PODCAST

Tech Policy

WashingTech

Tech Policy keeps you informed about the latest in tech law & policy, and empowers you with the resources you need to advocate for your family and community for a safer, inclusive, and more informed online experience. Featuring academics, policy analysts, and technology experts from around the globe, Tech Policy brings you the voices of those who are shaping tomorrow's world - helping ensure that it's a better one for all of us.
How Remote Court Proceedings Affect Equal Access with Douglas Keith [Ep. 257]
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 Washingtech.org FdYPoT0ddFB6jdnpMJ45
Nov 11 2021
18 mins
Leadership with Camille Stewart [Ep. 256]
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
Nov 1 2021
23 mins
Combating Medical Misinformation with Dr. Tara Sell [Ep. 255]
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
Oct 26 2021
17 mins
Lawful But Awful: The Complexities  of Online Content Moderation  with Elizabeth Banker (Ep. 254)
Across the US, many states are considering laws that prohibit online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. from enforcing rules against what we call “lawful but awful” online content. Lawmakers are motivated to do this because they think laws are needed to prevent social media platforms from censoring conservative viewpoints. As with many laws though, the unintended consequences of these laws could prove to be much more harmful than the behavior the law was intended to regulate. To help us navigate the craziness of what would and would not be allowed if these laws go through, our guest today is Elizabeth Banker, VP of Legal Advocacy for Chamber of Progress. Chamber of Progress is also a sponsor of this show. 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. Hate Speech and Bully Speech Would Stand Many of the laws being proposed would actually tie the hands of social media platforms on some of the regulations that they currently have in place about harassment, bullying, and threatening behavior. These are all types of content that no social media platform wants to see on their platforms. Currently, the social media providers have rules and regulations that they currently enforce across their platforms to keep users free from hateful, bullying speech and harassment.  These new laws would add many complexities to enforcing the rules and it will open them up to the constant appeals process for users who have their content removed, etc.  100 Bills and Counting So far in 2021, we have seen over 100 bills proposed in state legislatures all across the nation. There will probably be many more before the end of the year. The Amicus Brief that Chamber of Progress files was a way to explain to the court the real world implications of these laws, should they be passed and hold up to the legal battles ensuing. Objections Being Filed The TX law that is currently under consideration was one in which we filed our objections in the amicus brief.  We believe that all platforms should be able to moderate harmful content in order for consumers to be healthy and safe on their platforms. Additionally, these platforms should be inclusive and widely accessible. Here are the main objections we have to this TX law: It prevents platforms from removing content that is not illegal, such as harassment, hate speech, misinformation, suicide, etc.The law undermines the current content moderation efforts by forcing platforms to basically publish a playbook about how they detect illegal content. This means child abusers, terrorists, spammers, identity thieves, and other bad actors would have enough information to evade detection. So this will lead to more illegal content online.This law places an undue burden on content moderation. If content is removed, the platform has to go through lots of additional steps that will discourage the company from actually removing content that should actually be taken down. So again, the net effect is that consumers will have more harmful content to wade through in order to enjoy a platform. Should Parents Be Worried? The TX law actually prevents platforms from taking the content moderation steps that they currently take. When it comes to content directed at children, there are many areas that fall under the awful, but lawful heading that would probably be left on the platform. For example, content glorifying suicide, or self-harm, or promoting eating disorders, etc. are all types of content that platforms would no longer be able to regulate. Cyber bullying is another area where the current protections would be removed. So, school fight videos that are normally removed, would still be accessible. Non-consensual intimate images, called revenge porn would not be taken down, as well as other types of harassment that could be very harmful to teens.  So parents have every right to be worried, especially if you’ve already been through dealing with these sorts of problems, because under this law, they will only worsen. Misconceptions About Free Speech The First Amendment does not apply to private companies. It only prohibits government regulation and restriction. Each social media platform has their own First Amendment concerns about what they allow on their platforms too. The argument that social media platforms are violating a person’s right to free speech just doesn’t hold water. Misunderstanding Section 230 Section 230 plays a critical role in allowing the platforms to remove harmful content without being sued. The platforms rely on this protection.  Recently a Russian foreign influence campaign sued because their content was removed. The lawsuit failed because of Section 230.  It’s important for us to fight to keep both the First Amendment and the Section 230 protections for content moderation strong in order to keep consumers safe while they enjoy these online platforms. Resources: Progress Chamber Website Follow Elizabeth on Twitter: @elizabethbanker
Oct 18 2021
20 mins
Privacy Legislation at the State Level with Justin Brookman (Ep. 253)
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
Oct 12 2021
15 mins
Protecting Your Childs Data in School with Cody Venzke Ep 252 mixdown
Sep 30 2021
16 mins
Margaret Kaplan on 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
Sep 22 2021
14 mins
Justin Hendrix - What You Need to Know About Terrorism in DC (Ep. 250)Hate Speech on Social Media with David Chavern Ep. 249David Johns on 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 TheRoot.com, 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.
Nov 12 2020
18 mins
Alejandro Roark on Latinos, Section 230 and Access (Ep.247)
Bio Alejandro Roark is Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) in Washington, DC. HTTP is a national non-profit that convenes an intersectional coalition of national Latino organizations committed to promoting access, adoption, and the full utilization of technology and telecommunications resources by the Hispanic/Latino/a community in the United States. HTTP works at the intersection of ethics, technology, and public policy to educate, advocate, and serve as a national voice for Hispanics/Latinos in technology and telecommunications policy.   As Executive Director, Alejandro leads a strategic planning process with HTTP member organizations to set the national Latino tech policy agenda that creates opportunities for national, and local advocates to engage with Congress and the Administration to advocate for inclusive public policy that promotes civil rights protections, equitable access to broadband, and increased diversity in media and tech workforces. HTTP works to extend Latino priorities in the following policy areas: broadband adoption, spectrum allocation, consumer privacy, open internet, intellectual property, and diversity & Inclusion within the technology workforce.   With nearly a decade of experience working at the local, state and national level, Alejandro has dedicated his career to the elimination of structural inequities across LGBT inclusion, racial and social justice, and civil rights policies, through community power building, story-telling, equitable resource allocation and by creating pathways for a more diverse workforce. Alejandro applies his skills and leadership to the examination of the ethical and social dimensions of technological change including the attention economy, data privacy, algorithmic decision-making, and artificial intelligence to ensure that Latino priorities are integrated into the policy-making process. Prior to his position with HTTP, Alejandro oversaw the tech policy portfolio which included the planning and execution of its annual Latinx Tech Summit, for LULAC National, the nation's oldest nation’s country’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization. In addition to leading the corporate social responsibility team where he worked with fortune 500 companies to develop, implement, and scale nationwide community programs and coordinating LULAC’s Corporate Alliance. Alejandro has also served as the founding executive director for Utah’s first and only Mexican Cultural Arts organization, as well as the associate director for Equality Utah where he managed the region’s public relations systems, community outreach programming, and state, local, and federal advocacy work.   Resources   Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership   Intro   Hey everyone. Here we are on Election Day as purveyors of misinformation and intimidation use both traditional and digital tactics to keep voters away from the polls. The backdrop to this, of course, has been the Supreme Court’s roll-back of the Voting Rights Act, most notably its Shelby County v. Holder decision, in which it essentially neutered the VRA’s preclearance requirement -- the provision requiring state and local governments to get federal approval before making changes to their voting laws and practices.    Section 5 is still there. The Court just ruled the 40-year-old data Congress relied on to decide which states are subject to the requirement were too-old.   Then, as Laurence Tribe wrote in Lawfare last week,  we have the current, conservative majority of the Supreme Court, with the exception of Chief Justice Roberts, suggesting state legislatures should be the highest authority in each state when it comes to each state’s voting laws, even above the highest state court charged with enforcing each state’s constitution.    Social media has not played as dominant a role in shaping public opinion as it did in 2016. But that doesn’t mean state actors and others aren’t still using it. And the Washington Post reports bad actors are using robocalls, in Michigan specifically, to explicitly tell people to stay away from the polls. The FCC empowered carriers to block robocalls before they reach consumers. But apparently they dropped the ball here.    The New York Times warned the public this morning about potential rigged voting machines, tossed ballots, and intimidating federal agents, Yes, this is 2020. And yes, we are still fighting this battle. In this election though the electorate cast their votes by mail in record numbers. So we are seeing this shift across the political spectrum to more analog tacticseither to suppress votes or to preserve them.   ---   We’ll see what happens. I’m tuning it out--at least until tomorrow. I don’t think I’m even gonna watch the results come in. I’ll wake up tomorrow and see what happened.   But my guest today is Alejandro Roark, Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Parntership here in Washington. Previously, Alejandro led LULAC’s tech portfolio. He was also the founding Executive Director of the state of Utah’s first and only Mexican Culutral Arts Organization. Alejandro Roark!
Nov 3 2020
14 mins
Richard Fowler on Misinformation in Black America Ep 246 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.
Oct 21 2020
17 mins
Alison Holman on Misinformation and Your Mental Health (Ep. 245)How to spot and stop misinformation with John Breyault Ep 244 mixdown
How to spot and stop misinformation with John Breyault (Ep. 244) How to spot and stop misinformation with John Breyault (Ep. 244) -- John and Joe Miller discuss how consumers themselves can correct misinformation, by weighing in when they see it, rather than relying on tech companies. Bio John Breyault is a nationally-recognized consumer advocate with more than 15 years of experience championing the rights of consumers and the underserved. At the National Consumers League, he advocates for stronger consumer protections before Congress and federal agencies on issues related to telecommunications, fraud, data security, privacy, aviation, live event ticketing, video gaming, and other consumer concerns. In addition, John manages NCL’s Fraud.org and #DataInsecurity project campaigns. John has testified multiple times before Congress and federal agencies and is a regular contributor to national press outlets including the Washington Post, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Prior to NCL, John was the director of research at Amplify Public Affairs, where hs supported clients in the telecommunications, energy, labor, and environmental sectors. Earlier in his career, John worked at Sprint and at the American Center for Polich Culture in Washington, DC. A lifelong Virginian, John is a graduate of George Mason University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in French. Resources:  National Consumers League Intro Joe: Hey everybody. Congress can’t get anything done. Now the state Attorneys General are hamstrung by corruption and politics, as they try to execute a serious of actions against big tech.  Real news outlets believe the Department of Justice and various state coalitions are planning to sue Google. The DOJ is expected to focus on Google’s search dominance. The state coalitions are working together with the DOJ, but then again, they’re no,t because many of them believe the DOJ’s moving too slowly. Congress has subpoenaed Facebook, Google, and Twitter. But, of course, Republicans and Democrats rarely see eye-to-eye. But now we’ve got problems in Texas -- with their Attorney General, Ken Paxton, facing bribery charges -- accusations his own Deputies alleged in a whistleblower complaint. It’s a litany of allegations claiming that: He received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts for his own legal defense fund. What did the people who gave those donations expect in exchange? They couldn’t have given them out of the goodness of their hearts. In that case, why not give it to poor people? Nevertheless, Paxton says these donors are family friends.His own wife, a state senator, introduced a bill to expand his power to exempt individuals from state regulations, which would have set him up to return favors to people.He unilaterally decided that Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s ban of elective procedures due to COVID-19 should apply to abortions. This went into effect immediately, forcing women to cancel their appointments, pending the outcome of litigation arising from this. The list goes on and on.  So Democratic Attorneys General are calling for Paxton to step down, saying it threatens their multistate investigation into Google’s market practices. Meanwhile, sources expect the DOJ to file a lawsuit in a few days. Why that’s public, I have no idea. You’d think it’d be attorney-privileged. But, frankly, following ethical guidelines doesn’t appear to be part of Bill Barr’s skill set. To make matters worse, you have a dozen or so other Republican Attorneys General facing similar corruption problems.  Eliot Spitzer must feel vindicated for his little prostitution situation back in 2008. But that was 12 years ago!   Let’s move on, let’s move on.  John McAfee, the namesake of the antivirus software, was arrested in Spain Monday. The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges McAfee took $23 million from people to invest in cryptocurrencies he was being paid to promote. But the officials note this is a personal lawsuit, not one against McAfee, the company. So we’re in this place where politics are holding up anything meaningful when it comes to antitrust enforcement against big tech companies. We’ll see what the DOJ lawsuit says. But, without even looking at it, I anticipate a number of free speech problems that will have to be overcome, and much of the case law has been written by Conservatives. Related Episodes ‘Social media policy: It's the moderation, stupid!’ with Chris Lewis Ep. 232(Opens in a new browser tab) 'Health Tech and Communications in Crisis' with Licy DoCanto (Ep. 231)(Opens in a new browser tab) 'They Smile in Your Face: How the Internet is Unmasking Hidden Racism' with Robert Eschmann (Ep. 222)(Opens in a new browser tab) Ep. 203: The Internet and Racial Justice w/ Charlton McIlwain(Opens in a new browser tab) Kids and YouTube with Patrick van Kessel (Ep. 197)(Opens in a new browser tab)
Oct 6 2020
30 mins
Behind the App Store Purge with John Bergmayer (Ep. 243)Charlton McIlwain, WashingTECH’s Incoming Board Chair, Fireside (Ep. 242)Tech Policy in the Year Ahead with Joe Miller (Ep. 241)Mike Alkire & Jonathan Slotkin: How to fix the healthcare supply chain (Ep. 240)
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, https://hbr.org/2020/06/building-a-real-time-covid-19-early-warning-system (last visited Aug 3, 2020).   Lisa Woods, Jonathan R. Slotkin & M. Ruth Coleman, How Employers are Fixing Healthcare, Harvard Business Review, 2019, https://hbr.org/cover-story/2019/03/how-employers-are-fixing-health-care (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, https://hbr.org/2020/06/how-one-health-system-is-transforming-in-response-to-covid-19 (last visited Aug 3, 2020).
Aug 4 2020
27 mins
Philip Howard Lie Machines and the Propaganda Marketplace Ep. 239 mixdown
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 philhoward.org. Resources Philip Howard, Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives (2020)
Jul 27 2020
17 mins
Sara Harrison - 'Telehealth at the End of Life' (Ep. 238)

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