Tech Policy Leaders

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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. read less

[Encore Episode] Tiffany D. Cross: How to Stay True to Your Audience
3d ago
[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: info@thebeatdc.com) 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 website--giulianisecurity.com--is 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.
Barry Ohlson: Fostering a Viewpoint Diverse Tech Bar
Jan 30 2023
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)
Joe Miller: Predictions for 2023
Dec 19 2022
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!
DC AG lawsuit: Amazon stole Flex drivers' tips; White nationalists are back on Twitter -- Tech Law & Policy This Week
Dec 9 2022
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.
Musk attacks Apple; SF oks killer police bots  – Tech Law & Policy this Week
Dec 3 2022
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.
Twitter is fading fast; Brutal caste discrimination against Indian gig workers -- Tech Law & Policy This Week
Nov 18 2022
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.
Chuck Keller: How to Get Faster Internet Speeds with USF
Nov 14 2022
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
Musk floats possible Twitter bankruptcy; Crypto uncertainty after FTX implosion -- Tech Law & Policy This Week
Nov 11 2022
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.
Shahed Amanullah: Why Tech Policy Needs Social Innovation
Oct 17 2022
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), https://www.frost.com/ (last visited Oct 14, 2022).
AP: Majority Americans think misinfo is harmful; Latino leaders warn about misinformation and disinformation targeting Latino communities -- Tech Law & Policy This Week
Oct 14 2022
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.
White House proposes Tech 'Bill of Rights'; SCOTUS to decide on scope of Section 230 -- Tech Law & Policy This Week
Oct 7 2022
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.
Lydia X. Z. Brown: The Common Types of AI Bias and How to Stop Them
Oct 3 2022
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), https://cdt.org/insights/ableism-and-disability-discrimination-in-new-surveillance-technologies-how-new-surveillance-technologies-in-education-policing-health-care-and-the-workplace-disproportionately-harm-disabled-people/ (last visited Sep 30, 2022).