Tech Policy Podcast
#263: A Tech Update from the West Coast

#263: A Tech Update from the West Coast

February 24, 2020

California has often been among the most active states in passing new legislation to regulate the tech industry. These policies can potentially impact not just Californian consumers and companies, but those across the United States. Cathy Gellis, a lawyer in the Bay area, joins the show to discuss the latest developments in the west coast affecting privacy, the sharing economy, and free speech.

#262: Another Attack on Encryption

#262: Another Attack on Encryption

February 17, 2020

Encryption is a vital tool, not just for privacy, but for cybersecurity as well. However, law enforcement and legislators have been pushing to undermine access to encryption, often in the name of preventing crime and protecting children. Jim Baker, director of national security and cybersecurity at the R Street Institute and former general counsel for the FBI, joins the show to discuss the latest threat to encryption. For further information, see his recent post on Lawfare.

#261: Florida’s Sharing Economy

#261: Florida’s Sharing Economy

February 12, 2020

As new niches in the sharing economy develop and provide consumers with new opportunities, governments at both the national and state level continue to attempt to keep up with their laws and regulations. Spence Purnell, policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, joins the show to discuss new Florida legislation that would create a framework to regulate car sharing services.

#260: How America Can Keep Leading Innovation

#260: How America Can Keep Leading Innovation

February 5, 2020

The American tech industry has led the world in innovation, in part because principled decisions by the industry. However, government officials have increasingly applied pressure on the industry to compromise user privacy and limit online speech. Jesse Blumenthal, vice president of technology and innovation at Stand Together, joins the show to discuss the organization’s “Principles for Continued American Tech Leadership,” which aims to guide the tech sector in making ethical decisions and resisting regulatory threats.

#259: Section 230 and Online ‘Censorship’

#259: Section 230 and Online ‘Censorship’

January 23, 2020

The liability protections in Section 230 that make digital free speech possible have faced nearly constant threats from both sides of the aisle. Late last year, Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the Ending Support for Online Censorship Act that would require the government to certify that platforms were being neutral in their content moderation. Diane Katz, senior research fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, joins the show to discuss the challenges of assessing bias and the threats Hawley’s approach poses to free speech. For more, see her recent paper on the legislation.

#258: Protecting creativity with Pinterest

#258: Protecting creativity with Pinterest

January 3, 2020

One of the largest challenges online platforms face is finding the best approach to content moderation on a large scale. Aerica Shimizu Banks, public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest, joins the show to discuss how Pinterest has built its platform, the challenges of content moderation, and the importance of Section 230 for digital speech.

#257: The Future of 5G with T-Mobile

#257: The Future of 5G with T-Mobile

December 20, 2019

While 5G continues to be a major buzzword within the wireless industry, 2020 will likely see important steps forward in bringing the new technology to consumers. Marie Sylla-Dixon, vice president of federal government and external affairs for T-Mobile, joins the show to discuss the company’s work, including the “5G for Good” program, which aims to ensure that first responders, students, and other underserved communities have access to quality Internet connections. Note: This podcast was recorded on November 25, 2019. Since then, T-Mobile has launched a nationwide 5G network on December 2, 2019.

#256: Driving Out Flexibility

#256: Driving Out Flexibility

December 6, 2019

The gig economy has given workers important new opportunities to earn extra income or work a job that gives them freedom over their schedule. However, a recent push from several state legislatures to reclassify contractors as employees threatens the flexibility that’s made the gig economy so valuable to both workers and consumers. Patrice Onwuka, Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum, joins the show to discuss the potential consequences of the new legislation. For more on the subject, see her recent post on the California legislation.

#255 How Much Should We Worry About Deep Fakes?

#255 How Much Should We Worry About Deep Fakes?

October 28, 2019

Deep fake technology, which uses artificial intelligence to convincingly alter video, has become the source of the latest panic over the spread of misinformation. While the technology can certainly be put to creative and entertaining uses, are those benefits outweighed by the threat it poses to democracy and the media? Or is it simply the next step in a history of deceptive practices that we’ve managed to adapt to? Taylor Barkley, program officer of technology & innovation at Stand Together, joins the show to discuss. For more, see his recent post in Human Progress.

#254: Bridging the Digital Divide through Internet Essentials

#254: Bridging the Digital Divide through Internet Essentials

October 3, 2019

Despite the fact that the Internet is more intertwined with our daily lives than ever before, far too many people in America lack a reliable connection and are left behind. Karima Zedan, Vice President of Digital Inclusion and Internet Essentials at Comcast, joins the show to discuss how Comcast is working to bridge the digital divide by offering low-cost service, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer, and providing digital literacy training opportunities in partnership with nonprofits around the country in an effort to expand access.