The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry. That last one might have been an issue for residents of Maryland if ridesharing had disappeared on December 23, two days before Christmas. That's because state regulators had until December 22 to decide whether Uber and Lyft would have to fingerprint their drivers as part of background checks. If fingerprinting were mandated, the two companies would have ceased operations in Maryland, just as they did in Austin (Episode #79). Fortunately for Maryland, state regulators chose not to impose a fingerprinting mandate, and residents had access to convenient ridesharing options over the holidays. How did Uber dodge this bullet? Why is fingerprinting such a big deal? Elsewhere, people in upstate New York still can't use ridesharing. Why the hell not? Our favorite sharing economy analyst Jared Meyer joins the show to discuss. For more, see Jared's op-eds in The American Spectator and Reason.
We're back! After a not-so-brief holiday hiatus, we'll be back in your favorite podcast app with normal regularity -- meaning 2-3 episodes per week but sometimes different. Anyway... Evan and Berin recap some of TechFreedom's favorite issues of 2016, look ahead to 2017, and make baseless predictions on what might happen in tech policy. 150 episodes in one year ain't bad, right? But can you leave us a damn review on ITunes already?
If the hotel lobby had its way, what would happen to Airbnb? Well, we don’t have to wonder, because the American Hotel and Lodging Association has released model legislation to regulate short-term rentals. Will the bill level the playing field between online homesharing platforms and hotels? Or is this just an attempt by the AHLA to insulate its members from competition? Evan discusses the bill with Matt Kiessling, Vice President of Short-Term Rental Policy at Travel Tech.
Driverless cars are all the rage in the tech world. But as our cars get smarter, will our roads keep pace? The autonomous future has the potential to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, vehicular deaths. But many experts say these cars would need to rely on real-time data collected on the road to maximize safety. Is roadside sensor infrastructure the answer? Or will the cars themselves have everything they need? What role should government play in implementing this technology? Joining Evan is Brent Skorup, Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center. For more, read his article here.
The shocking outcome of the presidential election has spurred many journalists, pundits and politicians to look for some explanation as to why people voted the way they did. “Fake news” has been a particularly popular scapegoat with many have claimed that false information alone tipped the election in Trump’s favor. But is fake news as widespread and influential as some are claiming? Are political opinions that easily changed? Do our filter bubbles make us more likely to believe outlandish stories? Will Facebook’s new efforts to combat the spread of fake stories work? Will Rinehart, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy at American Action Forum, joins the show to discuss. For more, see his op-ed in Real Clear Future.
When Snowden revealed classified information about NSA surveillance programs, Americans were outraged. But what might surprise many voters is that their elected representatives in Congress were also in the dark about the full extent of the surveillance state. How were our representatives so unaware that government was spying on innocent constituents? What could be done to bring them up to speed? Evan is joined by Elizabeth Goitein, Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and author of a recent report on “secret law.”
Have you ever tried buying a ticket online to a popular event? Maybe you got up early or stayed up late so you could grab a ticket right as they went on sale, only to find out they sold out almost instantly? Of course you could probably get one on StubHub or from another scalper, but that can be expensive. Who is to blame for this travesty? According to your elected officials, it’s the robots. That’s why Congress recently passed the BOTS Act, which would ban robotic scalpers in hopes of lowering ticket prices. It sounds good, in theory, but will it actually work? What are the unintended consequences? Joining Evan to discuss this is Anne Hobson, Technology Policy Fellow at the R Street Institute. For more, you can read her her op-ed here.
Chicago’s crackdown on Airbnb, HomeAway, and other online home-sharing platforms has sparked a lawsuit. In June, the city council passed a law that heavily restricts property rights and places significant burdens on homeowners. Is this regulation needed to protect consumers and preserve affordable housing? Or is this another giveaway to the hotel industry, seeking to insulate itself from competition? What does it mean for Chicago consumers? Evan is joined by Christina Sandefur, Executive Vice President of the Goldwater Institute, which has filed a legal challenge to the Chicago law.
The move from 4G to 5G will help move you from HD to 4K and from augmented to virtual reality. But the implications of 5G stretch far beyond your smartphone and tablet. The technology has the potential to support autonomous cars, healthcare, and connected homes. Will 5G bring about the “Internet of everything?” What sorts of regulatory challenges lie in the way? Can our aging infrastructure support the next generation of wireless? Evan is joined by Bret Swanson, President of Entropy Economics LLC and Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
With all eyes on the Trump transition, what does the president-elect’s victory mean for the Federal Communications Commission? The Obama-era FCC has been very active on Internet regulation, passing controversial rules on net neutrality, broadband privacy, and more. Since these regulations were largely passed on 3-2 party-line votes under a Democrat FCC, most observers expect a GOP-controlled agency to reverse Chairman Wheeler’s agenda. What does this mean for consumers? Will net neutrality be repealed and replaced? Will the FCC’s authority be rolled back? Do we even need an FCC at all? Evan and Berin are joined by Tom Struble, Policy Counsel at TechFreedom.