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.
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.