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WashingTECH Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

The WashingTECH Policy Podcast is your resource for media and tech law and policy news and interviews. Each week, the WashingTECH Policy Podcast gives you the latest developments in media and tech law & policy, as well as an interview with an influencer in the media and technology sectors, whether they be policymakers, entrepreneurs, politicians or academics. Listen to the WashingTECH Policy podcast to get a quick update in the car, at the gym, between flights, wherever and whenever you need a quick summary of the media and tech policy news and thought leadership driving the week.
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Now displaying: September, 2016
Sep 27, 2016

Mitch Stoltz (@mitchstoltz) is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Mitch works on cases where free speech and innovation collide with copyright and trademark law. His current projects include improving the legal environment for mobile software developers and tinkerers, fighting the use of copyright as a tool for censorship, litigation on the copyright status of mandatory safety codes, and legal analysis in the field of Internet television and video. Mitch also counsels clients on Internet video technology and open source software licensing.

Before joining EFF, Mitch was an associate at Constantine Cannon LLP in Washington DC, where he worked on antitrust and copyright litigation on behalf of consumer technology, advertising, medical, and transportation companies. He also represented technology companies and trade associations before the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies.

Long ago, in an Internet far far away, Mitch was Chief Security Engineer for the Mozilla Project at Netscape Communications (later AOL), where he worked to secure Web browsers against malicious Internet content and coordinated the security research efforts of hackers on three continents.

Mitch has a JD from Boston University and a BA in Public Policy and Computer Science from Pomona College, where he co-founded the student TV station Studio 47. When not working, he can be found tinkering with electronics or chasing new levels of suffering on a bicycle.

In this episode we discussed:

  • key issues in the FCC's controversial set-top box proceeding.
  • why copyright law does not apply in the context of set-top box manufacturers providing access to content consumers have already paid for.

Resources:

THE NEWS

Yahoo! was the latest target of what Yahoo company officials say was yet another state-sponsored hack into the servers of American institutions. It’s believed to be the largest hack of a single company, according to David Gelles of The New York Times. Some 500 million Yahoo user accounts were breached.

The intrusion came as company officials were putting the final touches on Verizon’s proposed $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo! Now experts are wondering whether the transaction is going to go through.
----
Jessica Guynn at USA Today obtained an email from Google revealing the tech giant’s plans to open a diversity-focused tech lab in Oakland, California. The city is more than half African American and Latino. The tech lab, which is a partnership with MIT Media Lab, is called Code Next, and it is slated to open in October. Code Next is expected to work with the Oakland Unified School District in its efforts to bring more minority students into the tech sector pipeline.
----
Jessica Guynn at USA Today also reported on Facebook’s new voter registration drive, which the company launched on Friday in the U.S. The company sent out voter registration reminders that sends users to vote.usa.gov, where they are guided through the registration process.
----

VR Company Oculus is doing damage control after it was discovered that the company’s co-Founder, Palmer Luckey, donated $10,000 to a group called Nimble America, which is basically a trolling site that calls itself a QUOTE “shitposting” meme generator to help drump up support for Donald Trump among younger voters.

Luckey apologized to his company and its partners. He says he is a libertarian who supports Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Kyle Orland and Ars Technica has the full story.
----
Dating app Tinder and music streaming site Spotify announced a new partnership last week. Jacob Kastrenakes at the Verge reported last week that Tinder users will now be able to see each others’ last few songs they listened to. All users, whether they are Spotify users or not, will be able to feature their one favorite song on their profile.
----
Catherine Ho at the Washington Post reports that John Boehner is headed to Squire Patton Boggs-a major lobbying and law firm. Boehner has also joined the board of Reynolds American--the maker of Camel cigarettes. Boehner will reportedly not be lobbying congress but will instead be advising corporate clients on global business development.
----
Last week, the Government Accountability Office reported grim news to the President’s Commission on Enhancing Cybersecurity. The report states the number of cyber incidents involving the federal government has jumped 1,300% between 2005 and 2015. Joe Davidson at the Washington Post has the story.

Sep 20, 2016

My guest today is Yolanda Rondon (@yolandarondon)—Staff Attorney for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). Her work focuses on immigration and on issues related to the surveillance, racial profiling, employment discrimination and hate crimes committed against Arab Americans.

Prior to joining ADC, Yolanda worked for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and as a clerk for Chief Administrative Judge Charetta Harrington at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While in law school, she served as a law clerk in Israel, working on cases involving Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees.

Yolanda has written numerous briefs and appeared in an amicus brief before Supreme Court of the United States in EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch: This was the case in which a devout Muslim woman applied for a job at clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and didn’t get the job—she was told it was because she wore a headscarf and the company had a no caps policy.

Yolanda is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Buffalo and received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She earned her Juris Doctor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2013.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Historical examples of the surveillance of Arab Americans pre- and post-September 11th.
  • How incidental data collection practices circumvent Constitutional due process and Fourth Amendment requirements.
  • Key policy considerations policymakers should consider regarding the surveillance of Arab-Americans and other people of color.

Resources:

Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted by Ian Millhiser

THE NEWS

Michael Shear at the New York Times reported that last week that DCLeaks.com released Colin Powell's emails to the public, and the Democratic National committee was hacked into once again, an act many officials still believe was committed by the Russian government.

Powell's emails revealed how he *really* feels about Donald Trump and the Clintons. He wrote that Trump embraced a QUOTE "racist" movement when he questioned President Obama's nationality. About Hillary, Powell wrote about his resentment towards Clinton "minions", as he called them, who sought to QUOTE "drag" Powell into the Clinton email controversy by revealing the fact that Powell himself kept at least some of his official communications off the State Department’s servers when HE served as State Secretary. He said he had to  QUOTE “throw a mini tantrum” in the Hamptons to get Clinton staffers to keep him out of it.

Powell also called Dick Cheney an idiot in one of the emails and referred to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “the idiot Rummy”.

But Powell saved his worst vitriol for Bill Clinton, suggesting that Clinton still cheats on Hillary.

Also, William Cummings at USA Today reports that Guccifer 2.0 hacked into the DNC once again last week, this time revealing information on the DNC’s finances as well as personal contact info, including Clinton running mate Tim Kaine’s personal mobile phone number.

Interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile is urging DNC staffers not to visit Wikileaks for fear the site would install malware on their computers.

---

Nicholas Fandos at The New York Times reports that the 14th Librarian of Congress took the helm last week when she was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Dr. Carla D. Hayden is the first African American and first woman to serve in the role

Previously, Dr. Hayden was the Chief Librarian for the City of Baltimore, where she overhauled the library system.Dr. Hayden kept a branch of the library open during the violent aftermath of the police involved killing of Freddie Gray. Two protected the library while stores in the area were looted and burned.

Dr. Hayden plans to improve digital access to the Library of Congress. She is the first new Library of Congress since 1987, but Congress passed a bill last year imposing a ten-year term limit on the position.

----

Ben Sisario over at The New York Times reported thatsongwriters are now suing the Justice Department for the DOJ’s decision last month to uphold the 1941 consent decree the agency entered into with music rights clearinghouses ASCAP and BMI.

The songwriter want what is known as fractional licensing whereby, if multiple songwriters contribute to a song, they can all get paid royalties based on their individual contribution. But the Department of Justice basically said, listen, that’s too complicated -- each license is a 100% license and we’re not going to cut up the license into little pieces. We’re gonna do it the way we’ve always done it: ASCAP and BMI must have a 100% right to license the song--anything less and the music can’t be included it in the blanket licenses broadcasters and streaming music services rely on to play the music.

The songwriters say this arrangement has them earning a pittance for songs they wrote.

----
Facebook and Israel are working together to reduce incitement on the social media site. The Associated Press in Jerusalem reports the collaboration comes amidst the Israeli government pushing for new anti-incitement legislation. Some advocates say this is a slippery slope towards censorship.

----

For the first time, theCity of New York coordinated with the Office of Emergency Management to send out a city-wide emergency alert to millions of New Yorkers that described the suspect responsible for the bombs that detonated in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and in New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami. The text contained a description of Rahami and is credited with putting the entire city on high alert, leading to Rahami’s apprehension on Monday morning. An FCC working group released a report recommending improvements to the nation’s Emergency Alert System on Monday. Kavell Waddell has the full story in the Atlantic.

----

Chris Isidore at CNN Money reports that, apparently,AT&T was charging customers in poor areas $30 or more per month for shoddy broadband speeds below 3 megabits per second, even though customers whose speeds were just a couple of megabits higher got it for as little as $5. The average high speed internet in the U.S. is 15 megabits per second.

ATT’s discounted prices for customers getting at least 3 megabits per second were part of the company’s merger conditions when the FCC approved its acquisition of DirectTV. AT&T first said it was sticking to the strict parameters of that condition, but then when it got some negative press for jacking customers with even slower speeds, the company said, “Ok, ok, ok, ok … we’ll change the policy.”

----

Oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees .com and .net registrations, is set to transfer from the U.S. to a multistakeholder model on October 1st. Conservatives are trying to prevent that from happening while progressives and leading tech companies wrote in a letter to Congress QUOTE “a global internet is essential for our economic and national security” END QUOTE Dustin Volz at Reuters has the story. Senator Ted Cruz held up the government funding bill on Monday in an attempt to delay the transition.

——

Finally, Senior White House Official Valerie Jarrett visited San Quentin state prison to acknowledge the efforts of the Last Mile, which teaches prison inmates how to code. Jessica Guynn at USA Today reports that Jarrett said the program is critical for preventing recidivism rates by ensuring inmates can find a job once they’re released. Last Mile co-Founder Beverly Parenti has appeared on this podcast, which you can find on ... episode Episode 33.

Michael Shear at the New York Times reported that last week that DCLeaks.com released Colin Powell's emails to the public, and the Democratic National committee was hacked into once again, an act many officials still believe was committed by the Russian government.

Powell's emails revealed how he *really* feels about Donald Trump and the Clintons. He wrote that Trump embraced a QUOTE "racist" movement when he questioned President Obama's nationality. About Hillary, Powell wrote about his resentment towards Clinton "minions", as he called them, who sought to QUOTE "drag" Powell into the Clinton email controversy by revealing the fact that Powell himself kept at least some of his official communications off the State Department’s servers when HE served as State Secretary. He said he had to  QUOTE “throw a mini tantrum” in the Hamptons to get Clinton staffers to keep him out of it.

Powell also called Dick Cheney an idiot in one of the emails and referred to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “the idiot Rummy”.

But Powell saved his worst vitriol for Bill Clinton, suggesting that Clinton still cheats on Hillary.

Also, William Cummings at USA Today reports that Guccifer 2.0 hacked into the DNC once again last week, this time revealing information on the DNC’s finances as well as personal contact info, including Clinton running mate Tim Kaine’s personal mobile phone number.

Interim DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile is urging DNC staffers not to visit Wikileaks for fear the site would install malware on their computers.

---

Nicholas Fandos at The New York Times reports that the 14th Librarian of Congress took the helm last week when she was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Dr. Carla D. Hayden is the first African American and first woman to serve in the role.

Previously, Dr. Hayden was the Chief Librarian for the City of Baltimore, where she overhauled the library system.Dr. Hayden kept a branch of the library open during the violent aftermath of the police involved killing of Freddie Gray. Two protected the library while stores in the area were looted and burned.

Dr. Hayden plans to improve digital access to the Library of Congress. She is the first new Library of Congress since 1987, but Congress passed a bill last year imposing a ten-year term limit on the position.

----

Ben Sisario over at The New York Times reported that songwriters are now suing the Justice Department for the DOJ’s decision last month to uphold the 1941 consent decree the agency entered into with music rights clearinghouses ASCAP and BMI.

The songwriter want what is known as fractional licensing whereby, if multiple songwriters contribute to a song, they can all get paid royalties based on their individual contribution. But the Department of Justice basically said, listen, that’s too complicated -- each license is a 100% license and we’re not going to cut up the license into little pieces. We’re gonna do it the way we’ve always done it: ASCAP and BMI must have a 100% right to license the song--anything less and the music can’t be included it in the blanket licenses broadcasters and streaming music services rely on to play the music.

The songwriters say this arrangement has them earning a pittance for songs they wrote.

----

Facebook and Israel are working together to reduce incitement on the social media site. The Associated Press in Jerusalem reports the collaboration comes amidst the Israeli government pushing for new anti-incitement legislation. Some advocates say this is a slippery slope towards censorship.

----

For the first time, the City of New York coordinated with the Office of Emergency Management to send out a city-wide emergency alert to millions of New Yorkers that described the suspect responsible for the bombs that detonated in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and in New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami. The text contained a description of Rahami and is credited with putting the entire city on high alert, leading to Rahami’s apprehension on Monday morning. An FCC working group released a report recommending improvements to the nation’s Emergency Alert System on Monday. Kavell Waddell has the full story in the Atlantic.

----

Chris Isidore at CNN Money reports that, apparently, AT&T was charging customers in poor areas $30 or more per month for shoddy broadband speeds below 3 megabits per second, even though customers whose speeds were just a couple of megabits higher got it for as little as $5. The average high speed internet in the U.S. is 15 megabits per second.

ATT’s discounted prices for customers getting at least 3 megabits per second were part of the company’s merger conditions when the FCC approved its acquisition of DirectTV. AT&T first said it was sticking to the strict parameters of that condition, but then when it got some negative press for jacking customers with even slower speeds, the company said, “Ok, ok, ok, ok … we’ll change the policy.”

----

Oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees .com and .net registrations, is set to transfer from the U.S. to a multistakeholder model on October 1st. Conservatives are trying to prevent that from happening while progressives and leading tech companies wrote in a letter to Congress QUOTE “a global internet is essential for our economic and national security” END QUOTE Dustin Volz at Reuters has the story. Senator Ted Cruz held up the government funding bill on Monday in an attempt to delay the transition.

——

Finally, Senior White House Official Valerie Jarrett visited San Quentin state prison to acknowledge the efforts of the Last Mile, which teaches prison inmates how to code. Jessica Guynn at USA Today reports that Jarrett said the program is critical for preventing recidivism rates by ensuring inmates can find a job once they’re released. Last Mile co-Founder Beverly Parenti has appeared on this podcast, which you can find on ... episode Episode 33.

Sep 13, 2016

Chelsea Collier (@ChelseaMcC) is dedicated to fostering collaboration across the public and private sector in order to connect and engage communities to solve civic challenges. Her current focus on Smart Cities unifies her experience in tech, policy, social impact, civic engagement and entrepreneurship.

Chelsea is a Zhi-Xing Eisenhower Fellow and will travel to China this Fall to study Smart City innovation. She documents her research on a community platform she created, Digi.City, and is a contributor to RCR Wireless and Industrial IoT 5G. Chelsea is a Co-Founder of Impact Hub Austin, a local co-working and community space for social and civic enterprises that is a part a global network of more than 80 Impact Hubs around the world.

She is also co-Founder of two other start-ups, Wake Up, a professional and personal development company and Mable, a social enterprise that produces modular furniture from sustainable materials manufactured in the USA. Through her consulting company, Intercambio, she advises multiple startups and projects that seek to make a positive impact on the world.

From 2012-2015, Chelsea was the Executive Director Texans for Economic Progress (TEP) and now engages as a Strategic Advisor where she continues to facilitate dialogue between the statewide technology community and elected officials, advocating for greater access to tech education, entrepreneurship and infrastructure. Prior, she served as the Founding Director for RISE, an annual Austin-based entrepreneurs conference, Marketing Director at Rev Worldwide. a mission-focused fintech start-up; and served in the Texas Governor’s Office in Economic Development.

She is active in several organizations that encourage economic solutions to global challenges including St Edwards’ University’s Dean’s Advisory & Development Council for The Bill Munday School of Business, an Executive Committee member of The Seton 50, Advisor to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, UnltdUSA and Food + City. She served as Vice Chair and Commissioner for the City of Austin Community Technology & Telecommunications Commission from 2013 - 2015. She is a Leadership Austin graduate (2010); Austin Under 40 Award recipient in Science & Technology (2015) and a BPE Ascendant Award recipient (2013), and an ABJ Profiles in Power Finalist (2013).  Chelsea has masters and bachelor degrees in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • what "Smart Cities" are and how they are making cities more livable and citizen-friendly.
  • examples of ways in which cities are using next-generation technology to improve law enforcement and city services.
  • key political, regulatory and political challenges cities face as they seek to apply smarter uses of technology.

Resources:

InterCambio Group

Digi.City

YouCanBook.me (scheduling app)

Full Contact (contact management)

Give and Take by Adam Grant

TECH POLICY NEWS

US officials are investigating a potential Russian effort to disrupt this year’s US presidential elections, according to Dana Priest at the Washington Post. The investigation was precipitated by alleged Russian hacks into the Democratic National Committee and Wikileaks release of 20,000 hacked DNC emails. Russia has denied the accusations, although, as Bloomberg notes, Russian President Vladimir Putin did say the DNC hacks were a public service.

Julian Hattem at The Hill noted last week that Department of Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson attempted to downplay the Russian threat. Johnson said the vastness of all of the nation’s dispersed local and state voting systems would make it difficult for any hack to alter the ballot count. But officials are still worried that even a hint of the ballots being compromised could cause unrest.
----
The FCC has proposed rules that would open up the set top box market to competition. Currently, subscribers are paying an average of $231 per year to lease set top boxes from cable providers. And these set top boxes aren’t required to list content from over-the-top competitors like Netflix. The new rules would clear the way for cable subscribers to buy a set top box of their choice, they would also require cable providers to develop free apps that enable consumers to download all their programming to their chosen devices. The cable industry is obviously incensed. The Commissioners will vote on the new rules at the next Open Meeting on September 29th at the FCC. If you want to file comments, it’s proceeding 16-42. In the meantime, you can check out my interview with Brian Woolfolk on episode 36 to get caught up on the basics of this proceeding.
----
According to a new FBI report, Hillary Clinton and her staff were lackadaisical about keeping confidential communications secure while Clinton served as Secretary of State, even though Clinton herself had authorization to decide which communications were confidential and which weren’t. But former Secretary of State Colin Powell also indicated last week that his communications weren’t kept all that secure either, stating that he had used a separate internet connection over a private phone line to communicate about State Department business off the State Department’s servers. Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica and Quartz have the coverage here.
----
President Obama has announced the appointments of the nation’s first Chief and Deputy Chief Information Officers.  Retired Brigadier General Gregory J. Touhill, who currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Communications at the Department of Homeland Security, will take the helm as CISO and Grant Schneider, current Director of Cybersecurity on the National Security Council staff at the White House will serve as Deputy.
----

Finally, another Obama administration staffer is leaving the White House to join the tech sector. Rachel Racusen, who last week ended her stint as White House strategic communications adviser, will join Snapchat’s New York team next week to serve as Director of Communications at the growing social media company.  Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post notes that Racusen joins a long line of former White House officials to join the tech sector, including former press secretary Jay Carney who went to Amazon and Dan Pfeiffer at GoFundMe.

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