn’t acknowledged it’s expanded the watchlist, even though it’s required to do so under federal law. Now individuals can be included on the watchlist even if they just have family in El Salvador. FBI ties Pensacola shooter to al Qaeda with iPhone data The FBI says the shooter at a Pensacola naval base last December, a shooting that took the lives of 3 sailors and injured 8 others, had ties to Al Qaeda. Twenty-one-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Alshamrani initially attempted to destroy his iPhone following the shooting, but wasn’t successful. Initially, investigators approached Apple for help in gaining access to the phone’s data. When Apple declined, the FBI took matters into its own hands and figured out how to crack open the phone on its own. Indigent customers not getting broadband despite large carriers’ promises Even though internet service providers like Comcast and Charter promised free and low-cost internet to indigent residents, a lot of those residents are getting bills in the mail. The New York Times reports that customers who are supposed to have access to these programs are getting bills instead, sometimes for as much as $120. Customers have also reported not being able to get through to a customer service rep at all, much less in their native languages. In an unusual alliance, Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly joined Democrats in calling to expand broadband service around the country. O’Rielly told The Hill’s Editor-in-Chief Steve Clemons that equipment and affordability are the main barriers to broadband. Anonymous re-appears Hacktivist group Anonymous, which first made an appearance during the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, has reappeared amidst protests in cities around the nation in response to the killing of George Floyd and other grievances. A Facebook group owner who claims to be affiliated with Anonymous wrote that it would soon expose the Minneapolis police departments “many crimes in the world”. Forbes reports that Anonymous apparently even took down the Minneapolis Police Department’s website. FCC approves $16 million in telehealth funding The FCC also approved an additional $16 million for 43 applicants seeking funding to provide telehealth services during the pandemic. The money goes to healthcare providers for things like network upgrades and laptop, and is  part of a total pool of $200 million Congress allocated for COVID-19-related telehealth programs. To date, the FCC has allocated $50 million, or just a quarter of that total amount.
6/1/202024 minutes, 42 seconds
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Licy Docanto: Health Tech and Communications in Crisis

    Bio Licy Do Canto (@docantolicy) is Managing Director of BCW Healthcare in the firm’s Public Affairs and Crisis practice. He leads policy and public affairs strategy for the firm’s healthcare clients in North America across public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications and reputation management on a diverse and broad range of healthcare issues. He also oversees the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C.  An expert in health and healthcare policy, with twenty five years of experience at the national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values-driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political and legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building, grassroots/grasstops efforts and direct advocacy.  Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers.  Before joining the private sector, Licy served as health policy advisor to U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and served in several stints in the Office of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact many pieces of legislation and policy affecting public health, health care safety net and the U.S. health care system.  Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership from the University of North Chapel Hill—School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. Resources Why Embracing Diversity Will Lift Us Out of This Crisis Faster on Medium. Licy Do Canto Video Interview on the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Times of Crisis New BCW Inclusion & Diversity Offering: Related Episodes Taking on the Inequities Laid Bare by COVID-19 with Robert Phillips (Ep. 229)(Opens in a new browser tab) Dr. Alisa Valentin: The Unifying Power of Social Justice (Ep. 178)(Opens in a new browser tab) News Roundup       Antitrust red flags about Facebook and Google The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Department of Justice is prepping an antitrust lawsuit against Google. The suit is expected to focus on allegations that Google is monopolizing the online advertising ecosystem. Facebook also came under scrutiny in the Senate last week, with a bipartisan group of Senators calling foul on Facebook’s newly-announced plan to acquire the popular GIF-making platform Giphy in a $400 million deal which would give the social media giant access to Giphy’s huge user base and roughly 700 million daily impressions. The acquisition would give Facebook access to data on all of the platforms into which Giphy is integrated, Facebook’s competitors, like Mailchimp, iMessage, Signal, Snapchat, Slack, Telegram, TikTok, Tinder, Trello, and Twitter. Snapchat/Twilio to offer in-app domestic violence support Snapchat and Twilio are planning to offer in-app domestic violence support, according to an exclusive report from Axios. The rollout will include an effort to address victims’ mental health concerns. Snapchat will be partnering with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to provide resources, including a way for friends of victims to offer support. Twilio announced that it would provide $2 million in cash grants to orgs providing support services during the pandemic.  James Damore moves to dismiss lawsuit against Google Remember James Damore? The white male Google engineer who was fired back in 2017 for writing a screed entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”? The one that went on and on about how the corporate culture at Google discriminates and marginalizes the viewpoints of conservative white men, namely the alt-right? Well he decided to move to dismiss the case, a motion Google then joined, which led to a resolution that wasn’t made public. So it’s over. No one knows the details. But the matter that consumed the tech community for months over 2 years ago, has now drifted away like it never happened. Warren/Sanders demand explanation about Amazon firings Nine U.S. Senators led by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding an explanation for his company’s firing of at least 4 Amazon workers who’d raised concerns about Amazon’s working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter noted that COVID-19 infections have been reported in some 100 Amazon warehouses, that at least 3 Amazon workers have died from COVID-19 complications, and that an Amazon Vice President resigned in protest over the company’s handling of employees’ complaints. Other signers included Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, and Tammy Baldwin. No Republicans signed the letter—not even Josh Hawley who has been very vocal about his concerns regarding what he sees as Amazon’s anticompetitive behavior. Amazon’s response is due by May 20th. Nutcase conspiracy theorist spits on 5G engineer who then contracts COVID-19 A conspiracy theorist in London ran up to Michael Demetroudi, an apprentice 5G engineer, yelled, “All you engineers are just trying to import the 5G in every single box”, and then spat in his face.  Vice News reports that it wasn’t the first time Demetroudi has been harassed by lunatics for being a 5G engineer – one woman jumped out in front of his truck in the middle of the street and accused him of “spreading 5G from the top of his vehicle”. Another guy started yelling at him when he was just standing in line in his uniform, getting ready to buy a sandwich … I really don’t know what else to say. FCC fines Sinclair $48 million for fake news segments The FCC has fined Sinclair Broadcasting for $48 million for airing paid fake news segments 1,700 times across its stations nationwide in 2016. However, the FCC hasn’t revoked Sinclair’s licenses, even though Sinclair attempted to maintain control over stations it was supposed to divest as part of its proposed merger with Tribune back in 2018. Also in 2018, Sinclair was clowned for forcing its local newscasters nationwide to read the same script echoing President Trump’s exhortations about Fake News. Despite this pattern of conduct, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refused to revoke Sinclair’s licenses, saying requests by advocates to do so were “politically motivated”.    
5/18/202024 minutes, 43 seconds
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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings: Covid-19, Surveillance and the Future of Baltimore

  Bio Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings (@MayaforCongress) is President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a certified B Corporation and mission-driven strategy firm, dedicated to helping community-based, philanthropic, academic, governmental, and corporate organizations achieve strategic objectives. The firm specializes in coalition building, public policy analysis and research, program development, project management, and government relations. Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings previously served as the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, Vice President of Research and Programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Senior Resident Scholar at the National Urban League, Chief of Staff to former Congressman Charles Rangel, Professional Staff on the House Ways and Means Committee, and as a CBCF Legislative Fellow in the office of former Congressman Melvin Watt among other positions. A noted speaker and author, Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings’ areas of expertise include health, social insurance, economic security, education, technology, women’s issues and youth civic participation. She is the author of The Political Action Handbook: A How to Guide for the Hip-Hop Generation and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America among many other articles and chapters. Her frequent speaking engagements have included invitations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Economic Policy Institute, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Drexel University, Women Donors Network, National Association of Black Journalists, and Grantmakers in Aging among many other organizations. She has been quoted extensively in publications such as the Washington Post and New York Times and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and C-SPAN among other news outlets. The recipient of many awards, including the Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellowship, she announced a run for Congress in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in November 2019 to succeed her late husband Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.  Resources Center for Global Policy Solutions News Roundup       New York reports sharp uptick in domestic violence calls] Calls to the State of New York’s domestic violence hotline increased 30% in April, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Abusers are using the pandemic to justify keeping their victims isolated and have intensified the nature of their abuse from psychological or financial, to physical. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7 and can be reached at 800-799-SAFE. 800-799-SAFE. That’s 800-799-7233. 800-799-7233. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522. That’s LOVEIS to 22522. Otherwise, you can log in to That’s Wyden, Eshoo introduce $5bn online child abuse bill Senator Ron Wyden and California Representative Anna Eshoo introduced a bill on Wednesday to stop the alarming spread of child sexual abuse material online. The Invest in Child Safety Act aims to invest $5bn to quadruple the number of FBI investigators focused on online child abuse  and exploitation (from 30 to 120) and expand the capacity of state and local governments to investigate and prosecute the offenders and counsel the victims of online child abuse. The money would also help fund the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, create a White House oversight office, and require tech companies to keep evidence of online abuse for at least 6 months instead of 3. This new effort comes amidst a broader effort by lawmakers to limit Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which indemnifies tech companies for hosting content posted by third parties. California AG Becerra sues Uber and Lyft for misclassifying workers Invoking California Assembly Bill 5, which requires companies to treat workers as employees if they control how workers perform tasks of if the work is routine, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of city officials sued Uber and Lyft for misclassifying its workers as independent contractors. The bill took effect on January 1 but so far the companies have pushed back on compliance. The New York Times reports that Uber has even gone as far as saying they’re not required to pay their drivers as employees because technology is its core business, not ridesharing. The lawsuit also claims the companies’ noncompliance is harming other businesses who have begun implementing the law. Amazon VP resigns as company fires protesting workers Calling Amazon “chickenshit”, Tim Bray, a prominent Senior Engineer and VP at Amazon resigned “in dismay” in an open letter on his blog after the company fired employee organizers protesting the company’s treatment of warehouse workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workers went on strike, along with workers from Target, FedEx, Whole Foods, and Instacart, to protest their employers’ weak efforts to protect them from the virus. At Amazon specifically, at least 75 employees across half the company’s 110 warehouses, have fallen ill. Uber lays off 14 percent of workforce Uber announced plans to lay off some 14% of its workforce, or 3,700 employees, as demand for ridesharing has dropped during the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the layoffs will come from the CommOps and Recruiting teams. An internal memo suggested that more layoffs may be looming to as much as 20% of the current workforce, according to The Information. Airbnb has also announced plans to lay off approximately 25 percent of its workforce, or about 1,900 employees. Tumblr to remove posts that violate its hate speech policy Tumblr, founded in 2007, announced just the other day that it will remove all posts that violate its hate speech policy. Better late than never. “Researchers” at a Pennsylvania university claim to have solved the bias in AI problem Twitter dragged some so-called researchers at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania after the university posted a link claiming they’d discovered a facial recognition method capable of detecting criminality with “80% accuracy and no racial bias”. One of researchers is a former NYPD police officer. The University pulled down the link. The paper will still be released but it’s doubtful to withstand scrutiny since many say 80% accuracy isn’t high enough for the technology to be considered bias-free.
5/4/202025 minutes, 17 seconds
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Robert Phillips: Taking on the Inequities Laid Bare by COVID-19

  Bio Robert Phillips (@rphillipsalluma) leads the strategic direction, fiscal stewardship, daily operations, and overall management of Alluma as CEO. A healthcare advocate and philanthropist, Robert joined the Board of Alluma (then Social Interest Solutions) in 2006, and became President of the Board and CEO in 2017. Robert has been acting on his commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of communities in the U.S. and California for over 25 years. He played a crucial role in strategic philanthropic and advocacy efforts to improve the health of children and youth of color, expand health coverage to all children in California, modernize enrollment into public programs using technology solutions, and implement electronic health records in community clinics. His leadership at Alluma builds from experience at the California Endowment, Sierra Health Foundation, PolicyLink, AFL-CIO, SEIU, and Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit and Strategy. Decade after decade he has been proactively gaining the tools to lead changemakers in building what we need to achieve the economic well-being we aspire to as a society.  Resources Alluma News Roundup   Sharing economy implodes as people stay home  The sharing economy has imploded amidst sharply reduced demand for things like ride or apartment-sharing as Americans shelter in place. Lyft announced that it would be laying off 17% of its workforce, with more layoffs to come. Uber’s Chief Technology Officer stepped down as the company announced that it would be laying off some 20% of its workforce. And Axios reports that Airbnb took on two, separate, $1 billion loans in April alone. Study: Sextortionists netted some $500k in five months  Sextortion has been on the rise according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Sophos. The company found that so-called sextortionists – criminals who blackmail people for thousands of dollars in exchange for not revealing their online porn habits and sexual predilections – have raked in some $500k. Interestingly, most people didn’t fall for the scheme which involved paying into a bitcoin wallet set up by the perpetrators, just .5% of targets paid into the wallet, according to the report. Still the amount of money these criminals raised from such a low response rate was enough to raise some red flags. Hate groups and tech  Technology continues to enable hate speech and white supremacy as some investors have become unwitting funders of companies owned by white supremacists. The Tech Transparency project found about 125 militant groups on Facebook promoting a second Civil War, or “boogaloo”, as they refer to it. Also, Softbank has apparently invested in surveillance firm Banjo whose CEO, according to OneZero, apparently admitted to helping a KKK member shoot up a synagogue. According to the report, Damien Patton admitted to being involved with the Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Pretty sobering when you think about the fact that this is a surveillance firm he’s running. Banks and consumer advocates want a limited return to robocalling         Banks and some consumer advocates, usually foes in their lobbying efforts, are both advocating for an exception to the general ban on robocalling Congress passed last year. The exception would allow robocalls in cases where the robocalls are designed to inform the public about financial relief. I think we can all anticipate the can of worms that would be opened there – give banks an inch and they’ll take a yard. Pretty soon banks will be calling you for any reason at all. Abortion via telemedicine Pam Belluck of the New York Times wrote a piece on pregnant women seeking abortions via telemedicine. A company call TelAbortion, which the F.D.A. has approved to run during the Trump administration, serves as something of a middleman between doctors and patients by facilitating telemedicine appointments and the mailing of abortion medication. Lots of questions regarding conflicts of law issues as each state has different abortion regulations. But you can find the story in the New York Times and we’ve linked to it in the show notes. Federal judge approves Baltimore spy initiative A Republican judge appointed by George W. Bush gave the greenlight to the City of Baltimore’s aerial surveillance program citing a “highly relevant” amount of violence “afflicting the city of Baltimore”. The ACLU had sued the City of Baltimore back on April 9th for the spy plane program arguing that it is an unconstitutional invasion of personal privacy and the 4th Amendment guarantee of freedom from unreasonable government searches. More in Baltimore Magazine. Democrats push to increase broadband access in next stimulus The Hill reports that Democrats in both chambers of Congress are pushing for more funding to improve broadband for people who can’t access internet service that’s fast enough to do things like participate in remote work or distance learning. Senators Blumenthal and Markey, as well as Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, participated in a livestream with several advocacy organizations arguing for lower broadband prices. The 12 organizations hosting the livestream also circulated a petition containing 110,000 signatures urging guaranteed access to broadband as part of the next stimulus. Fox News fires Diamond & Silk Fox News has fired controversial commentators Diamond & Silk, whose real names are Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, from their Fox Nation streaming service. The rabid Trump supporters have repeatedly promoted unsubstantiated conspiracy theories such as the claims that the World Health Organization is able to turn the coronavirus on and off at will, that Bill Gates is hiding the vaccine as a way to control the population, and that 5G causes the coronavirus to spread.  
4/27/202028 minutes, 50 seconds
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Doug Brake: Digital Policy for Physical Distancing

Bio   Doug Brake (@dbrakeitif)  directs the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s work on broadband and spectrum policy. He writes extensively and speaks frequently to lawmakers, the news media, and other influential audiences on topics such as next-generation wireless, rural broadband infrastructure, and network neutrality. Brake is a recognized broadband policy expert, having testified numerous times before Congress, state legislatures, and regulatory commissions, as well as serving on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Group. His written commentary has appeared in publications such as Democracy Journal, Ripon Forum, Morning Consult, Roll Call, The Hill, and RealClearPolicy, and he has provided analysis on air for broadcast outlets such as Bloomberg, NPR, CNBC, and Al Jazeera. He previously worked as a research assistant at the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado, and he interned as a Hatfield scholar at the FCC, assisting with the implementation of the advanced communications services section of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. Brake holds a law degree from the University of Colorado Law School and a bachelor’s degree in English literature and philosophy from Macalester College. Resources Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) Robert D. Atkinson et al., Digital Policy for Physical Distancing: 28 Stimulus Proposals That Will Pay Long-Term Dividends Digital Policy for Physical Distancing: 28 Stimulus Proposals That Will Pay Long-Term Dividends (2020) (last visited Apr 21, 2020). News Roundup       Event memorializing Holocaust Zoom-bombed with Hitler images Israeli Embassy in Germany The Israeli Embassy in Germany decided to hold its Holocaust memorial online this year, only to have it Zoom-bombed with images of Adolf Hitler. This is just one of several incidents involving Zoom calls, with a meeting held by African American students at UT Austin Zoom-bombed a few weeks ago with similar racist comments and imagery. Despite the well-publicized breaches, though, Zoom usage is way up, with the company’s CEO Eric Yuan reporting 300 million new users, or 50% higher, as the company’s share price rose some 12% this week. Human Rights groups try to protect kids online amidst EdTech commercialization efforts School districts across the nation have rolled out their distance learning programs with varying degrees of success. Fairfax County, Virginia Public Schools’ rollout was an embarrassing flop, for example, with students getting Zoom-bombed and users faced with persistent log in and access problems. But with the responsibility for education delegated to each state, how can students’ privacy and personal data be protected with so little uniformity? Who will manage the RFP process for school technology providers seeking to work with school districts? What are the standards that will be used to evaluate them? There aren’t any. So, as John Eggerton writes in Multichannel News, human rights groups are pushing for better oversight.   TikTok has added additional parental controls, like disabling DMs for teens under age 16. But that doesn’t solve the problem of the China-based company potentially recording, predicting, and attempting to modify user behavior by conducting behavior and sentiment analysis over a lifetime, based on the profiles and videos their users have visited and how they have expressed themselves online since childhood, the effects of which we’ve yet to see. Nintendo confirmed 160,00 hacks last week, disabling users’ ability to log in, as the public shrugged off the hacks as a necessary tradeoff to enjoy our connected world. Fairfax County Police conducted a sting operation, arresting 30 adults who used the opportunity of the coronavirus lockdown to solicit underaged children for sex. While this effort is certainly a deterrent, many more perps, especially those who are technically literate, engage in the same behavior while evading detection, simply because lawmakers seem unable or unwilling to pass comprehensive privacy legislation to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of children’s data, much less their exploitation by criminals. Prisons are surveilling prisoners for discussions about coronavirus The Intercept reports that prisons are surveilling inmates’ phone calls for discussions about coronavirus. How doing so will help limit the spread of the deadly disease isn’t clear. But the technology was developed by a company called Verus, which was funded by Republican donor Elliott Brody according to the report. Cathy O’Neil: COVID-19 response threatens to automate ageism In an opinion piece for Bloomberg, ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ author Cathy O’Neil writes that biased data is causing healthcare providers to allocate resources away from the elderly, as they choose where to assign limited resources. She fears that nations will automate ageism in a way that preserves healthcare gaps between the young and elderly. O’Neil argues that not only is much of the data biased, but it is also incomplete, showing little to no justification at all for assigning lower priority to older patients based on their age. FCC denies extension of net neutrality comment period Not even during a pandemic is the current FCC able to show the slightest bit of graciousness for two cities among the hardest hit. Saying they had more than enough time to prepare comments, the FCC denied the Cities of Los Angeles and New York’s request to extend the comment deadline pertaining to those parts of the agency’s net neutrality repeal the DC Circuit sent back for it to reconsider. Newly unemployed find below-minimum-wage remote work on Amazon Newly unemployed workers are finding work on Amazon. The only problem is that it’s not the work in warehouses or delivering packages that most people think of. For many years, so-called “reviewers” have used Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk” platform to perform tasks that pay a median wage of around 2.00 per hour, according to research from Carnegie Mellon University. Tasks include things like labeling pictures, text, or other items for large companies like Microsoft, according to Wired. So definitely some labor issues to think about there. Leaked Amazon pics show new efforts to track license plates Finally, Amazon has faced significant criticism of late regarding the surveillance components of its Ring camera and facial recognition program. But despite calls for reform, and in the absence of regulatory constraints, the company has continued developing this technology. Ars Technica reported last week that the company may now be tracking license plates. Several reports from the Washington Post and other sources have covered police departments’ widespread use of surveillance technology developed by Amazon, Google, Palantir and others. But as one can see, we’re essentially in a Wild West-type of era, similar to the early days of the internet, in which the supposed societal benefits, in this case public safety, are seen by tech moguls to outweigh our Constitutional rights.  
4/20/202032 minutes
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Michael Connor: Shareholder Actions and Social Justice in Tech

Bio Michael Connor (@NYMichaelConnor) is the Executive Director of Open MIC, which he helped launch following a distinguished career as a media executive, entrepreneur and journalist. He has served as a consultant for more than a decade in the field of corporate responsibility and is the owner and Editor of Business Ethics magazine, an online publication. Michael is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Correspondent and Senior Producer for ABC News. His television work has received numerous honors, including two national Emmys, a Columbia-duPont Award, a Writers Guild Award and a nomination for an Academy Award. He also held executive positions at Dow Jones & Co., where he led global development of the company’s TV and multimedia operations, served as CEO of a London-based pan-European business news channel and was Executive Producer of The Wall Street Journal Report, a weekly syndicated program. Michael currently serves on the board of the Center for an Urban Future, a NYC-based think tank dedicated to highlighting the critical opportunities and challenges facing New York and other cities. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. Resources   Open MIC   News Roundup         Amazon fires employees critical of the company’s working conditions   Amazon fired 3 employees last week who were critical of working conditions at the online retail behemoth which reached a market cap milestone of $1 trillion in January. The employees were fired for complaining about the company’s coronavirus response, urging the company to increase cleaning at its facilities, and joining public protests opposing the company’s practices. Organizers are calling for a mass employee walkout on April 24th. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth currently stands at $139.4 billion.   Where are the unemployment checks?   The U.S. unemployment rate is estimated at around 17%--the worst its been since the 1930s. The Nation’s unemployment insurance system, which was set up to compensate those who have lost their jobs, can’t keep up with the number of new unemployment claims surpassing the 20 million mark. A major reason for the problem is that the agency relies on COBOL, an outdated programming language that few programmers seem to know. So those who are unemployed have yet to receive their weekly checks, which, with the stimulus, can be as high as $1,000.   ACLU sues City of Baltimore over aerial surveillance   The City of Baltimore has reportedly entered into a contract that will allow private phone companies to conduct aerial surveillance and search for evidence. The pilot program claims to be designed to investigate murders, nonfatal shootings, armed robberies, and carjackings. The ACLU is challenging the program on the Fourth Amendment’s reasonable expectation of privacy guarantee and the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of association.   Will students take the SAT online   The SAT and ACT college entrance exams announced last week that they’d be developing digital versions of the test to allow prospective students to take them from home. But the SAT’s bosses at the College Board, namely its President, David Coleman, say that it’s unlikely the SAT would be conducted online. Over the past few years, many have question whether the SAT is even necessary, including Cornell, New York University, UT Austin, American University, and others, which have eliminated the requirement that students take the SAT as an admissions prerequisite. And many advocates point to the likelihood that administering the tests remotely would exacerbate current achievement gaps since the quality of testing environments would vary significantly between low-income and high-income test takers. In any case, the June, in person SAT has been cancelled.   President seems confident, but does he have the data to back him up?   President Trump has been adamant that he wants to reopen the government by May 1st. But where’s the data to back him up? The CDC has opened up their data to the public, but much of it is weeks old and conflicts with other data being conducted by research institutions. You can read more in Fedscoop.   How much privacy should we give up to defeat COVID-19?   Finally, Privacy concerns stemming from the use of mobility data to combat the novel coronavirus has opened up a passionate debate around the precedent policymakers are setting regarding the use of private data. Google and Apple are working together on technology intended to facilitate contact tracing so infected individuals and everyone they encountered in person can be notified and told to stay home. But not only will this require over a hundred thousand employees to carry out, it also would rely on mobility data, including Bluetooth data.  We’ve linked to an interview with Berkman Center Executive Director Urs Gasser in which he explains some of the ways mobility data can be used to combat coronavirus and what the privacy implications are.
4/15/202028 minutes, 46 seconds
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Jessica Fulton: COVID-19 and Black America

  Bio   Jessica Fulton (@JessicaJFulton) is the Vice President at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies where she engages in research and analysis to identify policies that advance the socioeconomic status of the Black community. She also manages the Joint Center's Policy Incubator. Prior to joining the Joint Center, she served as External Relations Director at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She has also held positions at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and the Chicago Urban League. Jessica is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and serves as Board Chair of The Black Swan Academy. Jessica earned a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and a Master's Degree in Economic Policy Analysis from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at Depaul University.   Resources   Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies   Related Resources       Domestic violence rises worldwide with COVID-19 lockdowns   The New York Times reports that domestic violence cases are rising around the world, citing data provided by domestic violence hotlines, which have seen an uptick of reports over the last month. Rihanna and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey have stepped in, though, by contributing a combined $4.2 million to a new effort to address domestic abuse. Jack Dorsey also announced this week that he’ll be contributing $1 billion of his own money to the coronavirus fight.   Coronavirus hampers public transportation   Axios reported this week that public transportation systems are struggling to hold on as coronavirus lockdowns and a rise in coronavirus cases among transit employees, have all but crippled transit systems across the country--causing massive losses in revenue—to the tune of some $38 billion combined. The transit crisis threatens essential workers in particular, many of which are people ofc color.     Apple/Google launch corona virus tracking system Apple and Google have joined forces to launch a system that uses Bluetooth to track the spread of coronavirus. The companies plan to share the data with government and health agencies. But the tracking would be opt-in only and only public health officials would be permitted to use the data. The technology works not by tracking location data, but by tracking individuals to better determine how the disease travels from person to person.   Ars Technica: Verizon is refusing to offer DSL to low-income users   Ars Technica reports that while Comcast has the best program for low income consumers during the coronavirus pandemic, Verizon, Charter and other carriers are coming up short. While Verizon is offering steeply discounted internet service, it’s only available to FiOS subscribers, and not consumers who use DSL. Verizon says its DSL service is too slow, since its making its discounted service available to Lifeline consumers only, and that its DSL service doesn’t meet the FCC’s minimum speed requirement. The availability of high speed internet service around the country is inconsistent, with different regions having more access than others, which highlights discriminatory redlining.   Landlord app flags delinquent tenants during COVID-19   Naborly, an app that helps landlords screen tenant applicants, is engaging in some curious tactics during this uncertain time of mass unemployment. As the number of unemployment claims has soared in recent weeks, the company has been flagging tenants who haven’t paid rent since April 1st.    North Carolina is looking into expanding its online voting system The state of North Carolina is looking to set up and improve its online voting system, to allow voters to cast their ballots without leaving home. Activists are concerned about privacy violations and the potential for hacks and voter suppression.  
4/7/202020 minutes, 39 seconds
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Hon. Geoffrey Starks: Communications Policy in the COVID-19 Era

‘Communications Policy in the COVID-19 Era’ (Ep. 225)     FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks joined Joe Miller to discuss the communications priorities his office is focused on amidst the coronavirus pandemic.     Bio     Geoffrey Starks (@geoffreystarks) was nominated to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission by the President and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on January 2, 2019. He was sworn into office on January 30, 2019. Previously, Commissioner Starks served as Assistant Bureau Chief in the FCC's Enforcement Bureau, Senior Counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he received the Attorney General Award for Exceptional Service—the highest award a DOJ employee can receive. Prior to his entry into federal public service, Commissioner Starks was an attorney at the law firm Williams & Connolly, clerked for the Honorable Judge Duane Benton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, served as a legislative staffer in the Illinois State Senate, and worked as a financial analyst.     Commissioner Starks is a native of Kansas and was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Commissioner Starks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College with high honors and a law degree from Yale Law School. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Lauren, and their two children.     Resources     Starks, G. (2020). To Fight Coronavirus, Millions More Americans Need Internet Access. The New York Times available at     Miriam's Kitchen     Larkin Street Youth Services Center     Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications (FCC)   News Roundup         Zoom under fire for privacy breaches   Zoom, which has been the darling of remote workers in recent weeks, is under fire for privacy violations. A Zoom user in California sued the company, claiming it improperly shared their data with Facebook. Also, So-called Zoom-bombers have been interrupting meetings breaching Zoom’s security systems. In one incident, black students at the University of Texas at Austin were conducting a meeting on the platform, only to be interrupted by someone making racial slurs. The FBI has reported “Zoombombing” incidents nationwide and New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote to Zoom leadership requesting a faster response to these and other security breaches.   Remote learning challenges special education students and those without internet   School systems across the country have launched remote learning platforms for their students in response to coronavirus-related school closures. But remote learning poses unique challenges for those without internet access at home. And the $2 trillion stimulus empowered Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to cut funding and support for accommodations for special education students.   NY State Court of Appeals: Postmates workers are entitled to unemployment benefits   The New York Court of Appeals, the State of New York’s highest court, has ruled that Postmates delivery workers are entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefits. The decision has implications for gig workers throughout New York, including Uber and Lyft drivers. New York State Attorney General Letitia James applauded the decision.   How much access to data should the government have to respond to COVID-19   Multiple reports found last week that federal officials are prying into cellphone tracking data to assess how the coronavirus is spreading. Advocates argue that data collection is necessary, but guardrails should be established to ensure that federal officials don’t use the data as a backdoor to conduct warrantless surveillance, which they have been angling to do for some time.   Tech companies struggle to keep up with more sophisticated tactics to undermine elections   Tech companies are scrambling to respond to ever-evolving risks to the electoral system. The New York Times reports that a number of tactics that Facebook, Twitter, and Google began implementing to defend against misinformation online, are being tested by politicians themselves, with Michael Bloomberg’s campaign investing directly in Instagram meme accounts promoting his campaign, for example. The companies spent billions to deal with threats happening in plain sight, the most well-known examples being those conducted by Russia with the assistance of Cambridge Analytica and prominent Republicans. But the stealthier approaches taken by bad actors 4 years later underscores the need to invest even more resources to address the newest attacks.   FCC approves $300 million telehealth initiative The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $300 million telehealth initiative designed to ensure that folks in remote areas can access telehealth applications while they’re stuck at home. But the funding is directed toward providers themselves. And most grants will be for less than $1 million. Part of the money will also be used to address remote access issues that have plagued the country for decades.   DC District Court: Journalists and investigators can legally probe sites for algorithmic bias   The US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last week that journalists and others are free to investigate platforms for signs of algorithmic bias, even if it means submitting false information to the site that would violate the site’s terms of service. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the pre-enforcement lawsuit on behalf of two Northeastern University computer science professors, to prevent the Department of Justice from attempting to use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to prevent investigators from using evasive tactics to assess the extent to which a platform engages in algorithmic bias. The Department of Justice argued that such violations would violate a platform’s First Amendment Rights. But the decision turned on whether the site had set up adequate permissions such that an investigator, scholar, or journalist could be found to have exceeded the granted permission level. The Court found that breaching terms of service agreements doesn’t rise to the high level of permission granted by, say, an authentication gate, which adds another level of permission by requiring a password.      
4/4/202025 minutes, 43 seconds
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Askhen Kazaryan: Tech Policy in Extraordinary Times

Bio Ashkhen Kazaryan (@Ashkhen) is the Director of Civil Liberties at TechFreedom. She manages and develops policy projects on free speech, artificial intelligence, surveillance reform and sharing economy. Ashkhen also handles outreach and coalition building for the organization. Ashkhen is an Internet Law and Policy Fellow and an expert at the Federalist Society’s Emerging Technology Working Group, part of the Regulatory Transparency Project. Ashkhen received her Specialist in Law degree summa cum laude from Lomonosov MSU in 2012, Masters of Law Degree from Yale Law School and is completing her PhD in Law at the Law School of Lomonosov Moscow State University (thesis on Legal Regulation of Art Markets). At Yale Law she served as an Articles Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, Senior Editor of the Yale Law and Policy Review and Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology while also being Co-Chair of the Public Interest Fellowship. Ashkhen worked as the leading legal analyst at the High Intellectual Property Court, drafting decisions of the Presidium of the Court, creating precedents, including on information intermediaries and use of trademarks. In 2013-2014 she was a Fox Fellow at Yale. She is a proud supporter of New England Patriots and Broadway musical enthusiast. Resources TechFreedom News Roundup       Amidst COVID-19 epidemic, carriers challenged to balance network demands against providing needed access With millions of Americans now either working remotely or using the internet while they’re unemployed, the nation’s Internet Service Providers – or should I say, their workers—are working overtime to keep the networks going and traffic flowing freely online in order to meet demand. Edge providers like Disney and Netflix have cut bandwidth in Europe after regulators there stepped in and, here in the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission has opened additional spectrum for the carriers. The FCC has also relaxed a rule that prohibited carriers from gifting services to E-Rate subsidy recipients like schools and hospitals. Of specific concern to policymakers are rural residents without access who are unable to take advantage of remote healthcare options via high speed broadband. But the FCC has, up until now, lacked robust data regarding internet access in rural areas -- President Trump signed the Broadband DATA Act earlier this week, which will address some of the data challenges. But advocates like Matt Wood at Free Press are also pushing for better pricing regulations, an issue that affects both urban and rural areas, he told Gizmodo, as the average price of internet service in the United States surpasses that of countries like Russia, China, and Syria. Carriers’ responses to the increased demand brought on by coronavirus and relative high price of broadband have varied. In New York City, for example, Chalkbeat reported that ISPs that serve the area, including Charter and Optimum, have denied access to families with delinquent accounts, even if their children need an internet connection to participate in remote instruction while their schools are closed. Verizon, on the other hand, is offering free Fios and wireless service so customers who have been ordered to shelter in place can access entertainment and educational programming. Starting April 1, Verizon will also grant new customers access to its premium tier of movie channels, like HBO and Showtime, free for 30 days. Resilience of gig market tested Turning to the gig market … As you probably already know the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims reached an astonishing 3.3 million last week, the highest weekly unemployment rate ever, by a long shot. Previously, the worst weekly unemployment rate happened in 1982, when weekly jobless claims once hit 695,000 — still well under a million. But gig workers are being hit particularly hard, such as Uber and Lyft drivers faced with decreased demand for car service. And gig workers overall, who receive fewer employment perks and pay than full-timers working from home, have been laid off and, if they are 1099 independent contractors, aren’t able to claim unemployment insurance. When we look to corporate actors, there are good actors and some not so good. Google, for example, announced that it would extend the contracts of its temporary workforce by 60-days. The company is also investing $800 million in programs to help Small and Mid-sized businesses working to address the COVID-19 epidemic. Uber and Lyft on the other hand, according to the New York Times, have been promoting a California ballot initiative that would undue legislation signed into law there last year which would entitle workers whose work is controlled by their employers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, to qualify as employees, irrespective of whether they are W-2 or 1099 workers. The $2 trillion stimulus bill the president signed into law on Friday extends unemployment benefits to gig workers. However, advocates see this as only a band-aid—once it falls off, then what? Lacking health insurance, once Uber driver reportedly died from COVID-19 after he was exposed to a sick passenger. Turning to the ISPs, Charter isn’t giving bonus pay to workers who expose themselves to the coronavirus when they enter customers’ homes. What they are giving them though is a $25 restaurant gift card – no soap to wash their hands before they eat, though. That’s in the restaurant bathroom already. Twitter deletes Federalist post calling for mass coronavirus infection   Twitter deleted a post from the Federalist, the right-wing website, for retweeting a post by a fake dermatologist who’d been advocating for mass exposure to the coronavirus. Twitter also temporarily blocked the account. FBI warns of fake CDC emails regarding COVID-19 The FBI warned the public about cybercriminals exploiting the coronavirus epidemic by sending fake emails that appear to be coming from the Centers for Disease Control or other healthcare organizations. So be careful to check and double check not just the From field, but also the meta data to determine exactly who the email is coming from before you open it. If you’ve subscribed to newsletters from healthcare organizations, you can also filter them to a separate folder automatically so that anything appearing to be from them in the regular inbox looks suspicious by default when you’re reviewing your messages.  
3/28/202026 minutes, 24 seconds
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Jeff Lane: Criminal Justice and Tech: The Digital Street

‘The Digital Street -- Criminal Justice and Tech' with Jeff Lane (Ep. 223) Rutgers’ Jeff Lane joined Joe Miller to shed light on “the digital street”—how social media shapes the criminal justice system in Harlem and beyond. Bio Jeffrey Lane (@TheDigitalStre1) studies communication and technology as it relates to urban life, criminal justice, and social inequalities. He approaches these topics ethnographically by getting to know the same people and situations in person and online. Lane is the author the award-winning The Digital Street (Oxford University Press, 2019), a neighborhood study of social media use in Harlem (NYC) -- the first book about neighborhood street life in the digital age. Lane’s research has informed a needs assessment and a strategic plan for juvenile gangs convened by New York’s Center for Court Innovation. Lane's previous book, Under the Boards (University of Nebraska Press) focuses on the production of race, masculinity, and popular culture in the basketball industry.  Resources Jeffrey Lane, The Digital Street (2018). Related Resources 'Palantir and the Police' with George Joseph (Ep. 145)(Opens in a new browser tab) 'The Racial Implications of Florida’s School Safety Portal' with Ora Tanner (Ep. 205)(Opens in a new browser tab)   News Roundup Lawmakers weigh remote education options for students w/out internet access Lawmakers and educators are considering how to provide internet access to children who don’t have it, as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies amidst crippling uncertainty as to when Americans will be able to come out from under house arrest, and when schools will reopen. On the federal level, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has been underscoring the need for universal access. Democratic Senators Klobuchar, Peters, and Tester urged the FCC in a letter last week to take actions to ensure that parents at least know about the options that are available to them for accessing high speed internet service if they  need it. Federal Communications Commission data indicates that some 21 million Americans do not have access to the internet at home. The Senators noted in their letter that some 12 million children lack access to the internet at home. We here at WashingTECH have been advocating on the local level here in the DC area for stronger partnerships between groups like the National Parent Teachers Association and school districts to develop buddy systems that pair students who lack access with students who have it. Volunteer parents serving as host families could receive a stipend. Dems propose mail-in voting, not online for coronavirus-era elections Several Democratic Senators are proposing mail-in ballots ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Under the bill, the National Disaster and Emergency Relief Ballot Act (NDEBA), all voters would be entitled to obtain absentee ballots. The bill also provides for 20 days of early voting in all states. A new Brennan Center study found that maintaining the credibility of the U.S. electoral system during the pandemic, which would include measures outlined in the NDBEA, would cost taxpayers some $2 billion. Amazon shuts down New York City warehouse over coronavirus Amazon has shut down its Queens warehouse after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. The shutdown will be temporary but if one goes down, many can go down. And then what? An Amazon spokesperson told the Hill that the employee is under quarantine and that they sent their employees home with full pay. The company also announced that it would stop shipping nonessential items to warehouses and that it plans to hire another 100,000 workers to handle the spike in demand. Undocumented children increasingly facing judges online The Associated Press reports that more and more children who were detained at the border and separated from their parents, are not only having to face immigration judges alone, usually without counsel because they’re not entitled to it, but now they’re going to have to face them through video screens. The AP piece describes 7 children standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” in Houston, talking to a judge located a thousand miles away on a glitchy video link. Nearly 4 thousand children are currently in federal custody. A number of these children crossed the U.S./Mexico border alone. Elon Musk pledges to provide ventilators to those who need them Finally, you know there’s a ventilator shortage. Well Elon Musk has said his company would produce ventilators in the event of a shortage in hospitals. Just last week, Musk said coronavirus concerns were dumb. So it’s good to know he’s come to his senses.
3/20/202036 minutes, 15 seconds
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Robert Eschmann: How New Internet Technologies Are Unmasking Hidden Racism

Bio A Boston University School of Social Work faculty member since 2017, Rob Eschmann (@robeschmann) is a scholar and teacher whose interests include educational inequality, community violence, racism, social media and youth wellbeing. His research seeks to uncover individual, group and intuitional-level barriers to racial and economic equity—and he pays special attention to the heroic efforts everyday people make to combat those barriers. For Eschmann, this work is a part of the larger freedom struggle. “The function of racism is to reproduce racial inequality, but in the 21st century the devices of racism are often hidden behind color-neutral laws or friendly interactions,” he notes. “Highlighting the mechanisms of racism, therefore, can demonstrate the continuing significance of race, raise consciousness, and promote and strengthen resistance efforts.” His recent publications include “Unmasking Racism: Students of Color and Expressions of Racism in Online Spaces,” which appeared in the journal Social Problems in 2019, and “Rethinking Race,” a chapter in the book Education & Society (University of California Press, 2019). In addition to his appointment at BUSSW, Eschmann serves as an affiliated faculty member in the BU College of Arts & Sciences in the Department of Sociology and the African American Studies Program. Resources Robert D. Eschmann, Unmasking Racism: Students of Color and Expressions of Racism in Online Spaces (Society for the Study of Social Problems, Oxford University Press, 2019). News Roundup Facebook and Twitter halt Russian election interference campaign targeting African Americans  Facebook and Twitter announced late Thursday that they had taken down multiple accounts and pages that were in the process of executing Russian interference campaigns targeting African Americans. Unlike during the 2016 election when Russia conducted similar operations from inside Russia, these latest intrusions prove Russia’s persistence and evolving sophistication. Russia disguised these latest interference efforts by conducting them from within Africa, namely Nigeria and Ghana, by recruiting operatives there to spread vitriol and suspicion around topics like Black Lives Matter, voting, and police brutality. The Hill reports that Facebook dismantled 49 accounts, 69 pages, and 85 Instagram accounts. Twitter said it removed 71 accounts that purported to be operated from within the United States.   FTC warns Cardi B for not disclosing paid social media ads The Hill reports that the Federal Trade Commission has warned Cardi B and 10 other celebrities about not disclosing paid ads for their endorsements of things like supposed weight loss teas on their social media channels.  The FTC didn’t file formal charges against the influencers. However, it has required them to provide a list of actions they plan to take to be more transparent about their sources of funding. Sen. Kamala Harris calls out Facebook for continued negligence regarding misinformation ahead of the U.S. Census  So an ad ran on Facebook that appeared to be a link to the 2020 U.S. Census. But when users clicked the link, they were redirected to Trump’s campaign website. Senator Kamala Harris blasted Facebook in a letter last week for failing to stem the tide of misinformation on the platform, even misinformation that violates its own policies. Nancy Pelosi also blasted the social media behemoth. Harris pointed specifically to Facebook’s dismissive approach toward recommendations made by civil rights groups to address the effects of Census misinformation on people of color and other marginalized groups who are vulnerable to being undercounted. Facebook has since removed the ads. But what were the lessons learned back in January when Facebook was forced to remove misleading ads about the coronavirus? Facebook continues to mismanage information that appears on its site and isn’t being held accountable in any sort of lasting and effective way. Kamala Harris noted as much when she said the company’s response to misinformation about the Census will presage how it responds to the 2020 election. Last month the Atlantic predicted that misinformation will be a defining factor of Trump’s re-election campaign. That certainly appears to be the case thus far. Twitter caught in the middle Regarding Twitter … First, its CEO Jack Dorsey will stay on for the time being. Prior to the announcement, there had been speculation that activist investment firm Elliot Management would require Dorsey to step down due in part to perceived conflicts of interest because of his role as CEO at both Twitter and Square. But Twitter was also caught between Republicans and Democrats as it came under pressure to take down or flag a video that Trump retweeted which appeared to depict Joe Biden endorsing Trump’s re-election campaign. Twitter ultimately tagged the video as manipulated. But then a couple of days later, the Trump campaign followed up about an ad posted by the Biden campaign which included footage of Trump calling protesters on both sides of the deadly Charlottesville riot, which included far right protesters opposing the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as “fine people”. The Biden ad took that quote and made it appear as though the president was only referring to racist protesters. Cybercriminals and coronavirus Finally, a new report from cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike finds that cybercriminals, including a group connected to China called PIRATE PANDA, are taking advantage of people’s fear and confusion about the coronavirus. The report notes that just like the coronavirus, the attacks are moving East to West, becoming steadily more sophisticated as they progress. The security breaches are designed to cajole unsuspecting users to open email attachments and take other actions consistent with previous criminal operations that malicious hackers have conducted against unsuspecting users.
3/13/202028 minutes, 1 second
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Bärí Williams: A New 401(k) for Small Businesses

Bio Bärí A. Williams is an attorney and startup advisor, previously served as Vice President of Legal, Policy, and Business Affairs at All Turtles, an artificial intelligence studio. Her primary practice areas include emerging technology transactions, privacy and data protection, and terms of service. She is the former Head of Business Operations Management for North America at StubHub, where she was responsible for business planning and operations to manage and oversee technical internal and external metrics, product innovation, and partnerships and drive P&L results across the company. Prior to StubHub, Bärí was a senior commercial attorney at Facebook supporting connectivity efforts, building drones, satellites, and lasers, and supporting the company's supply chain. She also successfully took on the passion project of creating and implementing Facebook’s Supplier Diversity Program, launched in October 2016. She has served as an advisor to startups in the enterprise and e-commerce space, including Blavity (and AfroTech), Bandwagon, Owl, and Telepath.    Bärí is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (BA, Mass Communications), St. Mary’s College of California (MBA), the University of California, Los Angeles (MA, African-American Studies), and the University of California, Hastings College of Law (JD). She is also a published author with bylines in the New York Times, WIRED, Fortune, and Fast Company. She recently gave congressional testimony on bias in AI in financial services in Feb. 2020. Her book, Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations About Identity, Privilege, and Bias, will be released on March 31.     Resources Human Interest Bärí Williams, Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias (2020) Bärí A. Williams News Roundup   Tech responds to coronavirus   Tech giants are responding to coronavirus fears as Amazon reported that an employee contracted the illness.   Facebook has cancelled its annual participation in SXSW. The social media giant has also pledged to give the World Health Organization as many free ads as needed to combat the virus.   And Google has canceled its annual I/O developer conference which was scheduled for May 12th and 14th. Google has also halted international travel for employees.   NYPD to remove innocents’ DNA profiles from its database   The New York City Police Department has said that it will remove DNA profiles of individuals who haven’t been convicted of any crimes. The New York Times reports that some 82,000 DNA profiles in the NYPD’s database belong to non-criminals. NYPD had detained and collected DNA evidence from kids as young as 12. The Times reports that officers once offered a 12-year-old a soda during questioning then collected the boy’s DNA from the straw. Many other individuals who were merely questioned, who weren’t convicted or in many cases not even arrested, also had their DNA collected. The database will be purged in the coming weeks and, going further, the NYPD will collect DNA from children only in cases involving felonies, sex crimes, gun charges, and hate crimes.   House seeks info from Ring on surveillance     Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy wrote Amazon VP of Public Policy Brian Huseman requesting extensive information regarding its home security subsidiary Ring’s partnerships with law enforcement to surveil communities with Ring’s footage. Back in August, Ring began disclosing the police departments it has been working with which, as of today, includes some 967 police departments nationwide. In the DC area, participating police departments include Takoma Park, Bladensburg, Seat Pleasant, Prince George’s in Maryland, and, in Virginia, Alexandria’s Police Department is working with Ring.   Judge: Instacart cannot misclassify workers as independent contractors   A San Diego judge has found that Instacart cannot misclassify workers as independent contractors. In granting a preliminary injunction against Instacart, the judge ruled to enforce the new AB5 law which seeks to ensure that gig workers are classified as employees in order to access benefits and have the right to form a union. NBC News has more.   Democrats split on cybersecurity   The Hill reports that Democrats are split on what to do about reauthorizing the USA Freedom Act, the cybersecurity bill put in place following Edward Snowden’s revelation that the National Security Agency was storing millions of Americans’ phone numbers. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler are spearheading efforts to reauthorize the bill while more liberal Democrats, including Zoe Lofgren, are seeking more privacy protections. Many of Schiff’s allies during the impeachment hearing are now opposing his efforts to reauthorize the cyber bill and, interestingly, the White House has also weighed in saying the President, including Attorney General Barr, wants the full bill reauthorized without changes. The disputed changes involve the extent to which there should be more transparency in how the FISA court operates with regard to surveillance.  
3/5/202031 minutes, 54 seconds
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Gary Radburn: How Real Innovators Use VR for Social Good

Bio  Gary Radburn (@VRGaryatDell) is the Director of VR/AR solutions at Dell. As part of this role, he works closely with Dell customers on VR/AR deployments and help to establish Dell’s VR Centers of Excellence with locations around the world for businesses and consumers to experience and learn more about VR in the real world. He has held various roles across the technology industry over the last three decades, ranging from Engineering to Sales & Marketing, and has experience across all aspects of designing products and solutions and bringing them to market.   Resources  Radburn, G. (2018). Real Innovators Use VR for Social Good. [Blog] Direct@Dell.  [Accessed 26 Feb. 2020].  News Roundup  Washington Post report on Facebook/GOP coordination doesn't bode well for policy pros of color   A Washington Post report by Craig Timberg doesn't bode well for lawyers of color and Democrats seeking to work in Facebook's policy office here in Washington. According to anonymous sources who contributed to the story, GOP operative Joel Kaplan, who dated Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg when they attended Harvard together, has no intention anytime soon of adding Democrats to his policy team. Only Republicans are driving Facebook's policymaking efforts, often acceding to Trump administration demands by enacting policies like the ban on removing political ads from the platform in which politicians make false statements. Last year civil rights leaders met with Mark Zuckerberg at his home in Palo Alto in an attempt to persuade him to remove such ads – he refused, likely after taking Kaplan's advice into account. So the disproportionate power dynamic at Facebook is just as out of whack as compared to its user base, as Congress is to the populace: Seventy-eight percent of lawmakers in Congress are white even though whites comprise only 61% of the total U.S. population. So, is Facebook using politics as a pretense for racial and gender discrimination? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe Democratic women and people of color who are listening should apply for jobs in Facebook’s policy shop and, when they don't get them, sue them and see what happens.  Following resistance, UCLA bans campus-wide facial recognition  The University of California at Los Angeles has banned the use of facial recognition surveillance on campus, Fight for the Future reported on Medium last week. The decision came amidst growing backlash against the 45,000 student university including a nationwide campaign to prevent the spread of facial recognition across college campuses. Schools like MIT, Harvard, Brown, and Columbia have issued public statements stating that they would not institute a facial recognition program. But UCLA decided to go ahead and see if it could roll out an always-on biometric scanning and identification system anyway, until it ultimately caved to pressure from the UCLA community. Here in DC, GW, and American have stated publicly that they might use facial recognition technology on campus. But the University of Maryland, on the other hand, has said they won't. UVA has also said that it will not implement facial recognition as part of its campus safety program.  Kickstarter workers vote to unionize  Engineers and other white-collar workers at Kickstarter have voted to form a union, according to the New York Times, becoming one of the first tech companies to do so. The vote was by a narrow margin – 46 to 37 – but the decision to unionize has put to rest many months of back-and-forth and tension at the company.  Feds are raiding tech companies for medical records  According to a new investigative report by Thomas Brewster at Forbes, federal law enforcement officials have been raiding tech companies to obtain their users' medical records data. And this isn't just DNA data, either -- We're all too familiar with the risks associated with giving our DNA data to companies like 23andMe and But this is about law enforcement obtaining warrants to access your medical history, including any medications you're taking, by showing the warrant to a company called DrChrono, which specializes in warehousing this information online.  Seattle city Councilwoman Kshama Sawant wants to tax Amazon to address housing shortages  The Guardian reports that Seattle city Councilwoman Kshama Sawant introduced a bill last week that would impose a 1.7% payroll tax on Amazon, and other companies among Seattle's top 3%, generating up to a as much as $300 million per year. Three-quarters of the proceeds from the fund would go towards building affordable, publicly-owned homes. The remaining 25% would go to convert homes from using oil and gas, to clean electric energy.   Target’s delivery app Shipt is hostile towards employees  According to a new report in Motherboard – Shipt - Target's delivery app – is retaliating against employees for posting comments or criticisms about Shipt's labor practices. One Shipt employee reported publicly that, after Shipt tweaked its algorithm, she went from earning $200 per week to $0-25 per week. Shipt then deactivated her account. Some employee accounts have been deactivated for no apparent reason, leaving employees unaware of and on pins and needles wondering when the next shoe will drop.  Northeastern University Study: No bias in YouTube Comment Moderation  Ars Technica reports that a Northeastern University study has concluded that there is no apparent political bias in content moderation on YouTube. For the last several years, Republicans including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have claimed that platforms like YouTube are biased against conservative viewpoints. But after reviewing some 84,068 comments on 268 YouTube videos, the researchers found that the moderation of hate speech by right-leaning commenters versus that of left-leaning commenters was about the same.  
2/24/202020 minutes, 27 seconds
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John Godfrey: 5G is Here: What Does that Mean for You?

Bio John Godfrey (@SamsungDC) is Senior Vice President of Public Policy for Samsung Electronics America. Based in Washington, D.C., he leads Samsung’s public policy team in engagement with government and industry, focusing on communications policy, digital television, wireless spectrum, health care, environment, broadband, cybersecurity, privacy and other areas. An active participant in the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Godfrey is a member and past chair of the CTA Foundation’s Board of Trustees and CTA’s Video Division Board, among other groups. He is also a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the standards developing organization for digital television broadcasting. Prior to joining Samsung in 2006, Godfrey was with Pioneer North America, Sony Electronics, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Research Council, and SRI International. Godfrey has a Master's degree in Telecommunications from George Washington University, a Master's degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, and a Bachelor's degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, artist Ellen Hill, have two sons and live in Rockville, Maryland. Resources 5G is Here (Samsung, 2020) News Roundup DOJ Charges Chinese Military Officials for Equifax Hack The Department of Justice indicted 4 Chinese People’s Liberation Army officials on Monday, charging them with 9 counts for the 2017 Equifax hack that led to the theft and sale of some 145 million Americans’ data. US Attorney General William Barr noted that this represents nearly half of the American population. The indictment includes charges for stealing trade secrets. refuses warrant for member data DNA platform refused to honor valid arrest warrants in 8 out of 9 cases last year, according to the company’s 2019 transparency report. Competitor 23andMe has also promised to keep its DNA database private.’s DNA database is estimated to contain the DNA information of some 16 million people. Federal Court approves T-Mobiler/Sprint merger The US District Court of the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, approved the $26.5 billion T-Mobile/Sprint merger last week, over the objection of 15 Attorneys General, including California AG Xavier Becerra and NY AG Letitia James. Presiding Judge Victor Romero wrote that the merger is not likely to lessen competition. The merged company is required to divest resources to satellite provider Dish ensure Dish becomes a viable competitor. Amazon removes books written by Nazis Finally, Amazon has removed 2 books written by authors David Duke, who is a former KKK Grand Wizard, and George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi party. Some booksellers say that Amazon’s policies are opaque and have vocalized opposition to the removal of these titles.
2/11/202021 minutes, 36 seconds
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Licy Do Canto: How Data Mapping Can Save Moms’ Lives

‘How Data Mapping Can Save Moms’ Lives’ with Licy Do Canto (Ep. 218) Bio As Managing Director of BCW Healthcare in the firm’s Public Affairs and Crisis practice, Licy Do Canto (@LicyMD) leads policy and public affairs strategy for the firm’s healthcare clients in North America across public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications and reputation management on a diverse and broad range of healthcare issues. He also oversees the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C.  An expert in health and healthcare policy, with twenty five years of experience at the national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values-driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political and legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building, grassroots/grasstops efforts and direct advocacy.  Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers.  Before joining the private sector, Licy served as health policy advisor to U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and served in several stints in the Office of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact many pieces of legislation and policy affecting public health, health care safety net and the U.S. health care system.  Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership from the University of North Chapel Hill—School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. Resources BCW Global S.3152 – Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act News Roundup Zuckerberg says new content policies will ‘piss off a lot of people’  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues his crusade to be the standard-bearer of free speech even if his company’s policies “piss off a lot of people”. Zuckerberg told CNN that he plans to draw a line in the sand when it comes to censorship as he thinks Facebook is taking on too much of that responsibility. He says that the company will continue to remove the most harmful content and also discussed plans to ramp up encryption on Facebook’s messaging service. Zuckerberg has remained steadfast in maintaining Facebook’s policy of leaving up false statements by politicians in their ads. Study: Using pre-trial risk assessment tools to book criminal defendants increases the likelihood they’ll considered a flight risk Courts routinely use pre-trial assessment tools to determine the likelihood that a defendant will flee if they’re released on bail. The higher the flight risk, the more pre-trial supervision the court will impose. The data these tools rely on includes data on past arrests.  But a new study from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and San Francisco Public Defenders Office notes that many of those arrests lead to acquittals. But despite the acquittals, the study found, courts recommended a higher level of pre-trial supervision in 27% of cases that include prior arrest data in their pre-trial assessment tools. ACLU: Puerto Rico’s online voting plan is too risky The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing back against legislation in Puerto Rico that aims to bring voting fully online by 2028. The ACLU is asking Puerto Rico’s Governor Wanda Vázquez to veto the bill after it passes the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, which is expected to happen this week. Lawyers for the century-old advocacy organization argue that the plan is extremely susceptible to hacks and poses significant cybersecurity risks that threaten to undermine Puerto Ricans’ trust in the government. House Oversight Committee seeks answers from dating apps on kids’ privacy The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy launched an investigation into dating platforms’ failure to prevent underage users from signing up. Members of the subcommittee wrote Bumble, Grindr, The Meet Group, the Match Group, Tinder, and OkCupid seeking documents pertaining to any policies they have in place to prevent underage users pretending that they’re over 18 and sex offenders from lurking on the platforms. The documents are due to the subcommittee on February 13. Health records app pushed opioids Bloomberg reports that in the midst of the opioid crisis, between 2016 and 2019, electronic health records company Practice Fusion pushed alerts encouraging opioid treatment on 230 million separate occasions.  A Vermont federal court says the company has agreed to pay $145 million in civil and criminal damages.
2/4/202017 minutes, 58 seconds
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Anne Nelson: How Media Policies Have Helped the Far Right

  'How Media Policies Have Helped the Far Right' w/ Anne Nelson (Ep. 217) The author of 'Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right' and Joe Miller discuss how media public policy has helped the Right seem bigger than they are. Bio Anne Nelson (@nelsona) is the author of ‘Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right’ (Macmillan, 2019) and lecturer in the fields of international affairs, media and human rights. As a journalist she covered the conflicts in El Salvador and Guatemala, and won the Livingston Award for best international reporting from the Philippines. She served as the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 1995 she became the director the international program at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she created the first curriculum in human rights reporting. Since 2003 Nelson has been teaching at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where her classes and research explore how digital media can support the underserved populations of the world through public health, education and culture. Nelson is a widely published author. Her 2009 book “Red Orchestra” describes the way media was used for both propaganda and resistance in Nazi Germany, and was published to wide acclaim in the U.S. and Germany. In October 2017, Simon & Schuster published her book “Suzanne’s Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris,” telling the story of a rescue network in Paris that saved hundreds of Jewish children from deportation.   The Wall Street Journal praised the way the book “vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.”  It was named a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards.  The work was published as “Codename: Suzette” in the UK, and as “La Vie Heroique de Suzanne Spaak” by Robert Laffont in France.  It is available as an audiobook, read by Nelson, and was released in paperback in October 2018. Nelson’s play “The Guys,” based on her experiences following the September 11th attacks, has been produced in all fifty states, fifteen countries, and as a feature film. It has been widely used to fund local fire departments and related causes such as trauma counseling and burn treatment centers. Nelson also has long experience in philanthropy. She has consulted for the Rockefeller Foundation, the Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation, among others, in areas of human rights, freedom of expression, social and economic development, and media policy. Nelson is a graduate of Yale University, a 2005 Guggenheim fellow, and a 2013 Bellagio Fellow. She is a fellow at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia, and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations. Resources News Roundup Soros/Clinton drag Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros called out Facebook’s apparent intention to get President Trump re-elected. The social media platform continues to maintain its policy of allowing ads placed by politicians that contain falsehoods to remain on the platform. According to Bloomberg, in a speech at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Mr. Soros stated “I think there is a kind of informal mutual assistance operation or agreement developing between Trump and Facebook”. He went on to say that Facebook and Trump will work to protect each other. At the Sundance Film Festival and in an Atlantic interview, Ms. Clinton expressed similar concerns and said that Zuckerberg’s philosophy of letting its users “decide for themselves” what’s true or false is an authoritarian perspective. Jeff Bezos’s phone hacked According to new reports in the Guardian, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’s smart phone was hacked in 2018. Forensic investigators reportedly found a “high probability” that a malicious file that was embedded within a WhatsApp conversation between Mr. Bezos and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, scoured Bezos’s phone for personal information. The Hill notes that 9 months later, the National Enquirer revealed details of Mr. Bezos’s extramarital affair, although both Saudi Arabia and National Enquirer former parent company American Media Inc., both deny Saudi Arabia’s involvement.  2018 was also the year that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, a murder the U.S. concluded was ordered by bin Salman—an allegation that bin Salman and the Saudi government deny. President Trump has backed bin Salman and the Saudi government’s denials of the murder. In addition to controlling Amazon, Mr. Bezos also owns Washington Post, so multiple  lawmakers and cybersecurity experts believe the alleged hack, reportedly conducted with tools linked to a bin Salman associate, was designed to suppress reporting on Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. On Wednesday, Bezos tweeted a photo of himself standing with Mr. Khashoggi’s fiancé under the hashtag #Jamal. NFL social media accounts hacked Hackers gained access to several NFL teams’ social media profiles on Monday, including those of the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are set to face off in Super Bowl 54 next Sunday. The hackers got into the teams Twitter Facebook and Instagram accounts. The hackers removed profile pictures, bios and headers. Other teams affected included the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, the Houston Texans, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, and the NFL’s official Twitter account. Newly tapped CBP head reportedly a member of racist/sexist Facebook group Rodney Scott, the 27-year Customs and Border Patrol veteran whom President Trump tapped to lead the agency, has reportedly been a member of the same Facebook group that led to his predecessor’s firing.  The Facebook group “I’m 10-15”—10-15 is the code name CBP officers use to communicate that they have a so-called alien in custody—has been the site of racist and misogynistic attacks against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in addition to other racist and sexist posts. Former CBP Chief Carla Provost retired after it was discovered that she was a member of the group. Georgetown University and the City of Washington work to develop an algorithm to prioritize building inspections Finally, the Washington Post reports that Georgetown University and the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are working on a new algorithm to go after slum lords in the District of Columbia. The Washington Post had reported back in 2017 that Sanford Capital, which owns several buildings in the District, maintained poor conditions including broken doors, rat infestations and problems with heat and sewage, even as they received millions in taxpayer subsidies. The new algorithm will be designed by Georgetown students and with the goal of improving efficiencies in an understaffed and unwieldy building inspection system. Related Posts Ep 50: How to Promote Counter Narratives to Hate Speech with Jessica Gonzalez(Opens in a new browser tab) Renée DiResta: How to Fight the Imminent Disinformation Blitzkrieg (Ep. 175)(Opens in a new browser tab) Naeemah Clark: How to Define 'Viewpoint Diversity' in a Polarized America (Ep. 155)(Opens in a new browser tab)
1/28/202022 minutes, 29 seconds
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Yosef Getachew: How Politics Infect Media Ownership Diversity in the U.S

Bio Yosef Getachew ( @ygetachew2) serves as Program Director of the Media & Democracy Program at Common Cause. Prior to joining Common Cause, Yosef served as a Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge where he worked on a variety of technology and communications issues. His work has focused on broadband privacy, broadband access and affordability, and other consumer issues. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Yosef worked as a law clerk for several technology and communications organizations including the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast, Facebook, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Yosef has also served as a Project Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Yosef received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. In law school, he was an Articles Editor for the Federal Communications Law Journal. Yosef was born and raised in Washington D.C.   Resources   Common Cause, Media & Democracy Project We Must Remedy Discrimination in Our Media System by Jessica J. González (Common Dreams, 2019) News Roundup Pelosi accuses Facebook of intentionally misleading voters House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped Facebook last week saying the company shamefully, intentionally misleads voters by failing to remove political ads. Ms. Pelosi specifically called out Facebook’s capitalistic model as being antithetical to democracy and a fair election in 2020. She told reporters Thursday that Facebook only wants two things: continued tax cuts and weak antitrust enforcement.   There were 58.5 billion robocalls made in 2019, which is up 22 percent Robocall-blocking service YouMail released a report last week finding a 22% increase in the number of robocalls placed in the U.S. since 2018.  The company claims that Americans received nearly 18 robocalls per year in 2019. According to the company, overall, Americans have received some 100 billion robocalls over the last 2 years. At the end of December, President Trump signed a bi-partisan bill to reduce robocalls.   Former Mueller Chief of Staff says Washington is failing to ensure election security John Carlin, the former Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller reportedly told the Hill that the federal government isn’t doing enough to prevent election interference. Mr. Carlin says the federal government’s response to the 2016 attacks, including a $425  million spending bill to address election security, did not go far enough its ongoing effort to deal with the proliferation of ransomeware and what he termed a “here and present threat”   National Institute of Justice paid Purdue University to study social media for warnings of future crimes According to the National Institute of Justice’s own website, it awarded nearly $2 million to Purdue University to assign convicted offenders wearable devices and then monitor them remotely to determine the likelihood that they’ll commit future crimes. The NIJ claims the goal is to determine whether offenders should be permitted to re-enter society. But the results of the study could have significant implications for mass surveillance as the study, which calls for testing 250 randomly-selected offender participants, will likely unfairly target African American inmates since roughly 40% of the prison population is African American even though we comprise 13% of the total U.S. population. City of Washington discovered 115 “ghost guns” in 2019 The Washington City Paper reports that the number of “ghost guns” police discovered in 2019 grew by 25% compared to the year before, or to more than 115 ghost guns. DC Police found only 3 such guns in 2017. Ghost guns are guns made from materials that can’t be found by metal detectors, such as the plastic used to print 3D guns. The DC Council has proposed a bill that would ban some but not all 3D printed guns. Some officials are worried that legislation doesn’t encompass enough of the various types of ghost guns. DC officials report that ghost guns were used in 3 homicides in 2019.
1/21/202024 minutes, 56 seconds
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Sherrod DeGrippo: The Human Factor of Cybersecurity with

"The 'Human Factor' of Cybersecurity" with Sherrod DeGrippo (Ep. 215) Proofpoint's Sherrod DeGrippo joined Joe Miller on the WashingTECH Podcast to discuss malware, the Emotet threat, and the human factor of cybersecurity. Bio Sherrod DeGrippo (@sherrod_im) is the Sr. Director of Threat Research and Detection for Proofpoint, Inc. She leads a worldwide malware research team to advance Proofpoint threat intelligence and keep organizations safe from cyberattacks. With more than 15 years of information security experience, Sherrod successfully directs her 24/7 team to investigate advanced threats, release multiple daily security updates and create scalable threat intelligence solutions that integrate directly into Proofpoint products. Resources Human Factor Report (Proofpoint, 2019) News Roundup Russia hacked the Ukrainian company at center of impeachment The New York Times reported Monday that Russia’s infamous Main Intelligence Unit formerly known as G.R.U, which is accused of working closely with Cambridge Analytica to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, hacked into the emails of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest natural gas producer which is at the center of president Trump’s impeachment. Former Vice President Joseph Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, served on Burisma’s board from 2014, until his term expired last year, a position for which Biden was compensated up to $50,000 per month. The articles of impeachment against Trump allege that Trump bribed Ukrainian President Vloymyr Zelensky by conditioning the $391 million in military aid already earmarked for Ukraine on Ukraine’s investigation into Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that Hunter Biden engaged in malfeasance during his time on Burisma’s board. Both the Ukrainian prosecutor who said that he saw no wrongdoing by Biden and the Ukrainian prosecutor who replaced him issued a joint statement in October of last year stating that they did not find any evidence of wrongdoing by Biden. The security firm Area 1 reports that Russian hackers conducted a phishing operation in which they created pages that appeared to be Burisma internal pages and tricked employees into entering their usernames and passwords, which gave the Russian’s access to Burisma’s network. It is not clear what information they obtained, but officials believe the hack was intended to find embarrassing information about Hunter Biden, given its timing amidst the impeachment investigation, as well as reports by the New York Times that Russian spies are conducting operations on the ground to gain access to Burisma in the physical world in order to achieve the same goal.  Most Republicans in Congress currently deny that Trump should be removed from office, and zero republicans in the House voted for the articles of impeachment to move forward. Facebook holds forth on political misinformation policy Facebook persists in maintaining its corrosive political advertising policies, including the policy which allows politicians to microtarget false statements in their political ads. The company says it will soon allow users to limit the political ads they see and offer more details about the ads. The company has announced a ban on deepfake videos. Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub called the response weak. Twitter has banned political advertisements altogether and Google is allowing political ads but not microtargeting. White House recommends hands-off approach for discrimination in AI Despite concerns raised by major civil rights groups over the last few years about the discriminatory effects of AI bias, and research showing the discriminatory effects of AI in determining things like creditworthiness, making hiring decisions, and many other areas, the White House released a set of AI Regulatory Guidelines during the Consumer Electronic Show last week, which take a relatively hands-off approach to addressing discrimination in AI. Overall, the guidelines discourage regulations. Consider this phrase on page 5 of the guidelines:  “When considering regulations or non-regulatory approaches related to AI applications, agencies should consider, in accordance with law, issues of fairness and non-discrimination with respect to outcomes and decisions produced by the AI application at issue.” What the White House is saying here is that agencies “should” consider – it’s optional – the outcomes and decisions produced—so not what goes into making the applications or addressing the fact that most of the people developing AI applications are not African-American, Hispanic, Latino, Southeast Asian, or Native American – but only the outcomes. This recommendation therefore means … let’s take a hands-off approach—let’s not develop standards for how AI applications are developed—let’s just take a wait and see approach—if they have harmful effects, we’ll go ahead and wait until someone spots those effects before we do anything about it. And it’s not like the guidelines don’t make strong recommendations in other areas … Agencies “MUST”, for example, report on the outcomes of stakeholder engagements and  “identify existing regulatory barriers to AI applications …” So we’ve got a double-standard of a set of guidelines that mandate pre-emptive approaches to address regulatory barriers to the development of applications, but not barriers to say, you finding a job, or getting a mortgage, or getting Tinder matches who aren’t Ayn Rand enthusiasts. And the guidelines make no mention of civil rights at all. Barr asks Apple to unlock the Pensacola shooters iPhone U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has asked Apple to unlock the iPhone belonging to Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, the Saudi air force member who shot and killed 3 American sailors in Pensacola last month.  Apple has refused. The dispute is the latest chapter in an ongoing saga between Apple and law enforcement officials that began when the FBI sought to compel Apple to unlock the iPhone belonging to Syed Farook, terrorist who murdered 14 people in San Bernadino in 2015. Federal law enforcement officials abandoned that effort after finding an alternative way to gain access. Ivanka Trump speaks at the Consumer Electronics Show, met with resistance Despite a warm reception from the crowd at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, White House adviser and daughter to the president Ivanka Trump was met with scorn and criticism, under the hashtag #BoycottCES from women and tech workers who said she didn’t belong there. The Hill reported for example that game developer and Congressional candidate Brianna Wu took exception to the fact that Ms. Trump is not a woman in tech and criticized the Consumer Electronics Show’s “lazy” attempt to achieve speaker diversity by selecting her as a speaker. House passes 5G bills to ensure U.S. dominance over China Finally, The House of Representatives passed 3 bills last Wednesday which would allow data speeds of up to 100x of what we currently have. The bills will also give the United States more say in how 5G is developed internationally by, for one, requiring the Secretary of State to hire a telecom adviser. Both parties signed on to the bills nearly unanimously.
1/14/202019 minutes, 9 seconds
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Dylan Gilbert: The Termination Right -- Here's what creators need to know

Bio Dylan Gilbert (@dgilbert_PK) is Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge where he advocates for the public interest with a focus on government affairs. His core work includes privacy, copyright reform, and a variety of telecommunications and platform-related issues. Prior to joining the Public Knowledge team, Dylan clerked at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and America’s Public Television Stations. Dylan also has over a decade of experience working in the music industry as a performer, producer, and music supervisor. Dylan holds a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and a B.A. from The College of William and Mary. In his free time, Dylan enjoys playing jazz piano and hitting errant golf shots at the driving range          Resources Public Knowledge Making Sense of the Termination Right: How the System Fails Artists and How to Fix It by Dylan Gilbert, Meredith Rose and Alisa Valentin (Public Knowledge, 2019) Facebook and Twitter remove accounts tied to a fake pro-Trump network Facebook, Twitter and Instagram removed hundreds of accounts , pages, groups and Instagram accounts operated by individuals in Vietnam and the U.S. The accounts used artificial intelligence to evade detection and create fake profile see in order to spread misinformation. Facebook connected all of the accounts to The Epoch Times, a Chinese site operated by the Falun Gong which has been supportive of President Trump. Twitter also removed 88,000 accounts on Friday alone which the company tied to Saudia Arabia. Unanimous Senate Approves Robocall Legislation  Every once in awhile, it’s nice to see some bipartisanship. The Senate last week unanimously approved Robocall legislation which will require phone carriers to block annoying robocalls free of charge. The bill also requires companies to verify that phone calls are coming from real numbers. It’s called the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence or TRACED Act. It now heads to the president’s desk for signature which Congressman Mike Doyle expects to happen within a week. Airbnb bans 60+ white supremacists Using data it collected from its user verification process, which included cross referencing its readership against the leaked SQL database of the now-defunct violent white extremist group Iron March, Airbnb banned more than 60 of its users, mostly guests rather than renrters, for their ties to Iron March. Gizmodo has more. France has fined Google $167 million for anti-compettive conduct France has fined Google some $167 million for anti-competitive conduct. The country asserts that Google controls some 90% of the online advertising market. Earlier this year, France began collecting a 3% company from firms that provide digital services to France-based customers. Reveal News reports on debilitating worker injuries at Amazon Reveal News published an article last week examining worker injuries at Amazon where, especially during the holiday season, workers are injured bending and lifting in an effort to reach a company goal of sending out 1 million orders out per hourdd. That translates to one item per 11 seconds for each employee. Moving at this breakneck speed, workers are increasingly injured, often keeping them out of work indefinitely. You can find that story in the show notes. The New York Times releases extensive report on location data collection The New York Times released a must-read report on how companies and entities we’ve never heard of, much less given consent to, are constantly collecting our location data, telling full stories about where we go, whom we’re with, and what we’re doing. It’s a long read, so definitely something to check out over the holidays.  
12/24/201927 minutes, 59 seconds
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Mohamed Abdel-Kader: How to Connect Underrepresented Students to International Opportunities

    Bio Mohamed Abdel-Kader (@MAKtweeter) is Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute. He previously served in the administration of President Barack Obama as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education at the US Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. In that role, Mohamed was responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of the cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States. He led his division’s work in administering grants for overseas studies and research programs funded through the Fulbright-Hays Act as well as Title VI grants to support language and area studies programs in the United States. Before joining the US Department of Education, Mohamed served as the Director of Development for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and managed the university’s advancement strategy in the Middle East, where he focused on major gifts and strategic engagement. Previously, he developed international partnerships and led donor development efforts at George Mason University. He has advised a variety of clients on organizational strategy, doing business in emerging markets, intercultural communication, and cultural competency in international philanthropy. He speaks fluent Arabic and basic Spanish, is a Truman National Security Fellow and is the author of a children’s book about stereotypes. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Mohamed is a trustee of the Longview Foundation for International Education & World Affairs. Resources Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute Virtual Exchange Impact and Learning Report (Stevens Initiative, 2019) News Roundup Texas men plead guilty to committing hate crime against Grindr users  Two Texas men admitted to using gay dating app Grindr to target gay men for hate crimes. The 24 and 18-year-old pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime, conspiracy to commit a hate crime, car jacking and use of a firearm, according to the Justice Department. The defendants used Grindr to lure gay men to a vacant apartment where they allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted them, forcing them to withdraw money from ATMs at gunpoint.  They face between 15 and 30 years for their crimes. Groups file net neutrality appeal Several tech companies and advocacy groups, including Mozilla, Etsy, Vimeo, Free Press, and Public Knowledge, among others, filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit asking the full panel of judges to reconsider the three-judge panel’s October decision to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama-era net neutrality rules. If the court grants the appeal petition, the full court will rehear the matter. Senators Booker/Wyden call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address algorithmic biases in healthcare Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma calling for action to address racial and ethnic biases in healthcare. The Senators specifically cited recent research published in Science magazine showing that doctors were more likely not to refer black patients for additional care since their healthcare costs are typically lower than those of white patients. The Senators also cited a 2016 study showing that medical students and residents thought that black patients have a higher threshold for pain than white patients, affecting treatment recommendations offered to black patients. The Senators requested answers to several questions as to how CMMS is addressing algorithmic bias in healthcare. The answers to those questions are due by December 31st. ProPublica: Facebook still allows discrimination against women and older workers in ad targeting  ProPublica reported last week that Facebook still allows advertisers to to discriminate based on age and gender even though the company made changes to its platform to prevent advertisers from explicit targeting discrimination. But a new report by Northeastern and Upturn found that advertisers can still discriminate based on proxies for age and gender. Targeting audiences based on software engineering as an occupation, for example, can yield a larger percentage of male applicants. Facebook is adamant that it has done more than any other company to address advertising bias. New study finds increase in robocalls A new report from Hiya, a company that tracks robocalls, released a report Monday showing that some 54.6 million robocalls were placed between January and November of this year—a 108 percent increase compared to last year. Congress is expected to pass legislation that will require phone carriers to block robocalls as well as verify that the phone numbers from which calls originate are legit.
12/17/201922 minutes, 51 seconds
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Ebonie Riley: Facebook and Civil Rights: What are the Options?

    Bio Ebonie Riley currently serves as DC Bureau Chief of National Action Network’s Washington, DC Bureau. The function of the Bureau is to advocate for and influence Federal public policy that reflects the needs and desires of the communities based on the Action Agenda set forth by the National Action Networks national board and senior leadership. In this capacity, Ebonie serves as a conduit for information about what is happening in the halls of Congress, in the office and administration of the President, and United States Supreme Court. Moreover, she and her team work to educate lawmakers and other stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities facing communities, by advocating for more resources and polices that help invest and advance economic and social equality. Ebonie’s government affairs portfolio includes criminal justice, federal sentencing reform, ending racial profiling, equal employment protection, access to comprehensive healthcare, immigration, access to quality education, women’s rights, environmental justice, voting rights protection, housing, among other various issues that impact social and economic status, mobility, prosperity and empowerment of urban and under served communities. Prior to this role, she served as the Bureau’s Research and Policy Associate, analyzing legislation, drafts advocacy strategies, develops policy recommendations and monitors policy developments related to federal, state and local legislation while co-managing NAN’s Social Media. During her time at NAN she has helped organized several events and marches including coordinating NAN’s 2015 National Convention, NAN’s events in Baltimore, MD after the death of Freddie Gray, the Justice For All March in December 2014, NAN’s Legislative & Policy Conferences in 2015 and 2014, the National Action to Realize the Dream Rally and March in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington with over 200,000 people in attendance and Justice For Trayvon 100 City Vigil in Washington, D.C. both in 2013, just to name a few. Born in Chicago, Illinois and growing up in Severn, Maryland, Ms. Riley graduated from Ft. Meade Senior High School and attended UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in History. While at UMBC; she served as President of Africana Studies Council of Majors, while sitting on several academic research teams that focused on civil rights, voting rights, political behavior and attitudes, identity politics, race and representation, Congress, and elections. Specific interests include political engagement, civil rights law, voter turnout, voter suppression, and identity group politics.   Resources   National Action Network News Roundup LGBTQ+ groups call on Facebook to take down false drug ads Several LGBTQ+ civil rights groups are calling on Facebook to take down an ad posted by lawyers apparently seeking to capitalize by spreading misinformation about Truvada for PrEP, which studies have shown helps reduce the risk of contracting HIV by 99%. According to groups including GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign and other groups, the lawyers are inaccurately claiming the drug causes certain side effects, and the groups are concerned that the ad will discourage people from taking the drug. Pensacola hit by cyberattack In a Facebook post, The City of Pensacola, Florida reported that it was the victim of a cyberattack over the weekend and into Monday, which took down much of the city’s network, including its online payment system and city government emails. 311 service was also affected. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robertson said in a press conference that it was not known whether the cyberattack was connected to last week’s shooting at the Pensacola Naval Station in which 3 people were killed and many others injured.  TikTok lawsuits Legal troubles are mounting for Chinese social media company TikTok, whose growth has been outpacing that of established social media platforms, including Facebook. Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, was already under federal investigation into potential ties to the Chinese government. Plaintiffs filed two lawsuits last week, one of which was settled. But a second lawsuit brought against ByteDance in the Northern District of California by a student alleges that TikTok is transferring private user data to the Chinese government. Separately, German digital rights and digital culture blog NetzPolitik reported that TikTok has been blocking users with disabilities including overweight users and users with intellectual disabilities. Netzpolitik also reports that TikTok has been nbanning gay users as well. The company purports to ban these users so that they won’t be subjected to bullying. Google Ads staff files retaliation complaint against Google The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint last Tuesday claiming the company fired several employees in retaliation for their having joined or supported a labor group and protesting the company’s terms and conditions of employment. Reports also state that Google’s rules prevent employees from organizing.
12/10/201910 minutes, 17 seconds
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Michele Gilman: What if There's Too Much Privacy?

'What if There's Too Much Privacy?' with Michele Gilman (Ep. 211) Policymakers often discuss privacy as something that is lacking. But what if there is too much privacy? Michele Gilman joined Joe Miller to explain.  Bio  Michele Gilman (@profmgilman) is the Venable Professor of Law; Director, Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic; and Co-Director, Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She is also a faculty fellow at Data & Society in New York, where she focuses on the intersection of data privacy law with the concerns of low-income communities.  Before joining the faculty, Professor Gilman was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice; an associate at Arnold and Porter in Washington, D.C.; a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Frank A. Kaufman of the District of Maryland; and an editor of the Michigan Law Review. Professor Gilman's scholarship focuses on issues relating to poverty, privacy, economic inequality, and feminist legal theory and her articles have been published in the California Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review and the Washington University Law Review, among others. She was a visiting associate professor at the William and Mary School of Law during the 2005-06 academic year and a professor in the University of Aberdeen summer program in summer 2009. In 2009, she received the Outstanding Teaching by a Full-Time Faculty Member Award.  Professor Gilman directs the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic, in which student attorneys represent individuals and community groups in a wide array of civil litigation and law reform projects. She is involved in numerous groups working on behalf of low-income Marylanders. She is a member of the Committee on Litigation and Legal Priorities of the ACLU of Maryland and the Judicial Selection Committee of the Women's Law Center. She is the past president of the board of the Public Justice Center, where she served from 2004-2014, as well as a past member of the Maryland Bar's Section Council on Delivery of Legal Services. She received the 2010 University System of Maryland Board of Regents' Award for Public Service. Professor Gilman is the former co-chair and a member of the Scholarship Committee of the AALS Clinical Legal Education Section, and a former editor of the Clinical Law Review Review and the Journal of Legal Education. She is also a co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism, which works to apply the insights of feminist legal theory to legal practice and policy. She is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars.  Professor Gilman will be a faculty fellow at Data & Society in New York during the 2019-2020 academic year.  She will be focusing on the intersection of data privacy law with the concerns of low-income communities.  Resources   University of Baltimore School of Law  The Surveillance Gap: The Harms of Extreme Privacy and Data Marginalization by Michele Gilman (New York University Review of Law & Social Change, 2019).  News Roundup  Uber wins against woman in driver rape lawsuit  Uber was victorious last week in a sexual assault lawsuit brought against it by a woman who says she was raped near a San Francisco shopping mall last year, by a suspended Uber driver who still had the Uber decal on his window. In her pleadings before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, the victim claimed that the suspended driver was acting within the scope of his employment and that she legitimately thought it would be a safe ride. But the court disagreed.  Judge Corley did find, however, that the victim had made out a plausible claim for negligence and permitted her to refile for punitive damages for negligence stemming from Uber’s apparent failure to ensure the driver removed the decal from his window. The driver still faces a criminal trial which could send him away for life.  Separately, Uber has begun videotaping rides. But the effort has faced resistance from privacy advocates.  Prisoners in West Virginia prisons to be charged $.03 per minute to read e-books  West Virginia prisoners will have to pay $.03 per minute to access e-books via Project Gutenberg, which otherwise offers the public free access to over 60,000 books. The West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (WVDCR) entered into a deal with Global Tel Link (GTL) to provide tablets to 10 prisons in West Virginia which will also allow inmates to watch videos and send written messages and photos. But the rates for those services, ranging between $.25 and $.50 per minute, are still very high relative to the $.04 per hour to $.58 per hour prisoners can earn in wages. The prisons will lift a current restriction on accessing books in print. But advocates who oppose the exploitative $.03 per minute fee for e-books note that the use of books in print comes with many more restrictions.  DC AG sues DoorDash for wage theft  DC Attorney General Karl Racine is suing DoorDash for pocketing tips the company solicits from customers. The Office of the Attorney General has been investigating the company since March, and now says that evidence shows that DoorDash routinely kept the tips to reduce the amount they had to pay drivers in wages.  Congresswoman Val Demings introduces bipartisan digital evidence bill  Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, a Democrat, has introduced new bipartisan legislation to improve law enforcement’s access to digital evidence from tech companies. The bill would create a new Office of Digital Law Enforcement within the Department of Justice to train law enforcement on how to handle digital evidence. It would also create a Center for Excellence for Digital Forensics to centralize tech expertise and legal assistance within the same building. The bill would also set up infrastructure for the DOJ to issue digital evidence program grants, as well as a Technology Policy Advisory Board to advise the Attorney General on digital evidence best practices.  Brooklyn landlord nixes facial recognition plan  A Brooklyn landlord has cancelled plans to install facial recognition technology after resistance from tenants and advocacy groups. Robert Nelson, President of Nelson Management Group, owns the 700-unit Atlantic Plaza Towers building in Brownsville where most tenants are black. Tenants and their supporters are now pushing for statewide legislation that would outlaw facial recognition technology throughout the Empire State.  Democrats call out Oracle on Diversity  Democratic lawmakers who are members of the House Tech Accountability Caucus, the Tri-Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus’ Diversity Task force called out Oracle for its lack of diversity in a letter to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The letter notes that Oracle has 0% board diversity, saying it is unacceptable given Oracle’s attempts to earn business from firms that serve people of color. 
11/26/201915 minutes, 20 seconds
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Sean Perryman: Diversity & Inclusion Research: A Holistic Approach

11/19/201913 minutes, 12 seconds
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Tyler McIntyre: Fintech and Small Business

Bio Tyler McIntyre (@tmcpro) is the founder & CTO of Novo, a small business challenger bank in the United States that is building technology to help small and medium-sized businesses better understand where and how they are spending their money. Tyler has a strong technology background and understanding of business through his previous startups. He has also consulted for Fortune 500 companies. Tyler has been working with building artificially intelligent assistants since 2011. He has a Bachelors in Management from the University of Miami and a Certificate in Business Management from the University of Pennsylvania. His company is based in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. Resources Novo Bank News Roundup  Microsoft steps up fight to save DACA Microsoft is stepping up its fight to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on behalf of its 66 DACA employees, referred to as “Dreamers”. The Obama-era program grants relief to the children of undocumented migrants who have spent their entire childhood in the United States. Applicants to the program do need to meet several requirements in order to qualify for DACA. For example, they can’t have any felony convictions or more than 3 misdemeanors. They also have to have earned a high school diploma or GED. If they qualify, Dreamers get renewable, 2-year deferrals from being deported and can ultimately become eligible to obtain a work permit. President Trump has said he would end the program. So many, including Microsoft, have been pushing Congress to pass legislation to protect Dreamers, since the program was established under the Obama administration through an executive memo. The courts, including the Supreme Court which prevented its expansion, have held that the program is likely unconstitutional without action from Congress. Big Tech invests billions to fund public housing efforts in California Big tech companies are investing billions to address California’s public housing shortage. It started with Apple announcing a $2.5 billion investment, followed by pledges from Google and Facebook who pledged to contribute $1 billion apiece. But local California officials have said that the investment will not be enough to address decades of rapid employment growth in the tech sector. This growth has pushed some 28,000 people out of their homes, according to the Hill. Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders also criticized the program, calling for tax hikes, saying that its disingenuous for tech company tax evaders, who he says created the problem, to attempt to distract from it with investments that won’t be enough. Social media companies reconsider microtargeting in political ads Facebook, Google and Twitter are reconsidering allowing politicians to microtarget their ads based on user location and other factors. Twitter, for one, has banned all political advertising. Google is reportedly reconsidering its political ad policy with an announcement expected this week. These developments come amid criticism from Mozilla as well as an International Committee composed of lawmakers from Australia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Singapore, the UK and the United States, who have objected to microtargeting practices across social media.   Facebook, YouTube pledge not to name whistleblower Facebook and YouTube have said that they will remove content revealing the name of the potential whistleblower who disclosed President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to require Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for aid. The whistleblower’s complaint is at the heart of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into the president.= Twitter however, will continue to allow users to post the name of the whistleblower, but will remove personally identifiable information such as his or her phone number and address.   Study: misinformation on Facebook is up ahead of 2020 election Avaaz, a global advocacy organization that tracks misinformation online, issued a study of the most viral fake political news stories in 2019. It found the stories generated nearly 160 million views, compared to 140 million views of fake news stories posted during the 2016 election. Some 62 percent of the fake stories were anti-Democrat.   NY Times: NYPD staffers took kickbacks from health clinics, doctors, and lawyers in exchange for car accident victim data The New York Times reports that staffers of the New York City Police Department took kickbacks from health clinics, doctors, lawyers, and a fraud insurance ring in Queens, in exchange for data from car accident victims. Prosecutors have charged 27 individuals for their alleged involvement. Fifty-one year-old Anthony Rose allegedly directed the scheme in which 911 call operators sent car accident victims in low-income areas in New York City to fake call centers that directed them to partnering accident victim service providers. In exchange, the call centers allegedly paid kickbacks to Rose, a portion of which he then distributed to co-conspirators who worked for the NYPD.   Sole anti-net neutrality Democratic Senator tied to Comcast The American Prospect reports that it has tied Kyrsten Sinema, the only Democrat in the Senate who opposes the pro-net neutrality Save the Internet Act, to a Super PAC that’s funded by telecom lobbyists. The report states that Sinema directed contributions to the Super PAC that ultimately funded her own campaign.   Instagram to hide ‘likes’ beginning this week Finally, beginning this week, Instagram is expected to hide the number of ‘likes’ users generate from their posts. Users will reportedly continue to be able to see likes on their own posts, but not the likes of others’. But the new policy will only affect some of Instagram’s users. The Hill reports that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are also considering hiding likes.
11/12/201923 minutes, 15 seconds
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Brent Skorup: The Common Law History of Section 230

  The Common Law History of Section 230 with Brent Skorup (Ep. 208)   Bio Brent Skorup (@bskorup) is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research areas include transportation technology, telecommunications, aviation, and wireless policy. He serves on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and on the Texas DOT’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. He is also a member of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project. The White House, the FCC, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and a dissenting opinion at the Illinois Supreme Court have cited his research. In addition to economics and law journal publication, he has authored pieces for National Affairs, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Air Traffic Management magazine, Regulation magazine, and elsewhere. He’s appeared as a TV and radio interview guest for news outlets like C-SPAN, NPR, CBS News, ABC News, and CNBC Asia. Brent has a BA in economics from Wheaton College and a law degree from the George Mason University School of Law, where he was articles editor for the Civil Rights Law Journal. He was a legal clerk at the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and at the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before joining Mercatus, he was the Director of Research at the Information Economy Project, a law and economics university research center. Resources   Mercatus Center   The Erosion of Publisher Liability in American Law by Brent Skorup and Jennifer Huddleston (Mercatus Center, 2019)   News Roundup   Zuckerberg, Facebook under mounting pressure over political ads   Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to meet with civil rights leaders this week after his company has maintained its policy to leave up political ads containing false statements by politicians. The company has applied the policy unevenly, first allowing Donald Trump to maliciously post an ad with false information about Joe Biden; then leaving up an Elizabeth Warren ad containing false information designed to illustrate the absurdity of Facebook’s ad policy.  During a hearing, Zuckerberg also admitted to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that if she were to place a false political ad, that the company would probably leave it up.    But Facebook is inexplicably removing false ads placed by Political  Action Committees. One notable example is an ad placed the Really Online Lefty League – ROLL – a Political Action Committee co-founded by Adriel Hampton – which falsely claimed that Lindsey Graham supports the New Green Deal. Hampton, an experienced marketing and political strategist, responded by filing to run for governor of California. Then gubernatorial candidate Hampton posted a false political ad and Facebook took it down, saying his campaign wasn’t legit—that it was just a ploy to place a false ad to see what Facebook would do. Even though Hampton says he fully expects to win the governorship, Facebook hasn’t reinstated the ad.   It’s a mess.   Top officials from the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg this week to express their concerns with Facebook’s political ad policy, which the company now says has been extended to the UK.   Facebook sued for age, gender bias in financial services ads   A plaintiff in San Francisco filed a potential class action federal lawsuit last week claiming that Facebook discriminates against users based on age and gender in determining who can see financial services ads.  The lawsuit comes 7-months after Facebook agreed to tailor its platform to avoid discrimination on the basis of age, gender and zip code for job, credit, and housing ads.   US launches Tik Tok investigation   The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has launched a national security investigation into Tik Tok, which is owned by the Chinese firm Bytedance. A bipartisan cohort of lawmakers including Democrat Chuck Schumer, Republican Marco Rubio, and Tennessee Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon have all expressed concern about how the Chinese government uses TikTok’s data. TikTok’s growth has been outpacing the growth of incumbent social media companies in the U.S.     Snowden: Facebook as untrustworthy as the NSA   Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is exiled in Russia for blowing the lid off the National Security Agency’s mass data collection practices six years ago, told ReCode’s Kara Swisher last week that Facebook is as untrustworthy as the NSA when it comes to privacy. But he didn’t limit his remarks to Facebook. He said that all tech companies are looking to exploit our personal data no matter the consequences. He also said that, on the surface, users may appear not to be concerned about how big tech companies handle their data but that, in reality, users are very concerned but feel powerless.   Five people shot and killed at Airbnb rental   Five people were shot and killed at an Airbnb rental Northern California during a Halloween party on Thursday. The rental listing on Airbnb prohibited parties and the renter claimed it was renting the space for family members who were suffering from smoke inhalation from the fires in the Los Angeles area. A witness reported to Buzzfeed that the shooting occurred with apparently no provocation. Airbnb has banned the renter from the platform.   China launches 5G network   Chinese officials announced last week that it would roll out 5G to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou 2 months ahead of schedule. The country also announced plans to roll out 5G to over 50 cities by the end of this year. While U.S. telecom companies have begun their 5G roll-out, it’s largely been rolled out on higher frequency bands than the 5G service that’s being rolled out in China. The lower frequency bands that China’s using cover a larger surface area, while the higher frequency bands U.S. companies are using are more powerful but cover less ground.   Corey Booker introduces bill to ban facial recognition in public housing   Senator Corey Booker has introduced a bill to ban facial recognition in public housing. The Senator cites the disproportionate impact that facial recognition technology threatens to have on the nation’s most vulnerable communities. The No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act targets public housing that receives funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.   Apple pledges $2.5 billion for California affordable housing   Apple announced that it will invest $2.5 billion to address California’s affordable housing shortage. Some of those funds will be applied statewide. Others will be allocated for projects in the Bay Area. Three hundred million dollars will go towards affordable housing on Apple-owned property.   Following Katie Hill’s resignation, Democrats push for revenge porn law   Thirty-five democrats in Congress sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee to pass a federal revenge porn law that would criminalize the nonconsensual posting of sexually explicit images online. The letter followed Congresswoman Katie Hill’s resignation from Congress after someone posted nude images depicting her and others as well as accusations that she was having inappropriate relations with campaign and congressional staffers. Hill blames her husband, whom she is in the process of divorcing, for posting the photos.     MIT president acknowledges discrimination against minorities and women on campus   Finally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Rafael Reif acknowledged last week that women and people of color often face exclusion and belittlement on campus and that it’s something the university is trying to improve. The development follows revelations of Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the university.
11/5/201924 minutes, 40 seconds
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Elisa Shearer: Should Americans Trust News on Social Media?

      Bio   Elisa Shearer (@elisashearer) is a Research Associate at the Pew Research Center. She earned her Masters in Communications,  Culture, and Technology from Georgetown and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Houghton College, from which she graduated Magna Cum Laude.   Resources Americans are Wary of the Role Social Media Sites Play in Delivering the News by Elisa Shearer and Elizabeth Grieco (Pew, 2019) Pew Research Journalism (Twitter)  News Roundup Facebook’s Menlo Park Police  Motherboard reports on Facebook’s comfortable relationship with the Menlo Park Police Department. Apparently, Facebook is paying the City of Menlo Park some $2 million per year – a large some for a small city – to have a dedicated police force for Facebook’s campus. One of the things the Facebook unit does is monitor for thefts of bikes the company sets out for its employees. The employees aren’t permitted to leave the bikes outside of Facebook’s campus, but they often do it anyway. Sometimes citizens in the neighboring community, East Palo Alto, use the bikes. The majority of citizens on East Palo Alto are black or Latinx. One of the people the cops picked up for using one of the bikes was Latinx. But it turns out the employee was a Facebook contractor.  So citizens and advocates have called out the police and Facebook for working together on racial profiling. It’s a long read, but you can find the full report in the show notes. AOC Blasts Facebook for Political Ad Policy Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted Facebook on Twitter on Saturday, calling the company’s political behavior “increasingly disturbing”. Connecting the dots, the Congresswoman noted that Zuckerberg claimed he didn’t know when Facebook discovered the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that Zuckerberg met with Trump, and the far right thenm started allowing disinformation ads, and that Zuckerberg didn’t tell the whole truth about fact checkers. She says that Facebook acts like they’re just an innocent bystander but that Facebook’s decisions have become more and more disturbing. According to the New York Times, Hundreds of Facebook employees wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg urging him to hold ads placed by politicians to the same high accuracy standard as those placed by any advertiser.   House passes third election security bill The House has passed a third election security bill designed to prevent foreign interference in the 2020 election. The bill passed 221-181 mostly along party lines. The act is dubbed the SHIELD act and it targets paid online political ads. Republicans raised First Amendment concerns about the bill, and the American Civil Liberties Union said that it sweeps to broadly.   Facebook announces Russian efforts to remain undetected According to Reuters, Russian operatives attempting to interfere with the platform ahead of the 2020 election are trying to remain invisible by sacrificing followers. Facebook is specifically flagging accounts that grow very quickly.   Google employees claim company is developing a tool to stop organizers Google employees are claiming that the company is creating a tool to monitor calendar invites to try and prevent staffers from organizing. The tool would apparently flag employees that create events with more than 10 rooms or 100 people. Google denies that the tool is designed to thwart organizing efforts.   Pentagon awards $10 billion contrat to Microsoft The Pentagon awarded its 10 year, $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to Microsoft, closing it off from Amazon, which was expected to win the deal, as it was considered by many analysts to have the best capabilities. But Microsoft too has the highest military security rating possible. A former speechwriter for former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that President Trump wanted to “screw over” Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos,  who also owns the Washington Post—one of the news outlets the president thinks is biased against him. But the Pentagon states that its awarding of the contract to Microsoft is in line with an overall multi-platform strategy, that can’t be handled by a single vendor.   Google announces quantum computing milestone   Google announced a quantum computing milestone last week, saying that it had developed a microprocessor that took minutes to perform a calculation that would have taken the world’s best super computer thousands of years.    
10/29/201910 minutes, 33 seconds
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Andrew Free: How to Fight DNA Testing at the Border

Bio Andrew Free (@ImmCivilRights) is an abolitionist lawyer fighting alongside immigrant communities in the Deep South and across the country to defend deportations and advance civil rights. Resources Law Office of R. Andrew Free   A Good Provider is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle   Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Resource on Maryland v. King   HEADLINES:   News Roundup   Mark Zuckerberg defends decision to allow misinformation by politicians   Zuckerberg delivered remarks on Thursday at Georgetown defending his company’s policy to leave up false political ads. But his speech was roundly criticized.   Both Democrats and civil rights organizations blasted Zuckerberg for deliberately refusing to fact-check ads placed by politicians. Leadership Conference for Civil Rights President Vanita Gupta, NAACP Legal Defense Fund head Sherrilyn Ifill, and Bernice King—the daughter of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.—all pointed to the historical role that disinformation has played in suppressing the voices of and inciting hatred against people of color.   Elizabeth Warren also escalated her attacks against Zuckerberg, challenging Facebook to remove an ad that her campaign posted. In order to illustrate the absurdity of Facebook’s policy to leave up false ads placed by politicians, Warren’s ad contained a deliberately false claim that Zuckerberg had endorsed Donald Trump for president. Facebook responded that it would prioritize free speech over facts and that it wouldn’t step in to police false claims made by politicians.   Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a letter to Facebook after a political action committee posted an ad that falsely claimed that Biden blackmailed the Ukrainian government to stop investigating his son, Hunter Biden, by threatening to withhold aid. Biden’s campaign says the ad wasn’t posted by a politician—it was posted by a PAC—and should’ve been taken down. The ad has since been removed.   On Monday, Facebook announced that it found and disabled misinformation campaigns apparently being conducted by Russia and Iran. The company also announced plans to label content posted by state actors.   Warren pledges to reject donations from big tech   In a blog post ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Elizabeth Warren also pledged to reject campaign funding from executives at Alphabet,  Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Lyft, and other big tech companies. Those executives would otherwise be allowed to donate up to $2,800.   Harris and Warren spar over Twitter   During the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Kamala Harris went after Elizabeth Warren for the latter’s refusal to support Harris’ call for Twitter to disable Trump’s Twitter account. Warren responded that her goal is to get Trump out of the White House not off Twitter. Twitter has said that it would not disable Trump’s account unless he specifically violates the social media company’s rules against threatening individuals, promoting terrorism or self-harm, or posting private information like a phone number.     Bernie Sanders wants to break up big media   Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is taking a slightly different tack. The presidential candidate released a plan to dismantle the mergers of large media companies that have been approved during the Trump era. Sanders specifically mentioned Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox as an example of corporate greed that he would seek to tamp down as president.     Facebook loses support from major Libra allies   Facebook has lost the support of major banks it relied on to make its cryptocurrency, Libra, a reality. Mastercard, Visa, Ebay, Stripe and Latin American payments company Mercado Pago all pulled out of the partnership with the so-called Libra Association, citing regulatory concerns and a number of other factors. The companies joined PayPal, which left the association the week before last. Lyft and Vodafone are still in, according to Reuters.   FCC approves Sprint T-Mobile merger   The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to approve the Sprint-T-Mobile merger last week, with Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks opposing based on pricing concerns, including the lack of a resolution regarding the broadband subsidy program known as Lifeline. The deal got the DOJ’s stamp of approval in July. But the merger still faces a multistate lawsuit from ten states seeking to block the merger.   AT&T ‘s keeps hiking prices   AT&T has continued to hike prices by as much as 50%, according to Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica. The company’s new “TV Now” package is rising by $15 per month, from $50 to $65. The company is also raising prices on its “Live a Little” plan from $50 to $60 in November. This is the second time the company has raised prices for this plan. In April, it hiked it from $40 to $50—that’s a $20 monthly increase over the span of just 7 months.
10/22/201920 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ora Tanner: The Racial Implications of Florida’s School Safety Portal

Bio     Ora Tanner (@odtanner) is Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of South Florida (USF). She previously worked as a nuclear physicist, science educator, and more recently as a graduate researcher on NSF-funded grant projects related to digital game-based learning and assessment. Ora earned her B.S. and M.S. in physics from Dillard University of New Orleans and USF, respectively, and expects to complete her doctorate in Instructional Technology and Educational Measurement in 2019. She studies the latest emerging technologies and explores how they can be used to empower both K-12 students and teachers in science education.  Resources  Aspen Tech Policy Hub – Florida Schools Project   Right to Petition: A Practical Guide to Creating Change in Government with Political Advocacy Tools and Tips by Nicole Tisdale (Advocacy Blueprints Press, 2019) Email questions about the safety portal to: [email protected]  Submit public input here. News Roundup Elizabeth Warren Blasts Facebook for Enabling Trump   Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign targeted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week in a new social media ad. The ad facetiously alleges that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has endorsed Donald Trump for President. The assertion wasn’t true, of course, but that was the point: Warren says that endorsing Trump is essentially what Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are doing by allowing politicians to post false ads on the platform.   In recent weeks, the social media giant has refused to remove false ads from politicians. As recently as Friday, Facebook declined to remove a Trump campaign ad questioning Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s alleged role in ousting a Ukrainian prosecutor, after the Democratic National Committee called for the ad to be removed. Facebook is uniformly refusing to take down false ads, claiming to prioritize freedom of expression over truth.   But Zuckerberg has also been defending himself for meeting with conservative groups, politicians, and pundits in private dinners and other gatherings. Zuckerberg’s terse response to those who criticized the meeting was, “Meeting new people and hearing from a wide range of viewpoints is part of learning … If you haven't tried it, I suggest you do!" Zuckerberg is set to return to Washington on October 23rd, to testify before the House Financial Services Committee, which is chaired by Maxine Waters.   Public demand for government intervention in online extremism clashes with civil liberties groups   According to a recent Morning Consult poll, some 58% of Americans want Congress to take a more active role in moderating online content. But the efforts of Democrats in Congress to push for legislation to curtail online extremism are getting resistance from civil liberties groups, including NYU’s Brennan Center.   The Hill reports that the Democrat-controlled House Homeland Security Committee is pushing for a bill that would create a bipartisan, 12-member commission with the power, not only to study online extremism, but also to subpoena certain communications. Civil liberties groups oppose any expansion of government surveillance, stating that such surveillance could have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities, such as communities of color.   Meanwhile, online extremists who used to post on 8chan until it was shut down, have now been migrating over to Telegram, according to a new Vice News investigation published last week finding that more than two thirds of the 150 extremist groups on Telegram were established in 2019. And extremist content on YouTube shows few signs of slowing. A violent YouTube video containing fictitious movie footage of a shooting surfaced over the weekend, after it was shown at a pro-Trump event hosted by the conservative group American Priority on a Trump golf course. In it, Trump’s image is superimposed on top of ashooter’s, and those of his political opponents, including Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and logos of major media companies, were superimposed on top of the faces of the victims in the movie, to make it appear as though the president was massacring his opponents inside a church. The president stated that he strongly condemns the video, but that he hasn’t seen it. On Friday, in an ostensible coincidence, Trump stated at a rally that there is an “unholy alliance of corrupt Democrat politicians, deep-state bureaucrats and the fake news media.”   California blocks facial recognition in police body cams   California governor Gavin Newsome signed a bill last week that prevents the police from using facial recognition in body cams. The bill remains in effect until January 1st, 2023. New Hampshire and Oregon have passed similar legislation.   Domino’s must make its website and app accessible to people with disabilities   Finally, In a case that carries significant implications for every online platform, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a lower court ruling that a blind customer can sue Domino’s pizza, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, for failing to make its website fully accessible. Fast Company reports though that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing back, saying that allowing customers to sue can open the floodgates of litigation and thereby harm small businesses.  
10/15/201915 minutes, 42 seconds
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Meredith Broussard: Understanding ‘Technochauvinism

  Bio Data journalist Meredith Broussard (@merbroussard) is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.”. Her academic research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is also interested in reproducible research issues and is developing methods for preserving innovative digital journalism projects in scholarly archives so that we can read today’s news on tomorrow’s computers. She is an affiliate faculty member at the Moore Sloan Data Science Environment at the NYU Center for Data Science, a 2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, and her work has been supported by the Institute of Museum & Library Services as well as the Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School. A former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she has also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the MIT Media Lab. Her features and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and other outlets.  Resources Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World (MIT Press, 2018)   News Roundup New York Daily News: Google trained facial recognition on ‘dark skinned’ homeless people The New York Daily News reports that Google apparently sent out contractors to pay homeless people $5 gift cards to train facial recognition on ‘dark skinned’ homeless people. The revelation comes after several former Google temp workers came forward. Google has acknowledged the program, though, and said its primary goal is to have a diverse and inclusive data set. Better security is also a goal, said the Google spokesperson, because the company is seeking to protect as many people as possible. But the workers took issue with some of the specific tactics they were asked to employ via their staffing agency, Randstad, under the direction of Google.  DNC goes after Facebook for enabling Trump The CEO of the Democratic National Committee, Seema Nanda, went on CNN last week and accused Facebook of catering to Trump by allowing him to “mislead the American people”. The previous week, Facebook refused to remove posts and ads from politicians even if they violate Facebook’s community rules. Also, Scott Lucas of BuzzFeed wrote a piece on Facebook’s growing popularity among older and more conservative voters, and whether Facebook may in fact be Trump’s secret weapon against Democrats in the 2020 election. Sen. Kamala Harris calls on Twitter to suspend Trump In a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Senator Kamala Harris, who is running for president, called on Twitter to suspend Trump’s Twitter account, citing the president’s attempts to “target, harass, and attempt to out” the first Ukraine whistleblower. She also referred to the president’s tweet stating that there would be a Civil War-like fracture, if he’s impeached, saying it was an incitement to violence. The president also referred to the impeachment investigation as a “coup” to which Harris retweeted with a comment saying “Hey Jack … time to do something about this.” But Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Tulsi Gabbard, both of whom are also running for president, disagreed that Twitter should suspend the president’s Twitter account. The two lawmakers said that “we can’t just cancel or shutdown or silence those who we disagree with or who hold different views or who say things even that we strongly disagree with or abhor.” Court of Appeals upholds the FCC’s net neutrality repeal The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the FCC’s 2017 repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules. The court sided with the FCC in saying that the internet isn’t a “telecommunications service”. But the court did say, however, that the FCC didn’t make a compelling argument that the FCC preempts state law, clearing the way for states to enact their own net neutrality rules, provided that they don’t undermine the repeal order. The court also said the FCC failed to properly consider the effect the rules would have on public safety, serving the underserved, and a wonky area of telecom law that deals with regulations around how ISPs should attach telecom equipment to existing telephone poles. DHS proposes rule to collect DNA evidence from detained migrants The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule that would allow the widespread collection of DNA from detained migrants. The Trump administration argues that the effort would aid the U.S. in identifying undocumented individuals. But policy experts cited in Roll Call are concerned that the program is just another way to target people of color.  Tim Cook urges Supreme Court to preserve DACA Tim Cook filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood (DACA) arrival program. If the Supreme Court rules against the program, hundreds of thousands of individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children, some of which work at Apple, could face deportation. Google can now recognize 9 “data-scarce” Indian languages Google researchers presented a model that recognizes speech in 9 “data scarce” Indian languages at Interspeech 2019 last week. The researches say the model allows for real-time speech recognition of all of the languages and does so better than other models. The languages include Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarati. Rep. Maxine Waters and House Finance Committee press Zuckerberg to testify The House Financial Services Committee, for which California Representative Maxine Waters serves as chair, is demanding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify regarding its plan to introduce its Libra cryptocurrency. The company has planned to send COO Sheryl Sandberg, but the Committee indicated that sending Sandberg is insufficient. Waters has called for Zuckerberg to testify by January. Microsoft reports hacking attempts linked to Iran Microsoft reported a hacking attempt linked to Iran on 2,700 email accounts, of which 241 were successful. Some of the accounts included presidential candidates, according to the Hill, which also noted that an undisclosed source indicated that the Trump campaign was among the targets. The Trump campaign has said that it does not have any evidence of an attack. UPS gets FAA approval for a drone fleet The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved UPS’ plan to operate an unlimited fleet of drones nationwide. The drones are permitted to operate at night, but not yet in populated areas. UPS has not announced plans to train existing drivers to pilot the drones.
10/8/201921 minutes, 11 seconds
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Charlton McIlwain: The Internet and Racial Justice

Bio Charlton McIlwain (@cmcilwain) is Vice Provost or Faculty Engagement and Development; Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. His recent work focuses on the intersections of race, digital media, and racial justice activism. He recently wrote Racial Formation, Inequality & the Political Economy of Web Traffic, in the journal Information, Communication & Society, and he co-authored, with Deen Freelon and Meredith Clark, the recent report Beyond the Hashtags: Ferguson, #BlackLivesMatter, and the Online Struggle for Offline Justice, published by the Center for Media & Social Impact, and supported by the Spencer Foundation. Today, Tuesday October 1st, 2019, his new book entitled Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, From the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, releases via Oxford University Press and available wherever you buy books. Resources McIlwain, Charlton. Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, from the AFRONET to Black Lives Matter (Oxford University Press, 2019) News Roundup EFF uncovers secret F.B.I. subpoenas for personal info from multiple companies The New York Times reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation shared with it scores of documents uncovered in a Freedom of Information Act request that reveal the extent to which federal law enforcement officials issue subpoenas to companies in an effort to uncover personal data about individuals the Justice Department suspects of being a threat to National Security. The Justice Department has issued the so-called National Security Letters (NSLs) to companies as diverse as Equifax, Verizon, Google, and Microsoft seeking things like user names, IP addresses, locations, and records of purchases made by their customers. Elizabeth Warren proposes more tech expertise on the Hill Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing for more tech expertise on the Hill, saying that it would help resist tech companies’ growing lobbying influence in Washington. Warren says tech companies’ strategy has been to purport that they understand tech issues better than congressional staffers. So she’s advocating for the reestablishment of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), which Newt Gingrich dismantled in 1995. For about two decades, the OTA was tasked with helping to keep Congressional staffers abreast of tech issues. NAACP slams Comcast over Byron Allen lawsuit The NAACP slammed Comcast for asking the Supreme Court to curtail section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which outlaws discrimination in contracting. Comcast and Trump’s Department of Justice are asking the Supreme Court to water down the statute by requiring plaintiffs to prove that race was the only motivating factor for why a defendant didn’t award a contract, as opposed being one of several factors. Comcast is requesting the more conservative reading of the statute in the context of a $20 billion lawsuit Byron Allen brought against it and Charter for opting out of carrying Allen’s cable channels. The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief on Comcast’s behalf. Allen is arguing that race does not need to be the only motivating factor in a contract discrimination lawsuit and that Comcast and the Trump administration are conspiring to eviscerate this landmark civil rights law, which was passed in the wake of the Civil War—the first one. EEOC says companies’ Facebook ads discriminated against women and older workers The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that seven (7) companies including Capital One, Edward Jones, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Enterprise Holdings, Renewal by Andersen, Drive Time Auto, and Sandhills Publishing discriminated against women and older workers by targeting ads based on age and gender. The Commission found that while targeting based on ages an gender may be appropriate in some cases, it’s not appropriate for housing, real estate, financial services, and job opportunities. FTC sues Match The Federal Trade Commission is suing dating platform Match Group, owner of Match, Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge, PlentyofFish and other dating apps, for fraud, TechCrunch reports.  The lawsuit targets specifically saying the platform is overrun by bots and spammers that Match encourages and profits from. DoorDash hack exposes data of 4.9 million people Online delivery service DoorDash is one of the latest targets of a hack. This time, the hack exposed the data of 4.9 million people. Even though the hack happened in May, DoorDash didn’t discover it until September. GAO urges FCC to take measures to help Tribal areas access spectrum Finally, the Government Accountability Office wants the FCC to take more active measures to address a shortage of spectrum on Tribal lands. The report indicates that Tribal lands, especially those in rural areas, lag behind the rest of the country when it comes to broadband access. It says that wireless can help close the divide. GAO says the FCC needs to do more to assess the extent to which Tribal organizations participate in spectrum auctions and to which unused spectrum across tribal lands could be used to deliver broadband access.  
10/1/201919 minutes, 33 seconds
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Jeff Cole: Will Netflix Survive?

Bio   Jeffrey Cole has been at the forefront of media and communication technology issues both in the United States and internationally for the past three decades. An expert in the field of technology and emerging media, Cole serves as an adviser to governments and leading companies around the world as they craft digital strategies.   In July 2004 Dr. Cole joined the USC Annenberg School for Communication as Director of the newly formed Center for the Digital Future and as a Research Professor. Prior to joining USC, Dr. Cole was a longtime member of the UCLA faculty and served as Director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, based in the Anderson Graduate School of Management. Cole founded and directs the World Internet Project, a long-term longitudinal look at the effects of computer and Internet technology, which is conducted in over 35 countries. At the announcement of the project in June 1999, Vice President Al Gore praised Cole as a “true visionary providing the public with information on how to understand the impact of media.”  Nineteen years into the project, the World Internet Project, through its unique data on Internet users around the world, is the leading, unrivaled international project examining the ways in which technology changes our lives.    Cole regularly presents trends and insights of the project to the White House, FCC, Congress, Department of Defense and heads of governments around the world. He has worked closely with the CEOs of GroupM, Ericsson, Telstra, Wesfarmers and others. On the advisory side, his long-term relationships have included Microsoft, Sony, Time Warner, AT&T, AARP, CBS, NBC, ABC, CPB, PBS, HP, Coca-Cola and many more as they learn to navigate the digital future. He also sits on Unilever’s (the world’s second largest advertiser) Global Digital Strategy Board.   In 2016 Cole was one of the founders of the Global Disruption Fund (GDF), a technology investment fund based in Australia ( Cole is one of the members of the Investment Committee identifying innovative companies and those about to be disrupted, making investments based on his work. The Fund is now worth close to $1 billion and growing; it achieved a 40% return in its first year. Since 2017 he has written a popular and widely circulated column on disruption, media, technology and entertainment (   Under Cole’s leadership, the Center has conducted deep examinations of the entertainment, sports media, transportation and banking industries to identify where the next wave of disruption will occur. More than just identifying trends, the Center works closely with industry to create policies and make the concrete changes that will keep them competitive. That work includes all five (formerly six) motion picture studios, all four networks and now streaming companies, as well as sports networks, leagues, automotive companies and banks.   In the 1990s, Cole worked closely with the four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) dealing with television programming issues under an anti-trust waiver that allowed the networks to work together for the very first time. He issued annual reports to the television industry, Congress and the nation. Upon the release of the 1996 report, Cole held a joint press conference with President Bill Clinton, who referred to the Center for Communication Policy as “the premier educational institution setting trends in entertainment.” Nationwide there was unanimous praise for the quality of the reports and their contribution to the television content debate.    Cole has testified before Congress on television issues and has been a keynote speaker at more than 750 conferences on media and technology (many can be seen on YouTube). He has worked with the White House during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations on media and telecommunications issues. He regularly makes presentations across the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.   Cole was a member of the Executive Committee of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) from 1997 to 2001 and was the founding governor of the ATAS Interactive Media Peer Group. At UCLA, Cole taught over 35,000 students. In 1987 he received UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award.          Resources   USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future     News Roundup Election security funding bill gets McConnell’s support  Mitch McConnell, whom Democrats had started to call “Moscow Mitch”, backed a $250 million spending bill last week to help states beef up election security. McConnell had previously blocked two bills that would have boosted security and required paper ballots. Facebook suspends thousands of apps following audit Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps after an internal audit revealed that they could either have be a threat or didn’t respond to Facebook’s requests for information. Facebook says the move comes after a review of millions of apps following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The FTC fined Facebook $5 billion over the summer for privacy violations. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in town meeting with members of Congress and President Trump at the White House, meetings which sources say were “constructive”.  Emmy’s awards feature little diversity Well, there’s not much else we can say about the 71st Emmy Awards other than the fact that this year’s awards offered shockingly little diversity. National Urban League CEO Marc Morial and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel penned a joint Op-Ed in the Hill released prior to the awards discussing this year’s lack of nominees of color.  For example, not one woman of color was nominated for lead actress in a comedy. This year, just 26 nominees were people of color, compared to 38 last year. Just three people of color ended up winning—RuPaul Charles won for hosting RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jharrel Jerome won for When they See Us, and Bill Porter won for Pose.  When are we gonna stop begging these people to include us, fam? Seriously. FCC Open Meeting Agenda The FCC released its open meeting agenda. The meeting will take place at 10:30 at the FCC. A proposal for $950 million in funding for Puerto Rico’s communications infrastructure is first on the agenda. New York Times ends Spanish language coverage The New York Times is ending Spanish language coverage. “While the Español site did attract a new audience for our journalism and consistently produced coverage we are very proud of,” the Times said in a statement, “it did not prove financially successful”. New York Times in Español launched in response to President Trump’s hate speech against Mexicans. NBC/Universal has launched a new streaming service NBC/Universal has launched a new streaming service dubbed Peacock, which is slated for launch in April. NBC/Universal will join the long list of new Netflix streaming competitors including the likes of Disney, Apple, and HBO Max.
9/24/201916 minutes, 21 seconds
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CJ Johnson: Marketing and Public Policy

  Bio   CJ Johnson is an award-winning creative entrepreneur, speaker and internet personality. First known as the go-to “branding guru” supporting hundreds of startups and Fortune 500 companies worldwide with his impactful creative strategies to cultivating hundreds of thousands of social media followers as an influential millennial voice in the fight against social media depression. Currently based in Los Angeles and New York, CJ is best known for his work in next-generation marketing that includes: creative strategies, the future of work, diversity and inclusion, and influencer marketing. He was first introduced to the world of business and marketing early in his career but it soared to new heights during the explosion of the startup movement and as the YouTube generation reshaped the industries of the world. Using his professional creative skills, he broke down racial barriers and became a strong voice in the Silicon Beach movement. After successful ventures overseeing marketing/publicity for several on-demand mobiles apps and startups, he went on to pursue his entrepreneurial passion by creating the digital agency, Januel+Johnson. After a couple of successful years with the agency, CJ and his partner decided to part ways to pursue their own personal passions. CJ has helped a total of over 128+ Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 companies worldwide find success with effective growth strategies. He now focuses on his primary mission of supporting and inspiring YOU to chase after YOUR dreams.   Resources   News Roundup   Twitter takes down violent tweet from Texas state lawmaker   Twitter took down the tweet of a Texas state lawmaker for violating Twitter’s policy against promoting violence. The Republican legislator, Briscoe Cain, wrote that his “AR is ready for you” after presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tweeted “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s”. O’Rourke called Cain’s tweet a death threat.   Intercept: NRA increased Facebook ad spending after El Paso, Dayton shootings   The Intercept reported that the National Rifle Association increased its spending on Facebook ads following last month’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, in which 32 total people were killed. The Intercept reported that the NRA’s Facebook spending reached a high point of $29,000 on August 18th, with $360,000 spent on ads in the month following the attacks. Compared to just $9,400 during the month prior.   Hundreds arrested in global wire scam   The DOJ announced the arrest of 281 individuals worldwide who were allegedly co-conspirators in a pervasive wire scam targeting banks and their customers. The Hill reports that the scammers target bank employees with access to financial information, whom they then persuade to transfer funds to a fraudulent account. More than half the arrests were made in Nigeria but law enforcement officials also made arrests in the UK, Turkey, Japan and several other countries. The DOJ conducted the operation—dubbed Operation ReWired—along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Treasury.   Facebook announces efforts to prevent triggering self-harm   Facebook announced its efforts to prevent self-harm as part of its participation in World Suicide Prevention Day last Tuesday. The company said it’ll be hiring a health and well-being expert, as well as seek to explore ways to share relevant data with the public that could be used to prevent self harm. Also, Facebook will no longer allow triggering content, such as images of self-harm or cutting.   Facebook penalizes Netanyahu’s Facebook page for hate speech   Finally, Facebook suspended a chatbot on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page. The chat bot promised site visitors that Netanyahu would pursue a right wing agenda against quote “Arabs who want to destroy us all”. Facebook suspended the bot for 24 hours and promised to take additional action if they detect any further violations.
9/17/201934 minutes, 32 seconds
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Malcom Glenn: Transportation Access

  Bio   Malcom Glenn (@malcomglenn) is a writer, speaker, and public policy and communications specialist.   Malcom is currently the Head of Global Policy for Accessibility and Underserved Communities at Uber Technologies in Washington, DC, where he leads Uber's worldwide efforts to make the current and future platform more accessible for historically marginalized groups, spearheading the company's work to improve outcomes for people with disabilities, low-income families, communities of color, rural residents, seniors, and returning citizens, among many other groups facing barriers to transportation or work.   Malcom is a member of the board of directors for BUILD Metro DC, an organization that helps high school students from low-income backgrounds learn entrepreneurship skills, graduate from high school, and attend college. He's also on the board of directors for the World Institute on Disability, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that works to fully integrate people with disabilities into their communities. Malcom is a former fellow for the Transatlantic Digital Debates program, a joint venture of New America and the Global Public Policy Institute that's focused on building more long-term transatlantic cooperation in the digital age, particularly between Germany and the United States.   Malcom is a former executive communications manager at Google in Mountain View, CA, where he developed strategic communications for two of Google’s Chief Financial Officers, the head of the company's Access and Energy practice, as well as their respective leadership teams.    Before joining Google, Malcom was the director of communications at the American Federation for Children, a leading national education advocacy organization focused on expanding educational options for children from low-income communities.   Malcom previously worked on issue campaigns at the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, where he helped organizations hone their messages.   A native of Denver, CO, Malcom graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in history, where he was the president of The Harvard Crimson, the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper.     Resources   Uber - Community   Uber - Accessibility   Malcom Glenn     HEADLINES: Google and Facebook come under intense scrutiny as attorneys general throughout the country and the DOJ open investigations , Paypal suspends an account linked to the KKK and can Uber solve transportation inquality? Malcom Glenn is my guest for this, episode 200   News Roundup   50 Attorneys General launch Google investigation   The Attorneys General from 50 states and territories launched an antitrust investigation into Google Monday. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are represented among those that filed lawsuits. California and Alabama abstained.   Attorneys General coalition announces Facebook investigation   Another coalition of attorneys general from eight (8) states announced an investigation into Facebook on Friday. The coalition, led by New York State AG Letitia James, will investigate Facebook’s dominance in social media.    DOJ requests documents from Google   In addition, the Department of Justice made a document request from Google and its parent company Alphabet on Friday. Alphabet says the document request is for documents released during a prior antitrust investigation.   PayPal suspends account linked to KKK   PayPal suspended the account of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for six days. PayPal had pledged to suspend accounts seeking to raise money for hate groups. And the Loyal White Knights profile linked to a landing page requesting donations. Now the link points to a page that’s no longer accepting donations, the Hill reports.   Flagstaff schools close following breach   Public schools in Flagstaff, Arizona shut down last week following a ransomware attack. In an effort to find the bug and prevent a re-infection, schools closed Friday as the school district investigated all of the computers issued to teachers and staff. Schools re-opened on Monday morning.   14 women sue Lyft alleging that they were attacked by drivers who turned out to be sexual predators   Fourteen anonymous women sued Lyft in San Francisco claiming that they were attacked or kidnapped by Lyft drivers. The lawsuit alleges that Lyft mishandled the investigation of the drivers, keeping them on despite the reports. Five of the women, including one woman who is blind, claimed they were raped.   8chan founder testifies in House hearing   Jim Watkins, the founder of 8chan-the message board on which alleged mass shooters posted manifestos before their rampages, gave a deposition to the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday. In his prepared testimony, Watkins wrote “"My company has no intention of deleting constitutionally protected hate speech”. The statement came the same day a federal court in the Northern District of California ruled that a man was barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from suing Facebook for treating his alleged hate speech more strictly than similar content posted by white users.
9/10/201919 minutes, 14 seconds
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Jen Schradie: Examining "Social Media Bias"

Examining "Social Media Bias" with Jen Schradie Jen Schradie joined Joe Miller on the WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast to discuss her work challenging the alleged "social media bias" that has been claimed by conservatives. Bio Jen Schradie is an Assistant Professor at the Observatoire sociologique du changement (OSC) at Sciences Po in Paris. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, based at the Toulouse School of Economics, as well as at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société, Université de Toulouse. She received her PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley with a designated emphasis in New Media from the Berkeley Center for New Media. She also has a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. Her broad research agenda is to interrogate digital democracy claims with empirical data. Despite recent panic about digital threats to democracy, many theorists have still suggested that the Internet can enable a more participatory, pluralist society, but her research challenges these claims, spanning three areas: the digital divide, digital activism, and digital labor. Schradie has found that inequalities, ideologies, and institutions shape participation in our new information society. Released in May of 2019 by Harvard University Press, The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives, traces what she calls the Digital Activism Gap. Rather than early utopian claims of Facebook and Twitter Revolutions or more recent dystopian ones of Russian bots, state-sponsored hacking, or fake news farms, she reveals a more insidious problem. Instead of the internet spawning democracy or then taking it away, it does not have a life of its own. A Digital Activism Gap is driven by social class inequalities, organizational hierarchies, and reformist conservatism. The prototype of the radical left digital protester did not fit the mold of the 34 groups she studied in North Carolina. Digital activists were much more likely to be Tea Party members than student anarchists. These findings challenge the view of the internet as a pluralist space for social movements. This research, funded by the National Science Foundation, has also generated three journal articles in The International Journal of Communication, Social Problems and Social Media + Society. She has published four articles on what she coined as “digital production inequality.” After articles on this topic were published in Poetics and Information, Communication and Society, the publicity she garnered from these publications earned her the 2012 Public Sociology Alumni Prize at UC Berkeley. Currently, she is examining egalitarian claims of tech start-up entrepreneurs in a comparative research project between France and the United States. Her current projects are on the digital economy – a comparative study between France and the United States and the role of the state in mediating risk with start-ups, with a focus on gender and class inequality. She is also working on a European Commission funded project with partners in the UK and Italy to analyze online hate speech against Muslims. Before entering academia, Schradie directed six documentary films, including, “The Golf War – a story of land, golf and revolution in the Philippines.” Most of her films, however, focused on social movements confronting corporate power in the American rural South. Schradie’s documentaries have screened at more than 25 film festivals and 100 universities. She is also a beginning banjo player and an occasional yoga teacher. Resources The Revolution that Wasn't: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives by Jen Schradie (Harvard University Press, 2019) News Roundup AOC says it’s OK to block Twitter users New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that public officials should be able to block certain Twitter users for harassment. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she blocks only a tiny percentage of users. She also tweeted that users are free to speak their minds, even if others find that speech offensive, but that no one should have to require themselves to be subjected to harassing or abusive speech. Interestingly, a federal appeals court found that the president, because he uses Twitter in his official capacity, can’t constitutionally block users.   FCC activates disaster reporting for Dorian The Federal Communications Commission activated disaster reporting for Hurricane Dorian as the hurricane moved up the east coast over the weekend. The FCC wants communications providers in affected areas to provide updates on outages via The Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) at Tariffs on China begin to take effect The tariffs that Trump promised to impose on China as part of his trade war against the country went into effect on Sunday. The tariffs will affect some $110 billion worth of Chinese imports across a broad range of goods. Another tranche of tariffs on $160 billion worth of Chinese goods like laptop computers and other consumer devices is set to take effect on December 15th. Google announces hacking attempt Google publicly announced a hacking attempt that it found and reported to Apple back in February that targeted iPhones. The company said that going to certain websites using your iPhone gave hackers access to your data by installing malware that would run in the background without your knowledge. Hackers were then able to do things like copy your photos or even access encrypted messages sent via apps like Facebook Messenger or Telegraph. Google representative Ian Beer advised consumers to continue to be wary of the possibility of being hacked, even on devices with robust security features. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account hacked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter accounted was hacked last week. The hackers commenced to tweet racial slurs and other offensive messages until the posts were deleted within the hour, the Hill reports. Twitter says the hackers gained access to the account due to a security oversight by the wireless carrier that exposed Dorsey’s phone number. Report: Google to pay up to $200 million to FTC Politico reported Friday that Google will have to pay up to $200 million to settle allegations that YouTube violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits companies from collecting data from children under 13 without parental consent.  Some were disappointed by the news, including Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, who said the penalty wouldn’t be high enough. Google contract workers vote to unionize A group of ninety or so contract workers at Google voted to unionize last week, challenging how the company treats them compared to their full-time employees with whom they, in many cases, work side-by-side. With the help of the United Steelworkers union, about 2/3rds of the data analysts and other white collar professionals voted to unionize. The petition now heads up to the National Labor Relations Board which may formally authorize a union vote. Fort Collins launches municipal broadband The city of Fort Collins, Colorado is launching its own municipal broadband network offering up to 1GB of broadband for $60/month. Right now, the service targets 20-30 households but the city’s looking to ramp up. Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica reported that the cable industry vigorously opposed the effort. But voters approved the build out anyway.
9/3/201930 minutes, 13 seconds
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Chris Lewis: Tech Policy Outlook

  Bio Christopher Lewis is President and CEO at Public Knowledge. Prior to being elevated to President and CEO, Chris served for as PK's Vice President from 2012 to 2019 where he led the organization's day-to-day advocacy and political strategy on Capitol Hill and at government agencies. During that time he also served as a local elected official, serving two terms on the Alexandria City Public School Board. Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Local Self Reliance and represents Public Knowledge on the Board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG).  Before joining Public Knowledge, Chris worked in the Federal Communications Commission Office of Legislative Affairs, including as its Deputy Director. He is a former U.S. Senate staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and has over 18 years of political organizing and advocacy experience, including serving as Virginia State Director at GenerationEngage, and working as the North Carolina Field Director for Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign and other roles throughout the campaign. Chris graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors degree in Government and lives in Alexandria, VA where he continues to volunteer and advocate on local civic issues. Resources Public Knowledge  News Roundup Google Asks Employees to Avoid “Raging Discussions About Politics” Google updated its internal community guidelines for all employees last week in which the company urged workers to avoid “raging discussions about politics”. The key tenets of the new policy are to be responsible, helpful, and thoughtful. The policy change came in the wake of several instances in which Googlers called out the company publicly to protest Google’s alleged suppression of conservative voices and its controversial payout to Andy Rubin who was accused of sexual harassment, but left the company with a hefty severance package anyway. Steve Bannon Seeks to Help Trump with Anti-Huawei Film Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon announced in a press release last week that he would soon release a new film that’s critical of Huawei, the Chinese tech company the Trump administration has accused of collusion with the Chinese government to spy on and steal trade secrets from U.S. firms. “Run by a radical cadre of the Chinese Community Party,” the press release states, “China’s Communism today is the greatest existential threat the West has ever faced.” The Trump administration has banned Huawei from doing business with the federal government. Trump extended by 90 days a similar deadline for U.S. companies to stop doing business with Huawei. Bannon’s announcement comes as Trump has been under fire for undermining the U.S. economy via its trade war with China, signals from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that point to slowing job growth, and an investor exodus away from long-term treasury bonds. Bipartisan Lawmakers Applaud Tech for Taking Down Chinese Social Media Accounts Republican Representative John Ratcliffe and Democratic Representative Adam Schiff both praised and called attention to the threat of Chinese interference with the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Ratcliffe urged Google and Facebook to view China’s removal of content posted by pro-Democracy Hong Kong protesters as a trial run of what could happen in 2020 if China targets the U.S. Schiff applauded Twitter and Facebook for acting quickly to remove hundreds of accounts linked to the Chinese government that garnered over a hundred thousand followers. ICE Renews Contract with Palantir Immigration and Customs Enforcement has renewed its surveillance contract with Palantir-the software company founded by Peter Thiel, a vociferous tech sector conservative who also serves as an advisor to President Trump. Tech companies and immigration groups have blasted the administration for working with Palantir, which helps ICE track immigrants. The Hill values the contract at around $49 million.  American Psychological Association Study Finds Fake News Causes False Memories Finally, A new study by the American Psychological Association found that voters may form false memories from fake news stories, especially if the stories conform to their existing beliefs.  The research was performed in Ireland, but researchers expect that there would be similar results in the U.S.
8/27/201917 minutes, 6 seconds
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Patrick van Kessel: Kids & YouTube

Bio   Patrick van Kessel (@pvankessel) is a senior data scientist at Pew Research Center, specializing in computational social science research and methodology. He is the author of studies that have used natural language processing and machine learning to measure negative political discourse and news sharing behavior by members of Congress on social media, and is involved in the ongoing development of best practices for the application of data science methods across the Center. Van Kessel received his master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, where he focused on open-ended survey research and text analytics. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, he worked at NORC at the University of Chicago as a data scientist and technical advisor on a variety of research projects related to health, criminal justice and education.    Resources   Pew Research Center   Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-to Lessons  by Aaron Smith, Skye Toor, and Patrick van Kessel   News Roundup   Trump falsely claims that Google manipulated millions of votes   In a tweet Monday, President Trump cited a debunked study to claim that Google manipulated between 2.6 million and 16 million votes. Even the author of the study Trump cited, Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, said the president’s claim was false. Here’s the president’s tweet: “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Epstein says the report showed bias but not that Google manipulated votes. The report has been discredited many times since its release in 2017.   Beto O’Rourke wants to hold tech companies accountable for hate speech   Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he wants to hold tech companies accountable for hate speech, despite the fact that Section 230 shields tech companies from liability for content posted by third parties. The proposal is part of a sweeping gun reform proposal O’Rourke released and looks to connect the dots between online radicalization and real-world violence.   FCC considering making ‘988’ a national suicide prevention hotline   The Federal Communications Commission is considering designating the digits 988 as a national suicide prevention and mental health hotline. The proposal was laid out in a Joint Report to Congress last week by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and analytics. It’s endorsed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.   LGBTQ+ content creators sue YouTube   A class of LGBTQ+ content creators is suing YouTube for allegedly discriminating against their content. The complaint states that YouTube concealed their content, limited their subscribers, and thwarted their ability to sell ads, according to The Hill. The case is filed in the Northern District of California, San Jose division. YouTube says their algorithms don’t demonetize or discriminate against content posted by the LGBTQ+ community.     Facebook, YouTube say China spreading misinformation about Hong Kong   Facebook and YouTube announced Monday that China has been using the platforms to spread misinformation about the uprising in Hong Kong. Twitter says it found 936 accounts originating from China that Twitter found were designed to spread discord in Hong Kong. Prompted by Twitter, Facebook found seven pages, three groups and five accounts spreading misinformation which collectively boasted some 15,000 users. Some 200,000 accounts were active in spreading misinformation, according to Facebook. Facebook said it’s striving to continually improve. Twitter suspended the accounts.   FCC to increase oversight of broadband subsidies   Finally, The FCC has a proposal on circulation that would increase oversight of the Lifeline program—the federal subsidy for broadband that offers users $9.25 per month to help defray the cost of broadband in low-income households—according to a report in The Hill. The FCC is zeroing in on “waste, fraud and abuse” it says pervades the program. An FCC Inspector General report found Lifeline subsidies were going to some 50,000 deceased individuals.
8/20/201921 minutes, 19 seconds
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Johanna Blakley: TV & Politics

Bio Johanna Blakley, PhD, is the managing director at the Norman Lear Center. Based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Blakley performs research on a wide variety of topics, including global entertainment, cultural diplomacy, entertainment education, celebrity culture, fashion, digital media and intellectual property law. She has two talks on Social Media & the End of Gender and Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture. She speaks frequently in the U.S. and abroad about her research and her work has been cited by Reuters, the New York Times, The Economist, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, Huffington Post, RAND, Forbes, Business Week, PR Week and GOOD. She has appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC, Al Jazeera and Current TV, and on several radio programs, including On the Media, Planet Money, Marketplace and the TED Radio Hour. Blakley is co-Principal Investigator, with Marty Kaplan, on the Media Impact Project (MIP), a hub for collecting, developing and sharing approaches for measuring the impact of media, primarily funded by the Gates Foundation. MIP seeks to better understand the role that media plays in changing knowledge, attitudes and behavior among individuals and communities, large and small, around the world. MIP currently works with the US State Department on three cultural exchange programs: American Film Showcase, Global Media Makers and the Middle East Media Initiative. Much of her work addresses the intersection between entertainment and politics, including two nationwide polls on the relationship between political ideology and entertainment preferences, and she co-authored a report on the Primetime War on Drugs & Terror. With funding from the Pop Culture Collaborative, Blakley is currently analyzing the impact of narrative ingredients of scripted TV shows on viewers. Blakley is a regular contributor to the Lear Center Blog, and she has guided more than forty manuscripts through the publication process at the Lear Center, including Warners’ War: Propaganda, Politics & Pop Culture in Wartime Hollywood. She has also overseen two major research initiatives about the impact of intellectual property rights on innovation and creativity – Ready to Share: Fashion & the Ownership of Creativity and Artists, Technology & the Ownership of Creative Content. At USC, she co-directed a university-wide research initiative on Creativity & Collaboration in the Academy; she developed course materials on cultural diplomacy for the new Masters in Public Diplomacy program at Annenberg, and she taught masters courses on transmedia storytelling. She received a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught courses on popular culture and twentieth-century literature. Blakley has held a variety of positions within the high-tech industry, including Web producer and digital archivist at Vivendi-Universal Games. She is on the advisory board of Women@Paley at the Paley Center for Media and FEM inc., a technology venture. She has served as an advisor to the Aspen Institute, Active Voice, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and TEDxUSC, the first TEDx event in the world. She’s on the editorial board of the International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology and she’s a founding member of the board of directors for Les Figues Press, a venue for literary experimentation. Resources Norman Lear Center Are You What You Watch?: Tracking the Political Divide Through TV Preferences News Roundup CBS & Viacom strike merger deal CBS and Viacom have struck a merger deal worth about $50 billion, according to CNBC. The companies have been negotiating a merger deal for three years, which often put CBS and Viacom Vice Chair Shari Redstone at odds with former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who has since left the company mired by sexual harassment and abuse claims. The Redstone family-controlled National Amusements owns both companies. The combined entity will include CBS, as well as Viacom brands MTV, BET, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount.  Whole Foods workers protest Amazon’s work with ICE Whole Worker, the anonymous group of Whole Foods workers seeking to unionize the Amazon subsidiary’s workforce, released a protest letter yesterday opposing Amazon’s work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The letter specifically calls out Amazon’s cloud support for Palantir—the mysterious company partially-owned by Trump supporter Peter Thiel that helps ICE use artificial intelligence to carry out deportations.   Federal Appeals Court rules Facebook users can sue over facial recognition You know how Facebook figures out if it’s your face in the images you post? Well, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a class of Facebook users can sue Facebook under California law for using the facial recognition technology behind that feature. California’s Biometric Information Act requires companies to obtain consent before using the biometric data of their users. The 2015 lawsuit could put Facebook on the hook for billions of dollars.   Senator Marsha Blackburn calls out Huawei  U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, who’s a member of the Senate’s Technology, Innovation, and the Internet subcommittee called out Huawei for allegedly implanting spyware on devices. Blackburn said the China-based company is part of China’s military industrial complex designed to spy on the United States and other countries. Huawei is still on the Commerce department’s blacklist. But last month President Trump said that he would allow U.S. companies to sell equipment to Huawei.   Democrats blast McConnell at DEFCON hacker conference Senator Ron Wyden and California Representative Ted Lieu blasted Mitch McConnell at the main worldwide hacker conference, DEFCON, last week, for McConnell’s opposition to election security. McConnell has blocked legislation to strengthen election security—stating that federal legislation to defend election systems interferes with states rights.
8/14/201918 minutes, 22 seconds
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Francella Ochillo: How to Talk About 5G Without Neglecting Our Cities

Bio   Francella Ochillo (@franochillo) is the Executive Director of Next Century Cities. Previously, Francella was the Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Francella is a digital rights advocate who is committed to expanding access for unserved and underserved communities. Francella has worked on a variety of technology and telecommunications issues with a specific focus on assessing the impact of policy proposals on marginalized communities. Having worked for more than a decade with government and public interest organizations, she understands the challenges associated with getting various stakeholders to agree on connectivity solutions. Francella helps policymakers and lawmakers understand how broadband access can change socioeconomic outcomes and revitalize communities. It motivates her work to ensure that state and local leaders are given every opportunity to resolve their own connectivity issues and have a voice in shaping federal policies.  Francella is based in Washington, DC and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. She earned a B.S. in Marketing from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.   Resources   Next Century Cities     News Roundup   Mitch McConnell Blocks Election Security Bills The day after Robert Mueller gave testimony warning about election interference happening right at this very moment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked two election security bills last week intended to bolster election integrity. One of the bills would have required paper ballots to be used and passed the House 225-184. Another bill—a Senate bill from Senator Richard Blumenthal—would have required candidates, campaign officials and their family members to report to the FBI any assistance they’ve been offered from foreign agents. Leader McConnell blocked consent on both bills saying they were partisan.   Senate Intelligence Committee Finds Russian Election Interference Extended to 2014 A Senate Intelligence Committee report found that Russians interfered in U.S. elections as far back as 2014. It also found Russian activities continued into 2017. The committee released the 67-page report the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony.   France Announces Tax on U.S. Tech Companies, Trump vows retaliation French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a 3% digital services tax last week on U.S. tech companies that make at least $750 million Euros in revenue annually. President Trump said he intends to retaliate, that only the U.S. should tax American-based companies, and that American wine is better than French wine.   Tulsi Gabbard Sues Google for $50 million, Claims Censorship Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard sued Google last week claiming that the company censored her presidential campaign advertisements. The complaint alleges that by suspending Gabbard’s presidential campaign’s Google Ads account for several hours last month, that Google effectively censored her. Google says that they have an automated system that flags unusual activity. Gabbard is claiming $50 million in damages.   DOJ Approves the T-Mobile-Sprint Merger The Justice Department has approved the proposed, $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger. However, a lawsuit brought by several state Attorneys General needs to be resolved before the merger takes effect. In exchange for the merger approval, the Hill reports that the Department of Justice is requiring T-Mobile to turn over subscribers and spectrum to Dish Network, which will become a facilities-based, carrier that will compete with the merged company.   Facebook Settles with SEC for $100 Million Finally, Facebook has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $100 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission had claimed that Facebook misled investors for more than 2 years after the company became aware of the Cambridge Analytica breach in 2015. Facebook disclosed the breach in February of 2018.
7/30/201912 minutes, 36 seconds
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Lauren McCarty: 5G Beyond Faster Speeds

  5G Broadband Beyond Faster Speeds with Lauren McCarty (Ep. 194) Nokia's Lauren McCarty joined Joe Miller to discuss the potential for 5G beyond faster speeds on Ep. 194 of the WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast.   News Roundup    FaceApp Terms of Service Prompt Angst Among Lawmakers   FaceApp, a viral app created by Russian firm Wireless Lab sparked privacy concerns and angst among law makers last week. Faceapp allows users to upload selfies and lets users see what they’d look like if they swapped genders or what they’re likely to look like 50 years from now.   The app’s terms of service, though, which few of us actually reads, leaves it within Faceapp’s sole discretion to terminate your access to its services, even if losing access causes you loss or harm. The terms also reserve FaceApp’s right to store your pictures, even after you remove them, to “including and without limitation” comply with certain U.S. and foreign regulations, which could be those of any government in the world, including the Russian government.  The terms acknowledge that Faceapp uses an artificial intelligence algorithm that enables its ability to alter your photos.   Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FBI and FTC to investigate, saying in a letter to the agencies that the app could pose “national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens”.   Senate passes bill to criminalize voting systems hacking   Partially in response to the domestic hacking of election systems, and partially in response to Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election that was alleged in the Mueller report, the Senate has passed a bill which would criminalize the hacking of voter machines to gain access to voter data. The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act passed by unanimous consent on Wednesday night. Senators Whitehouse,  Blumenthal, and Graham introduced the legislation earlier this year.       President’s plea to Trump supporters on the fence: download the app   The Washington Post reported last week that Trump’s re-election campaign is trying to shore up support via a new app that campaign officials say will be released in the coming weeks. The mobile will allow Trump supports to organize in their local communities and register to vote.   Feinstein targets social media bots spreading misinformation Social media bots are widely seen to have played a decisive role in spreading misinformation in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In fact Symantec released a report in June showing that Russia’s propaganda program in that election cycle was even more extensive than was originally thought. So Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to prohibit campaigns from using these spam bots to “subvert future elections”.  It’s called the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act.   Maxine Waters, Senate Banking Committee, Trump, Mnuchin all highly skeptical of Facebook’s Libra Powerful lawmakers including Maxine Waters and most of the Senate Banking Committee, as well as administration officials including the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are all highly skeptical of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, Libra. Senator Sherrod Brown on the Senate Banking Committee was especially vocal in his opposition to the currency during a hearing in which Facebook’s lead for the project, David Marcus, testified. Brown was incredulous that after Facebook which “moved fast and broke our political discourse … broke journalism,  helped incite a genocide and … undermin[ed] our democracy” now wants to have a global cryptocurrency available to its 2 billion+ users that would be a global, commercial version of the Federal Reserve. Republicans on the panel also expressed opposition including Banking Commission Chairman Mike Crapo, who suggested the creation of a separate regulatory agency to deal with cryptocurrency.   In the House, Maxine Waters announced that she will be calling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in to testify.   Amazon hires Trump ally to bolster lobbying on Pentagon contract Amazon has hired Trump ally Jeff Miller to lobby on behalf of the company to win approval to work on a $10 billion “war cloud” contract for the Pentagon. Earlier in the week, Trump had expressed opposition to the contract. Republicans are also urging the president not to thwart the contract.   Sanders, Omar urge investigation into working conditions at Amazon warehouse   Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar were joined by 10 other members of Congress in a letter to the Department of Labor asking the agency to investigate working conditions at an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota where workers protested about working conditions.   Real Estate Agent Tanya Gersh scores $14m victory against Daily Stormer Founder Andrew Anglin A magistrate judge in the Federal District of Montana, Missoula Division recommended that Chief Judge Dana Christensen enter a default judgement of $14 million in damages against the founder of a neo-Nazi website. Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin had twice failed to appear for his deposition in the case brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Ms. Gersh back in 2017. The suit contends that Anglin initiated a “troll storm” against real estate agent Tanya Gersh after Gersh advised the mother of alt-right figure Richard Spencer to denounce her sons views in order to sell her property. Judge Christensen has already ruled in favor Gersh, finding that the First Amendment doesn’t protect harassing speech, so now it’s just a question of whether Judge Christensen will sign off on the magistrate judge’s damages recommendation.     Events   Tues., July 23 American Federation for Children Parents and Students Share their Vision for Twenty-First Century Education in America 11:45pm – 1pm Senate Visitors Center, Room 202   Congressional Caucus on Smart Cities Smart Campuses 101: Introduction to the Future 12-1pm Rayburn House Office Building, Rm. 2044     Population Association of America Drawing a Line: How We Measure Poverty and Why it Matters 2-3pm Rayburn, 2043 Wed., July 24 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Anti-Semitism: The World’s Oldest Hatred – New Again 8:00AM-9:00am Rayburn House Office Building Rm. 2168   Girls in Tech Venture Capital 101 11:45am-1:00pm Mindspace 1301 K St., NW   Girl Scouts of America Ready for Takeoff: Girl Scouts and Space Science 12-1:00pm Rayburn, 2325   Government Affairs Industry Network Career Transitions:  Expectations v. Reality 12:00-1:30pm Covington & Burling 850 10th St., NW   Leader Schumer+Senate Diversity Ice Cream Social 3:30pm-5:30pm Hart Senate Office Building, 902   U.S. Department of Energy Modernizing the Grid for American Security, Innovation, and Economic Growth 4pm-7-pm Rayburn, 2253     Mon., July 29   Public Opinion Strategies What’s Next for Patient Experience Measurement? 11:45AM-1:30pm Dirksen Senate Office Building, G50  
7/23/201930 minutes, 17 seconds
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Michael J. Alkire: How to Apply Data Science to Healthcare

  Bio   Michael J. Alkire (@AlkirePremier) is the President of Premier, Inc.. As President, Alkire leads the continued integration of Premier’s clinical, financial, supply chain and operational performance improvement offerings helping member hospitals and health systems provide higher quality care at a better cost. He oversees Premier’s quality, safety, labor and supply chain technology apps and data-driven collaboratives allowing alliance members to make decisions based on a combination of healthcare information. These performance improvement offerings access Premier’s comparative database, one of the nation’s largest outcomes databases. Alkire also led Premier’s efforts to address public health and safety issues from the nationwide drug shortage problem, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Premier research on shortages and gray market price gouging. This work contributed to the president and Congress taking action to investigate and correct the problem, resulting in two pieces of bipartisan legislation. Prior to serving as President, Alkire was president of Premier Purchasing Partners, which offers group purchasing, supply chain and resource utilization services to hospitals and health systems. Premier remains among the top group purchasing organizations in the industry as the value of supplies purchased through its contracts has increased to more than $56 billion. Upon joining Premier in late 2003, Alkire worked closely with the Purchasing Partners team to develop and implement a three-year transformation plan designed to dramatically increase returns to the alliance’s shareholders while building stronger relationships with members and suppliers. Alkire is a past board member of GHX and the Healthcare Supply Chain Association. He recently was named one of the Top 25 COOs in Healthcare for 2018 by Modern Healthcare. In 2015, Alkire won the Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year and in 2014 he was recognized as a Gold Award Winner for COO of the Year by the Golden Bridge Awards. He has more than 20 years of experience in running business operations and business development organizations at Deloitte & Touche and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Before joining Premier, he served in a number of leadership roles at Cap Gemini, including North American responsibilities for supply chain and high-tech manufacturing. Alkire graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University and an MBA from Indiana University. Resources   Premier, Inc.   Advocacy @ Premier   Premier, Inc. and 10 Hospitals Launch Initiative to Improve Maternal and Infant Health (Press Release, July 11, 2019)     HEADLINES:   The FTC fines Facebook $5 billion—many say it’s not enough; Trump goes on a racist tirade on Twitter; and Michael Alkire is my guest.   News Roundup   FTC fines Facebook $5 billion   The Federal Trade Commission has fined Facebook some $5 billion with many saying it’s a slap on the wrist. One commentator on Twitter called it a parking ticket, although it was a record fine.  But the New York Times notes that the fine concludes just one of several investigations currently pending around the world. Facebook’s revenue last year was $56 billion.   Brian Stelter on Trumps racist tweets   You already know about Trump’s racist tweets over the weekend in which he told democratic, progressive Congresswomen of color, obviously including Representative Ilhan Omar, who fled to the U.S. from Somalia, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”. Of course the other Congresswomen to whom he was clearly referring, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were born in the U.S. But Brian Stelter from CNN pointed out something interesting – media outlets like Fox News are avoiding calling the president’s tweets racist, and instead relying on third-party commentators to do that. Twitter even said that the president’s tweets didn’t violate its policies. Twitter though is in a difficult predicament since it’s currently under fire by Trump, along with several other tech companies, for allegedly having an anti-conservative bias.   Social Media Summit   The Trump administration held a social media summit with conservative content creators and politicians last week. The president told those in attendance that he would invite tech companies to the White House to explain their alleged anti-conservative bias. But the president didn’t provide any evidence.   Huawei plans massive U.S. layoffs   The Wall Street Journal reports that Huawei, the China-based company that’s been besieged by the Trump administration for allegedly sharing the confidential and sensitive information of U.S. companies with the Chinese government, will be laying off as many as 850 people in the U.S. The U.S. Commerce Department has blacklisted Huawei, which Huawei estimates will cost it some $30 billion.   U.S. Army to test armed, robotic vehicles   Andrew Liptak reported in the Verge that the U.S. government is planning to test armed, robotic vehicles beginning next year. The Army will conduct the live-fire tests in Colorado and Europe. The vehicles will be remote controlled.       First quantum entanglement photograph   Scientists at the University of Glasglow photographed, for the very first time, two photons interacting and sharing physical states for a brief moment. What does it mean? Well the photograph will advance the field of quantum mechanics because it proves that photons physically interact with one another—something that was theoretical before. Also, the process of taking the photograph was very involved, creating a model that scientists can use to capture other scientific phenomena that are difficult to observe.   Chris Lewis elevated to President & CEO of Public Knowledge   Christopher Lewis, a seven-year veteran of progressive tech policy think tank and advocacy group Public Knowledge, has succeeded Gene Kimmelman as President & CEO. Previously, Chris was a staffer in the late Ted Kennedy’s office.   Events Tues., 7/16 House Commerce Committee Our Wireless Future: Building a Comprehensive Approach to Spectrum Policy 10:30AM Rayburn, 2322   New America Paying for Our Privacy: What Online Business Models Should be Off-Limits? 3:00-4:30pm New America, 740 15th St., NW   Thurs., 7/18   New America The Future of Free Expression Online in America 12-2pm New America, 740 15th St., NW
7/16/201922 minutes, 3 seconds
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Alex Wilson: Top 3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Adopt Bitcoin for Donations

  Bio   Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonTGB) is Co-Founder of The Giving Block. The Giving Block is a DC-based start-ups focused on helping non-profits incorporate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into their funding model. Previously he was a Director at Block Shop, also DC-based, which is a blockchain incubator focused on building real blockchain solutions beyond the hype.   a blockchain incubator focused on building real blockchain solutions beyond thehype and serves as Washington DC's blockchain hub for top startups and events. He’s also a Senior Consultant at Optimity Advisors – a Management Consulting Firm in DC. He’s earned his BA at Wake Forest’s School of Business.     Resources   The Giving Block   Block Shop DC   HEADLINES: ProPUblica deiscovers an obscene Border Patrol facebook Group insulting migrants and Latina Congresswomen, Twitter’s right wing attacks Kamala Harris, and Alex Wilson is my guest   News Roundup   ProPublica discovers secret, obscene Facebook Group of Border Patrol agents targeting migrants and Congresswomen   ProPublica uncovered a secret Facebook Group containing some 9.5 thousand members in which Border Patrol Agents ridiculed migrants and members of Congress with obscene photos. In one comment, one of the agents suggested they throw a burrito at Representatives Veronica Escobar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when they come to visit an El Paso area border Patrol facility. Another group member posted the photo that went viral last week of a man lying face-down in the water next to his young daughter. The poster referred to them as “floaters” and suggested the photo wasn’t real. There were several other racist and sexist comments that I’ll let you find on your own … Customs and Border Patrol says they’re investigating but skeptics believe there to be a pervasive culture at the agency that encourages this type of bigotry.       Right wing Twitter accounts promote false rumors about Kamala Harris’ nationality   Twitter accounts identified as bots by researchers Josh Russell and Caroline Orr retweeted a conspiracy by Trumpworld personality Ali Alexander, in which Alexander wrote that Kamala Harris is “not an American Black” because she is half Indian and half Jamaican. Sound familiar? Anyway, Twitter denies that bots were involved and claimed that all of the users who contributed were actual human beings. The social media company said the tweets did not violate its terms of service.   Senators Warren and Jaypal criticize FCC panel’s corporate influence   In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Senators Warren and Jaypal criticized the FCC’s Communications, Security, Reliability and Interoperability Advisory Committee for having to many corporate members on board. Currently, out of 22 members, 15 are corporate, 6 are government officials, and just one is from the nonprofit sector. Neither the FCC nor Chairman Ajit Pai have commented publicly.   Maine passes net neutrality   In defiance of the FCC’s overturning of the 2015 net neutrality rules, Maine has become the 12th state to pass its own net neutrality rules. These include Colorado, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Montana, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and California.   Trump relaxes Huawei ban   President Trump has relaxed the ban he imposed earlier this year preventing American companies from selling products to Chinese device manufacturer Huawei. The policy shift came as part of a deal with China to ease trade restrictions.   Facebook civil rights audit concludes with findings many already knew   Facebook has released the latest findings from the civil rights audit being conducted by prominent civil rights attorney Laura Murphy. It’s been received by many social justice advocates working on tech policy as a restatement of things they’ve been calling Facebook out on for a long time, such the need for board diversity, better treatment of people of color and women. The company announced that a task force will be created to address some of the issues raised in the report. But some some say the task force will just be a networking opportunity for members of the task force.     Events   Fri., 7/5   DC Fringe Festival Fri., 7/5-Sun. 7/28 Various locations
7/2/201916 minutes, 45 seconds
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Safiya Noble: The Future of Class, Culture, Gender and Race on Digital Media Platforms

Safiya Noble: The Future of Class, Culture, Gender and Race on Digital Media Platforms (Ep. 191) Bio Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble (@safiyanoble) is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Information Studies and African American Studies, and a visiting faculty member to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in Department of Media and Cinema Studies and the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-reviewed in journals and periodicals including the Los Angeles Review of Books, featured in the New York Public Library 2018 Best Books for Adults (non-fiction), and recognized by Bustle magazine as one of 10 Books about Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You. Safiya is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology. She is regularly quoted for her expertise on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias by national and international press including The Guardian, the BBC, CNN International, USA Today, Wired, Time, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The New York Times, and Virginia Public Radio, and a host of local news and podcasts, including Science Friction, and Science Friday to name a few. Recently, she was named in the “Top 25  Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers of 2019” by Government Technology magazine.  Dr. Noble is the co-editor of two edited volumes: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of the Commentary & Criticism section of the Journal of Feminist Media Studies. She is a member of several academic journal and advisory boards, including Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018.    Resources  Safiya U. Noble Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya U. Noble (NYU Press: 2019) Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media by Sarah T. Roberts (Yale University Press: 2019)   News Roundup   FTC is investigating YouTube over children’s privacy The Federal Trade Commission is investigating YouTube over children’s privacy concerns, according to the Washington Post. The Alphabet subsidiary faces steep fines if it’s found to have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits tracking and targeting children under 13. The FTC and YouTube both declined to comment.   Lawmakers divided over election security The Hill reports that GOP lawmakers are divided over election security, with some, including Mitch McConnell, who think additional legislation is unnecessary to deal with the challenges posed by technology. Other Republicans, like Lindsay Graham think there’s more we can do.    Facebook plans cryptocurrency, Maxine Waters resists We reported last week that Facebook announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra. But House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters is pushing back. Waters asked Facebook to place a moratorium on the release of its cryptocurrency until after Congress has had a chance to review it. Virginia Senator Mark Warner agreed. Both lawmakers said the company’s troubled past is a warning sign. Waters has scheduled a hearing for July 17.    DHS moving global biometric data to Amazon Cloud The Department of Homeland Security stated in request for information it released last week that it would be moving the data of hundreds of millions of people around the globe to Amazon Web Services. The DHS is moving the data to a Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) System, hosted by AWS, which will upgrade the agency’s ability to link biometric and biographical data to DNA. The system is designed to quickly identify anyone who’s in the database such as suspected criminals, immigration violators, terrorists and, frankly, you, if you’re in the database.   Google’s board rejects shareholder proposals to fight sexual harassment and boost diversity The Guardian reports that Google parent Alphabet’s board of directors voted down thirteen shareholder proposals that would have ended forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims by contract workers, addressed ethical concerns stemming from AI and China, and several other social concerns. The board voted against the proposals despite a protest happening outside the company’s headquarters during the vote.   Apple CEO Tim Cook calls out big tech Apple CEO Tim Cook called out big tech at a Stanford Commencement speech last week. He said tech companies need to accept responsibility for the chaos they create and that “Lately it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation – the belief you can claim credit without accepting responsibility … We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning out national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood.”   Members call on tech companies to address law firm diversity concerns In a letter penned by Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver, members of the House of Representatives are calling on tech companies to diversify the ranks of outside counsel the companies use. Currently, tech companies retain large law firms notorious for their dismal diversity records and segregating lawyers of color into contractor roles. Congressman Cleaver, along with Representatives Robin Kelly, G.K. Butterfield, and Barbara Lee sent the letter to Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Intel, HP, Cisco and Facebook.   Fairfax County gets first state funding for autonomous vehicles Fairfax County Virginia and Dominion Energy landed a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for an autonomous electric shuttle in Merrifield. The pilot will be part of a larger potential effort to build a largescale autonomous transportation system in Virginia. This first pilot will connect the Dunn Loring MetroRail Station with the Mosaic district. Under the deal, Dominion will purchase or lease the vehicle and Fairfax County will handle operations.   Events   Tues., 6/25 Senate Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms 10AM Hart 216   House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations 10AM Cannon 310   House Committee on Small Business: Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure Broadband Mapping: Small Carrier Perspectives on a Path Forward 10AM Rayburn 2360   House Energy & Commerce Committee: Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Stopping Bad Robocalls Act 2PM Rayburn 2123   House Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology: Overseeing the Fintech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on Fintech Regulation 2PM Rayburn 2128   House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation                                                  Cybersecurity Challenges for State and Local Governments: Assessing How the Federal Government Can Help 2PM Cannon 310   House Committee on the Judiciary: Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since Shelby County v. Holder 2PM Rayburn 2141     House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Election Security: Voting Technology Vulnerabilities 2PM Rayburn 2318       Transformative Technology of DC How the Future of Work and STEM are impacting social wellbeing, digital transformation and mindset growth through tech 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDT District Offices 10 G Street Northeast   GEICO Data Science Tech Talk & Open House 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT 5260 Western Avenue Bethesda, MD 20815   Wed., 6/26   House Committee on Homeland Security Examining Social Media Companies' Efforts to Counter Online Terror Content and Misinformation 10AM Cannon 310   House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Artificial Intelligence: Societal and Ethical Implications 10AM Rayburn 2318   House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics NASA’s Aeronautics Mission: Enabling the Transformation of Aviation 2PM Rayburn 2318   Wine Wednesday Founding Farmers 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT Founding Farmers, Reston 1904 Reston Metro Plaza   Thurs., 6/27   Federal Trade Commission PrivacyCon 8:15AM-5PM FTC Constitution Center 400 7th ST., SW   Ford Motor Company Fund  HERImpact Entrepreneurship Summit 9:30AM-4PM Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business 3700 O St NW   General Assembly Inside the Minds of Brilliant Designers 6:30-8:30PM General Assembly, 509 7th Street NW, 3rd Floor      Fri., 6/28   Federal Communications Commission Workshop on Promoting Multilingual Alerting 9AM-2:30PM FCC   Tues., 7/2   Universal Service Administrative Company Lifeline Program Consumer Support Training for caseworkers, service agents, and support professionals 9:30AM-12PM Universal Service Administrative Company 700 12th St., NW
6/25/201930 minutes, 37 seconds
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Monica Anderson: Generation Z's social media trends

Bio Monica Anderson (@MonicaRAnders) is a senior researcher at Pew Research Center primarily studying internet and technology issues. Much of her recent work has focused on the impact of the digital divide, the role of technology in the lives of teenagers, and activism in the age of social media. She has a master’s degree in media studies from Georgetown University, where her work focused on the intersection of race, politics and media. Resources Pew Research Center Teens’ Social Media Habits and Experiences by Monica R. Anderson (Pew Research Center, 2018) News Roundup Elizabeth Warren demands Assistant AG recuses himself from tech antitrust investigation U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim recuse himself from the DOJ’s antitrust investigation of Google and Apple. In the past, Delrahim lobbied on behalf of both companies. Senator Warren wrote directly to the Assistant Attorney General saying that not recusing himself would create the appearance of a conflict of interest. CBP announces data breach U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a data breach last week. The agency says thieves obtained traveler photos and license plate numbers via a malicious cyberattack to a subcontractor’s network. The hackers did not directly access CBP’s database. Zuckerberg may have been aware of shady privacy practices The Wall Street Journal reports that internal documents may show that Facebook knew about shady data practices happening at the company. Sources say internal emails in which executives are seen grappling with how to comply with the requirements of an FTC consent decree included silence by Zuckerberg as to the implications of an app that had the ability to reveal Facebook user data on its own site, irrespective of the users’ privacy settings on Facebook. OTI, Free Press, and Georgetown Law Center file FCC complaint against wireless carriers for selling location data New America’s Open Technology Institute, Free Press and Georgetown Law Center’s Center on Privacy and Technology lodged a complaint at the FCC Friday, claiming that AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint & Verizon have threatened public safety by enabling stalkers, people posing as police officers, debt collectors, and others by disclosing subscribers’ location data to bounty hunters. Facebook’s cryptocurrency gains major backers The Wall Street Journal reports that Visa, Mastercard, Uber and Paypal will each be investing around $10 million in Facebook’s new cryptocurrency called Libra, which Facebook’s planning to announce this week. Facebook’s been largely quiet about the currency but the Wall Street Journal reports that it would be a currency that’s pegged to government-backed cryptocurrencies and allow users to use the digital coin to make purchases across the internet. Some experts are worried about money laundering. Sweetgreen acquires delivery startup DC-founded Sweetgreen—the salad giant—is stepping up its delivery game. Even though Sweetgreen is now headquarted in LA, it announced its acquisition of Galley Foods last week, also a DC-based company, to handle delivery logistics. This is Sweetgreen’s first acquisition. Events Tues., 6/18 Senate Finance Committee The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement 10:15AM 215 Dirksen Wed., 6/19 House Ways & Means Committee The 2019 Trade Policy Agenda: Negotiations with China, Japan, the EU, and UK; New NAFTA/USMCA; U.S. Participation in the WTO; and Other Matters 9:30AM 1100 Longworth National Telecommunications and Information Administration Building Smart Cities and Communities at the Regional Level 2PM-3PM Department of Commerce Demos at Dusk 5:30-8PM General Assembly 509 7th St., NW Thurs., 6/20 House Small Business Committee The Importance of Accurate Census Data to Small Business Formation and Growth 10AM Rayburn 236- House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Cultivating Diversity and Improving Retention Among Congressional Staff 2PM Rayburn, 2253 Kora Research Center Broccoli Talk: Bridging the Gap Between Artists & Tech 5-8PM Broccoli City Bar 1817 7th St., NW Sat., 6/22 Black Girls Code DC Chapter  A Virtual Reality Experience 10AM-4PM Howard University School of Business 2600 6th St., NW Mon., 6/24 Federal Communications Commission Advisory Committee on Diversity & Digital Empowerment 10AM FCC
6/18/201916 minutes, 58 seconds
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Alfred Mathewson: How to Think About Race, Tech & Antitrust

Bio Alfred Mathewson (@hubisoninthe505) is the former Emeritus Professor of Law and Henry Weihofen Chair of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He joined the UNM law faculty in 1983 after working as a corporate, securities and banking lawyer in Denver. He was named the Director of the Africana Studies Program in 2013 after having served as Acting or Interim Director since 2009. From 1997 through 2002, he was Associate Dean of Academics. In that position, he oversaw the curriculum, clinical law program, faculty appointments, the faculty promotion and tenure process, library, faculty development and related issues. Professor Mathewson served as a Co-Dean of the law school from 2015 to 2018. Mathewson's teaching and research focuses on antitrust law, business planning, sports law, minority business enterprises and corporate governance. He frequently supervises in the Business and Tax law Clinic and has served occasionally as Acting Director of the Clinical Law Program during the summer. He recently added Transactional Negotiations to his teaching portfolio. He has published numerous articles and given speeches in these areas and he brings this expertise to his teaching. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute. He has served on several ABA accreditation inspection teams. He is a member of the AALS Section on Law and Sports Law, of which he has previously served as chair. He currently is serving another stint as chair of the UNM Athletic Council. He serves as the faculty adviser of the UNM Chapter of the Black Law Students Association. He is active in various community organizations, including the Albuquerque Council on International Visitors. He has served as the president of the New Mexico Black Lawyers Association and the Sam Cary Bar Association (Denver). His recent publications include The Bowl Championship Series, Conference Realignment and the Major College Football Oligopoly: Revolution Not Reform, 1 Miss. Sports L. Rev. (2012) and Remediating Discrimination Against African American Females at the Intersection of Title IX and Title VI, 2 Wake Forest J. L. & Policy (2012). He presented “Times Have Changed: A New Bargain for Sharing the Revenue Stream in Intercollegiate Athletics with Student Athletes,” a paper prepared for panel at AALS 2014 Annual Meeting Section on Law and Sports program entitled, “O'Bannon v. NCAA: Is There An Unprecedented Change To Intercollegiate Sports Just Over The Horizon?” Resources Race in Ordinary Course: Utilizing the Racial Background in Antitrust and Corporate Law Courses by Alfred Mathewson, 23 St. John’s J. Legal Comment 667 (2008). Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight Civil Rights and the Anti-trust Laws by Philip Marcus Race, Markets and Hollywood’s Perpetual Dilemma by Hosea R. Harvey Amazon Antitrust Paradox by Lina M. Khan News Roundup Google walkout organizer leaves the company Claire Stapleton, one of the organizers of last year’s global walkout at Google following revelations that the company allegedly hid sexual harassment allegations against Android developer Andy Rubin, has left the company, saying she was retaliated against. She wrote in an internal document, later posted on Medium by Google Walkout for Real Change, “These past few months have been unbearably stressful and confusing. But they’ve been eye-opening, too: the more I spoke up about what I was experiencing, the more I heard, and the more I understood how universal these issues are.” Stapleton said she’s leaving the company because she’s having a baby. Google has refuted the allegations. Maine signs robust privacy bill The State of Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, signed a new privacy bill into law last week requiringcarriers to get consumers’ permission before selling their data to third parties. It specifically prohibits ISPs from retaliating against consumers for refusing to allow their data to be sold.     YouTube Revokes Steven Crowder’s Ads   YouTube shifted gears and revoked the ads of far-right commentator Steven Crowder over Crowder’s use of homophobic language. The company backtracked following outcry over the company’s initial defense of Crowder. But the ban isn’t permanent. Crowder simply must remove the offensive content, including the homophobic t-shirts he was selling in his online store.   FCC permits carriers to block more robocalls   The FCC allowed carriers last week to ban even more robocalls by allowing them to stop calls on behalf of subscribers.  The order had bipartisan support, but Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said it opens the door for carriers to charge for the service since the order doesn’t contain any language to prevent that from happening.   Pew reports lagging tech adoption in rural   Pew reports that rural communities lag the rest of the country when it comes to tech adoption. At 63%, rural households are 10 points lower than the rest of the country. Smartphone penetration, at 67%, is also 10 points lower. Tablet penetration and the number of households with desktop computers also lags.   Congress kills bill provision preventing IRS from setting up free filing service   Finally, it looks like you’re going to have an alternative to Turbo Tax. The tax preparation service is facing some competition from the IRS itself. Congress has killed a provision of the Taxpayer First Act that would have prevented the IRS from creating its own, free online tax filing service.   Events   Tues., 6/11   NCTA/Rural Broadband Caucus Trailblazing a Path for Rural Broadband 11:30AM-1:00PM   Uber Elevate Summit 2019 Reagan International Center Today & Tomorrow   Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood & Color of Change Digital Privacy Briefing Rayburn 2322 3:30-5:00pm   Entertainment Software Association ES3 LA Convention Center Today through Wednesday   House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 1: The Free and Diverse Press Rayburn 2141 2PM   Wed., 6/12   Federal Communications Commission Tribal Workshop Riverwind Casino in Oklahoma Wed. and Thurs.
6/11/201932 minutes, 12 seconds
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Chris Jones: The Local Power of Blockchain

  Bio Chris Jones (@cjones2002) is the Chief Marketing Officer of Dragonchain and Co-founder of the Blockchain Seattle Conference. He’s a long-time entrepreneur and an expert in strategy, product marketing and user acquisition. He is adept at translating complex, technical features and functionalities into easy to understand concepts. Previously Chris held executive roles with Adidas America, Mattel and Boost Mobile. Chris is an evangelist for blockchain technology and the people and projects.  In addition, he consults to other blockchain & technology companies including Storm, a gamified microtasks platform and Sirqul, a leader in the IoT space. He attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and earned an MBA from Northwestern University. Resources Dragonchain Dragonchain Free Blockchain Project Planning Guide Blockchain Use Cases Blockchain Blog Articles Gartner Report News Roundup Amazon considering purchasing Boost from T-Mobile Reuters reports that Amazon is considering purchasing Boost from T-Mobile. The report comes as the Department of Justice has called for Sprint and T-Mobile to spin off some property to ensure their proposed merger maintains at least 4 mobile competitors. U.S. to require social media profiles from visa applicants The New York Times reports that visa applicants planning to enter the U.S. will need provide their social media profiles from the last 5 years. They implemented the policy on Friday. The crackdown comes amidst a staggering anti-immigration posture that largely targets Muslims and people of color, China, and Mexico. Markets rattled as antitrust investigations of tech loom Tech shares tumbled Monday following reports that the DOJ, FTC and Congress will begin investigations against Google parent Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The New York Times reported that the DOJ has an investigation of Alphabet and Apple teed up. And the Federal Trade Commission will investigate Amazon and Facebook, according to sources. House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler also announced his committee will conduct its own investigation. The Nasdaq was down 1.6% and tech stocks in indexes around the world rode the rollercoaster in Monday’s trading.  FCC broadband report ridiculed by policy experts The FCC released its broadband report last week, concluding that carriers are building high speed internet service in a reasonable and timely fashion. This is even though some 23 million Americans lack access to broadband. FCC Commissioner Starks said the report’s findings are “fundamentally at odds with reality”. For example, in DC, some 9,000 people lack access to high speed internet service defined as 25mbps download speed. DC concentrates most of those lacking broadband internet in Wards 5, 7, and 8. Airbnb host in NYC calls black guests ‘monkeys’ and calls the police An New York City Airbnb host—an Asian woman—called her black guests monkeys and criminals and then called the police. The guests ended up leaving and staying in a hotel. You can find the link to the Instagram video in the show notes. Events Tues., June 4th Committee on Oversight & Reform Facial Recognition Technology (Part II): Ensuring Transparency in Government Use 10:00AM 2154 Rayburn   House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing: STELAR Review: Protecting Consumers in an Evolving Media Marketplace 10:30AM Rayburn 2322   House Committee on Small Business Hearing: Mind the Skills Gap: Apprenticeships and Training Programs 11:30AM 2361 Rayburn Wed., June 5th Senate Commerce Committee The State of the Television and Video Marketplace 10:00AM Dirksen G50   New America Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet 11:45AM-1:00PM New America, 740 15th St., NW AI and Human Rights: The Future of AI Policy in the US National Press Club 1PM-3PM   Thurs., June 6th  Federal Communications Commission Open Commission Meeting 10:30AM-12:30pm 445 12th St., SW
6/4/201922 minutes, 44 seconds
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Kriti Sharma: How to Defeat AI Bias

Bio  Kriti Sharma (@sharma_kriti) is an Artificial Intelligence expert and a leading global voice on ethical technology and its impact on society. She built her first robot at the age of 15 in India and has been building innovative AI technologies to solve global issues, from productivity to inequality to domestic abuse, ever since. Kriti was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was included in the Recode 100 List of Key Influencers in Technology in 2017. She was invited as a Civic Leader to the Obama Foundation Summit. She is a Google Anita Borg Scholar and recently gave expert testimony on AI Policy to the UK Parliament in the House of Lords. While much of Silicon Valley worry about doomsday scenarios where AI will take over human civilization, Kriti Sharma has a different kind of concern: What happens if disadvantaged groups don’t have a say in the technology we’re creating? In 2017, she spearheaded the launch of the Sage Future Makers Lab, a forum that will equip young people around the world with hands-on learning for entering a career in Artificial Intelligence. Earlier this year, she founded AI for Good, an organization creating the next generation technology for a better, fairer world. Kriti also leads AI and Ethics at Sage. Resources AI for Good   Kriti's Ted Talk: How to Keep Human Bias out of AI    Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks   Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas   News Roundup   Amazon shareholder effort to restrict company’s facial recognition fails   Two Amazon shareholder resolutions to curb Rekognition—with a K—the company’s facial recognition platform—failed to garner shareholder approval last week. One proposal would have required the company to determine whether the technology violates civil liberties before rolling it out to law enforcement. The other resolution would have required Amazon to conduct a study of human rights violations posed by Rekognition. While Amazon is reluctant to address these issues, Google and Microsoft have pledged not to sell their facial recognition to law enforcement.   U.S. spy chief warns U.S. businesses about China   The Financial Times reports that U.S. National Security Advisor Dan Coates has been warning U.S.-based companies about doing business with China. Coates has even gone as far as sharing classified information with executives.  The classified briefings come amidst a U.S. trade war with China which includes a ban of China-based tech company Huawei from doing business in the U.S. because of a cozy relationship it allegedly had with Iran and the fact that China is alleged to be using the company’s components to spy on the U.S.  The Financial Times says the briefings have largely focused on the espionage and intellectual property threats China poses.     Senate passes anti-robocall bill   A bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Ed Markey and John Thune, that would slap robocall offenders with a fine of $10,000 per call, passed the Senate with a vote of 97 to 1 on Thursday. The legislation also increases penalties for scammers and works to combat number blocking. The bill is called the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACE) Act and now heads to the House where Democrat Frank Pallone’s got a similar bill in the works.     Google tweaks abortion ad policy   Google has tweaked it policy for abortion ads after several misleading abortion ads showed up on the platform. Now, the company’s saying that it will certify advertisers who want to place abortion-related ads as either abortion providers or non-providers. Any advertiser that doesn’t fall into one of those categories won’t be able to run abortion ads on Google.   Events     Wed., 5/29   AT&T/Carnegie Mellon Livestream: Privacy in the World of Internet of Things 1pm-2:30pm   Fri., 5/31 Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Public Forum on the USA FREEDOM Act 10:00AM-12:30PM Reagan Building 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW   Mon., 6/3   Federal Communications Commission Consumer Advisory Committee Meeting 9:00AM 445 12th St., SW
5/28/201924 minutes, 58 seconds
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Luis Avila: The New Battleground State --Empowering Voters in Arizona

  Bio   Luis Avila (@phoenikera) is the President and Founder of Iconico Campaigns, a company that works to build advocacy capacity in organizations around the country. Migrating in 2000 from Mexico, Luis stayed in the U.S. to attend college, where he developed projects with people involved in arts, politics and social justice.  In 2004, Luis learned about civic participation in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of the American Freedom Summer program. He collaborated with organizers and leaders to advocate for the DREAM Act, fight against SB1070 and challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio's discriminatory practices in Arizona. In 2008, Luis joined the Obama campaign where he got insight on cornerstone aspects of electoral organizing. This knowledge, paired with technologies developed to boost volunteer engagement, is applied now in all his advocacy and community engagement work. Luis spearheaded Somos América in 2011, the largest immigrant-rights coalition in Arizona, and currently sits on the Boards of Advisors of the National Council for La Raza and The New Teacher Project, an organization working to end education inequality. A long-time family and community engagement expert, Luis has designed engagement models for domestic and international organizations and school systems. In 2016, he served as Nevada's Democratic Coordinated Campaign Field Director, contributing to major victories in the state legislature, electing the first Latina Senator and delivering the state to Hillary Clinton, and he’s currently launching Instituto, an organization to build political infrastructure in communities of color in Arizona. Resources Instituto   Iconico    News Roundup The FCC signals that it will approve the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, China’s Huawei has a tough week as President Trump limits its U.S.-based business, and Luis Avila is my guest   FCC signals Sprint/TMobile approval The Trump administration appears divided over whether to approve the Sprint/TMobile merger. The companies say if the merger’s approved they’ll have 5G built out to the entire country in 6 years. Sprint says they’ll also sell prepaid wireless company Boost mobile. FCC Chair Ajit Pai says the merger conditions the companies are proposing are adequate and said he’d approve the deal. The two other Republicans on the Commission signaled their support as well giving the deal the majority it needs at the FCC. Policy expert Gigi Sohn says though that over at the DOJ’s antitrust division, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim is saying the conditions aren’t enough.   Tough week for Huawei   Chinese device manufacturer Huawei had a tough week last week as President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that bans American telecom companies from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a national security threat. American officials have accused the company of violating an American trade embargo against Iran and with assisting China with spying on U.S. companies. Since Trump issued the order, Google parent Alphabet has suspended doing business with Huawei, outside of what’s available via open source, by revoking the Android licensing deal the tech giant had with Huawei.   President Trump creates story database to collect stories of conservatives being censored on social media   Looks like the White House wants to set up its own social network to compete with Twitter and Facebook. The White House has created a creepy new database that lets conservatives report instances in which they’ve been censored on social media platforms. The President is attempting to get users to opt-in to a separate White House newsletter that purports to allow anyone, irrespective of their political views, to receive updates without relying on Facebook and Twitter.   The White House also decided not to sign on to a multinational campaign created by Christchurch, New Zealand to stamp out online hate speech. The White House says the effort would dilute the freedom of speech. 18 other countries, including many of America’s allies, disagreed.   Johns Hopkins releases free online course on gun violence prevention   Johns Hopkins has released a free online course where users can learn how to prevent and protect against gun violence. The course contains six modules taught by experts, including mental health professionals. It’s entitled Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change and its intended to equip students to use research to combat gun violence in America.   Carriers claim to stop collecting geolocation data but evidence suggests otherwise   Major wireless carriers including AT&T and Verizon have claimed that they have stopped sharing geolocation data with third party bounty hunters. But the the facts suggest otherwise. Congressman Mike Doyle notes that the number of complaints about police departments and others unauthorized (and unconstitutional, for that matter) surveillance of individuals has been on the rise. AT&T has acknowledged that it took advantage of a loophole in a Communications Act privacy provision that doesn’t cover a type of geolocation data known as A-GPS which AT&T’s Joan Marsh says is less precise than location data covered by the National Emergency Address Database.   Amazon releases HQ2 plan for Arlington Amazon released its plan for 2 LEED-certified 22 story office buildings in Arlington. There will be 50,000 square feet of street level space for retail and restaurants.   San Francisco becomes first city to ban facial recognition technology   San Francisco became the first city to ban the use of facial recognition technology. The ordinance passed by a vote of 8-1 and is headed to Mayor London Breed for her signature.   Events   Tues., 5/21 New America 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index 740 15th Street NW 9:30AM-11AM   House Judiciary Committee Full Committee Hearing: Understanding the Digital Advertising Ecosystem Dirksen 226 10AM   House Homeland Security Committee Growing and Diversifying Our Cyber Talent Pipeline 310 Cannon 2PM City Year Idealist Gala Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania 6PM Reception/7PM Program and Dinner   MIT Enterprise Forum Celebrating Entrepreneurship in Our Nation’s Capital 600 Mass. Ave. 5:30PM   Wed., 5/22 Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide Conferences Goes through 5/24 Vint Cerf Keynotes Georgetown University Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy 37th/O NW   House Oversight Committee Facial Recognition Technology (Part 1): Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties 2154 Rayburn 10AM   House Energy & Commerce Committee Full Committee Hearing on “LIFT America: Modernizing Our Infrastructure for the Future” 2123 Rayburn House Office Building 10 AM   Tues., 5/28 New York University Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies 2019 Critical Race and Digital Studies Conference NYU Washington D.C., 1307 L St., NW 9:00AM-7:30PM   Sat, 6/1 DC Stem Network DC STEM Fair UDC 7AM-4PM
5/21/201923 minutes, 7 seconds
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Harold Feld: How to Regulate Digital Platforms

  Bio Harold Feld is Public Knowledge's Senior Vice President. Before becoming Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge, Harold worked as Senior Vice President of Media Access Project, advocating for the public interest in media, telecommunications, and technology policy for almost 10 years. Prior to joining MAP, Harold was an associate at Covington & Burling, worked on Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and accountability issues at the Department of Energy, and clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals. He received his B.A. from Princeton University, and his J.D. from Boston University Law School. Harold also writes Tales of the Sausage Factory, a progressive blog on media and telecom policy. In 2007, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin praised him and his blog for "[doing] a lot of great work helping people understand how FCC decisions affect people and communities on the ground." Resources Public Knowledge The Case for the Digital Platform Act by Harold Feld   News Roundup   Supreme Court takes a bite out of Apple in app store case   In a 5-4 the decision, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to Apple in a class action lawsuit claiming that company’s app store is a monopoly. The case will now proceed in the district court. The issue was whether regular consumers have standing to sue Apple for antitrust violations, or whether it was just competitors who have standing to sue. Justice Kavanaugh sided with the court’s liberal justices, saying that if consumers didn’t have standing, that retailers would be able to evade antitrust enforcement, by structuring deals with suppliers and manufactures in a way that complies with the black letter of the law, but still effectively have a monopoly.   Uber driver allegedly locks two women in his car   Police in Pittsburgh arrested an Uber driver, Richard Lomotey, who is also an assistant professor at Penn State’s Beaver campus, for allegedly locking two female passengers in his car and telling them, “you’re not going anywhere”. Lomotey is charged with two counts of kidnapping.   Protests over Palantir   Protestors converged on Palantir’s headquarters around the country over the company’s $38 million contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. According to the Intercept, Palantir, which was founded by Trump adviser Peter Thiel, has been working with ICE to help them target and deport unaccompanied children and their families. Palantir says that it only helps ICE with investigations. But the Intercept found written documents, obtained via a FOIA request, that show Palantir pursued an “Unaccompanied Alien Children Human Smuggling Disruption Initiative” with both of ICE’s two major divisions: Homeland Security and Investigations and its other division, which is called Enforcement and Removal Operations.   Symantec: Chinese spies captured NSA’s hacking tools and used them against the U.S.   The New York Times reports that Symantec has discovered that Chinese spies hacked into the National Security Agency and stole its hacking tools. Then it took those tools and used them against the United States. Experts are now questioning what role the U.S. should now play in defining cybersecurity practices around the world. The New York Times describes what China did as being similar to a “ gunslinger who takes an enemy’s rifle and starts blasting away”, making cybersecurity, in a lot of ways, like the Wild West.   Justice Department charges Chinese Nationals in Anthem breach   The Justice Department has charged two Chinese nationals for hacking Anthem back in 2015 that affected some 78.8 million Americans. The DOJ says the hackers used “extremely sophisticated techniques” to hack into Anthem and three other companies. DOJ officials call it one of the worst attacks in U.S. history.   Amazon reports “extensive fraud” following merchant hack   Amazon reported that over 6 months last year, it was hit by what it termed an “extensive fraud” with hackers siphoning funds from merchant accounts.   Pew reports that Americans’ interest in social media is unchanged since 2018   Pew reports that despite all of the breaches, and hacks and problems in the tech sector and Facebook, in particular, Americans’ interest in tech remains unchanged compared to last year. Black and Hispanic adults’ use of YouTube exceeds that of Whites by 6 and 7 points respectively, with 78 and 77 percent saying they’ve ever used YouTube. Notably, Hispanic adults far outpace Whites on Instagram—by some 18 points, with 51 percent of Hispanics saying they’ve ever used the platform compared to just 33% of Whites. Blacks and Hispanics also far outpace Whites on WhatsApp, by 11 points and 29 points, respectively. You can find a link to the report in the show notes.   Uber drivers strike worldwide on day of IPO   Uber drivers around the world protested Uber and Lyft on the day of Uber’s IPO last week. The largest number of protestors, hundreds, appeared outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco. But the turnout in other cities around the world, were more modest. This underscores the difficulty of organizing in a company without a central company-wide email system that drivers can use to organize.   Oracle sues the Pentagon for offering jobs to DoD workers   Oracle is suing the Pentagon for eliminating it from a bidding process after Amazon allegedly offered a job to a Department of Defense employee for crafting the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure in a way that benefitted Amazon.   Fight over Airbnb regulation in DC intensifies   DC City Council member Phil Mendleson threatened DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Twitter, saying that he would withhold building permits for government projects if the Mayor fails to implement a law designed to regulate short -term rentals like Airbnb. The Mayor’s office is saying the law may be unconstitutional because it limits owners of units that don’t actually reside at their property from sharing with renters for more than 90 days per year. The law is scheduled to take effect on October 1st.   Events  Tues., 5/15   If you’re in the Bay Area … New America 2020 Census: Everyone Counts 12:30-1:30 SPUR 1544 Broadway Oakland   FCC Webinar: Information for Older American Consumers 2PM-3PM   If you’re in New York … Politico’s Women Rule Networking Event The Future of Female Entrepreneurship 6PM-8PM tomorrow, Wed. May 15 New York This event has a high demand and the location isn’t public. But you can find the link to the interest list in the show notes.
5/14/201930 minutes, 53 seconds
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Randy Abreu: Is it Too Late for Cities?: Tech, the New Green Deal, and Climate Justice

    Bio   Randy Abreu (@AbreuAndTheCity) is the Senior Legislative Advisor to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Abreu served in the Obama Administration where he was appointed to the Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transitions and Clean Energy Investment Center. He is an alum of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Google Policy fellowships and is currently a Google NextGen Leader, Internet Law and Policy Foundry fellow, and member of the Bronx Progressives. Abreu has a personal history of advocating for social justice, and federal experience producing regulations and initiatives on intellectual property, drones, self-driving cars, cybersecurity, broadband access, spectrum allocation, e-privacy, and tech-transfer. Read more at   Resources   New Green Deal   IPCC Special Report on Global Warming     HEADLINES:   News Roundup   Mark Zuckerberg comes under direct assault ahead of a shareholder vote to keep him on the Board, Microsoft defends election security, and Randy Abreu is my guest   Zuckerberg under assault   Two civil rights groups—Color of Change and Majority Action—are circulating a proposal and meeting with Facebook’s shareholders pushing to oust Mark Zuckerberg from the board. Color of Change President Rashad Robinson wrote “ "Lasting change to address the misinformation, discrimination, violent movements and data breaches that put users, especially Black users, at risk cannot subject to the whims of a single person." Currently, Zuckerberg controls 57.7% of voting shares. The Hill notes that 35% of Facebook’s shareholders withheld votes last year.   Here in DC Senators Blumenthal and Hawley wrote to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to wrap up its investigation into Facebook, calling for significant damages that exceed the $5 billion that some reports have anticipated.   Facebook bows to additional FTC oversight   Several sources have reported that Facebook has told federal regulators at the Federal Trade Commission that, in addition to paying what’s expected to be a multibillion dollar fine, it will also bend to additional oversight. Any major changes that Facebook plans to make to the platform would now need to go through a more rigorous approval process. And Facebook would need to hire a new privacy executive that the FTC pre-approves.  Facebook has also redesigned its website to emphasize group messages over the news feed in order to address privacy concerns.     Trump expands biometric data collection at the border   The Trump administration has expanded its collection of biometric data from migrant families at the U.S. border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security will now conduct DNA tests and a pilot to collect fingerprints from children under 14.    Putin signs new law closing Russia off from the internet   Russia took a huge step last week to close itself off from the internet. Vladimir Putin signed a new bill that would allow his country to develop a “sustainable, fully-functioning, and secure sovereign internet” to defend itself against potential cyberattacks.  The bill envisions doing this by creating a Russia-specific Domain Name Server.     Senators introduce bill to protect U.S. citizens’ data at the U.S./Mexico border   Senators Steve Daines And Gary Peters introduced a bipartisan bill that would prevent the Customs and Border Protection’s ability to sell personally identifiable information, like addresses and social security numbers, to third parties. The senators say the new measure could help prevent identity theft and credit card fraud.   Uber and Lyft stop adding new drivers in New York City   Uber and Lyft have stopped adding new drivers in New York City approximately 3 months after a new law went into effect that requires drivers to earn at least $17.22 per hour after expenses. The new law is intended to address low pay but also reduce the number of unused ride-sharing vehicles on the street. Politico noted that Uber and Lyft drivers have earned some $56 million more than they would have prior to February first.   Google employees stage sit-in to protest retaliation   Several hundred employees at Google offices around the world, including in London, staged a sit in last week to protest alleged retaliation against Google employee Meredith Whittaker for organizing a 20,000-employee walkout to protest forced arbitration f. During the sit-in other employees spoke about instances of retaliation that they too have allegedly experienced. Google released a statement saying it takes retaliation seriously and that it offers multiple channels by which employees have the ability to complain about retaliation, including anonymous complaints.     Microsoft takes initiative to beef up election security   Microsoft is taking the initiative to beef up election security by offering a free software that secures and validates votes and elections with new encryption methods. The company says it is ready to release “early prototypes” by 2020. Keep in mind though that it won’t be prepared for “significant deployments” until after the 2020 elections.       Events     Tues., 5/7 Federal Communications Bar Association CLE: Lawyering Social: Legal Issues on Social and Digital Media 6:00pm-8:15pm Wiley Rein, 1776 K St. $250 for non-members/$135 for members     Wed., 5/8   Washington Post 116th Congress State of Play Livestream   House Administration Committee Full Committee Hearing on Election Security 10:00AM 1310 Longworth     House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission: Strengthening Protections for Americans’ Privacy and Data Security 10:30AM Rayburn, 2123   Thurs., 5/9   House Small Business Committee The Digital Ecosystem: New Paths to Entrepreneurship 10:00AM Rayburn, 2360   Federal Communications Commission May Open Meeting 10:30AM-12:30PM FCC,  445 12th St., NW
5/7/201926 minutes, 33 seconds
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Jelani Anglin: If You're Ever Arrested, Call this Number

      Bio   Jelani Anglin is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Good Call. Good Call’s mission is to ensure that anyone who is arrested will have immediate access to a lawyer via its hotline 833-3-Goodcall. Jelani  is a community organizer and serial entrepreneur. During High School, Jelani started his first online business, for which he was awarded the NYS FBLA Business Plan of the Year award, and was featured on national TV. Prior to founding Good Call, Jelani worked on a variety of issue-based and electoral campaigns, in addition to being a community organizer at AirBnb. Growing up in Far Rockaway, NY, and organizing in low-income communities across the east coast, Jelani experienced firsthand the pitfalls that exist for those oppressed by the criminal justice system. He works every day to better communities similar to where he grew up, and hopes his work will be a stepping stone for other young black males. In addition to being Co-executive Director at Good Call, Jelani is an Echoing Green fellow and a Civil Justice Fellow at Blue Ridge Labs. Resources   Good Call   Mastery by Robert Greene   The 50th Law by Robert Greene   News Roundup   Twitter, Facebook, and Google dominate the headlines in another week of near chaos as tech and public policy still fail to see eye-to-eye on privacy, hate speech, and workplace issues, and Jelani Anglin is my gust   Twitter   Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Called Rep. Ihan Omar Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called Representative Ihan Omar the same day he met with President Trump, after she started receiving death threats following Trump’s tweet of her giving a speech alongside images from the September 11th terrorist attacks. The Washington Post says he called her to tell her he stood by his company’s position to keep the tweet up because he concluded it didn’t violate Twitter’s rules. He also said that taking it down wouldn’t have done much since the tweet had already been widely shared. Dorey also said the company needed to do a better job monitoring for and removing hate speech and harassment.  At the meeting with Trump, Trump complained to Dorsey that too many of his followers had been removed. But Dorsey reportedly said that it removes followers based on how much spam they tweet and that he also lost a lot of his own followers.     Twitter won’t ban more hate speech because Republican politicians would be affected   So Twitter won’t ban certain hate speech, apparently because certain GOP politicians would also be affected by it. During an all hands meeting someone asked why the company could ban Islamic State propaganda but not white supremacist content. An executive and engineer responded saying societal norms allow some Arabic language to be banned in order to sweep up ISIS tweets, but that societal norms wouldn’t allow sweeping up politicians’ tweets flagged as hate speech.   So yeah … Just total armchair policymaking at Twitter. Although, to be fair, Twitter did release a statement saying that this approach did not reflect the real approach at all.   But why won’t Twitter take down David Duke, for example? Not even Jack Dorsey knows since, when he was asked at a Ted event to explain, he just punted.   In any case, reading all of the news reports it’s clear that Twitter has absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on or how to design algorithms that prevent it from being used as a political propaganda machine. But the company is reportedly working on a way to make the context for political tweets more transparent—whatever the hell that means.   And meanwhile, we’re just supposed to sit here and deal with the mass shootings, and deal with the death threats and there’s absolutely not a single mechanism in this democracy that can handle it?   Facebook   New York AG announces investigation into Facebook’s email sweep   Recall that last week we reported that Facebook swept up some 1.5 million user emails to help it build new products and services. Well, users didn’t authorize the use of their emails for that purpose. So New York Attorney General Letitia James is now investigating.   Canada promises to sue Facebook for privacy violations   The Washington Post reports that up in Canada, regulators are planning to sue Facebook for breaking privacy laws. Canada began an investigation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and found that the company’s privacy protections are merely “superficial”.   Ireland is also investigating Facebook   The Hill reports that Ireland is now also investigating Facebook for exposing the passwords of “hundreds of millions” of users . Ireland’s looking into whether the company violated the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).   Facebook hires Patriot Act writer as General Counsel   Facebook has hired Jennifer Newstead as its new General Counsel. Newstead previously helped draft the Patriot Act under George W. Bush when she was an attorney in the Bush administration. She’d previously worked for OMB, Justice, and the White House. Before she was appointed as Facebook’s GC, she was Trump’s appointed legal adviser at the State Department according to Politico.   Look for Facebook’s Q1 earnings report tomorrow (Wed., 5/1) Facebook is scheduled to report its first quarter earnings tomorrow, Wednesday May 1, so keep an eye out for that.   Facebooking while black   A report in USA Today discusses how Facebook censors black users from talking about race. So you’re going to want to check that out.   Google changes harassment and discrimination reporting protocol   Google has changed its reporting and harassment protocol for harassment and discrimination. The change comes after two employees who helped organize the walkout of some 20, 000 other employees in protest of Google’s forced arbitration for such complaints claimed the company retaliated against them. Google will now have a dedicated site where employees can report harassment and discrimination, and the company will also now make arbitration an option for employees. The company has also expanded its annual internal misconduct report to include information about sexual harassment investigations,  Events   Tues., 4/30             House Appropriations Committee Oversight Hearing: 2020 Census Preparation 10:00AM CAPITOL, H-309 Streaming   House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications & Tech Subcommittee Hearing on “Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls” Rayburn, 2123 Streaming   Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property World Intellectual Property Day 2019: The Role of Intellectual Property in Sports and Public Safety Dirksen, 226 Streaming    Wed., 5/1   New America Exploring Online Hate 11:00AM-2:00PM 740 15th St. NW #900 RSVP   Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the DOJ’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election 10:00AM Dirksen, Rm. 226 Streaming     Thurs., 5/2   Department of Justice Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop Information (Day 1) 1:30-5:30pm Liberty Square Building Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall 450 Fifth Street, NW               Fri., 5/3   Department of Justice Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop Information (Day 2) 9:30am-1:00pm Liberty Square Building Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall 450 Fifth Street, NW
4/30/201925 minutes, 11 seconds
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Daiquiri Ryan: Tech Policy Issues Facing Latinos

  Bio   Daiquiri Ryan (@DaiquiriRyan) serves as the policy counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition where she leverages her policy expertise to advocate on behalf of the Latino community on Capitol Hill and beyond. She monitors, reviews and analyzes policies, programs, regulations and proposals to identify ways to close the Latino digital divide and expand access to communications for all Americans, regardless of their income or home zip code. Daiquiri’s advocacy work includes preserving net neutrality, strengthening privacy protections, and increasing diversity in media ownership. Previously Daiquiri served as policy fellow at Public Knowledge, where she created and led the Broadband Connects America rural broadband coalition, engaged online creators in the fight to restore net neutrality, led litigation against the FCC’s repeal of the 2016 Tech Transitions order, and advocated for policies to close the digital divide. Her other fellowships have included time at Amazon, the DC Office of Attorney General, and the Arizona Department of Education. She is a member of the inaugural class of Google Next Gen Policy Leaders, where she co-leads a working group focused on creative policy solutions for intellectual property and social justice. Daiquiri also serves as Vice President and co-founder of the Joey Ryan Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created in honor of her late brother that focuses on empowering young people with disabilities. She received her Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School, Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Media Relations from Arizona State University, and is admitted to the state Bar of Texas.   Resources   National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)   Lack of Internet Access Threatens 2020 Census Success and the Future of Latino Voting Power by Daiquiri Ryan     HEADLINES:   The Muellerreport finds Russians tried to hack Hillary emails within 5 hours after Trump called for it, the CIA warns the world about Huawei, and Daiquiri Ryan is my guest   News Roundup   Mueller report says Russians attempted to hack Hillary Clinton’s data just 5 hours after Trump called for it, then CIA warns the world over Huawei, and Daiquiri Ryan is my guest   The Mueller report on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election found that Russians attempted to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails just 5 hours after Trump called for Moscow to do so while he was on the campaign trail. It’s just one of the many, many lies and deceptive tactics both Russia and the Trump administration employed during the 2016 campaign season.   CIA warns UK over Huawei   The CIA told spy agencies abroad last week that China’s People’s Liberation Army, National Security Commission and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, have funded Chinese telecom giant Huawei to supply 5G technology to Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. We reported back in December that Canada arrested Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou for allegedly defrauding multiple financial institutions in order to evade sanctions against Iran. The DOJ has since charged Meng with fraud. And Huawei is currently banned from doing business in the U.S. Huawei is suing the U.S. for the ban saying in part that the ban is politically motivated.   Facebook uploaded 1.5 million email addresses without consent Business Insider reported last week that in 2016, Facebook “unintentionally uploaded” some 1.5 million of Facebook users’ emails in order to develop new products and services. Facebook says it’s deleting the data.   Twitter left up death threats against Ilhan Omar   BuzzFeed News reported that Twitter left up death threats made against Rep. Ilhan Omar. The threats came after President Trump tweeted spliced footage of the Congresswoman alongside footage of the September 11th attacks. Twitter said it left the threats up so that Capitol Police could investigate.   Meanwhile, the EU parliament voted in a measure that would fine social media companies for leaving up extremist content for too long.       DOJ: Sprint/T-Mobile not likely to survive scrutiny   The DOJ’s Antitrust Division told Sprint and TMobile last week that the proposed $26 billion merger of the two companies, in its current form, is unlikely to be approved. That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.     Law enforcement’s increased reliance on Google   In an investigative report, the New York Times has found that law enforcement agencies are increasingly relying on Google’s SensorVault technology as an evidence repository to identify devices that were present at crime scenes.  Some of the data dates back several years. Law enforcement officials interviewed in the report claim the search data it obtains from Google is only used to supplement additional evidence it collects from suspects.   Microsoft turns down California law enforcement request for AI   Reuters reports that Microsoft turned down an unnamed California law enforcement agency after the agency asked the company to install facial recognition technology in squad cars and body cams. Microsoft President Brad Smith said the agency’s use of the technology would lead to a negative impact on women and people of color because thus far it has only tested the technology on white males.
4/23/201914 minutes, 9 seconds
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Gigi Sohn: The Top Tech Policy Issues Driving the Debate

  Bio   Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. She is one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. For 30 years, Gigi has worked to defend and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that have made broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open and protective of user privacy. From 2013-2016, Gigi was Counselor to the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. From 2001-2013, Gigi served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading telecommunications, media and technology policy advocacy organization. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm. Gigi holds a BS in Broadcasting and Film, Summa Cum Laude from the Boston University College of Communication and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.       Resources   Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution by Susan Crawford (Yale University Press, forthcoming, 2019)     News Roundup   Net neutrality bill looks increasingly unlikely The success of the net neutrality bill designed to reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules that passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee last week by a vote of 30-22, looks increasingly unlikely to succeed, as its still gotta get past the Senate, and the Trump administration has threatened to veto even if it does. A floor vote in the House is expected today.   Congress ramps up tech scrutiny Congress is continuing its ramp up of scrutiny of big tech, looking specifically at how social media and tech companies enable harmful speech. They’re also looking at competition issues like Amazon’s promotion of its own private label products over competing products offered by smaller businesses.   The House Judiciary Committee is holding a bipartisan hearing today on the rise of hate crime and white nationalism 10AM in 2141 Rayburn.   On the competition front…several members are taking a fresh look at antitrust issues following Elizabeth Warren’s SXSW announcement of her proposal to rein in big tech with better antitrust enforcement. And so Amazon quietly removed promotional ads that gave preferential treatment to its own private label products. And Senators Amy Klobuchar and Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to investigate Google for antitrust and data privacy violations.   Elizabeth Warren also introduced a new bill last week that could hold tech executives criminally liable for tech breaches. And Ed Markey introduced a bill that would require Google and Facebook to comply with online privacy rules. Markey’s bill is designed to stem harmful marketing on channels like YouTube that are largely unregulated in terms of the marketing and advertising that kids are exposed to. Google cancels AI ethics board   Google has killed the AI ethics board it set up. That’s after thousands of employees and public advocates pushed the company to remove Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James--over comments she made about trans people and for the Heritage Foundation’s skepticism regarding climate change. The board also lacked civil rights leaders, as NAACP President Derrick Johnson noted on Twitter.   Leading AI scientists to Amazon: stop selling facial recognition technology   Leading AI scientists, including Yoshua Bengio, who won the Turing Award, which is basically the Nobel Prize of technology, have signed a letter urging Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition software, known as Rekognition. A couple of peer-reviewed papers have found the software, which police departments have been using, disproportionately misidentifies women and people of color. The New York Times has more.   Microsoft vows to focus on discrimination at employee meetings Microsoft promises to give its employees space to discuss discrimination issues at monthly employee meetings. CEO Satya Nadella and HR Chief Kathleen Hogan announced during an all-hands call last week. The move comes after employees erupted in an email thread, complaining about gender discrimination issues at the company.   Events   House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism Today, Tues., 4/9 at 10AM Rayburn 2141, Streaming   Federal Trade Commission FTC Hearing #12: Competition and Consumer Protection Tues., 4/9 and Wed., 4/10 Constitution Center 400 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20024     Senate Judiciary Committee Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse Wed., 4/10 at 2:30PM Dirksen 226, Streaming   Senate Commerce Committee Illegal Robocalls: Calling all to stop the scourge Thurs, 4/11 at 10AM 216 Hart, Streaming   Brookings How Will Emerging Technologies Affect the Future of Work Fri., 4/12 at 10AM 1775 Massachusetts Ave.. NW   FCC Open Meeting Fri., 4/12 at 10:30AM 445 12th St. SW Commission Meeting Room, Streaming  
4/9/201927 minutes, 40 seconds
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Ben Green: A More Inclusive Approach to Smart Cities

    Ben Green: A More Inclusive Approach to Smart Cities Ben Green joined Joe Miller to discuss how stakeholders can develop a more inclusive approach to smart cities by engaging local residents. Bio Ben Green (@benzevgreen) is a PhD Candidate in Applied Math at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. He studies the implementation and impacts of data science in local governments, with a focus on “smart cities” and the criminal justice system. Analyzing the intersections of data science with law, policy, and social science, Ben focuses on the social justice and policy implications of data-driven algorithms deployed by governments. His forthcoming book, The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future, will be published in April 2019 with MIT Press (Amazon link). Ben’s research draws on his extensive experience working with data and technology in municipal government. He most recently spent a year working for the Citywide Analytics Team in the City of Boston, where he developed analytics to improve public safety operations and civic engagement strategies for the City’s new open data program. Ben previously worked as a Fellow at the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship, and partnered with the City of Memphis, TN using machine learning to identify blighted homes. He also worked for a year at the New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking, where he managed the deployment of new parking meter payment technology. Ben completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics & Physics at Yale College. His graduate work has been funded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Herbert Winokur SEAS Graduate Fellowship. Resources Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future by Ben Green (forthcoming MIT Press, April 9, 2019).   News Roundup Rough Week for Google on LGBTQ issues It was a rough week for Google in the LGBTQ community. First, the Human Rights Coalition suspended Google from its rankings, for which Google had a perfect rating, because Google allowed an app promoting conversion therapy to remain in its app store. Google has since pulled the app. Also, several Googlers took aim at Google’s new Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) last week for naming Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James as a member. Cole has repeatedly spoken out frequently against LGBTQ interests and trans folks in particular. So over a thousand Googlers signed on to a letter published on Medium opposing Cole’s appointment. NAACP President Derrick Johnson also criticized Google for failing to include civil rights leaders on the council. Facebook bans white nationalism and white separatism Facebook announced that it will now ban content promoting white nationalism and white separatism. The company will ban content with phrases that explicitly refer to white nationalism and white separatism. But Facebook said that finding implicit instances of white nationalism and white separatism will take some time for Facebook to learn how to identify. Mark Zuckerberg also wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed seeking a third-party tribunal that would reinforce Facebook’s efforts. Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr weighed in opposing such a framework. Department of Housing and Urban Development now looking into Twitter and Google The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has already sued Facebook for allowing real estate advertisers to exclude certain ethnicities and zip codes, is now investigating Twitter and Google as well, according to the Washington Post. IBM sued for age discrimination A group of IBM ex-employees sued the company in federal court in New York City for failing to disclose how many people it laid off who were over the age of 40. It’s the second lawsuit following a ProPublica report last year that documented rampant alleged age discrimination at the company. At issue is a provision in IBM’s separation agreement that requires employees to agree not to sue the company in exchange for severance pay. Google, Cuba work together to improve connectivity Google and Cuba’s state-run telecommunications monopoly ETECSA have agreed to begin negotiations on bringing better connectivity to the island. The agreement entails Google’s and ETECSA’s engineers working together to bring better connectivity to the island via Google’s points of presence in Florida, Mexico, and Colombia without having to pay the hefty interconnection fees it’s been paying to a third party carrier to connect  to Venezuela. Nipsey Hussle advocated for STEM Finally, Nipsey Hussle, the rapper and community champion who was murdered in front of his clothing shop in L.A. on Sunday, was an avid supporter of science, technology, engineering, and math education for underrepresented youth and diversity in tech. John Ketchum writes in AfroTech that in an LA Times interview last year, Hussle was quoted as saying that kids are often nudged to emulate athletes and entertainers but that there should be more messaging around emulating tech leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Events CHCI CHCI Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series Rayburn Rm. 2043 Washington, DC 4/2   Privacy + Security Academy International Privacy & Security Forum The Marvin Center 800 21st St. NW Washington, DC 4/3-5   The Bridge Women Talk Tech & Policy WeWork 1440 G St. NW 4/3, 6-8PM
4/2/201926 minutes, 14 seconds
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Maureen K. Ohlhausen: Should Antitrust Enforcement Rein in Big Tech?

  Maureen K. Ohlhausen: Should Antitrust Law Rein in Big Tech? (Ep. 179) Maureen K. Ohlhausen joined Joe Miller to discuss whether U.S. antitrust law is the appropriate mechanism by which to rein in big tech. Bio  Maureen K. Ohlhausen (@M_Ohlhausen) is the Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Chair and Partner at the law firm of Baker Botts. Previously, she served as Acting Chairman at the Federal Trade Commission for 2 years and prior to that as a Commissioner for 6. She directed all aspects of the FTC's antitrust work, including merger review and conduct enforcement, and steered all FTC consumer protection enforcement, with a particular emphasis on privacy and technology issues. A thought leader, Maureen has published dozens of articles on antitrust, privacy, IP, regulation, FTC litigation, telecommunications, and international law issues in prestigious publications and has testified over a dozen times before the U.S. Congress. Maureen has relationships with officials in the U.S. and abroad, with a particular emphasis on Europe and China, and has led the U.S. delegation at the international antitrust and data privacy meeting on many occasions. She has received numerous awards, including the FTC's Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award. Prior to her role as a Commissioner, Maureen led the FTC's Internet Access Task Force, which produced an influential report analyzing competition and consumer protection legal issues in the area of broadband and internet. In private practice, he headed the FTC practice group at a leading telecommunications firm, representing and counseling telecommunications and technology clients on antitrust compliance, privacy, and consumer protection matters before the FTC and the FCC. She also clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Resources Baker Botts – Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Group Here’s how we can break up big tech by Elizabeth Warren (Ms. Ohlhausen argues against.) News Roundup Facebook blocks race, age, gender, ZIP code ad targeting for housing, employment, credit Facebook is no longer permitting housing, employment and credit advertisers to target users based on their age, race, gender or zip code. This brings Facebook in line with federal rules preventing broadcasters from discriminating in ad sales contracts on the basis of race or gender. The new prohibitions are part of a settlement with several advocacy organizations that filed discrimination lawsuits against Facebook after ProPublica published an investigative report showing its ability to exclude certain ethnicities from seeing housing ads. Dems plan to vote on net neutrality bill on April 8th House democrats plan to vote, on Monday, April 8th, on the bill that would reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules—the Save the Internet Act. Opponents are trying to tack on a bunch of Amendments even though the bill is pretty straight forward in terms of its intended scope. Even if the bill passes the House though, it faces an uphill climb in Mitch McConnel’s lair high up on the mountain  -- I mean the Senate. And the president would also have to sign it – we’ll see what happens. Security firm: Facebook stored user data in plain text for years This time, the security firm KrebsonSecurity found that, for years, Facebook stored hundreds of millions of user names and passwords in a text file. What’s the problem with this you ask? Well the text file was searchable by any of Facebook’s 20,000 employees. So let’s say a date didn’t go so well with some brah who happens to work at Facebook? Well guess what he could just go ahead and search for your password. Facebook has allegedly used this method dating back as far as 2012. Cummings demands documents related to Kushner’s use of encrypted app for official business House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings has demanded documents from the attorney representing Jared Kushner regarding Kushner’s use of a private email address and What’s App to conduct official business. This of course is the same thing Republicans went after Hillary Clinton for during the 2016 presidential campaign. FCC to pay $43k in settlement for not releasing fake comments records The FCC will pay $43,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to a New York journalist named Jason Prechtel for failing to turn over information, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, related to fake comments filed in the net neutrality proceeding. The case was settled without prejudice which means the FCC won’t admit to any wrongdoing—even though it didn’t respond to the journalist within the statutory timeframe. Nunes suing Twitter California Republican Representative Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and 3 users for $250 million saying he was “defamed” and claiming that Twitter bans conservative viewpoints. Trump finally names a CTO After two years, President Trump has finally named a Chief Technology Officer. Michael Kratsios is just 32 but well-connected and worked for Thiel Capital. Peter Thiel as you’ll recall is a Donald Trump Supporter Events Tuesday March 26th Hudson  Institute How Does the U.S. Maintain its Competitive Edge in 5G? 9:15AM-11:00AM 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. It will be livestreamed   Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on Small Business Perspectives on the Federal Data Privacy Framework 2:30pm – Dirksen 562   Wednesday March 27th House Judiciary Committee Lost Einsteins: Lack of Diversity in Patent Inventorship and the Impact on America’s Innovation Economy 10AM 2141 Rayburn   March 29th Brookings Stephen Bryer Lecture: Digital Technology in the age of artificial intelligence: A comparative perspective 10:30-12 noon Falk Auditorium @ Brookings 1776 Massachussetts, NW There will be a webcast for this as well.
3/26/201925 minutes, 46 seconds
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Dr. Alisa Valentin: The Unifying Power of Social Justice

  Dr. Alisa Valentin: The Unifying Power of Social Justice (Ep. 178) Alisa Valentin of Public Knowledge joined Joe Miller to discuss her approach to building a constructive dialogue at the intersection of tech and social justice. Bio Alisa Valentin (@alisavalentin) is the Communications Justice Fellow at Public Knowledge, where she focuses on digital inclusion policies for communities of color and policies that diversify media ownership. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Alisa served as an intern in the Office of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at the Federal Communications Commission and as a legislative fellow for Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. Alisa was also an adjunct professor at several D.C. area colleges and universities where she taught communications and women’s studies courses. Alisa received her Ph.D. in Communications from Howard University. She also earned her B.S. from the University of Florida and an M.S. from Northwestern University. Resources Public Knowledge Racial Taxation: Schools, Segregation and Taxpayer Citizenship, 1869-1973 (Justice, Power & Politics) by Camille Walsh #TechPolicySoWhite by Alyssa Valentin (Public Knowledge, 2019)   News Roundup Facebook failed to block 20% of New Zealand shooter videos Facebook failed to block some 20% of videos showing the shooting in New Zealand, including videos that praised the shooting. That’s some 300,000 videos. The company reports though that it did manage to take down some 1.2 million videos related to a white supremacist’s massacre of 50 worshippers at 2 mosques in Christchurch. Arlington approves Amazon incentives Arlington County, Virginia has approved $23 million in incentives for Amazon to put its second headquarters in Crystal City. Protestors attended an Arlington County board meeting to oppose the vote saying the county should focus on affordable housing before Amazon. Opponents are also concerned about traffic congestion and school overcrowding. The Arlington chapter of the NAACP also opposed certain aspects of the incentive package. But the County board unanimously approved the incentives with a 5-0 vote. So again—just like in Queens—very superficial engagement by Amazon to reach out to the local community or even include them in negotiations. It’s just extremely poor stakeholder engagement – and they do it because they can. Facebook reinstates Warren ads calling for tech breakup Facebook has reinstated Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ads calling for a breakup of the social media giant along with Google and Amazon. A company spokesman says it removed the ads because they violated a policy regarding the use of Facebook’s logo … even though the whole point of that type of policy is obviously to prevent ads going up that criticize the company. Apple defends is app store policies against Spotify Finally, Apple is defending its app store policies against Spotify after Spotify filed  a complaint against Apple in Europe for allegedly engaging in anticompetitive behavior by setting its cost to carry the Spotify app in the app store too high. Apple currently charges 30% for anything sold in the app store. Apple says Spotify is simply seeking to avoid paying the same fee everyone else pays. Events Federal Trade Commission Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in U.S. broadband markets Constitution Center 400 7th St. NW 9AM-5:45pm Wed., 3/20   Public Knowledge/Georgetown/Goodfriend Group Algorithmic Exclusion and Data Deserts Georgetown University Law Center 600 New Jersey Ave., NW 3:30-5:30PM Monday, 10/25  
3/19/201915 minutes, 49 seconds
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Tom Wheeler: Gutenberg, Google, Darwin & Beyond

Tom Wheeler: Gutenberg, Google, Darwin & Beyond (Ep. 177) Tom Wheeler joined Joe Miller to discuss Mr. Wheeler's new book 'From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future'.   Bio Chairman Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017. For over four decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services. At the FCC he led the efforts that resulted in the adoption of Net Neutrality, privacy protections for consumers, and increased cybersecurity, among other policies. His chairmanship has been described as, “The most productive Commission in the history of the agency.” During the Obama-Biden Transition of 2008/09 Mr. Wheeler led activities overseeing the agencies of government dealing with science, technology, space and the arts. As an entrepreneur, he started or helped start multiple companies offering innovative cable, wireless and video communications services. He is the only person to be selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame, a fact President Obama joked made him “the Bo Jackson of telecom.” Prior to being appointed Chairman of the FCC by President Obama, Wheeler was Managing Director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage Internet Protocol (IP)-based companies. He is CEO of the Shiloh Group, a strategy development and private investment company specializing in telecommunications services. He co-founded SmartBrief, the Internet’s largest curated information service for vertical markets. From 1976 to 1984 Wheeler was associated with the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) where he was President and CEO from 1979 to 1984. Following NCTA Wheeler was CEO of several high-tech companies, including the first company to offer high-speed delivery to home computers and the first digital video satellite service. From 1992 to 2004 Wheeler served as President and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA). Mr. Wheeler wrote Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000), and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006). His commentaries on current events have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other leading publications. Mr. Wheeler served on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board prior to being named to the FCC. Presidents Clinton and Bush each appointed him a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is the former Chairman and President of the National Archives Foundation, and a former board member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and the recipient of its Alumni Medal. He resides in Washington, D.C. Resources Brookings Governance Studies From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future by Tom Wheeler (Brookings, 2019) Time to Fix It: Developing Rules for Internet Capitalism (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018) The Root of the Matter: Data & Duty: Rules of the New Digital Economy Should Look to Old Common Law Traditions (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018) The Supreme Court and House Democrats Breathe New Life into Net Neutrality (Brookings, 2018) Who Makes the Rules in the new gilded age? (Brookings, 2018)   News Roundup Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up big tech Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her proposal last week to reign in tech firms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The plan calls for potentially breaking up some mergers as well as new legislation. Senator Warren wants to break up Doubleclick and Google, Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and Whats App, and the Amazon/Whole Foods merger. Politico reported Monday that Facebook removed ads that Elizabeth Warren placed on the social network which criticized Facebook and called for its breakup. Facebook backtracked after its attempt to silence Warren backfired. Democrats announce net neutrality bill Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of Democrats, introduced a new net neutrality bill last week. The bill is two pages long and would simply reinstate the 2015 Open Internet rules. The bill’s likely to pass the House where Ds hold the majority, but it faces a more uncertain future in the Senate and getting it over the presidents desk. Trump details plan for government-owned 5G Trump’s reelection campaign is proposing a plan that would give the government control of the nation’s 5G airwaves, allowing it to lease them out to carriers on a wholesale basis. Most carriers think the plan’s unworkable. But the plan is seen as an attempt to attract rural voters with spotty internet service. Huawei sues the U.S. Chinese device manufacturer Huawei, which the U.S. government has accused of spying and violating sanctions against Iran, has now sued the U.S. government for banning the company from doing business in the U.S.  The company filed in a U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas, where the company has its U.S. headquarters. TMobile spent $195k at Trump hotel TMobile’s expenditures at Trump’s DC hotel rose sharply after the company reported that it would be seeking to acquire Sprint. Since April of last year, when the merger was announced, TMobile has spent $195,000 at the hotel. But before the merger announcement, the company said that only two employees had stayed there. The FCC paused its review of the merger last week. This is the third time the FCC has paused the 180-day shot clock, which is now on day 122. The merger review has been going on for 8 months. It’s not clear why it was paused this time. But the hotel expenditures may have had something to do with it—especially since the White House actually approved the deal. A ‘Greenbook’ for bigots Finally, The Hill reported on Monday on a new app that launched which gives users a listing of MAGA-friendly establishments—places where they’re least likely to be made fun of or harassed for wearing their red MAGA hats, or that let them carry legally-concealed weapons … check it out it’s called 63Red—great way to figure out where not to go other than Cracker Barrel. Events House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm Hearing on Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet Tues., 3/12, 11:00AM Rayburn 2322     House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm The Impact of Broadband Investments in Rural America Tues., 3/12, 2:30PM Hart, Rm. 216   ACT Voters to Policymakers: Bridging the Digital Divide Inlcudes Unlicensed Spetrum Thurs., 3/14, 9:30AM Dirksen, Rm. 562     Federal Communications Commission Monthly Meeting Friday, 3/15, 12:30-2:30 445 12th St., NW Washington, D.C.    
3/12/201919 minutes, 57 seconds
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Jevan Hutson: How Racism in Online Dating Affects Economic Opportunities

    Jevan Hutson: How Racism in Online Dating Affects Economic Opportunities (Ep. 176) Jevan Hutson joined Joe Miller to talk about how racism in online dating affects economic opportunities. Bio Jevan Hutson (@jevanhutson) is a Gregoire Fellow at the University of Washington School of Law, where he researches technology policy, social computing, surveillance and privacy, and data ethics, and is an editor for the Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts. Jevan currently works for the Technology & Liberty Project of the ACLU of Washington, where he advocates for algorithmic accountability in government and restrictions on government use facial recognition technologies. He previously worked for Nintendo of America, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, and Boeing. Jevan holds an MPS in Information Science and a BA in History of Art & Visual Studies from Cornell University, where he was a Research Assistant in the Social Computing Lab and Social Media Lab. Resources What Dating Apps are doing to Fight Bias by Jevan Hutson (Axios, 2019) Debiasing Desire: Addressing Bias and Discrimination on Intimate Platforms by Jevan Hutson, Jessie G. Taft, et al. (University of Washington School of Law, 2018) Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media by Tarleton Gillespie News Roundup US took down Russian troll factory during 2018 election Several U.S. officials said last week that they blocked the Internet Research Agency’s internet access as the Russian troll factory attempted to interfere with last year’s midterms. The Washington Post reports the operation was the first of its kind after the president and Congress bolstered cybercommand last year. Donald Trump approved the operation.  YouTube disables comments on videos featuring minors YouTube has disabled comments on videos that include minors under age 18. The move comes after pedophiles were lurking in comment sections directing users on where to access suggestive images of children. FTC wins fraud case against company that hired fake Amazon reviewers The Federal Trade Commission has won a case against Cure Encapsulations for paying a third party to write Amazon reviews of a supplement called garcinia cambogia. The drug is known to cause acute liver failure. It’s the first-evern case of its kind. Among other reviews, fake reviewers wrote that the supplement “literally stops fat from forming” rated it an average 4.3 out of 5 stars. Cure Encapulastions is now liable to pay a $12.8 million fine. FTC fines TikTok The Federal Trade Commission has fined China-based social media company TikTok $5.7 million because before it merged with, illegally collected the names, emails, pictures and location data of kids under 13. The U.S. hasn’t fined TikTok for anything that happened after the merger. TikTok has over 1 billion downloads – 100 million here in the U.S. – and is seen by many experts as legit Facebook rival. California AG Becerra looks to expand privacy California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is looking to improve his state’s privacy law that’s set to take effect next year by allowing private individuals to sue companies for damages. The current bill as written allows individuals to take legal action only after giving companies 30 days to correct violations. Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto takes on racial ad targeting Catherine Cortez Masto -- the Democratic Senator from Nevada -- is taking on racial ad targeting in a new bill that prohibits companies like Facebook from targeting on the basis of race. Propublica found back in 2016 that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude racial groups from certain campaigns—a practice which continued at least until the end of 2017. Twitter suspends Jacob Wohl Twitter suspended far-right activist Jacob Wohl for allegedly attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election by creating fake accounts purporting to support divisive candidates like Howard Schultz. Previously, USA Today had quoted Wohl as saying that he was planning to create “enormous left-wing online properties”. Wohl says it was just an “intellectual exercise”.  New FTC monopoly task force The Federal Trade Commission has established a new task force designed to look specifically at tech sector monopolies. The task force will boast 17 staff attorneys and be based in the competition bureau. Airline seatback monitors have cameras Some passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight shared a viral video showing the seatback video monitors in front of them had cameras in side them. Another passenger shared a picture of a similar camera he found on an American airlines flight. United and Delta followed up saying their screens also contain cameras. All four airlines say the manufacturer ships that screens that way for potential future uses, but that currently the cameras are disabled.  Currently. One of the manufacturers—Panasonic—told BuzzFeed that it would never activate the cameras without consent from the airline.   New York governor Cuomo wants Amazon back So as you know, Amazon backed out of plans to build out one of its new headquarters locations in Long Island City.   And now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is like [new edition clip] [PAUSE] Love is HARD! [PAUSE] Representatives from some 70 powerful New York organizations took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Amazon Founder & CEO Jeff Bezos. Signatories included National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and the NAACP’s New York State Conference and Astoria Chapter and the Presidents of the Queensbridge Houses and Astoria Houses Tenants Associations—corporate signatories included Ken Chenault and others. The State University of New York’s Chancellor also signed the letter, as did the Chancellor Designee of the City University of New York and the President of LaGuardia Community College. Several unions also signed. In the letter, the signatories characterized the public debate that followed the announcement as “strident”. It’s pretty hard to pass up an opportunity to add your name to a full-page letter in the New York Times. Whether anyone has carefully evaluated the upsides of the deal for every day New Yorkers isn’t clear. No word yet from Amazon. Events of Note House Energy & Commerce Hearing “Inclusion in Tech: How Diversity Benefits all Americans” Wed., 3/6 2019 @ 10:30am 2322 Rayburn Federal Communications Commission “Symposium on Media Diversity” Thurs., 3/7 2019 @ 9AM-5:30PM 445 12th St., SW
3/5/201923 minutes, 16 seconds
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Renée DiResta: How to Fight the Imminent Disinformation Blitzkrieg

Renée DiResta: How to Fight the Imminent Disinformation Blitzkrieg (Ep. 175) Renée DiResta joined Joe Miller to discuss the ongoing threat of state-sponsored misinformation campaigns on social media designed to destabilize the U.S. government. Bio Renée DiResta (@noUpside) is the Director of Research at New Knowledge and a Mozilla Fellow in Media, Misinformation, and Trust. She investigates the spread of malign narratives across social networks, and assists policymakers in understanding and responding to the problem. She has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civic, and business organizations, and has studied disinformation and computational propaganda in the context of pseudoscience conspiracies, terrorism, and state-sponsored information warfare. Renée regularly writes and speaks about the role that tech platforms and curatorial algorithms play in the proliferation of disinformation and conspiracy theories. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired. Her tech industry writing, analysis, talks, and data visualizations have been featured or covered by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fast Company, Politico, TechCrunch, Wired, Slate, Forbes, Buzzfeed, The Economist, Journal of Commerce, and more. She is a 2019 Truman National Security Project security fellow and a Council on Foreign Relations term member. Renée is the author of The Hardware Startup: Building your Product, Business, and Brand, published by O’Reilly Media. Previously, Renée was part of the founding team and ran marketing and business development at Haven, the transportation management technology platform that’s transforming trade logistics for commodity, CPG, and food shippers. Before that, Renée was a Principal at seed-stage venture capital fund O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), where she invested in early technology startups with a focus on hardware, manufacturing, and logistics companies. She spent seven years on Wall Street as an equity derivatives trader and market maker at Jane Street, a top quantitative proprietary trading firm in New York City. Renée has degrees in Computer Science and Political Science from the Honors College at SUNY Stony Brook. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Staff Associate at the Columbia University Data Science Institute, a Harvard Berkman-Klein Center affiliate, and is a Founding Advisor to the Center for Humane Technology. She is passionate about STEM education and childhood immunization advocacy, and is one of the co-founders of parent advocacy organization Vaccinate California. For fun, she explores data sets and loves cooking and crafting. Renée and her husband, Justin Hileman, are the parents of two feisty little people. Resources René New Knowledge What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation by Renée DiResta (N.Y. Times, 12/17/18) The Digital Maginot Line by Renée DiResta (RibbonFarm, 11/28/18) She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened. By Sheera Frenkel (N.Y. Times, 11/12/2017) The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson News Roundup Facebook A new British Parliament report is calling for new regulations against Facebook. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee concluded an 18-month investigation against the social media giant finding it routinely breaks privacy and competition laws. The Committee report is non-binding but it could pave the way for additional regulations. Back here in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against Facebook saying the company reveals sensitive health data in groups. And the FTC is currently in the process of negotiation a multibillion dollar fine with the company. Also, several groups including Common Sense filed an FTC complaint against Facebook for violating children’s privacy laws and pushing kids to make in-app purchases. And the Verge posted an exposé yesterday on Facebook’s treatment of its contractors working for Cognizant. Apparently content screeners paid less than $29,000 a year are the first line of defense in preventing harmful content from being posted to the site. The reviewers are routinely exposed to death, sexual abuse, and other types of content that exacts an extreme mental health toll on these workers. Facebook claims its working to alleviate some of these working conditions. Google YouTube is facing an advertiser boycott after a YouTuber published a report detailing how comments and recommendations on normal products, like bikinis, ultimately nudge users to access inappropriate videos of children. The video aren’t necessarily pornographic per se, but users post comments within the videos that included time stamps that show children in compromising poses and positions. Nestle, Disney and Fortnight are among several advertisers that have pulled or restricted ads from YouTube because their ads appeared alongside the inappropriate content. YouTube reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for such content and deleted millions of the comments in question that directed viewers to the material in question. In other YouTube news, the platform announced that going forward it will prevent anti-vaxxer channels from hosting ads. YouTube cited its policy against dangerous and harmful content. And YouTube’s parent company Alphabet’s Google unit announced that it will end its policy of forced arbitration regarding worker disputes. Microsoft defends military contract Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella defended a $479 million military contract with the US Army to supply the company’s augmented reality systems called HoloLens. More than 100 Microsoft employees signed a letter protesting the contract and asking Microsoft to back out.  But Nadella said the company won’t withhold technology from what he deems to be “democratic governments” such as the United States. Bipartisan group of Senators ask DoE and Homeland to block Huawei A Bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security yesterday urging them to block Huawei technology from accessing U.S. electrical systems and infrastructure. Several weeks ago, Congress blocked Huawei from accessing the nation’s telecommunication’s infrastructure as security officials believe the China-based company is working on behalf of the Chinese government to spy on the U.S.
2/26/201915 minutes, 48 seconds
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Mignon Clyburn: The Social Justice Dynamics of Tech Policy

Mignon Clyburn: The Social Justice Dynamics of Tech Policy  Mignon Clyburn joined Joe Miller to discuss how the complex social justice dynamics of tech policy affect alliances in Washington. Bio Mignon Clyburn (@mignonclyburn) is a former FCC Commissioner and President and CEO of MLC Strategies. Mignon served at the FCC from 2009-2018, with a stint as Acting FCC Chairwoman—the first FCC Chairwoman—in 2013. While at the FCC, Commissioner Clyburn was committed to closing the digital divide. Specifically, she was an advocate for Lifeline Modernization, which assists low income consumers defray the cost of broadband service, championed diversity in media ownership, initiated Inmate Calling Services reforms, emphasized diversity and inclusion in STEM opportunities, and fought to preserve a free and open internet. Prior to the FCC, she spent 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. Prior to the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of her family-founded newspaper for 14 years, the Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American community. News Roundup Groups urge Congress to consider civil rights in privacy legislation In an open letter, 43 groups including the NAACP, National Urban League, OTI, Human Rights Campaign, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Hispanic Media Coalition and others, urged members of Congress last week to consider civil rights as they develop new privacy legislation. The letter points to set of principles the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights released back in 2014 focusing on the era of big data which Congress still hasn’t acted on. FTC and Facebook negotiate multibillion dollar fine The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook are reportedly negotiating a multibillion fine the company would have to pay for violating a 2011 privacy consent decree. It would be the largest FTC fine against a technology company, exceeding the $22.5 million fine against Google back in 2012. Apple, Amazon & Google push to protect Dreamers Leaders from Apple, Amazon and Google joined a letter under the auspices of the Coalition for the American Dream, a cohort of more than 100 tech leaders from across the ideological spectrum organized to shed light on the economic effects of not enacting legislation to protect DREAMERS. The letter urges leaders in the House and Senate to pass legislation saying that without it, the U.S. economy stands to lose some $350 billion in GDP, with the Treasury standing to lose some $90 billion in tax revenue. Pai warns carriers about robocalls FCC Chairman Ajit Pai warned telecom companies that if they don’t adopt a self-regulatory framework to address robocalls this year, the FCC would have to step in. The warning is a follow-up to Pai’s call back in November telling carriers to develop an agreed-upon way to combat “spoofing”, which allows robocallers to appear to be calling from a more trusted number. Amazon Cancels NYC Plans As you’ve no doubt already heard, Amazon has canceled plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City in Queens. The move has ignited a debate about the future of the Democratic party as more traditional, neoliberal Democrats appeared to be more in favor of the development plan, while local communities within Democratic strongholds in New York who would’ve been impacted by the deal wrote their members, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, urging them to push back against the expansion.
2/19/201932 minutes, 3 seconds
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Betsy Cooper: How to Bring Tech to Tech Policy

  Bio Betsy Cooper (@BetsOnTech) is the founding Director of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub. A cybersecurity expert, Ms. Cooper joined Aspen’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program after serving as the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, she served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an attorney advisor to the Deputy General Counsel and as a policy counselor in the Office of Policy. She has worked for over a decade in homeland security consulting, managing projects for Atlantic Philanthropies in Dublin, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in London, and the World Bank, and other organizations. In addition, Ms. Cooper has clerked for Berkeley Law professor and Judge William Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (where she currently is a nonresident affiliate), as well as a Yale Public Interest Fellowship. Ms. Cooper has written more than twenty manuscripts and articles on U.S. and European homeland security policy. She is also a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group. Ms. Cooper earned a J.D. from Yale University, a D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, an M.Sc. in Forced Migration from Oxford University, and a B.A. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She speaks advanced French. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Resources Aspen Tech Policy Hub Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship Application News Roundup Coates tells Senate committee that Russia and China are working together to undermine the 2020 election In his annual threat assessment report, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates told the Senate intelligence committee that Russia and China will try and interfere with the 2020 presidential election. The report lists social media threats as second on a list of several threats to U.S. national security. DC Circuit Appeals panel hears net neutrality oral arguments A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from the government and consumer advocates last week as consumer advocates’ lawsuit against the FCC for repealing the 2015 open internet rules presses on. Two of the judges—Particia Millett and Robert Wilkins—both Obama appointees—seemed to side with the consumer advocates as the FCC struggled to persuade the court that the agency had the authority to reclassify broadband as an information service. Report: FamilyTreeDNA works with the FBI BuzzFeed reported that popular home DNA testing company Family Tree DNA is working with the FBI, allowing agents to access its database to investigate violent crimes.  Privacy advocates object to the partnership. But others say that as more people sign up for genetic tests, the data has become increasingly valuable to solve cold cases, with the arrest last year of the suspected Golden State Killer being a prime example. Feds charge second Chinese Apple car worker with data theft The feds have charged a second Apple engineer with stealing company trade secrets with a plan to bring them back to China. Another Apple employee spotted Jizhong Chen taking snapshots of his workspace with a wide angle lens even though he was working under an NDA.  Apparently Chen had some 2,000 files on his hard drive, including manuals and schematics.  He says he was going to China to see family. But the feds allege he was actually planning to bring the files back to a Chinese car manufacturer he’d applied for a job with. It’s the second Apple employee charged with stealing trade secrets from the company’s self-driving car unit. Apple reports Group FaceTime bug Apple reported a bug with Group FaceTime that allowed callers to hear the people they were calling before they answered. The company took down Group Facetime when it learned of the bug, apologized, and announced that it would release a fix for the problem this week. Facebook hires three leading privacy critics from Access Now, EFF, and OTI The Information reports that Facebook has hired three leading privacy critics from Access Now, EFF, and OTI as the company tries to deal with the onslaught of backlash around its privacy woes. Robyn Greene, Nathan White, and Nate Cardozo have been critical of Facebook and all joined the company within the last month. Mignon Clyburn to advise TMobile/Sprint TMobile and Sprint have tapped former FCC Chair and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to help advise them on their $26 billion merger. Clyburn said in a statement that she will be advising the two companies as a continuation of her work to ensure vulnerable populations have affordable access to 5G.
2/5/201914 minutes, 32 seconds
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Alicia Mazzara: Mapping How a Housing Vouchers Loophole Furthers Segregation   Alicia Mazzara: Mapping How a Housing Vouchers Loophole Furthers Segregation (Ep. 171) Landlords across the U.S. are refusing to rent to prospective tenants with housing vouchers. As a result, demand for voucher-eligible housing units in low-income areas greatly exceeds supply. But in high income areas, the opposite is true. Bio Alicia Mazzara is a Research Analyst in the Housing Division at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She works on issues related to federal low-income housing policy. Prior to joining the Center in 2015, Mazzara was a Policy Advisor in Third Way’s Economic Program where her research centered on income inequality, labor market dynamics, and workforce development. She has also spent time working in the federal government and as a Research Associate at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Mazzara has a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and international relations from Carleton College and a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University. Resources Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Interactive Map: Where Voucher Households Live in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas by Alicia Mazzara, Brian Knudsen, and Nick Kasprak (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2019). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond News Roundup AOC and Pingree call out tech firms for sponsoring event featuring climate-change deniers Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chellie Pingree called out Google, Facebook, and Microsoft last week for sponsoring an event put on by the CO2 Coalition, an organization that opposes policies that are designed to address climate change. Through company spokespeople, all three companies sought to distance themselves from the views expressed at the event by saying they support organizations across the political spectrum and highlighting their substantial investments to address climate change. After those companies released statements, Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree pushed back even further saying the climate-change crisis is too great for the companies to permit themselves to undermine their leadership by associating with propagandistic organizations like the CO2 Coalition. U.S. Charges Huawei The Department of Justice has indicted several affiliates, subsidiaries and executives of Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. The company is accused of  stealing intellectual property from T-Mobile and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. U.S. officials say Huawei’s alleged theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile gave the Chinese government backdoor access to technology from a U.S.-based telecommunications company thereby endangering U.S. national security interests. The U.S. is also in the process of extraditing Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wengzhou from Vancouver in order to face charges that she worked to circumvent U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. Big Tech Increased Lobbying in 2018 Google, Facebook and Amazon increased their lobbying spending in 2018 over the previous year during increased scrutiny from Congress regarding how the companies use personal data. Google’s lobbying expenditures jumped from $18 to 21 million. Amazon spent $14.2 million, up from $12.8 million in 2017. Facebook spent $13 million—a million-and—half more than the previous year. All three companies concentrated a fair share of that spending in the fourth quarter. Netflix joins MPAA Netflix has joined the Motion Picture Association of America which, since 1922, has been the trade association for the six major film studios. The announcement came the same day Netflix received its first-ever Best Picture nomination for ‘Roma’. Advocacy groups call on FTC to breakup Facebook Several advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Color of Change, are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook, according to a Wall Street Journal report on a draft letter it obtained. In addition to Facebook, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Many advocates and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have taken aim at Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica debacle for how the company traffics in its users’ data. It’s not clear what authority the FTC would have to break up Facebook. However, the agency is assessing whether Facebook violated the terms of a consent decree the company signed back in 2011 when it allowed Cambridge Analytica to access the data of some 87 million Facebook users when Cambridge Analytica allegedly handled most of the analytics that went into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. US Labor Department sues Oracle for discrimination The U.S. Labor Department filed a federal complaint against Oracle last week claiming the company owes some $400 million in lost wages to women and people of color. The Labor Department says only 11 of 500 people hired into technical jobs over a four-year period were African American or Hispanic and that 5,000 women and 11,000 Asian employees were also underpaid by as much as 20% compared to their white male counterparts. MIT report says Amazon’s facial recognition technology is biased A new MIT study says that Amazon’s facial recognition technology is biased against women and people of color. The study found that Amazon’s Rekognition classified a disproportionate number of women as men. Mignon Clyburn appointed to new Artificial Intelligence advisory group The Secretaries of Defense and Commerce and top Republicans and Democrats in Congress appointed former FCC Chairman and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve on the newly-created National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which will advise the U.S. government on national security and competition issues related to artificial intelligence. Former Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt will Chair the Commission and Clyburn will serve with Oracle CEO Safra Catz and executives from Google and Microsoft among others. The Commission was created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and has a $10 million budget through 2020.
1/29/201916 minutes, 26 seconds
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Lauren Rhue: Empirical Evidence of AI Bias Revealed by NBA Player Headshots

  Bio Lauren Rhue is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics at the Wake Forest School of Business where she’s also an Exxon-Wayne Calloway Rising Faculty Fellow. Her research uses empirical and econometric methods to explore the economic and social implications of technology. Dr. Rhue is also interested in investigating the economic implications of technology platforms for traditionally disadvantaged populations. She earned her Bachelor’s in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford and her Ph.D. in Information Systems from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Resources Wake Forest University School of Business Racial Influence on Automated Perceptions of Emotions by Lauren Rhue (Wake Forest University School of Business, 2018) Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World by Bruce Schneier
1/22/201916 minutes, 8 seconds
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H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas

  H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas (Ep. 169) The New Food Economy’s Claire Brown joined Joe Miller to discuss how an FDA algorithm is killing bodegas by flagging otherwise legal transactions as fraud. Bio H. Claire Brown (@hclaire_brown) is a staff writer for The New Food Economy focusing on food policy and the environment. Her reporting has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Press Club. She is based in Brooklyn. Resources New Food Economy How an Algorithm kicks small businesses out of the food stamp program on dubious fraud charges by Claire Brown Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister News Roundup Federal officials worry about shutdown’s effect on cyber security Federal security officials are worried about the short and long-term harm to the nation’s cybersecurity during the shutdown. They’re worried about losing furloughed talent and about criminals and foreign actors taking advantage of the shutdown to launch cyberattacks. Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly issued a strong rebuke against Trump for the shutdown saying it’s immoral and unnecessary. She noted that when she served as the ranking member of the IT subcommittee in the last session of Congress, the subcommittee repeatedly discussed the federal government’s inability to attract top IT and tech talent. She said the shutdown makes federal IT jobs seem even less attractive than they were before. Motherboard paid $300 to a bounty hunter to access customer location info from carriers Remember in 2017 when the Republican-controlled Congress repealed the Obama-FCC’s privacy rules that would have required carriers to obtain opt-in consent from customers before sharing their data? Well, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox reported last week that he paid just 300 bucks to a bounty hunter to identify the location of a phone. This is exactly the kind of harm the privacy rules were designed to prevent. The Motherboard investigation found that all the bounty hunter had to do was purchase the location data that ultimately came from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint and voilá – here’s your phone … or the phone of that person you’re stalking … So House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone demanded an emergency briefing from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai … Pai declined, citing the shutdown --- claiming that the issue wasn’t a “threat to the safety of human life or property.” AG nominee Barr to recuse himself from AT&T/Time Warner merger appeal Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced last week that Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr assured her in a private meeting that he would recuse himself from the AT&T/Time Warner Merger. The Justice Department is appealing a lower court’s decision to approve the $85 billion merger of the two companies. Barr’s Senate confirmation hearing takes place today, Tuesday, January 15. Google shareholder sues for $90 million Andy Rubin payout Google shareholder James Martin filed a lawsuit against the company last week for its $90 million payout to former executive Andy Rubin after he left the company amidst sexual harassment allegations. The complaint alleges a “multi-year scheme to cover up sexual harassment and discrimination at Alphabet” and claims the board, including Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, breached their fiduciary duties as board members and as executives who set the internal tone that enabled extramarital affairs at the company. Thune/Wicker switch roles on the Senate Commerce Committee South Dakota Republican John Thune has stepped down as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and now heads up the Communications Subcommittee. Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker now Chairs the full committee. Trump administration proposes to allow drones to fly at night The Federal Aviation Administration issued proposed rules Monday that would allow small commercial drones to fly over cities at night.  Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says she’s keenly aware of the safety concerns.  
1/15/201917 minutes, 33 seconds
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H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas (Ep. 169)

  H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas (Ep. 169) The New Food Economy’s Claire Brown joined Joe Miller to discuss how an FDA algorithm is killing bodegas by flagging otherwise legal transactions as fraud. Bio H. Claire Brown (@hclaire_brown) is a staff writer for The New Food Economy focusing on food policy and the environment. Her reporting has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Press Club. She is based in Brooklyn. Resources New Food Economy How an Algorithm kicks small businesses out of the food stamp program on dubious fraud charges by Claire Brown Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister News Roundup Federal officials worry about shutdown’s effect on cyber security Federal security officials are worried about the short and long-term harm to the nation’s cybersecurity during the shutdown. They’re worried about losing furloughed talent and about criminals and foreign actors taking advantage of the shutdown to launch cyberattacks. Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly issued a strong rebuke against Trump for the shutdown saying it’s immoral and unnecessary. She noted that when she served as the ranking member of the IT subcommittee in the last session of Congress, the subcommittee repeatedly discussed the federal government’s inability to attract top IT and tech talent. She said the shutdown makes federal IT jobs seem even less attractive than they were before. Motherboard paid $300 to a bounty hunter to access customer location info from carriers Remember in 2017 when the Republican-controlled Congress repealed the Obama-FCC’s privacy rules that would have required carriers to obtain opt-in consent from customers before sharing their data? Well, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox reported last week that he paid just 300 bucks to a bounty hunter to identify the location of a phone. This is exactly the kind of harm the privacy rules were designed to prevent. The Motherboard investigation found that all the bounty hunter had to do was purchase the location data that ultimately came from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint and voilá – here’s your phone … or the phone of that person you’re stalking … So House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone demanded an emergency briefing from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai … Pai declined, citing the shutdown --- claiming that the issue wasn’t a “threat to the safety of human life or property.” AG nominee Barr to recuse himself from AT&T/Time Warner merger appeal Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced last week that Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr assured her in a private meeting that he would recuse himself from the AT&T/Time Warner Merger. The Justice Department is appealing a lower court’s decision to approve the $85 billion merger of the two companies. Barr’s Senate confirmation hearing takes place today, Tuesday, January 15. Google shareholder sues for $90 million Andy Rubin payout Google shareholder James Martin filed a lawsuit against the company last week for its $90 million payout to former executive Andy Rubin after he left the company amidst sexual harassment allegations. The complaint alleges a “multi-year scheme to cover up sexual harassment and discrimination at Alphabet” and claims the board, including Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, breached their fiduciary duties as board members and as executives who set the internal tone that enabled extramarital affairs at the company. Thune/Wicker switch roles on the Senate Commerce Committee South Dakota Republican John Thune has stepped down as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and now heads up the Communications Subcommittee. Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker now Chairs the full committee. Trump administration proposes to allow drones to fly at night The Federal Aviation Administration issued proposed rules Monday that would allow small commercial drones to fly over cities at night.  Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says she’s keenly aware of the safety concerns.  
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Kim Tignor: Connecting the Dots Between IP and Social Justice

Bio Kimberly Tignor (@Kim_Tignor) is the Public Policy Director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Tignor manages a portfolio that includes education, voting rights, employment discrimination, fair housing, affirmative action, criminal justice, and immigration. In addition, she manages the Judicial Diversity Program of the Lawyers’ Committee. Ms. Tignor has spent her career immersed in the most pressing of legal issues surrounding underprivileged persons and advancing the causes of equality and social justice. She is particularly well-versed in working across multicultural issues and topics of key interest to people of color. Her impressive legal experience spans from directing policy at the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of African American legal professionals, to coordinating state and national level pipeline and advocacy efforts for Presidential judicial nominees at the VENG Group, the leading government affairs firm consulting group representing Presidential nominees to the federal judiciary. During her time with the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic, Ms. Tignor studied the impact of laws on adolescents and advocated for a higher quality of rehabilitation services within the justice system. Ms. Tignor Chairs the National Bar Association Judicial Evaluations Committee and is an active member of the organization’s Civil Rights Law and Legislative Affairs Sections. In her local community, she is a board member of the DC Ward 4 Democrats, a member of the Potomac (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the DC Lawyers for Youth. Ms. Tignor has been a guest speaker for numerous panels including C-Span’s After Words, the American Bar Association Commission of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the profession, and the Washington Bar Association. Ms. Tignor was recently recognized by On Being a Lawyer of Color as one of the country’s top lawyers under the age of 40. Kimberly Tignor is a proud Washington DC native. She received her JD from Georgetown University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Information Technology from the College of William and Mary. Resources Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Creative Control News Roundup Outgoing Congress fails to reinstate net neutrality The House of Representatives failed to vote on a Senate-passed resolution that would have reinstated the 2015 open internet rules the FCC repealed after Trump took office. A lawsuit from consumer advocates and state attorneys general is still pending in the DC Circuit, with oral arguments set for next month. The FCC says the lawsuits are moot since they’ve already repealed the rules. Apple lowers revenue forecast Apple lowered its revenue forecast last week citing uncertainty about tensions with China. Apple CEO Tim Cook revised the company’s first quarter forecast down by some $9 billion. The report sent stocks down early last week. But the market was up 700 points at the end of the week after reports of strong unemployment numbers. FCC back up to 5 commissioners The FCC is back up to 5 commissioners after the Senate confirmed Democrat Jeffrey Starks and re-confirmed Republican Brendan Carr. Airbnb blocks New York City host identity lawsuit Airbnb has won a legal victory in a federal lawsuit it brought against the City of New York for a law requiring the homesharing company to disclose the names and addresses of hosts to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. The court issued a preliminary injunction against the new law which was supposed to go into effect in February. Warner/Rubio propose new White House cyber office Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio proposed bi-partisan legislation last week that seeks to establish a new White House office of Critical Technology and Security. The new office would be tasked with dealing with increasing cyberthreats from China. Marriott: Hackers accessed 5 million passport numbers Marriott reported last week that its November data breach allowed hackers to access some 5 million unencrypted passport numbers. Over twenty million total passport numbers were swiped, including encrypted ones. Marriott also claims that 117 million fewer guests were affected by the breach. It now says 383 million guests had their data breached—that’s down from the 500 million it claimed back in November.
1/8/201917 minutes, 18 seconds
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Ambar Januel: Rescue Your Cause Marketing from the Ivory Tower

Bio A Mexican American with a creative background and an untraditional career path, Ambar Januel (@ambarjanuel) is a marketing strategist and branding expert for non-profits and innovative tech companies. With a focus on social impact, her partners utilize future technologies to disrupt the system, while prioritizing diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and social justice. Tech startup project manager, turned creative director, turned agency co-founder, Ambar currently works independently as a strategist, bringing marketing, event production, and branding skills together through her work. She has spoken at a variety of conferences and has been featured in many publications, including 7in7, BBC Media, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Digital LA, Honeybook, WeRule, and more. Resources Ambar Januel Good Call Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit News Roundup NAACP launches Facebook boycott for targeting people of color The NAACP has launched a boycott of Facebook following reports that the Kremlin specifically used Facebook and other social media to recruit African Americans and other people of color to support Donald Trump. The NAACP is calling on Facebook users to log out of Facebook for one day—today, Tuesday. Data analysts from the University of Oxford submitted a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, yesterday, analyzing how Russians infiltrated social media to spread pro-Trump propaganda leading up to the 2016 presidential election. We’ve got a link to coverage in the show notes. But Russian operatives working for the Internet Research Agency—the propaganda arm of the Kremlin—sought to entice African Americans and other people of color to host events, start coalitions, and engage in other activities -- on American soil -- to gin up support for Donald Trump. These were leaflets, folks. So even though the Kremlin used other social media platforms -- including Twitter , Google, and others -- to promote propaganda, and the report to the Senate Intelligence Committee says that these companies may have evaded Congress and provided incomplete datasets during testimony over the past year, this was the icing on the cake for the NAACP as far as Facebook’s concerned. The 110-year-old civil rights organization found a persistent pattern of anti-democratic tactics that have repeatedly implicated Facebook since the 2016 election cycle. To add insult to injury, Facebook revealed yet another breach affecting private photos of some 6.8 million users. So this goes far beyond smart lawyering. Tech company’s testimony before Congress all year came with legal implications. And, as long as they didn’t commit perjury, disclosing as little as possible is frankly well within their Fifth Amendment rights. But there’s a particular quality to Facebook that’s fundamentally different from other platforms--because it’s so pervasive, and so personal. YouTube has removed 58 million videos in last quarter YouTube reports that it removed some 58 million videos during the past quarter for violating community standards. The Google unit said that 72% of the videos promoted spam or were misleading. YouTube also removed 1.67 million channels during the same period. HuffPo: Cloudflare hosts terror organizations The web giant Cloudflare apparently provides cybersecurity services to at least 7 foreign terrorist organizations and militant groups, according to the Huffington Post. All of the groups are listed on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Jesselyn Cook has the report in the Huffington Post. AP: Iranian operatives hacked personal emails of American security officials The AP reports that Iranian hackers hacked into the personal email accounts of U.S. officials last month to attempt to thwart the Trump administration’s new sanctions. The AP obtained the data from London-based security firm Certfa. Raphael Satter has more overage in the AP. FCC allows internet service providers to block texts The FCC voted last week to allow internet service providers to block some text messages, supposedly to prevent spam. Opponents say it’s a threat to net neutrality and gives ISPs too much control over content, in this case texts. Manchin blocks Carr nomination West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin moved to block Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s nomination to the the FCC  after the Republican-controlled agency voted to block the expansion of wireless internet service to rural areas. Carr’s term is actually already expired—it expired back on June 30th. And if the current Congress doesn’t vote to approve a new five-year term by January 3rd, which is when the current Congress concludes, and we move into the next session of Congress, Carr will need to step down. However, he could still be renominated and confirmed by the next Senate, which is what happened with Jessica Rosenworcel.
12/18/201817 minutes, 16 seconds
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Alexandra Channer: Automation, Displacement and Slavery in Southeast Asia (Ep. 166)

  Alexandra Channer: Automation, Displacement and Slavery in Southeast Asia (Ep. 166) Alexandra Channer joined Joe Miller to discuss how automation is leading to labor abuses and slavery in Southeast Asia. Bio Dr. Alexandra Channer (@channer_alex) is a human rights advisor for business, helping to identify and mitigate impacts resulting from their commercial activities and relationships. She has a technical background in risk analysis and due diligence for labour standards, civil and political rights and community impacts. In her previous role, Alex was principal analyst and head of human rights strategy at Verisk Maplecroft. In this role, Alex supported multinationals with global supply chains in the technology, extractives, food and beverage, and apparel sectors. Areas of focus included modern slavery, human rights defenders and automation. Alex’s approach is enriched by her doctorate in politics - involving eight years of fieldwork on grievance-based mobilisation in Kosovo - as well as experience working in political communications. Alex learnt Albanian in Kosovo and translates plays and books in her spare time. Key services: Modern slavery training workshops and e-learning programmes Gap assessments of human rights management systems Stakeholder consultation    Disclosure statement support Risk and impact assessments Issue briefing, horizon scanning Resources Slavery and labour abuses in SE Asia supply chains set to spiral over the next two decades as automation consumes job market by Alexandra Channer (Verisk Maplecroft, 2018) Confidential documents obtained by UK’s Parliament suggest Facebook sold data Two-hundred fifty pages of confidential documents obtained by a UK Parliamentary committee from a company embroiled in litigation with Facebook in the U.S. seem to reveal that Facebook sold data to certain buyers as it sought to grow. Zuckerberg denies that allegations. But the trove of emails between Facebook and a company called Six4Three contain several communications with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that seem to discredit his assertion that Facebook never sold users’ data. In other Facebook news, The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook’s board of directors backs Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s handling of the anti-Semitic campaign against George Soros. And Facebook plans to a buyback of $9 billion more of its shares to boost investor confidence after a stock slump of more than 40% since July. Verizon’s Oath to pay a $5 million settlement in child data protection lawsuit Verizon’s Oath has agreed to pay $5 million to the New York State attorney general to settle charges that its AOL unit violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, also known as COPPA. It’s the largest settlement paid by a company in COPPA history. New York’s Attorney General had accused AOL of displaying ads on children’s sites even though AOL’s policies prohibited it.  Sapna Maheshwari has more in The New York Times. FCC watchdog clears Pai of collusion with the White House The FCC’s own, internal Inspector General has completed an investigation of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. It found that Pai didn’t violate ethics rules when he failed to disclose conversations he’d had with former White House counsel Don McGahn regarding the Sinclair merger because the FCC’s rules didn’t prohibit the conversation even though the FCC is not a cabinet-level agency and is supposed to be independent of the White House. Margaret Harding McGill has the story in Politico. Google contract employees push for better working conditions Google’s contract employees are pushing for better working conditions. In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Googler’s are calling for inclusion in corporate-wide communications as well as equal pay and better treatment. The contract workers, known internally as TVCs, are also referred to as Google’s “shadow workforce”. And they were excluded from Google’s new policies regarding sexual harassment which the company began implementing following the walkout of thousands of employees world-wide protesting the company’s handling of Andy Rubin’s departure, after he’d been accused of sexual misconduct—an accusation Mr. Rubin has denied. The contract employees say that Google’s $30 billion in profit this year alone is more than enough for the company to compensate them fairly. Google accelerates closure of Google+ Google has found a new bug exposing user data to some 52 million users. The company had already planned to shut down Google+ by the end of next year, but it has accelerated the closure to August. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on today, Tuesday, December 11th and the new data breach is sure to be an issue.  
12/11/201824 minutes
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Joseph Kane: The Impact of Automated Vehicles on Your White Collar Job (Ep. 165)

Joseph Kane: The Impact of Automated Vehicles on Your White Collar Job (Ep. 165) Brookings' Joseph Kane joined Joe Miller to talk about how automated vehicles could impact your white collar job--not just those of drivers. Bio Joseph Kane (@jwkane) is a senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. Kane’s work focuses on a wide array of built environment issues, including transportation and water infrastructure. Within these areas of research, he has explored infrastructure’s central economic role across different regions as well as its relationship to opportunity and resilience. Across several projects, he has concentrated on the use of innovative datasets, combining them with other qualitative measures to better assess current and future infrastructure needs. From the exploration of metropolitan freight trends to the first-ever analysis of infrastructure jobs at a metropolitan level, he has coordinated the production of new metrics and developed other interactive content to better inform decisions by policymakers and practitioners across the country. Prior to Brookings, Kane was an Economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. He holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the College of William and Mary. Resources Metropolitan Policy Program @ Brookings How big could the AV industry be? 9.5 million workers and counting by Joseph Kane and Adie Tomer Why the Garden Club Couldn't Save Youngstown by Sean Stafford News Roundup Consequences Facebook’s poor engagement with people of color taking root The consequences of Facebook’s poor engagement over the years with people of color began to take hold last week. On Tuesday, USA Today’s Jessica Guynn reported on a former black Facebook employee – Mark Luckie – who says the company has a deep seated race problem both internally and on the platform. Luckie wrote an internal blog post on Facebook earlier this month—to management and employees—that later went public—saying the platform itself actively works against black people. He says that Facebook works against attempts by black users to create safe spaces on Facebook, amplifies some users over others using class-based criteria, which effectively dilutes black voices, and fails to hire a workforce that reflects the demographics of its user base. Color of Change CEO Rashad Robinson met with Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday. Politico reported that it was a victory, but then went on to talk about all of the ways in which it really wasn’t. For example, Facebook hasn’t committed to release records on its work with Definers Public Affairs to engage in promoting far right, anti-Semitic attacks against George Soros. It was a campaign that also targeted Color of Change. Robinson also told Politico that Sandberg defended Joel Kaplan. Apparently Sandberg, according to Politico’s account of the meeting, offered a sincere apology and Mark Zuckerberg popped his head in. But really, who cares. Sandberg did agree to a civil rights audit that Color of Change would conduct and agreed to have a public debate on the results of the audit. But that’s really non-negotiable since they have to do something to prevent a boycott. Also, a New York Times report out the same day Robinson met with Sandberg suggested that Sandberg directed the communications team in their research of George Soros’s financial interests and actually sent an email asking if Soros had  shorted Facebook’s stock. A lot of people are just sort of wondering why Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Joel Kaplan should keep their jobs. But would that solve Facebook’s race issues? Mattis says Russia interfered in midterms Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said over the weekend during an interview at the Ronald Reagan Public library that Russian operatives attempted to interfere with the U.S. election. He said the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia has deteriorated. Mattis’ remarks came a couple of days after Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit amidst Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for making misstatements to Congress in the investigation into the Trump administration’s business dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Marriott hack affects 500 million guests Marriott reported a hack that apparently affected some 500 million of its Starwood guests, exposing personal information including home addresses, passport numbers, drivers’ license numbers, names, and other personal details. New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood is investigating the breach. The company has known about the breach since early September. Nexstar to acquire Tribune Nextstar has announced plans to acquire Tribune Media for $4.1 billion, making it the largest tv station owner in the U.S. The merger would add 42 stations to Nexstar’s portfolio bringing its total number of stations to 216 in 118 markets, just under the FCC’s 39% ownership threshold. The deal comes after Sinclair failed in its bid for Tribune earlier this year. Delrahim for AG? CNN reports that President Trump may be considering Makan Delrahim to replace Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General.  Currently, Delrahim is the Assistant Attorney General who sued AT&T to stop its acquisition of Time Warner—he lost. That deal went through. Some are still debating whether the president directed Delrahim to stop the merger. Delrahim denies this. But if he did act at Trump’s behest, the Attorney General job would be a big reward—ya think? FBI Charges 8 in Ad-fraud scheme The FBI charged eight individuals last week in an ad fraud scheme. The men face 13 charges for allegedly scheming to infect 1.7 million computers and drive traffic to counterfeit websites serving up ads. Craig Silverman has a detailed report in BuzzFeed News. DOJ Indicts 2 Iranians for Ransomware Attacks The Department of justice indicted 2 men in connection with an alleged Iranian ransomware plot since 2015 that has caused some $30 million in financial damage to city universities, governments and hospitals, including the City of Atlanta. Officials say the scheme, known as SamSam, affected more than 200 victims and led to some $6 million in ransom payments. Brian Fung has the story in the Washington Post. Google employees pledge $200k to help striking employees Some Google employees have banded together to create a $200k fund to help striking engineers who are opposing Google’s work on a censored search engine in China. The project is known as Project Dragonfly and hundreds of engineers oppose the effort and signed a letter to that effect last week.  
12/4/201822 minutes, 20 seconds
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Chiqui Cartagena: The Public Policy Implications of Hispanic Marketing (Ep. 164)

  Chiqui Cartagena: The Public Policy Implications of Hispanic Marketing (Ep. 164) Chiqui Cartagena joined Joe Miller to discuss the public policy implications of Hispanic marketing amidst an increased demand for Latino data. Bio Chiqui Cartagena (@ChiquiCartagena) is the author of Latino Boom II and most recently served as senior vice president of the Political & Advocacy Group at Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America. At Univision, she was responsible for increasing the understanding of the importance of Hispanic voter and the key political issues that affect them among key political constituents across the country. In 2014, Ms. Cartagena was named one of Campaigns & Elections "50 Influencers". In 2013, she was recognized with a Multiethnic TV Leadership Award from Broadcasting & Cable magazine and in 2012, Cartagena received the ADCOLOR® Legend Award in recognition of her tireless efforts in leading the conversation about the Hispanic market. In 2007, she was named the Hispanic Direct Marketing Professional of the Year by the Direct Marketing Association. And finally, she is the author of Latino Boom II, Catch the Biggest Wave Since the Baby Boom, her second book on the Hispanic market which was published in 2013. Ms. Cartagena is a Hispanic media and marketing pioneer with 25 years of experience developing, launching, and leading some of America’s most successful Spanish-language consumer magazines, including People en Español and TV Guide en Español. She has also developed many integrated marketing programs for leading consumer brands to successfully reach the Latino community. Her career also includes senior roles as a broadcast journalist, having previously worked in the news divisions of Univision and Telemundo. Ms. Cartagena, a graduate of the University of Miami, is a member of the Awards Committee for National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and lives in New York City. Resources Latino Boom Nielsen LatinX The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman News Roundup Can Facebook overcome its woes with Zuckerberg and Sandberg still leading the company? Facebook, which has lost about $100 billion in market value since March, can’t seem to right itself after a year of the Cambridge Analytica and election interference debacle. The UK Parliament got hold of senior level communications from a company in the U.S. called Six4Thirty which is suing Facebook. Six4Thirty, whose core business model was scanning Facebook data for bikini photos, obtained the communications in the discovery process in an attempt to establish that Facebook knew about the loophole it used to obtain Facebook’s users data, which was allegedly the same loophole that Cambridge Analytica used. Some of the communications are said to be from Mark Zuckerberg himself. So normally, the communications would be shielded from disclosure as the matter is being litigated. But it just so happens that Damian Collins, the Chair of the Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports select committee, caught wind of the fact that one of Six4Thirty’s founders was in London—bringing the company within the UK’s jurisdiction. So that enabled Collins to seize the documents by sending a Serjeant at Arms to the founder’s hotel room and requiring him to turn over the documents within 2 hours or face a fine or potential jail time. So there’s that. And as far as Facebook’s hiring of a lobbying firm that allegedly worked to play into anti-Semitism against George Soros, Facebook’s head of public policy Elliot Schrage announced in an internal memo that he was responsible for hiring the firm. However, he said that it was never his intention to play into anti-semitism. Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg weighed in in a comment, saying that she was ultimately responsible. Schrage has been planning to leave the company for some time, and he will be replaced by former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Calls by some shareholders and others for Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandberg to step down from at least some of their responsibilities has fallen on deaf ears. As Zuckerberg said in a CBS Business Interview that, while he apologized for the company’s woes, said that stepping down or replacing Sandberg is “not the plan”. Can Amazon be humbled by pushback from its workforce? Amazon has huge, global aspirations. But will the company go as far as it needs to in order to resolve internal labor disputes? In the U.S., Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour but eliminated other perks, including employee benefits. But on Black Friday, thousands of European workers went on strike, demanding better pay and working conditions. All of this is happening amidst Amazon’s aggressive expansion efforts beyond ecommerce. For example, the company is bidding for 21st Century Fox’s 22 Regional Sports assets—including YES TV which broadcasts the New York Yankees. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Amazon is now the Number 3 digital advertising platform, behind just Google and Facebook, with ad sales growth projected to be at over 400% between 2017 and 2020, way ahead of second-place Tencent in China whose ad sales growth is projected to be at just under 200%. Roger Stone crony Jerome Corsi says he won’t take FBI plea deal Conspiracy theorist and Roger Stone ally Jermone Corsi told CNN that Robert Mueller offered him a plea deal on one count of perjury connected with statements Corsi made saying that he had no communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Trump confidante Stone himself said that he’d never had direct communication with Assange either, saying that he got all of his info through a backchannel alleged to be New York radio personality Randy Credico, which Credico has denied. Russian hacking is resurgence American officials and security firms are reporting that Russian hacking efforts are on an uptick following the U.S. midterm elections. The hackers are apparently trying to test the waters with the new Congress coming in. But experts are concerned that we won’t know the full scale of the hackers’ capabilities until the 2020 presidential election. Is China’s TikTok the next big video karaoke app? Axios has a report on the growth of TikTok, which has seen impressive user growth over the last year. The platform is now up to 7.2 million monthly users. It’s now ranked in the Top 5 U.S. apps in both Google Play and  the iOS app store and its global monthly usage comes in around 130 million. So some are asking how big TikTok can become in the U.S. NASA lands on Mars again For the 8th time, NASA has landed on Mars. This time, the rover Insight will explore Mars’ interior, digging beneath the red planet’s surface to determine its origins. It’s expected to be a 2-year mission. Trump ponders state-run TV network Is President Trump considering establishing a state-run TV network? Some think he is and it follows the same playbook as most dictators.
11/27/201829 minutes, 23 seconds