Fake news has gotten a lot of media attention since the election. After Trump’s surprise victory, many disgruntled Clinton supporters are pointing the finger at Facebook and Twitter for allowing false information to circulate on their platforms. Is this just sour grapes, or should the companies and government be doing more to combat fake news? What are the implications for free speech? In related news, Trump recently criticized Saturday Night Live for political bias. Will the next FCC bring back the “Fairness Doctrine,” long-extinct rules requiring equal time for opposing views on controversial topics? Evan and Berin discuss.
The election of Donald Trump raises many questions on the future of tech policy. While the GOP platform and Trump’s campaign didn’t offer many details on tech, Silicon Valley and the President-elect have clashed on high-profile issues like immigration and trade. Aside from a few outliers, the tech community was banking on a Clinton victory. With the campaign over, is there room for common ground on issues like regulation, net neutrality, and high-tech infrastructure? Will pro-tech Republicans be able to bridge the gap between Trump and the Left Coast? Evan is joined by Michael Petricone, Senior VP for Government Affairs, Consumer Technology Association.
The European Union (EU) and the United States have a lot in common. We share many of the same values, including free speech and the right to privacy. But despite our similarities, America and Europe often take different approaches to regulating technology. Does the EU prize privacy over free speech? Is the US too permissive when it comes to regulating Big Data? Does NSA surveillance pose a threat to the free flow of data across the Atlantic? What can the US learn from the EU, and vice versa? Evan is joined by Dimitar Dimitrov, EU Policy Director for Wikimedia in Brussels, and John Weitzmann, Legal and Policy Advisor for Wikimedia Germany.
Since 1973, supersonic flight over land has been illegal in the US. In those days, supersonic planes were loud, gas-guzzling, and inefficient beasts, propped up by government subsidies. Today, however, new technologies have made supersonic flights quieter, more efficient, and more affordable. Is it time to lift the ban? How should supersonic flight be regulated? What role will NIMBYism play in the debate? Eli Dourado, Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, joins the show. For more, see his report here.
New York has dealt a major blow to Airbnb, HomeAway and other short-term rental platforms. Recently, Governor Cuomo signed a law banning platforms from advertising whole apartments that rent for fewer than 30 days. The bill’s supporters have claimed that the short-term rental ban is necessary to maintain housing affordability and quality of life. But is that really what’s going on? Is this just another giveaway to the hotel industry and labor unions, which have long held sway in New York politics? Is Airbnb really to blame for high rents in New York? Are there better ways to address legitimate concerns over short-term rentals? Joining Evan is Jared Meyer, research fellow at the Manhattan Institute. For more, see his op-ed in the NY Post.
Under decades of communist rule, Cuba lagged far behind much of the world in technology and digital connectivity. In 2014, less than 30 percent of Cubans had Internet access. Yet in recent years, Cuba has made significant strides — more public Wi-Fi hotspots are being deployed, and the U.S. and Cuban governments are normalizing relations. What does Cuba’s digital future look like? What does this mean for Cuban-Americans and tech entrepreneurs? Evan is joined by Adelina Bryant and Michael Maisel from the Engage Cuba coalition and Lydia Beyoud, senior tech and telecom reporter for Bloomberg BNA. For more, see www.engagecuba.org.
A robot-driven world is often a mainstay of science fiction titles like Terminator and I, Robot. While that future may be far off, emulations — computers that scan and reproduce human brains — could be the first step into the age of robotics. Their society could evolve at the pace of software, not hardware or biology — allowing for radical transformations in less time than it takes humans to get their dry cleaning back. So what might an emulation-based society look like? How would emulation technology affect how humans live in the future? Joining Berin to discuss is Professor Robin Hanson of George Mason University, author of The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth. For more, see the book’s website.
We know that hacking can get you in trouble with governments and companies. But could it also make you rich? Or even a hero? Hollywood has long portrayed hackers as evil geniuses or complete weirdos, but the caricature doesn't often tell the whole story. Increasingly, hackers are being asked to try their skills on various cyber systems in an effort to expose vulnerabilities. So they hack in, find the bug, and get paid. Right? Of course, it's not that simple. Katie Moussouris, founder and CEO of Luta Security and creator of Microsoft's first bug bounty program, joins the show to explain. Can hacking really be a force for good?
Recently, the Obama administration released non-binding “guidelines” for self-driving cars, telling states not to create their own regulations just yet. California went ahead anyway, and the Golden State’s DMV drafted new regulations based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) guidelines. Did California jump the gun? What changes could the DMV make to improve the draft proposal? It’s open for public comment, and several organizations have weighed in. Here to discuss their joint comments, co-authored with R Street and ICLE, are Marc Scribner, research fellow at CEI, and Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom.
Edward Snowden has been living in Russia for over three years under political asylum after leaking classified documents about American surveillance practices. Ironically, Russia’s policies on surveillance are hardly libertarian. Snowden recently spoke out against so-called “Big Brother” legislation introduced in the Duma, Russia’s legislature. On cybersecurity, Russian hacking has dominated the American news cycle, especially around electoral politics. Evan is joined by Russian native and TechFreedom Legal Fellow Ashkhen Kazaryan. They discuss hacking, surveillance, and the tenuous relationship between Cold War foes. For more, see Ashkhen’s op-ed.