#216: The Nunes Memo and FISA Explained

February 7, 2018

The controversial memo prepared by Rep. Nunes (R-CA) hasn’t left the newscycle since its release on February 2. Berin recorded this special episode from the Bay Area and is joined by Jennifer Granick, the “NBA All-Star of surveillance law,” and the Surveillance and Cybersecurity Counsel at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Jennifer breaks down FISA, the authority that allowed collection of the information used in the memo, and the intricacies of the infamous memo.


#215: The Net Neutrality CRA: Yay or Nay?

February 7, 2018

The effort to overturn FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order already has 50 Senators signed onto the Congressional Review Act - a vehicle chosen by Senate Democrats in attempt to bring back Obara-era net neutrality regulations. To break down what a CRA is and the prospects of its passage we have invited the leading experts in the field: Gigi Sohn - a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, a Mozilla Fellow, Counselor to the Former FCC Chairman Wheeler and Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom.


#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.


#210: Watching the Watchmen: Surveillance in 2017 … and Beyond

December 20, 2017

Have you ever assessed many ways your government spies on you? There is a crucial government surveillance authority up for reauthorization before December 31. We will talk about potential avenues for that reform and do “a surveillance year in review” with Michelle Richardson, Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology's Freedom, Security, and Technology Project, Senior Fellow at GW’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.


#209: Restoring Internet Freedom? Feat. Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner

December 13, 2017

As the vote on Net Neutrality approaches this Thursday, December 14th, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr joins the show to explain why he plans to vote for Chairman Pai’s controversial proposal, “Restoring Internet Freedom.” To learn more read Carr’s op-ed in The Washington Post. The Commissioner also shares some of his 2018 plans with us, including taking the lead on the wireless agenda.


#208: Data Danger: Keeping Information Safe Online

December 7, 2017

As the saying goes: there are those who’ve been hacked, and those who haven’t just don’t know they have. After over 140 million Americans saw their data compromised in the Equifax breach, they may be wondering: what is our government doing about it? With so many companies collecting our data, should the FTC crack down or would that have consequences for innovation? Evan is joined by Neil Chilson, Acting Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission. For more, see the FTC’s upcoming workshop on informational injury, and Neil is happy to take your questions at nchilson@ftc.gov.

This will also be Evan’s last show, he has now moved onto a new job working for Commissioner Brendan Carr at the FCC. Feel free to contact him at sayre.evan91@gmail.com or on Twitter at @SayreEvan


#207: Carving Out Privacy Rights: Carpenter v US

November 30, 2017

The Fourth Amendment protects American citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures, but how far does that protection extend? The Carpenter v. United States case in front the Supreme Court seeks to determine whether or not the use of cell site location information requires law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant. Ashkhen Kazaryan, TechFreedom Legal Fellow is joined by Curt Levey, President of the Committee for Justice and Ashley Baker, Director of Public Policy to discuss.