In recent hearings, congressional Republicans have accused social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube of stifling conservative content. Some, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, have called for a “Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet. Cruz reasoned that “in order to be protected by Section 230, companies like Facebook should be ‘neutral public forums.’ But would this policy approach, which failed to encourage ideological diversity in broadcasting, work any better when applied to the Internet? How might this undermine important protections that have allowed free speech to flourish online? TechFreedom President Berin Szóka and General Counsel Jim Dunstan join the show to discuss. For more, see Szóka's oral and written testimonies before the House Judiciary Committee on the subject.
WHOIS, the system used for querying databases of information on domain name registrations and IP addresses, has been a vital tool for journalists, security researchers and law enforcement in identifying and tracking spammers, phishers, identity thieves and other cybercriminals. However, when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation takes effect on May 25, the service will heavily limited or possibly shut down completely in order to comply with privacy requirements. How will this impact cybersecurity? Does WHOIS raise legitimate privacy concerns? Shane Tews, President of Logan Circle Strategies, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Tim Chen, CEO of DomainTools, join the show to discuss. For more, see Shane’s piece on the subject, Tim’s white papers, and TechFreedom President Berin Szóka’s blog post on ICANN’s IANA transition.
The growing pace of technological innovation means both regulators and established industries are finding it increasingly harder to keep up. How do companies adapt (or fail to adapt) to new disruptions in their industries? How can regulators address new technology without causing harmful unintended consequences? Author Larry Downes joins the show to discuss. For more, see Larry’s books The Laws of Disruption and Big Bang Disruption, and his recent article in the Harvard Business Review.
President Donald Trump has been vocal to criticize those he deems political opponents. However, these criticisms often extend to threats of legal action, particularly against the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and Amazon. Trump has set aside decades of precedent and involved himself directly in a number of enforcement actions, often in ways that would benefit him or his political allies. How lawful is this kind of intervention? And how can the rest of the government resist inappropriate political meddling? Justin Florence, Legal Director for Protect Democracy, and TechFreedom President Berin Szóka join the show to discuss. For more, see their joint op-ed in the Seattle Times, and Protect Democracy’s filing in the antitrust case against the AT&T/Time Warner merger.
In recent decades, Congress has struggled to enact laws that keep up with the breakneck pace technological innovation. This pace shows no signs of slowing, and with major implications for healthcare, transportation, privacy and other key social and economic issues, it’s more important than ever for Congress to be properly informed on tech issues. We’re joined by the R Street Institute’s Zach Graves and Kevin Kosar, who argue in their recent paper “Bring in the Nerds,” that reviving the Office of Technology Assessment — an expert advisory agency that gave guidance to Congress in shaping tech policy until it was shuttered in 1995 — could help bridge this gap.
Earlier this month, IEE Spectrum broke the story that Silicon Valley startup Swarm Technologies had launched several experimental satellites through the commercial arm of India’s space agency, despite being denied authorization by the FCC. The case illustrates the complexity of the licensing process for satellites, both in the US and internationally. Space lawyer Jim Dunstan joins the show to discuss the ramifications of this launch, and how the process could be improved. For more, see part 1, part 2, and part 3 of our series on space law with Jim.
The Food and Drug Administration’s 2016 Deeming Rule classified e-cigarettes and other vaping materials as tobacco products and imposed strict regulations on what vaping entrepreneurs can say to their customers, even though advocates say these technologies can reduce the harm from smoking and help some smokers quit entirely. In response, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is taking FDA officials to court on behalf of small business owners on the grounds that the rules violate free speech and were enacted unconstitutionally. Joining us is Thomas Berry, Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation who is leading this legal effort.
On International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the stories of several incredibly talented women in tech policy. They discuss what brought them to tech policy, and what drives them on this career path. Featured in this episode are: Gigi Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Mozilla Policy Fellow; Michelle Richardson, Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology's Freedom, Security, and Technology Project; Dr. Betsy Cooper, executive director of the Berkley Center for Long-Term Cyber Security; Cathy Gellis, lawyer with a focus on Internet issues; Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the ACLU; Carrie Wade, Director of Harm Reduction Policy and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute; and Tiffany Li, resident fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project.
Tomorrow the House of Representatives will vote on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). However, the bill to be voted on includes an amendment that merges it with the drastically different Senate counterpart bill. What the bill gets right, and what does it get wrong? How is Congress likely to resolve the conflicts between the two version? And most importantly, how will this legislation affect victims of sex trafficking? Eric Goldman, professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, and Berin Szóka, President of Techfreedom join Ashkhen to discuss.
The world in 2018 is interconnected. Cybersecurity threats are widespread — even at the 2018 Winter Olympics. As we recorded this episode in January, our guest warned us of potential cybersecurity attacks. And just last week organizers in Pyeongchang confirmed that a cyberattack crippled important IT systems, bringing down display monitors, Wi-Fi and the Olympics website just ahead of the opening ceremony. Government, private and corporate data is constantly under attack from bad actors like this. That’s where cybersecurity comes in. In this episode we are joined by Dr. Betsy Cooper, the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Dr. Cooper breaks down “cybersecurity”: defining and assessing it, the risks it carries, and the future of cybersecurity.