#177: Online Privacy and the BROWSER Act

May 30, 2017

How should online privacy be regulated? Currently, Internet platforms, mobile applications, and online ad networks allow consumers to “opt-out” of having their data collected for marketing purposes, with the Federal Trade Commission utilizing a variety of tools to ensure these service providers act reasonably in protecting consumer’s privacy and personal information. Recently, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the BROWSER Act, which would regulate privacy much more strictly, similar to the “opt-in” regime seen in Europe. More privacy protection always sounds good, in theory, but could the bill have unintended consequences for our Internet economy? Evan and Berin discuss.

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#176: Future of Internet Copyright (w/ TechDirt)

May 24, 2017

What can Taylor Swift and Katy Perry agree on? Not much, but they both think America’s notice-and-takedown laws are outdated. These laws allow copyright holders to ask Internet platforms to remove content that infringes on intellectual property. The 1996 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) aimed to strike a balance that protects copyright while shielding online platforms from being sued out of existence. But plenty of stakeholders have gripes with the current system. Many in the music industry say Internet platforms are enabling piracy, which robs artists and discourages creativity. The tech industry worries that stricter copyright laws would allow frivolous lawsuits to put platforms out of business, creating a chilling effect on free speech. Evan discusses with Mike Masnick, founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of Techdirt.

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#175: The Driverless Future

May 19, 2017

How close are we to a driverless future? Over 30,000 Americans die in car accidents every year, and autonomous vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce that number. Self-driving Ubers already hit the streets of Pittsburgh, and automakers have been striking deals with tech companies. Can government agencies like the Department of Transportation keep up with the fast pace of technological change? How do state and local governments factor in the discussion? As more and more cars connect to the Internet, will concerns over privacy and cybersecurity stand in the way? Evan is joined by Jamie Boone, Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Consumer Technology Association.

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#174: Vaping and the FDA

May 12, 2017

How does an e-vapor business navigate the FDA’s approval process? On August 8, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration’s “Deeming Rule” took effect, starting a two-year period where every manufacturer of e-cigarettes, e-liquid, and other vapor products would have to get permission from the FDA to keep their products on the market. You’ve heard some statistics on this podcast trying to quantify the regulatory burden, which could be anywhere from a few hundred thousand to millions of dollars per product. But what does that actually look like in the real world? Chris Howard and Jeff Sanderson from E-Alternative Solutions discuss the impact and what they’re doing to get their Cue product through the FDA’s process.

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#173: NSA Checks Itself?

May 4, 2017

Last week, the National Security Agency (NSA) announced it was ending a surveillance practice known as “about collection.” It’s one piece of a larger puzzle called “Section 702,” the legal authority behind some of the programs first revealed to the public in the Snowden leaks of 2013. While “about collection” is focused on surveillance of foreign communications, Americans’ data are routinely swept up in the process. The data can be queried by the FBI and local law enforcement for domestic purposes, as we discussed in a previous episode. Does the NSA’s announcement indicate that the intelligence agency is cleaning up it's act? Is our government capable of self regulation and oversight? What's the NSA’s motivation here? Evan discusses with friends of the show Neema Guliani, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union in DC, and Liza Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program.

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