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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: January, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

Alexandria McBride is Director of Environment and Sustainability at ITI. Alexandria develops and advocates positions on domestic and international policies related to energy efficiency and environmental priorities. She currently serves on the Board for the Center of Diversity and the Environment and is the Chair of the NAACP-DC Climate and Environmental Justice Committee.

Prior to ITI, Alexandria coordinated the re-launch of the Tishman Environment and Design Center, an academic hub based at The New School that utilizes design, policy and social justice approaches to solve pressing environmental issues. She was also a manager at The Engine Room, an international NGO using technology and data to support social and environmental causes.

Alexandria was formerly the Chief Financial Officer at Groundswell, a D.C.-based nonprofit aimed at unlocking communities’ economic power to grow sustainability on the local level. As the CFO and Executive Management Team member, Alexandria oversaw the organization’s financial and operational functions and worked closely with program directors to identify and implement systems that improve the efficiency and quality of Groundswell’s impact.

Prior to joining Groundswell, Alexandria served in multiple project and operational management roles at the ExxonMobil Environmental Services Company, where she helped steward environmental cleanup projects across the Mid-Atlantic. She also managed the transfer of environmental responsibility during ExxonMobil’s multimillion dollar divestment of properties in New York and New Jersey. In addition to this work, Alexandria was nominated to support ExxonMobil’s STEM education and diversity efforts.

Alexandria holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Environment from Howard University and a M.S. in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.

 

In this episode, we discussed

  • the top 3 environmental tech policy issues policymakers should be focusing on.
  • a review of environmental legislation ITI is advocating for.
  • how advocates can work most effectively with a potential Scott Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency.

Resources

ITI

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

News Roundup

 

Tech sector leaders reacted in strong opposition to Trump’s immigration ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. The leaders of major tech companies cited not just the effect the ban would have on their bottom lines, but on what they personally felt. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said it is time for the nation to link arms and that the ban is un-American. Lyft CEO Logan Green said the ban runs counter to Lyft’s inclusive culture and said the ban conflicts with both Lyft and the nation’s core values. Google’s Sergey Brin, whose family fled Russia in 1979, participated in the protest at San Fracisco International Airport saying that he too is a refugee. The company also released statement. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg released a statement opposing the measure, as did Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is an India-native. But President Trump has not budged, although Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham  -- both Republicans -- publically opposed the executive order on Monday.

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Journalists covering violent protests during Trump's inauguration parade were arrested and charged with felony rioting. Journalism advocates have been denouncing the charges. Jonah Engles Bromwich has the story in The New York Times.

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As late as Wednesday, Trump Senior Advisors Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Sean Spicer and Steve Bannon had active private email address on the Republican National Committee domain. While there is nothing illegal about using an RNC domain to keep political and state business separate--the George W. Bush administration was accused of using RNC domains to quote-unquote "lose" 22 million emails. And the Trump campaign of course accused Hillary Clinton of breaking the law when she used her own private email domain for official State Department Business. The RNC was also hacked into last summer, raising questions about the security of the RNC's email server. Nina Burleigh covers this for Newsweek.

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FBI Director James Comey will be staying on under Trump. Comey is 4 years into his 10-year term. Matt Zaptosky and Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post note that it would be extremely unusual for a president to remove an FBI director, even though Comey is see by many in Washington to have interfered with the U.S. election by making public specious claims about Hillary Clinton's emails just 11 days before the election.

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The White House ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Health and Human Services to stop making social media posts, blogging, and updating official content until getting approval from White House officials, according to a report by the New York Times' Coral Davenport. So-called black ops websites of the White House and the National Park Service, which claim to be operated by actual federal employees posting to Twitter anonymously, emerged following the order. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denies the White House gave any such directive.  The black ops Twitter handles include @RoguePOTUSStaff and @AltUSNatParkService.

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Russian officials have arrested on suspicion of treason a Russian cyberintelligence official whom Americans said oversaw hacks that interfered with the U.S. presidential election. It's not clear what Sergei Mikhailov, a senior officer of the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B.,--basically the new KGB--actually did, but Andrew Kramer has the story in the New York Times.

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Verizon is reportedly making a bid for Charter Communications. Charter is valued at around $80 billion. Charter acquired Time Warner Cable last year. Shalani Ramchandran, Ryan Knutson and Dana Mattioli have the story in the Wall Street Journal.

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Finally, Brian Fung reports for the Washington Post that Trump has named Maureen Olhausen acting Federal Trade Commission Chair. Olhausen, a free-market Republican, has been with the agency since 201. Her term expires in 2018.

Jan 24, 2017

Carmen Scurato (@CarmenScurato) is Director of Policy and Legal Affairs at the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). As a native of Puerto Rico, Carmen is a passionate advocate for policies that address the needs of the Latino community. Prior to joining NHMC, Carmen worked as a contractor for the Department of Justice and assisted in investigations alleging financial fraud against federal agencies and federal healthcare programs. Most notably, Carmen helped recoup millions of dollars in a national False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit alleging Medicare fraud. She also worked at the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs on large document requests received from Congressional oversight committees. Carmen earned her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law where she was an Associate Editor for the Villanova Law Review and a Co-Chair of the Honor Board. She also participated in Lawyering Together, a pro bono program that pairs student with attorneys to assist low income clients with their legal needs. She worked closely with an attorney to foster open communication with the client by acting as a Spanish-to-English translator. Carmen received her B.A. cum laude from New York University where she majored in both History and Political Science. Her History Honor thesis was entitled Preserving the Puerto Rican Culture after 1898: The Realization of a National Culture in the Face of Americanization.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the history and policy objectives of the Lifeline program and its prospects under the Trump administration.

Resources:

National Hispanic Media Coalition

Microsoft OneNote

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

NEWS ROUNDUP

 

President Trump has officially named Ajit Pai as the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai has served as an FCC Commissioner since 2012, following stints as a Partner at Jenner & Block, and various roles at the FCC, Department of Justice, Senate Judiciary Committee and as an Associate General Counsel at Verizon. He clerked for Judge Martin Feldman in the Eastern District of Louisiana and is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School. Pai, a Republican from Kansas, has also endorsed Jeff Sessions for Attorney General.

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The Trump administration is planning to cut $741 million in funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment of the Arts, according to a report by Christina Marcos (@cimarcos) in The Hill. The plan would be to abolish the NEH and NEA and privatize CPB. Conservatives have long opposed funding these programs because they have considered them to be too controversial and examples of unnecessary government spending. Donald Trump, however, has expressed support for arts education, and Vice President Pence received a Champion of Public Broadcasting award in 2014.

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Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica and John Eggerton at Multichannel News reported last week that the Trump transition team is considering an overhaul of the FCC which would remove "duplicative" functions within the agency, such as consumer protection, to other agencies, such as the FTC. Eggerton reports that the transition team has signed off on the approach. However, Jon Brodkin notes that any overhaul to the FCC would require Congressional approval.

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The Trump administration will be keeping U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee on board following speculation as to whether Director Lee would step down. The Obama appointee's views align with companies like Google which have been pushing for stronger policies to thwart patent trolls. Lee attended Stanford Law School at the same time as Trump supporter Peter Thiel. Ali Breland has the story in the Hill.

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Andrew Chung in Reuters reports that the Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by women who sued BackPage.com for child sexual abuse trafficking. The lower court had held that BackPage.com, which accepts classified ads from third parties, was shielded from liability under the Communications Decency Act  of 1996 which offers free speech protection for websites when others post unlawful content. The women allege that, starting at age 15, Backpage.com facilitated their engagement in forced, illegal sex transactions with pimps who advertised on Backpage.com. Backpage shut down its adult classifieds section two weeks ago following a Senate report showing evidence that supports the women's allegations.

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Before leaving office, former President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Manning is a transgendered woman and former Army Soldier named Bradley Manning who has been serving a 35 year sentence in a male security prison for disclosing 750,000 pages in secret government documents to WikiLeaks. Manning also released a video showing a U.S. helicopter attacking civilians and journalists in Iraq in 2007. Manning's sentence will expire on May 17th. Unlike Edward Snowden who is living at a secret location in Moscow, the information Manning released was not considered Top Secret. Laura Jarrett has the story for CNN.

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A coalition of 77 social justice groups--including the Center for Media Justice, Color of Change and DailyKos--sent a letter to Facebook Director of Global Policy Joel Kaplan last week asking the company stop discriminating against posts made by Movement for Black Lives activists. The coalition wrote "Activists in the Movement for Black Lives have routinely reported the takedown of images discussing racism and during protests, with the justification that it violates Facebook’s Community Standards. At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based on their race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook. Many of these activists have reported such harassment and threats by users and pages on Facebook only to be told that they don’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards."

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The FCC concluded its auction of TV airwaves last week, securing just $18.2 billion in bids from wireless companies--far short of $66 billion the Commission had hoped to raise.

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Before leaving the FCC Chairmanship to join the Aspen Institute, Tom Wheeler accused AT&T and Verizon of violating the net neutrality rules with their so-called "zero-rating" programs which allow customers to access preferred content without affecting their data caps. But FCC Chair Ajit Pai issued a release calling the FCC's report a "regulatory spasm" and saying the issue will be dropped under Trump. --

Finally, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has announced her resignation. She will leave the agency effective February 10th. Ramirez has served at the agency since 2010 and became Chairwoman in 2013.

 

 

Jan 17, 2017

Having spent significant time working in newsrooms, covering Capitol Hill, managing in-house corporate public affairs, working on campaigns, and navigating communities of color, she brings a unique set of skills that casts a wide net of influence. Understanding the intersection of press, partnerships, politics, and policy, Tiffany has a proven record of excellent relationships in the private and public sectors, media, the entertainment industry, and civic and social justice organizations. 

Most recently, Tiffany served as a Senior Advisor for the National Education Association (NEA)  and its three million members. In this capacity, she liaised with the public sector, traditional and niche media markets, constituency groups, and civic and social justice organizations. She worked with NEA leadership on branding and positioning and was responsible for forging strategic partnerships, internal and external messaging, conducting scans on grassroots and grasstop organizations, and engaging communities in bilateral conversations on education, labor, and civic and social justice issues. 

Before joining the NEA, Tiffany served as the Manager of News & Public Affairs and the Liaison to the Executive Branch for Black Entertainment Television (BET) Networks. Her work at BET included coordinating with the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention in 2008, executing the network’s participation in the 2008 Presidential election, brand enhancement for the network, and advising on BET’s political and social agenda. 

Tiffany’s broad experience includes guest booking for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz, covering Capitol Hill for Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, and working as an Associate Producer for Capital Gang. She was also a former Producer at America’s Most Wanted and Director of Communications for Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies where she worked on the Obama for America Presidential Campaign and secured high-level visibility for company president Cornell Belcher.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how Tiffany's personal journey has informed her approach to creating value for her network.
  • Tiffany's key strategies and mindset hacks for building powerful professional relationships in Washington. 
  • how 'The Beat' is helping policy professionals in Washington stay on top of what's happening and find relevant networking opportunities.

 

 

Resources:

The Beat (send news leads to: info@thebeatdc.com)

The Raben Group

Task Rabbit

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

 

NEWS ROUNDUP

Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor and early Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani as an informal cybersecurity advisor. He'll head the President-elect's cybersecurity working group. Abby Phillip in the Washington Post writes that, since leaving the New York City Mayorship, Giuliani has started his own cybersecurity consulting firm-Giuliani Partners. Now a bunch of people are saying, "What the hell does Guiliani know about cybsecurity?" Well, Motherboard's Jason Koebler and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai looked into it and found some folks familiar with Giuliani and Partners' work ... It turns out their expertise is more along the lines of telling companies how to legally cover their asses if they're the victim of  cyberbreach, as opposed to advising on actual cybersecurity solutions. So it's looking like this job is more of a thank you for to Giuliani for his help during the campaign. It also turns out, as Rob Price at Business Insider found, that Giuliani's company website--giulianisecurity.com--is replete with vulnerabilities.

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You've heard all about Trump's dossier--people calling him PEEOTUS and things like that on Twitter, so we won't go into all the details on that--especially since the dossier is still largely unsubstantiated. But Scott Shane put together a nice summary just in case you don't want to sit there all day trying to figure out what's going on with this.

Basically, this all started when the Republicans retained a company called Fusion GPS to look into Trump to figure out how to hurt him politically. Then, when it turned out he was going to be the Republican nominee, the Clinton campaign took over and retained Fusion to continue the investigation. The dossier has been floating around Washington for quite sometime, but the President and President-elect were briefed on it, and  that's when it made its way to the public via BuzzFeed and other sites. Mr. Trump says the entire dossier is a total fabrication. But if it's a total fabrication--it's pretty detailed, so someone must have had a lot of time on their hands.

In any case, the FBI is investigating the claims ... although no one knows if Trump will authorize that investigation to continue. Some are also wondering why FBI Director James Comey was so interested in Hillary Clinton's email but not this. So this issue isn't going away anytime soon, basically, is the takeaway here.

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Matt Hamilton at the LA Times reports that BackPage--the classified ad website -- shut down its adult section last week after the U.S. Senate released a scathing report accusing the company of hiding targeted search terms related to prostitution and child abuse. BackPage Founders Michael Lacey and and James Larkin were scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland and Governmental Affairs' subcommittee on investigations. The committee's report alleges that its review of some 1.1 million documents revealed evidence that the company facilitated sex trafficking and child abuse. Testimony from a BackPage site moderator seems to show the company actively removed search terms so they wouldn't lose ad revenue, but still keep the ads posted without actively promoting crimes.

But BackPage says it adheres to the the Communications Decency Act which provides immunity to websites that host content by third parties. The company also claimed the government investigation was an violation of its First Amendment Rights

One children's advocate--Lois Lee--founder of Children of the Night--even said the site has actually helped law enforcement identify predators and locate missing children. But Senators Bob Portman--the Republican from Ohio and as Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill--both of who led the bi-partisan investigation-- say BackPages's decision to shut down the adult section shows how damning the evidence they uncovered was.

 

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Congress has selected its leadership for its communications and tech-related committees. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Tune announced that Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker will lead the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Greg Walden announced Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn, who opposes net neutrality and prevented efforts to build municipal broadband networks, will lead the House Communications and Technology subcommittee. Jon Brodkin reports in Ars Technica.

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Aaron Smith at Pew reports that a record number of Americans have smartphones and access to broadband at home. Seventy-seven percent of Americans have smartphones, with explosive growth among adults over age 50. Americans with access to broadband at home increased 6 points to 73%. Also, Seventy percent of Americans use social media and half own a tablet.

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iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple for not allowing them to purchase apps outside of the Apple store, according to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, overturning the lower court's ruling. The decision doesn't affect the merits of the case brought against Apple, but if the plaintiff's win, it could open the door for more competition in the app market. Stephen Nells and Dan Levine have the story in Reuters.

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The independent prosecutor in South Korea investigating the corruption scandal that has led to the suspension of the country's first female president -- Park Geun-hye -- has asked a local court to issue an arrest warrant for Lee Jae--yong--the head of Samsung. The prosecutors allege Lee used corporate money to bribe Park for favors. The court is expected to review the request on Wednesday. Anna Fifield has more at the Washington Post. 

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Finally, The Email Privacy Act is alive again, after passing unanimously in the House and dying in the Senate last year. The bill would require authorities to get warrants for emails as well as social media data, including data older than 180 days. It would also allow providers to notify their customers that their information was requested. The bill was introduced by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). John Eggerton has the story in Multichannel News. 

Jan 10, 2017

Debra Berlyn (@dberlyn) is the Executive Director of The Project to Get Older Adults onLine (GOAL), and President of Consumer Policy Solutions.

Debra is a seasoned veteran of telecommunications and consumer policy issues and an advocate for consumers of technology services. She represented AARP on the digital television transition and has worked closely with national aging organizations on several Internet issues, including online safety and privacy concerns.

Prior to launching Consumer Policy Solutions, Debra was senior legislative representative in the Federal Affairs Department of AARP, responsible for all communications and energy matters. She advocated on behalf of the members of AARP before Congress, the federal agencies (FCC, FERC, FEC, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce), and the Administration.

Ms. Berlyn has served as a faculty instructor with Boston University’s Washington Program. She received a B.A. from American University and a M.A. from Northwestern University.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • key barriers older adults face in getting online.
  • how Lifeline can help improve older adults' access to technology.

Resources:

Project GOAL

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

NEWS ROUNDUP

By now you've probably heard about the Director of National Intelligence report that came out last week which conclusively establishes that Vladimir Putin ordered a quote "influence campaign" to sway the election in favor of Donald Trump. But, as David Sanger notes in the Washington Post, there is no information in the declassified version of the report about how U.S. intelligence officials conducted their investigation. Trump, even after seeing a classified version of the report, still says the Obama Administration is engaging in a witch hunt, as does Vladimir Putin who calls the report amateurish. Here's the report.

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China's National Energy administration last week released its 3 -year, $360 billion plan to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind. On the other hand, President-elect Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate change, appears to be headed in the opposite direction. China expects their effort to create as many as 13 million new jobs in China, as well as reduce the level of greenhouse gases China emits into the atmosphere. Here in the U.S., Trump has said the notion of human-caused climate change is a "hoax", threatened to dismantle the Paris Accord, and nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is himself a human-caused climate change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Michael Forsythe has the story in the New York Times.

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Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson is calling for Uber to release its diversity numbers. In a letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Jackson called on Uber to follow the lead of companies including Facebook, Google and Apple and do its part to "change the face of technology" by releasing its hiring data to the public. Melanie Zanona has the story in The Hill.

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Last week, NCTA -- The Internet & Television Association, which is the leading lobbying association representing cable companies like Charter, Comcast and Cox, opened a new front in its war against Obama-era telecom regulations by filing a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to overturn the consumer privacy rules the FCC issued last year. The rules are designed to prevent the industry from exploiting its vast stores of user data to favor its own content at the expense of edge providers like Netflix, Facebook and Google.  The telecom industry's fight against the Commission's 2015 net neutrality rules, which were upheld by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last year, was already underway: the carriers are requesting a review by the full court.

The telecom industry thinks the net neutrality and privacy rules give disproportionate protection to the tech sector. The tech sector argues that cable companies have access to far more user data and, if that market power is left unchecked, would give carriers monopoly power over both content and infrastructure.  Brian Fung has more in the Washington Post.

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The House has passed a bill that would allow Congress to repeal any rule President Obama passed during the last 6o legislative days of his administration. The bill had been approved by the previous Congress in November. The bill is basically the Select All+Delete of lawmaking: as Lydia Wheeler notes in the Hill, the bill would allow Congress to bundle together a whole bunch of rules and overturn them en masse with one vote.

 

The House also adopted rules last week which would prevent members from livestreaming sit-ins and other protests on the House floor. Members had been ignoring existing rules prohibiting members from taking any photos or videos on the House floor, but now there will be a $500 fine for the first offense and $2,500 for each offense thereafter. The new rule was passed in response to a sit in members, including John Lewis, livestreamed last year as a protest against Republicans' failure to consider gun control legislation.

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Gabriel Sherman reported in New York magazine that his sources told him that Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch is advising the Trump transition team on who should Chair the Federal Communications Commission once Tom Wheeler steps down. This alignment could impact how a Trump administration would treat the AT&T/Time Warner Merger --to which President-elect Trump has already expressed opposition -- since Murdoch is the Executive Chairman of News Corp, Executive Co-Chair of 20th Century Fox, and the Acting CEO of Fox News. Sherman notes that Fox News has already begun to double-down on its alignment with the incoming far-right administration by installing Tucker Carlson in the 7pm slot to replace Greta van Susteren.

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A new Pew Research analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data conducted by Monica Anderson shows African-American and Hispanic 12th graders are significantly less interested in math and science than their Asian and White counterparts. Overall, 71% of 12th graders surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I like science." That's compared to 78% for Asians, 73% for Whites, 70% for Hispanics, and just 62% for Black students. An overwhelming number of Asian students actually want jobs in science, at 59%,  compared to just 39% of Black students, 40% of Hispanic students, and 45% of White students.

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Reuters reports that the U.S. Labor Department has sued Google to obtain its compensation data. The Labor Department claims the company has ignored repeated requests to submit the data as part of a routine Equal Opportunity compliance investigation which has been going on since 2015. A Google spokesperson said Google had repeatedly told Labor that the request was too broad in scope but didn't receive a response back from the Labor Department.

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On Christmas Eve in 2014, five-year-old Moriah Modisette died in a car crash. The other driver was allegedly using FaceTime immediately before impact. Now, Moriah's parents --James and Bethany Modisette -- are suing Apple in Texas for failing to include a mechanism that disables FaceTime during driving. The lawsuit points to one of Apple's patents. You can find this story at BBC.com.

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Finally, the White House has re-submitted the nomination of former FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel after Rosenworcel vacated her seat at the Commission in December because her term expired and Congress failed to re-confirm her for political reasons. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune has said he is open to reconfirming Rosenworcel but not without a Republican Majority. Currently the Commission is comprised of two Republican (Ajit Pai--who endorsed Jeff Sessions' Attorney General nomination, and Michael O'Rielly) and one Democratic Commissioner--Mignon Clyburn.

 

Jan 3, 2017

Tom Kamber (@thomaskamber) is the founder and executive director of OATS, where he has helped over 20,000 senior citizens get online, built more than 30 free technology centers, created the seniorplanet.org digital community, and launched the Senior Planet Exploration Center—the country’s first technology-themed community center for older adults. His work has been covered in major national media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Univision, MSNBC, and the TODAY Show. Tom is active in shaping technology policy and serves on the City of New York’s Broadband Task Force, and on the State of New York’s Broadband Adoption Task Force.

Tom teaches courses on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy at Columbia University and has published widely in academic journals on topics including housing policy, crime and geography, advertising strategy, broadband technology, and technology adoption by senior citizens.

Prior to founding OATS, Tom worked as a tenant organizer working with low-income residents in Harlem and the South Bronx. He has a B.A. in Latin from Columbia College and a PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • key challenges older adults face getting online.
  • how OATS helps older adults use technology to stay engaged and enhance their overall quality of life.
  • specific policy recommendations for ensuring older adults are both connected and actively using technology.

Senior Planet

This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

NEWS ROUNDUP

Missy Ryan, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post report that the Obama administration has announced sanctions against Russia for executing cyberattacks on American institutions, including the Democratic National Committee, and releasing sensitive material to the public, in an effort to sway the November presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The sanctions include the shutting down of two Russian facilities in Maryland and on Long Island which U.S. officials believe were used to collect intelligence. President Obama also expelled 35 Russian agents believed to be involved in the hacks. The President also said the U.S. may undertake covert activity to undermine Russia.

But the Kremlin has vigorously denied the hacks, with Russsian President Vladimir Putin calling President Obama's response "irresponsible diplomacy". Yet, Putin has said Russia will hold off on a tit-for-tat response and not expel U.S. agents working in Russia or close American facilities there, until they see how Trump will respond following the inauguration on January 20th. Camila Domonoske has the story for NPR.

Here's the link to the DHS and FBI report on the Russian intrusion, which has been dubbed Grizzly Steppe.

Andrew Kramer has a nice piece in the New York Times describing how Russians recruited hackers for its cyberwar against the United States. 

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Ellen Nakashima also reported in the Washington Post that President Obama has signed a bill that would work to split U.S. Cybercommand from the National Security Administration in order to promote administrative efficiency. But the split can't happen unless it is approved by the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of staff, which may or may not happen under the Trump administration. 

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House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to stop sit-ins by members of Congress on the House floor. Speaker Ryan introduced a rules package last week which would attempt to curtail live streaming on the house floor by imposing sanctions of $500 for the first livestreaming offense and $2,500 for each subsequent offense, with ethical citations also a possibility. Back in June, Democrats had live-streamed a sit-in on the House floor to protest Republicans' failure to introduce gun control legislation. The livestream was organized in response to the fact that Republican leaders had turned off tv cameras in the chamber, preventing the public from viewing the sit-in on C-Span.   

 

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