#214: Information Intermediaries in a Nutshell

January 29, 2018

Recently Facebook has unveiled multiple planned changes to its newsfeed. Now we will see more content from our friends and fewer posts from news sites and businesses. They also hand checking the credibility of news organizations by users and the wider Facebook community. This has likely been done in response to the harsh criticism of the information dissemination that happened before the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook and other platforms that host third party content are often called “information intermediaries.” In this episode, we dig into the current challenges they face in the modern social media era and are joined by Tiffany Li, Resident Fellow at Yale Law, who leads the the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information.


#213: Heat Baby Heat? Harm Reduction and E-Cigarettes

January 23, 2018

While some may have started 2018 with a resolution to quit smoking, statistics say many will fail. In this episode we explore harm reduction as a path to achieving smoke free future and discuss the UK's Royal College of Physicians, one of the first researchers to raise the alarm on the dangers of smoking, has released a report underlining that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than their combustible counterparts. To give us a 101 on harm reduction, vaping and e-cigarettes we invited Carrie Wade, Director of Harm Reduction Policy and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute.


#212: Department of Labor Saves Gig Economy

January 12, 2018

On our new episode we are joined by Jared Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability to discuss changes that executive and legislative branch made in regards to the definitions of “contractor” and “employer” and how that’s going to affect the sharing economy. For more on the topic, read Jared’s op-ed in Forbes and follow him on Twitter.


#211: Warrantless Spying & Parallel Construction

January 5, 2018

Four years after the Snowden disclosures, Congress continues to wrestle with surveillance issues.  These include an ongoing reform battle over Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—a major intelligence surveillance law that targets foreigners but can result in warrantless spying on people in the US.  Despite the size of the programs the government conducts under Section 702, and the fact that the FBI currently can query Section 702 data without a warrant, the government has provided notice of its use of 702 surveillance data in only about eight criminal cases.  One reason notification may be so rare in Section 702 cases is a practice called “parallel construction,” which the government may also be using to conceal the use of even bigger or more problematic surveillance programs carried out under a separate authority called Executive Order 12333. We are joined by Sarah St. Vincent, Researcher at Human Rights Watch, their report on parallel construction comes out January 2018.