Growing anti-tech sentiment both in the government and the general public has led to calls for policies that threaten to stifle innovation. Despite this rising techlash, there’s reason to be optimistic about the future of innovation, according to Jesse Blumenthal, director of technology and innovation policy at the Charles Koch Institute, who joins the show to discuss the latest developments in consumer privacy, antitrust, social media bias accusations, and more. For more, see CKI’s work on tech and innovation, and the Pessimists Archive podcast.
As the consumer privacy debate rages on in the policy world, DuckDuckGo has made a name for itself by providing a range of privacy-protecting tools and services for consumers. DuckDuckGo CEO and Founder Gabriel Weinberg joins the show to discuss how users are tracked online, as well as what both DuckDuckGo and upcoming legislation are doing to change that. For more, see DuckDuckGo’s Do Not Track Act model legislation, their coalition letter in support of the Privacy for All Act, and our most recent episode on the encryption debate.
The Save the Internet Act, intended to force the FCC to revert to regulating the Internet under Title II, passed the House earlier this month and will soon be considered in the Senate. But is the legislation even necessary to protect consumers? Is it legally sound, or will it create new complexities and unintended consequences? TechFreedom President Berin Szóka joins the show to discuss. Here you can find the blogpost about Santa Clara Fire and Verizon and TechFreedom’s analysis of the Save the Internet Act.
Despite a recent Supreme Court victory in Carpenter v. United States, progress in defending personal data from government snooping has been at a crawl at the federal level. Fortunately, state legislatures have been taking their own actions to protect privacy. Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute, joins the show to discuss his organization’s work on a bipartisan bill that passed unanimously in Utah, and what the new law means both for the state and the broader conversation on data privacy around the country.
Electric scooters been popping up in cities all over the US, seemingly overnight. While many have found the scooters to be a welcome addition to their transportation options, some local governments have tried to regulate them out of existence. Jennifer Huddleston Skees, Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, joins the show to discuss the benefits and risks of the growing electric scooter trend, and how cities can work with innovators to keep transportation both accessible and safe. For further discussion, follow Jennifer on Twitter, and see her other work, including a recent op-ed on scooter regulation.
The proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile raised a plethora of concerns from both regulators and the general public. In response, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) welcomed comments on the proposed merger to evaluate the benefits and potential harms of the proposed New T-Mobile. Although the anti-competitive analysis was quite extensive, it was incomplete as the FCC declined to include the role of Hybrid Mobile Network Operators (HMNOs) on the market for mobile wireless services.
Today, Michelle P. Connolly, Professor of the Practice in the Economics Department at Duke University, is here to discuss her recent report on the role of HMNOs and why the FCC should have broadened its definition of the mobile telephony and broadband market to account for HMNOs, as this narrow scope accurately reflects how the market is satisfying consumer demand for mobile broadband services.
President Trump is known for his aggressive attitude toward the media, but do his actions and statements represent a violation of the First Amendment? In a recent lawsuit, PEN America argues that Trump’s use of regulatory and enforcement powers against critical media outlets goes well beyond constitutional limits. Joining the show to discuss the case are Kristy Parker, counsel for Protect Democracy, the nonprofit helping to represent PEN America in the case; and Berin Szóka, president of TechFreedom. For more information about the case, see Protect America’s overview.
The tech industry’s reputation has taken several hits in recent years over privacy breaches, allegations of bias, and concerns over election interference, causing a backlash in public opinion. But exactly how severe in this “techlash” among American consumers? What do they think government's role should be in regulating the sector? A recent NetChoice poll attempts to answer these questions. The organization’s president and CEO, Steve DelBianco, joins the show to discuss the poll’s results.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on September 30 that would apply the net neutrality regulations imposed by the 2015 Open Internet Order to Internet service providers in the state of California. Will the law stand up to the legal challenges against it? And what can states do to protect consumers when it comes to Internet service? Ash is joined by TechFreedom President Berin Szóka and former TechFreedom Legal Fellow Graham Owens to discuss. For more, see Graham’s paper on state regulation of broadband, and our other work on net neutrality, including our letter urging the veto of the bill, and our statement in support of the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against it.
Encryption continues to be a contentious policy issue, with law enforcement constantly applying pressure on companies to create backdoors to aid in criminal investigations. Most recently, the US government has urged Facebook to compromise the encryption features in its Messenger app, which has been used by MS-13 gang members. But what would be the consequences of such measures? How exactly does encryption work? Navroop Mitter, CEO of Armortext, joins the show to discuss.