Both the Democrats and the Republicans are introducing antitrust legislation targeted at tech companies. Elizabeth Nolan Brown, senior editor at Reason, joins the show to discuss some of the recent bills, as well as how each party is trying to use antitrust law to further political ends unrelated to antitrust. For more, see Elizabeth’s cover story for this month’s Reason magazine: “The Bipartisan Antitrust Crusade Against Big Tech.”
Are social media websites more like newspapers (with strong free speech rights) or common carriers (with weaker free speech rights)? Enjoining enforcement of Florida’s Internet speech law, SB 7072, a federal judge recently wrote that they’re somewhere “in the middle.” Eugene Volokh, of UCLA School of Law, and Berin Szóka, president of TechFreedom, join the show to debate whether that’s right.
For more on Eugene’s position (i.e., some aspects of social media can properly be analogized to common carriage), see Eugene’s recent post, “Social Media Platforms as Common Carriers?,” at The Volokh Conspiracy. For more on Berin’s position (i.e., social media is nothing like common carriage), check out the amicus brief TechFreedom submitted in the Florida litigation.
Border agents have broad authority to search the smartphone or laptop of anyone entering the country. That might be about to change, however, if the Supreme Court takes up one of several cases challenging such searches. Professor Orin Kerr, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, joins the show to discuss the interplay between the Fourth Amendment and the border, the Court’s evolving views on smart-device searches, and what might happen if any or all of these cases is taken up.
Named in honor of her wonderful essay in The Atlantic, “The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite,” this episode is a wide-ranging discussion with Renée DiResta, the technical research manager of Stanford Internet Observatory. Corbin and Berin pick Renée’s brain about the latest trends in misinformation, social media’s role in the “Stop the Steal” movement, the rise of online influencers, how to increase information literacy, and more.
Other pieces of Renée’s mentioned or discussed in the show include “Mediating Consent,” “How to Stop Misinformation Before It Gets Shared,” “The Misinformation Campaign Was Distinctly One-Sided,” and “The Anti-Vaccine Influencers Who Are Merely Asking Questions.”
Thanks in part to outreach by its mayor, Francis Suarez, Miami is becoming a tech hotspot. Matt Haggman, an executive at the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, joins the show to discuss what’s drawing tech entrepreneurs to Miami, as well as what social, political, and environmental challenges could stand in the way of Miami becoming a new Silicon Valley.
Last week, Facebook’s new Oversight Board issued a much-discussed ruling on the platform’s suspension of Donald Trump. Two of the Board’s members, Ronaldo Lemos and John Samples, join Corbin and Berin for a wide-ranging discussion on the Trump decision, the Board, and content moderation.
“America is built on a tilt,” runs the apocryphal Mark Twain quote, “and everything loose slides to California.” So it might be said of net neutrality. The court fight over California’s new net neutrality law is only the latest episode in a long-running battle. TechFreedom’s James Dunstan and Corbin Barthold discuss what got us here (net neutrality ping pong at the FCC), where we are (a state trying to regulate an inherently interstate network), and where we need to go (a federal law that finally puts the debate to rest).
For more, see TechFreedom’s amicus brief in the California net neutrality case. (And if you’re wondering where Corbin got the concept of “kludgeocracy,” check out political scientist Steven Teles’s 2013 article, Kludgeocracy in America.)
Few public policies are more misunderstood than the Fairness Doctrine that briefly governed American broadcast media. If you think we need a “new Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet, chances are you’re not clear on what the old version was. Paul Matzko, editor for technology and innovation at Libertarianism.org, joins the show to discuss the history of the Fairness Doctrine, why it failed, and why making a new one would be a terrible idea. For more, see Paul’s book, The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement.
Florida is poised to enact a law limiting social media websites’ ability to ban or moderate users. TechFreedom's Berin Szóka and Corbin Barthold discuss whether the bill is constitutional, and whether it would really protect speech (spoiler alert: no and no). For more, see their essay on the bill in Lawfare, a TechFreedom paper on Section 230 and the First Amendment, and a previous podcast episode on efforts to apply the Fairness Doctrine to the Internet.
If you’ve already heard us explain why the First Amendment protects content moderation and just want to hear why the Florida law’s special protections for political candidates are also unconstitutional, skip forward to 23:55. And here’s the 1979 Supreme Court decision in Midwest Video II explaining how, in 1934, Congress rejected proposals to require broadcasters to “turn over their microphones to persons wishing to speak.”