#140: Comparing EU and US Tech Policy

November 16, 2016

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.


#139: Make America Boom Again

November 10, 2016

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.


#138: New York’s Crackdown on Airbnb

November 7, 2016

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.


#137: Cuba’s Digital Future

November 1, 2016

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.


#136: The Age of Emulation

October 28, 2016

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.


#135: Bug Bounties

October 27, 2016

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?


#134: California Regs on Self-Driving Cars

October 26, 2016

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.


#133: Russian Hacking and Surveillance

October 21, 2016

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.


#132: Indiana E-Cig Law Struck Down

October 17, 2016

Vapers in Indiana scored a federal court victory recently, as Judge Richard Young ruled that Hoosiers can buy e-vapor products not approved by the state Alcohol Tobacco Commission. He said Indiana’s regulations were responsible for creating a local monopoly. While the law signed in May 2015 by Governor Mike Pence was billed as protecting public health, the rules had little to do with product safety and everything to do with padding the pockets of the one security company that could comly and offer services. The FBI is investigating. Manhattan Institute’s Jared Meyer joins to discuss the impact of Indiana’s law and the subsequent ruling. How is the market expected to change as a result of Judge Young’s decision? For more see his article in Forbes.


#131: Uber Battles in Montreal, London

October 12, 2016

London’s black cabs have long been icons in the British capital. But Mayor Sadiq Kahn is worried that pressure from Uber and other ride-sharing companies is threatening to put the city’s taxi industry out of business. That’s why he unveiled a 27-point plan to ensure that black cabs don’t “go the way of the red telephone box.” Will the plan create a level playing field for competition, or is this just another giveaway to the taxi industry? Elsewhere, the Quebec government struck a last-minute deal with Uber to prevent the company from ditching Montreal. Manhattan Institute’s Jared Meyer joins the show to discuss these international developments. For more, see his op-ed in Forbes.