Like most things in Cuba, the Internet is complicated. While only a tiny percentage of homes have WiFi, nearly a third of Cubans went online in 2016, and the growing private sector is increasingly digital. While the previous administration opened up relations with Cuba in 2014, President Trump announced a rollback of some of those reforms in a speech in Miami last month. How will the potential changes affect Cuba’s digital future? Evan is joined by Celia Mendoza, founder of Concierge Havana, a travel agency geared toward American visitors to Cuba; Robin Pedraja, founder of Vistar, a magazine focused on culture and entertainment and the first independent media outlet in Cuba; and Michael Maisel, Director of External Affairs at Engage Cuba.
As the autonomous future approaches, what will it mean for public transit? Cities across the world are testing new technologies, such as collision avoidance and emergency braking, in their transit systems. But the changes won’t just be limited to our vehicles, as credit card companies and payment apps get it on the action, too. What can the U.S. learn from Finland’s approach? Will fears over cybersecurity and privacy hold back the automation of public transit? Will workers feel threatened by new tech? How will labor unions respons? Evan is joined by Darnell Grisby, Director of Policy Development and Research at the American Public Transportation Association. For more, check out apta.com/resources.
In the Digital Age, your data could be stored anywhere in the world, regardless of where you live. So what happens when your police department is investigating a crime in the United States, but the relevant data are stored in Ireland? Do you need a U.S. warrant, or an Irish one? How much of a problem for law enforcement is cross-border data? What kinds of agreements can nations strike to facilitate investigations without trampling on civil liberties and human rights? Evan is joined by Jennifer Daskal, Associate Professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, and Drew Mitnick, Policy Counsel at Access Now. For more, see Drew’s five-part blog series and Jennifer’s latest post.
Are vibrators, dildos, and other sex toys the next frontier in hacking and surveillance? Some tech experts say this creepy scenario has already arrived. Hackers have already broken into Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected dildos through password hacks, remote access, and script overrides. Evan is joined by Amie Stepanovich, US Policy Manager at Access Now, and Arthur Rizer, Senior Fellow at R Street. They discuss teledildonics, personal privacy, and the serious implications of sex you hacking. For more, see their op-ed in Wired.
Cities like San Francisco and New York are at the cutting edge of technology. But are "progressives" friends or foes of innovation? City councils across the U.S. have had their share of spats with companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Does the sharing economy pose problems for progressive values like job security and healthcare? Is all the focus on large, mostly Democratic cities distracting from anti-tech Republicans and conservatives? Evan is joined by Jared Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, and author of How Progressive Cities Fight Innovation. For more, buy his book on Amazon and follow him on Twitter.
The Internet is nothing without electricity, and the increased demand for data and expanding “Internet of Things” means we need more and more power to stay online. One billion people worldwide lack electricity, and four billion remain offline. Bridging the Digital Divide will involve more data centers, wireless networks, smartphones, and other equipment that will strain energy grids. But could the Internet also be part of the solution to global power needs? Evan is joined by Nilmini Rubin, Vice President of Tetra Tech, a global engineering and consulting company.
Is our air traffic control (ATC) system outdated? The White House seems to think so. A couple weeks back, the president announced his support for transferring ATC from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to a nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors, including representatives of airlines, unions, airports and others. The FAA has struggled for years to upgrade its technology from radar to GPS, and proponents of ATC reform say “privatizing” ATC will enable a NextGen system. Opponents say ATC reform could undermine labor unions, increase costs of travel, and give corporations too much control of our airspace. Evan discusses the pros and cons with Marc Scribner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Baruch Feigenbaum Assistant Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation. For more, see Marc’s FAQ on ATC reform.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is pushing ahead with a controversial tech agenda, despite a grave political miscalculation that cost her Conservative party its majority in Parliament. Will a flimsy minority government supported by a Northern Irish party be enough to push through measures on online pornography, hate speech, and electronic surveillance? How will the UK's European neighbors and the United States react? Evan discusses with TechFreedom legal fellow Ashkhen Kazaryan and UK native Robert Winterton.
Recent terrorist attacks in Portland, London, and Manchester have many calling for a crackdown on Internet hate speech. They argue that allowing toxic content to exist online, especially on social media, leads to violence, crime, and terrorism. But who should decide what we’re allowed to say? Government? Internet companies? A combination of the two? Having the government “clean up” the Internet may sound good in theory, but would you trust the president of the U.S. or other world leaders to make these determinations? Especially if you don’t support them? Evan discusses with Cathy Gelis, an Internet lawyer based in the Bay Area and friend of the show. Follow Cathy on Twitter @CathyGellis.
In a New York Times op-ed, Jonathan Taplin argues that Google, Facebook, and Amazon have become monopolies. With such large market shares in search advertising, social media, and e-commerce respectively, Taplin says it’s time to break up these companies — or regulate them as public utilities. Is this a fair assessment? Is Big Tech really stifling innovation? What lessons can we learn from the growth of other industries like automobiles and fossil fuels? Tech is often seen as a bright spot in our otherwise sluggish economy. Should policymakers focus their efforts elsewhere? Evan discusses with Mike Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute and co-author of a report, “The Coming Productivity Boom.”