The lively debate over the future of antitrust law continues. The Neo-Brandeisians want an aggressive, “big is bad” approach. The Chicago School defends the current system and its consumer-welfare standard. Which side has the better of the argument? Could it be that neither does? Aurelien Portuese, Director of ITIF’s Schumpeter Project on Competition Policy, joins the show to discuss the problems with antitrust populism, the flaws in the antitrust debate more generally, and his vision for a dynamic antitrust policy centered around innovation. In addition—naturally!—Aurelien has some thoughts to share on the great Joseph Schumpeter, the economist who popularized the term “creative destruction.” Also joining the show is TechFreedom Legal Fellow Andy Jung.
Last year, Epic Games made a splash with its lawsuit / ad campaign challenging the rules and commission structure of the Apple app store. Last week, a judge ruled in favor of Apple — but only just, and not in full. Geoff Manne, president and founder of the International Center for Law & Economics, joins the show to discuss the decision, what it means for Apple, and how it could shape the future of antitrust policy.
The quote that Geoff and Corbin grasp for, about seven minutes in, is John Hicks’s quip that “The best of all monopoly profits is a quiet life.”
American politics, media, and culture are realigning in ways that are, as of yet, hard to identify and define. Marshall Kosloff, co-host of The Realignment podcast, joins the show for a wide-ranging discussion about what these shifts are, what they mean for the country, and how institutions like Big Tech and the Republican Party are adapting (or failing to adapt) to them. For more, check out The Realignment, as well as another of Marshall’s podcasts, The Deep End.
Because most attacks on social-media websites’ free-speech rights are dismissed under Section 230 (which is good!), there are comparatively few cases fleshing out those websites’ right to editorial control under the First Amendment. So although it’s clear that that right to editorial control is strong, its exact contours remain imperfectly defined. Mailyn Fidler, a fellow at the University of Nebraska Governance and Technology Center and an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, joins the show to discuss The New Editors: Refining First Amendment Protections for Internet Platforms, her recent paper on this topic.
Apple recently announced that its next operating system will include new features to combat the spread of child sexual abuse material. Privacy advocates have raised concerns about how these new features could be abused by governments, hijacked by bad actors, or expanded by Apple or others. Apple’s Chief Privacy Officer, Jane Horvath, joins the show to discuss the new features, to explain how they work, and to address some of the privacy objections that have been raised.
In 2015, Elizabeth Holmes and her firm, Theranos, seemed poised to revolutionize blood testing. Everything began to unravel in October of that year, however, when the Wall Street Journal published an investigative report questioning the accuracy of Theranos’s “Edison” blood-testing machine. Holmes was indicted in 2018. Her trial begins later this month. Sara Randazzo, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, joins the show to discuss Holmes’s rise and fall, her upcoming trial, and what her case might mean for Silicon Valley start-up culture. You can follow Sara’s work, including her reporting on Holmes’s trial, here.
Section 230 is as important — and as widely misunderstood — as ever. TechFreedom’s Free Speech Counsel, Ari Cohn, joins the show to discuss the latest lawsuits, legal theories, and legislative bills swirling around the great charter of free speech on the Internet.
Update: Ari and Corbin fret, on the show, about the Second Circuit’s grant of rehearing in Domen v. Vimeo — a case in which the panel straightforwardly applied Section 230(c)(2). It turns out that the court granted only panel rehearing (not en banc rehearing), and that it did so simply to issue a slightly amended opinion. Phew! Better yet, the amended opinion cites an article written by Berin, our president, and Ashkhen, a former host of this podcast. For a discussion of that article, Section 230: An Introduction for Antitrust & Consumer Protection Practitioners, check out Episode #280.
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.