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WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

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Now displaying: February, 2019
Feb 26, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_renee diresta

Renée DiResta: How to Fight the Imminent Disinformation Blitzkrieg (Ep. 175)

Renée DiResta joined Joe Miller to discuss the ongoing threat of state-sponsored misinformation campaigns on social media designed to destabilize the U.S. government.

Bio

Renée DiResta (@noUpside) is the Director of Research at New Knowledge and a Mozilla Fellow in Media, Misinformation, and Trust. She investigates the spread of malign narratives across social networks, and assists policymakers in understanding and responding to the problem. She has advised Congress, the State Department, and other academic, civic, and business organizations, and has studied disinformation and computational propaganda in the context of pseudoscience conspiracies, terrorism, and state-sponsored information warfare.

Renée regularly writes and speaks about the role that tech platforms and curatorial algorithms play in the proliferation of disinformation and conspiracy theories. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired. Her tech industry writing, analysis, talks, and data visualizations have been featured or covered by numerous media outlets including the New York TimesWashington PostCNNCNBCBloombergFast CompanyPoliticoTechCrunchWiredSlateForbesBuzzfeedThe EconomistJournal of Commerce, and more. She is a 2019 Truman National Security Project security fellow and a Council on Foreign Relations term member.

Renée is the author of The Hardware Startup: Building your Product, Business, and Brand, published by O’Reilly Media.

Previously, Renée was part of the founding team and ran marketing and business development at Haven, the transportation management technology platform that’s transforming trade logistics for commodity, CPG, and food shippers. Before that, Renée was a Principal at seed-stage venture capital fund O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), where she invested in early technology startups with a focus on hardware, manufacturing, and logistics companies. She spent seven years on Wall Street as an equity derivatives trader and market maker at Jane Street, a top quantitative proprietary trading firm in New York City.

Renée has degrees in Computer Science and Political Science from the Honors College at SUNY Stony Brook. She is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Staff Associate at the Columbia University Data Science Institute, a Harvard Berkman-Klein Center affiliate, and is a Founding Advisor to the Center for Humane Technology. She is passionate about STEM education and childhood immunization advocacy, and is one of the co-founders of parent advocacy organization Vaccinate California. For fun, she explores data sets and loves cooking and crafting. Renée and her husband, Justin Hileman, are the parents of two feisty little people.

Resources

RenéeDiResta.com

New Knowledge

What We Now Know About Russian Disinformation by Renée DiResta (N.Y. Times, 12/17/18)

The Digital Maginot Line by Renée DiResta (RibbonFarm, 11/28/18)

She Warned of ‘Peer-to-Peer Misinformation.’ Congress Listened. By Sheera Frenkel (N.Y. Times, 11/12/2017)

The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri

The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

News Roundup

Facebook

  • A new British Parliament report is calling for new regulations against Facebook. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee concluded an 18-month investigation against the social media giant finding it routinely breaks privacy and competition laws. The Committee report is non-binding but it could pave the way for additional regulations.
  • Back here in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against Facebook saying the company reveals sensitive health data in groups. And the FTC is currently in the process of negotiation a multibillion dollar fine with the company.
  • Also, several groups including Common Sense filed an FTC complaint against Facebook for violating children’s privacy laws and pushing kids to make in-app purchases.
  • And the Verge posted an exposé yesterday on Facebook’s treatment of its contractors working for Cognizant. Apparently content screeners paid less than $29,000 a year are the first line of defense in preventing harmful content from being posted to the site. The reviewers are routinely exposed to death, sexual abuse, and other types of content that exacts an extreme mental health toll on these workers. Facebook claims its working to alleviate some of these working conditions.

Google

  • YouTube is facing an advertiser boycott after a YouTuber published a report detailing how comments and recommendations on normal products, like bikinis, ultimately nudge users to access inappropriate videos of children. The video aren’t necessarily pornographic per se, but users post comments within the videos that included time stamps that show children in compromising poses and positions. Nestle, Disney and Fortnight are among several advertisers that have pulled or restricted ads from YouTube because their ads appeared alongside the inappropriate content. YouTube reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for such content and deleted millions of the comments in question that directed viewers to the material in question.
  • In other YouTube news, the platform announced that going forward it will prevent anti-vaxxer channels from hosting ads. YouTube cited its policy against dangerous and harmful content.
  • And YouTube’s parent company Alphabet’s Google unit announced that it will end its policy of forced arbitration regarding worker disputes.

Microsoft defends military contract

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella defended a $479 million military contract with the US Army to supply the company’s augmented reality systems called HoloLens. More than 100 Microsoft employees signed a letter protesting the contract and asking Microsoft to back out.  But Nadella said the company won’t withhold technology from what he deems to be “democratic governments” such as the United States.

Bipartisan group of Senators ask DoE and Homeland to block Huawei

A Bipartisan group of Senators wrote a letter to the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security yesterday urging them to block Huawei technology from accessing U.S. electrical systems and infrastructure. Several weeks ago, Congress blocked Huawei from accessing the nation’s telecommunication’s infrastructure as security officials believe the China-based company is working on behalf of the Chinese government to spy on the U.S.

Feb 19, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_mignonclyburn

Mignon Clyburn: The Social Justice Dynamics of Tech Policy (Ep. 174)

Mignon Clyburn joined Joe Miller to discuss how the complex social justice dynamics of tech policy affect alliances in Washington.

Bio

Mignon Clyburn (@mignonclyburn) is a former FCC Commissioner and President and CEO of MLC Strategies. Mignon served at the FCC from 2009-2018, with a stint as Acting FCC Chairwoman—the first FCC Chairwoman—in 2013.

While at the FCC, Commissioner Clyburn was committed to closing the digital divide. Specifically, she was an advocate for Lifeline Modernization, which assists low income consumers defray the cost of broadband service, championed diversity in media ownership, initiated Inmate Calling Services reforms, emphasized diversity and inclusion in STEM opportunities, and fought to preserve a free and open internet.

Prior to the FCC, she spent 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. Prior to the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of her family-founded newspaper for 14 years, the Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American community.

News Roundup

Groups urge Congress to consider civil rights in privacy legislation

In an open letter, 43 groups including the NAACP, National Urban League, OTI, Human Rights Campaign, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, National Hispanic Media Coalition and others, urged members of Congress last week to consider civil rights as they develop new privacy legislation. The letter points to set of principles the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights released back in 2014 focusing on the era of big data which Congress still hasn’t acted on.

FTC and Facebook negotiate multibillion dollar fine

The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook are reportedly negotiating a multibillion fine the company would have to pay for violating a 2011 privacy consent decree. It would be the largest FTC fine against a technology company, exceeding the $22.5 million fine against Google back in 2012.

Apple, Amazon & Google push to protect Dreamers

Leaders from Apple, Amazon and Google joined a letter under the auspices of the Coalition for the American Dream, a cohort of more than 100 tech leaders from across the ideological spectrum organized to shed light on the economic effects of not enacting legislation to protect DREAMERS. The letter urges leaders in the House and Senate to pass legislation saying that without it, the U.S. economy stands to lose some $350 billion in GDP, with the Treasury standing to lose some $90 billion in tax revenue.

Pai warns carriers about robocalls

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai warned telecom companies that if they don’t adopt a self-regulatory framework to address robocalls this year, the FCC would have to step in. The warning is a follow-up to Pai’s call back in November telling carriers to develop an agreed-upon way to combat “spoofing”, which allows robocallers to appear to be calling from a more trusted number.

Amazon Cancels NYC Plans

As you’ve no doubt already heard, Amazon has canceled plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City in Queens. The move has ignited a debate about the future of the Democratic party as more traditional, neoliberal Democrats appeared to be more in favor of the development plan, while local communities within Democratic strongholds in New York who would’ve been impacted by the deal wrote their members, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, urging them to push back against the expansion.

Feb 5, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_Betsy Cooper

 

Bio

Betsy Cooper (@BetsOnTech) is the founding Director of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub. A cybersecurity expert, Ms. Cooper joined Aspen’s Cybersecurity & Technology Program after serving as the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at the University of California, Berkeley.

Previously, she served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an attorney advisor to the Deputy General Counsel and as a policy counselor in the Office of Policy. She has worked for over a decade in homeland security consulting, managing projects for Atlantic Philanthropies in Dublin, the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in London, and the World Bank, and other organizations.

In addition, Ms. Cooper has clerked for Berkeley Law professor and Judge William Fletcher on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (where she currently is a nonresident affiliate), as well as a Yale Public Interest Fellowship. Ms. Cooper has written more than twenty manuscripts and articles on U.S. and European homeland security policy. She is also a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group.

Ms. Cooper earned a J.D. from Yale University, a D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University, an M.Sc. in Forced Migration from Oxford University, and a B.A. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She speaks advanced French. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Resources

Aspen Tech Policy Hub

Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship Application

News Roundup

Coates tells Senate committee that Russia and China are working together to undermine the 2020 election

In his annual threat assessment report, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates told the Senate intelligence committee that Russia and China will try and interfere with the 2020 presidential election. The report lists social media threats as second on a list of several threats to U.S. national security.

DC Circuit Appeals panel hears net neutrality oral arguments

A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments from the government and consumer advocates last week as consumer advocates’ lawsuit against the FCC for repealing the 2015 open internet rules presses on. Two of the judges—Particia Millett and Robert Wilkins—both Obama appointees—seemed to side with the consumer advocates as the FCC struggled to persuade the court that the agency had the authority to reclassify broadband as an information service.

Report: FamilyTreeDNA works with the FBI

BuzzFeed reported that popular home DNA testing company Family Tree DNA is working with the FBI, allowing agents to access its database to investigate violent crimes.  Privacy advocates object to the partnership. But others say that as more people sign up for genetic tests, the data has become increasingly valuable to solve cold cases, with the arrest last year of the suspected Golden State Killer being a prime example.

Feds charge second Chinese Apple car worker with data theft

The feds have charged a second Apple engineer with stealing company trade secrets with a plan to bring them back to China. Another Apple employee spotted Jizhong Chen taking snapshots of his workspace with a wide angle lens even though he was working under an NDA.  Apparently Chen had some 2,000 files on his hard drive, including manuals and schematics.  He says he was going to China to see family. But the feds allege he was actually planning to bring the files back to a Chinese car manufacturer he’d applied for a job with. It’s the second Apple employee charged with stealing trade secrets from the company’s self-driving car unit.

Apple reports Group FaceTime bug

Apple reported a bug with Group FaceTime that allowed callers to hear the people they were calling before they answered. The company took down Group Facetime when it learned of the bug, apologized, and announced that it would release a fix for the problem this week.

Facebook hires three leading privacy critics from Access Now, EFF, and OTI

The Information reports that Facebook has hired three leading privacy critics from Access Now, EFF, and OTI as the company tries to deal with the onslaught of backlash around its privacy woes. Robyn Greene, Nathan White, and Nate Cardozo have been critical of Facebook and all joined the company within the last month.

Mignon Clyburn to advise TMobile/Sprint

TMobile and Sprint have tapped former FCC Chair and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to help advise them on their $26 billion merger. Clyburn said in a statement that she will be advising the two companies as a continuation of her work to ensure vulnerable populations have affordable access to 5G.

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