AP: Majority Americans think misinfo is harmful; Latino leaders warn about misinformation and disinformation targeting Latino communities -- Tech Law & Policy This Week

Tech Policy Leaders

Oct 14 2022 • 4 mins

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.