Given the importance of economic impact in informing policy decisions, the Technology Policy Institute focuses on economic analysis within the tech policy space. The organization’s president Scott Wallston and senior fellow Sarah Oh join the show to discuss their policy work, the COVID-19 Economic Impact Dashboard, and this year’s Aspen policy forum.
While the use of algorithms has proven incredibly valuable in a range of applications, their implementation can often lead to harmful discriminatory outcomes. Dr. Ignacio Cofone, assistant professor at McGill University Faculty of Law, joins the show to discuss how this happens, as well as potential policy solutions for minimizing discrimination without hindering the use of algorithms. For more, see his papers: “Antidiscriminatory Privacy,” “Algorithmic Discrimination Is an Information Problem,” and “Nothing to Hide, but Something to Lose,” and his op-ed in the Hill, “Privacy Law Needs Privacy Harms.”
E-cigarettes have provided an important harm-reduction tool in lessening the health hazards of smoking. Despite this, many government agencies and public health organizations have engaged in advocacy that has muddied the waters over the subject, including fearmongering over ingredients, overstating the extent of youth vaping, and misrepresenting cases of vaping-related illness and death. To discuss recent problems with the World Health Organization’s approach, Ash is joined by the R Street Institute’s harm reduction policy team: Chelsea Boyd, a research associate, and Carrie Wade, the team’s director.
California has often been among the most active states in passing new legislation to regulate the tech industry. These policies can potentially impact not just Californian consumers and companies, but those across the United States. Cathy Gellis, a lawyer in the Bay area, joins the show to discuss the latest developments in the west coast affecting privacy, the sharing economy, and free speech.
Encryption is a vital tool, not just for privacy, but for cybersecurity as well. However, law enforcement and legislators have been pushing to undermine access to encryption, often in the name of preventing crime and protecting children. Jim Baker, director of national security and cybersecurity at the R Street Institute and former general counsel for the FBI, joins the show to discuss the latest threat to encryption. For further information, see his recent post on Lawfare.
As new niches in the sharing economy develop and provide consumers with new opportunities, governments at both the national and state level continue to attempt to keep up with their laws and regulations. Spence Purnell, policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, joins the show to discuss new Florida legislation that would create a framework to regulate car sharing services.
The American tech industry has led the world in innovation, in part because principled decisions by the industry. However, government officials have increasingly applied pressure on the industry to compromise user privacy and limit online speech. Jesse Blumenthal, vice president of technology and innovation at Stand Together, joins the show to discuss the organization’s “Principles for Continued American Tech Leadership,” which aims to guide the tech sector in making ethical decisions and resisting regulatory threats.
The liability protections in Section 230 that make digital free speech possible have faced nearly constant threats from both sides of the aisle. Late last year, Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the Ending Support for Online Censorship Act that would require the government to certify that platforms were being neutral in their content moderation. Diane Katz, senior research fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, joins the show to discuss the challenges of assessing bias and the threats Hawley’s approach poses to free speech. For more, see her recent paper on the legislation.
One of the largest challenges online platforms face is finding the best approach to content moderation on a large scale. Aerica Shimizu Banks, public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest, joins the show to discuss how Pinterest has built its platform, the challenges of content moderation, and the importance of Section 230 for digital speech.
While 5G continues to be a major buzzword within the wireless industry, 2020 will likely see important steps forward in bringing the new technology to consumers. Marie Sylla-Dixon, vice president of federal government and external affairs for T-Mobile, joins the show to discuss the company’s work, including the “5G for Good” program, which aims to ensure that first responders, students, and other underserved communities have access to quality Internet connections. Note: This podcast was recorded on November 25, 2019. Since then, T-Mobile has launched a nationwide 5G network on December 2, 2019.