Maureen K. Ohlhausen joined Joe Miller to discuss whether U.S. antitrust law is the appropriate mechanism by which to rein in big tech.
Maureen K. Ohlhausen (@M_Ohlhausen) is the Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Chair and Partner at the law firm of Baker Botts. Previously, she served as Acting Chairman at the Federal Trade Commission for 2 years and prior to that as a Commissioner for 6. She directed all aspects of the FTC's antitrust work, including merger review and conduct enforcement, and steered all FTC consumer protection enforcement, with a particular emphasis on privacy and technology issues. A thought leader, Maureen has published dozens of articles on antitrust, privacy, IP, regulation, FTC litigation, telecommunications, and international law issues in prestigious publications and has testified over a dozen times before the U.S. Congress. Maureen has relationships with officials in the U.S. and abroad, with a particular emphasis on Europe and China, and has led the U.S. delegation at the international antitrust and data privacy meeting on many occasions. She has received numerous awards, including the FTC's Robert Pitofsky Lifetime Achievement Award. Prior to her role as a Commissioner, Maureen led the FTC's Internet Access Task Force, which produced an influential report analyzing competition and consumer protection legal issues in the area of broadband and internet. In private practice, he headed the FTC practice group at a leading telecommunications firm, representing and counseling telecommunications and technology clients on antitrust compliance, privacy, and consumer protection matters before the FTC and the FCC. She also clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Here’s how we can break up big tech by Elizabeth Warren (Ms. Ohlhausen argues against.)
Facebook is no longer permitting housing, employment and credit advertisers to target users based on their age, race, gender or zip code. This brings Facebook in line with federal rules preventing broadcasters from discriminating in ad sales contracts on the basis of race or gender. The new prohibitions are part of a settlement with several advocacy organizations that filed discrimination lawsuits against Facebook after ProPublica published an investigative report showing its ability to exclude certain ethnicities from seeing housing ads.
House democrats plan to vote, on Monday, April 8th, on the bill that would reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules—the Save the Internet Act. Opponents are trying to tack on a bunch of Amendments even though the bill is pretty straight forward in terms of its intended scope. Even if the bill passes the House though, it faces an uphill climb in Mitch McConnel’s lair high up on the mountain -- I mean the Senate. And the president would also have to sign it – we’ll see what happens.
This time, the security firm KrebsonSecurity found that, for years, Facebook stored hundreds of millions of user names and passwords in a text file. What’s the problem with this you ask? Well the text file was searchable by any of Facebook’s 20,000 employees. So let’s say a date didn’t go so well with some brah who happens to work at Facebook? Well guess what he could just go ahead and search for your password. Facebook has allegedly used this method dating back as far as 2012.
House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings has demanded documents from the attorney representing Jared Kushner regarding Kushner’s use of a private email address and What’s App to conduct official business. This of course is the same thing Republicans went after Hillary Clinton for during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The FCC will pay $43,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to a New York journalist named Jason Prechtel for failing to turn over information, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, related to fake comments filed in the net neutrality proceeding. The case was settled without prejudice which means the FCC won’t admit to any wrongdoing—even though it didn’t respond to the journalist within the statutory timeframe.
California Republican Representative Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and 3 users for $250 million saying he was “defamed” and claiming that Twitter bans conservative viewpoints.
After two years, President Trump has finally named a Chief Technology Officer. Michael Kratsios is just 32 but well-connected and worked for Thiel Capital. Peter Thiel as you’ll recall is a Donald Trump Supporter
Tuesday March 26th
1201 Pennsylvania Ave.
It will be livestreamed
Senate Commerce Committee
2:30pm – Dirksen 562
Wednesday March 27th
House Judiciary Committee
Falk Auditorium @ Brookings
1776 Massachussetts, NW
There will be a webcast for this as well.
Alisa Valentin of Public Knowledge joined Joe Miller to discuss her approach to building a constructive dialogue at the intersection of tech and social justice.
Alisa Valentin (@alisavalentin) is the Communications Justice Fellow at Public Knowledge, where she focuses on digital inclusion policies for communities of color and policies that diversify media ownership.
Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Alisa served as an intern in the Office of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at the Federal Communications Commission and as a legislative fellow for Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. Alisa was also an adjunct professor at several D.C. area colleges and universities where she taught communications and women’s studies courses.
Alisa received her Ph.D. in Communications from Howard University. She also earned her B.S. from the University of Florida and an M.S. from Northwestern University.
#TechPolicySoWhite by Alyssa Valentin (Public Knowledge, 2019)
Facebook failed to block some 20% of videos showing the shooting in New Zealand, including videos that praised the shooting. That’s some 300,000 videos. The company reports though that it did manage to take down some 1.2 million videos related to a white supremacist’s massacre of 50 worshippers at 2 mosques in Christchurch.
Arlington County, Virginia has approved $23 million in incentives for Amazon to put its second headquarters in Crystal City. Protestors attended an Arlington County board meeting to oppose the vote saying the county should focus on affordable housing before Amazon. Opponents are also concerned about traffic congestion and school overcrowding.
The Arlington chapter of the NAACP also opposed certain aspects of the incentive package. But the County board unanimously approved the incentives with a 5-0 vote. So again—just like in Queens—very superficial engagement by Amazon to reach out to the local community or even include them in negotiations. It’s just extremely poor stakeholder engagement – and they do it because they can.
Facebook has reinstated Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ads calling for a breakup of the social media giant along with Google and Amazon. A company spokesman says it removed the ads because they violated a policy regarding the use of Facebook’s logo … even though the whole point of that type of policy is obviously to prevent ads going up that criticize the company.
Finally, Apple is defending its app store policies against Spotify after Spotify filed a complaint against Apple in Europe for allegedly engaging in anticompetitive behavior by setting its cost to carry the Spotify app in the app store too high. Apple currently charges 30% for anything sold in the app store. Apple says Spotify is simply seeking to avoid paying the same fee everyone else pays.
Federal Trade Commission
Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in U.S. broadband markets
400 7th St. NW
Public Knowledge/Georgetown/Goodfriend Group
Algorithmic Exclusion and Data Deserts
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Ave., NW
Tom Wheeler joined Joe Miller to discuss Mr. Wheeler's new book 'From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future'.
Chairman Tom Wheeler is a visiting fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017.
For over four decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services. At the FCC he led the efforts that resulted in the adoption of Net Neutrality, privacy protections for consumers, and increased cybersecurity, among other policies. His chairmanship has been described as, “The most productive Commission in the history of the agency.” During the Obama-Biden Transition of 2008/09 Mr. Wheeler led activities overseeing the agencies of government dealing with science, technology, space and the arts.
As an entrepreneur, he started or helped start multiple companies offering innovative cable, wireless and video communications services. He is the only person to be selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame, a fact President Obama joked made him “the Bo Jackson of telecom.”
Prior to being appointed Chairman of the FCC by President Obama, Wheeler was Managing Director at Core Capital Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage Internet Protocol (IP)-based companies. He is CEO of the Shiloh Group, a strategy development and private investment company specializing in telecommunications services. He co-founded SmartBrief, the Internet’s largest curated information service for vertical markets.
From 1976 to 1984 Wheeler was associated with the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) where he was President and CEO from 1979 to 1984. Following NCTA Wheeler was CEO of several high-tech companies, including the first company to offer high-speed delivery to home computers and the first digital video satellite service. From 1992 to 2004 Wheeler served as President and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
Mr. Wheeler wrote Take Command: Leadership Lessons from the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000), and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006). His commentaries on current events have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other leading publications.
Mr. Wheeler served on President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board prior to being named to the FCC. Presidents Clinton and Bush each appointed him a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is the former Chairman and President of the National Archives Foundation, and a former board member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and the recipient of its Alumni Medal. He resides in Washington, D.C.
From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future by Tom Wheeler (Brookings, 2019)
Time to Fix It: Developing Rules for Internet Capitalism (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018)
Who Makes the Rules in the new gilded age? (Brookings, 2018)
Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her proposal last week to reign in tech firms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The plan calls for potentially breaking up some mergers as well as new legislation. Senator Warren wants to break up Doubleclick and Google, Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and Whats App, and the Amazon/Whole Foods merger.
Politico reported Monday that Facebook removed ads that Elizabeth Warren placed on the social network which criticized Facebook and called for its breakup. Facebook backtracked after its attempt to silence Warren backfired.
Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of Democrats, introduced a new net neutrality bill last week. The bill is two pages long and would simply reinstate the 2015 Open Internet rules. The bill’s likely to pass the House where Ds hold the majority, but it faces a more uncertain future in the Senate and getting it over the presidents desk.
Trump’s reelection campaign is proposing a plan that would give the government control of the nation’s 5G airwaves, allowing it to lease them out to carriers on a wholesale basis. Most carriers think the plan’s unworkable. But the plan is seen as an attempt to attract rural voters with spotty internet service.
Chinese device manufacturer Huawei, which the U.S. government has accused of spying and violating sanctions against Iran, has now sued the U.S. government for banning the company from doing business in the U.S. The company filed in a U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas, where the company has its U.S. headquarters.
TMobile’s expenditures at Trump’s DC hotel rose sharply after the company reported that it would be seeking to acquire Sprint. Since April of last year, when the merger was announced, TMobile has spent $195,000 at the hotel. But before the merger announcement, the company said that only two employees had stayed there. The FCC paused its review of the merger last week. This is the third time the FCC has paused the 180-day shot clock, which is now on day 122. The merger review has been going on for 8 months. It’s not clear why it was paused this time. But the hotel expenditures may have had something to do with it—especially since the White House actually approved the deal.
Finally, The Hill reported on Monday on a new app that launched which gives users a listing of MAGA-friendly establishments—places where they’re least likely to be made fun of or harassed for wearing their red MAGA hats, or that let them carry legally-concealed weapons … check it out it’s called 63Red—great way to figure out where not to go other than Cracker Barrel.
House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm
Tues., 3/12, 11:00AM
House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm
Tues., 3/12, 2:30PM
Hart, Rm. 216
Thurs., 3/14, 9:30AM
Dirksen, Rm. 562
Friday, 3/15, 12:30-2:30
445 12th St., NW
Jevan Hutson joined Joe Miller to talk about how racism in online dating affects economic opportunities.
Jevan Hutson (@jevanhutson) is a Gregoire Fellow at the University of Washington School of Law, where he researches technology policy, social computing, surveillance and privacy, and data ethics, and is an editor for the Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts.
Jevan currently works for the Technology & Liberty Project of the ACLU of Washington, where he advocates for algorithmic accountability in government and restrictions on government use facial recognition technologies. He previously worked for Nintendo of America, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, and Boeing. Jevan holds an MPS in Information Science and a BA in History of Art & Visual Studies from Cornell University, where he was a Research Assistant in the Social Computing Lab and Social Media Lab.
What Dating Apps are doing to Fight Bias by Jevan Hutson (Axios, 2019)
Debiasing Desire: Addressing Bias and Discrimination on Intimate Platforms by Jevan Hutson, Jessie G. Taft, et al. (University of Washington School of Law, 2018)
Several U.S. officials said last week that they blocked the Internet Research Agency’s internet access as the Russian troll factory attempted to interfere with last year’s midterms. The Washington Post reports the operation was the first of its kind after the president and Congress bolstered cybercommand last year. Donald Trump approved the operation.
YouTube has disabled comments on videos that include minors under age 18. The move comes after pedophiles were lurking in comment sections directing users on where to access suggestive images of children.
The Federal Trade Commission has won a case against Cure Encapsulations for paying a third party to write Amazon reviews of a supplement called garcinia cambogia. The drug is known to cause acute liver failure. It’s the first-evern case of its kind. Among other reviews, fake reviewers wrote that the supplement “literally stops fat from forming” rated it an average 4.3 out of 5 stars. Cure Encapulastions is now liable to pay a $12.8 million fine.
The Federal Trade Commission has fined China-based social media company TikTok $5.7 million because before it merged with Musical.ly, Musical.ly illegally collected the names, emails, pictures and location data of kids under 13. The U.S. hasn’t fined TikTok for anything that happened after the merger. TikTok has over 1 billion downloads – 100 million here in the U.S. – and is seen by many experts as legit Facebook rival.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is looking to improve his state’s privacy law that’s set to take effect next year by allowing private individuals to sue companies for damages. The current bill as written allows individuals to take legal action only after giving companies 30 days to correct violations.
Catherine Cortez Masto -- the Democratic Senator from Nevada -- is taking on racial ad targeting in a new bill that prohibits companies like Facebook from targeting on the basis of race. Propublica found back in 2016 that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude racial groups from certain campaigns—a practice which continued at least until the end of 2017.
Twitter suspended far-right activist Jacob Wohl for allegedly attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election by creating fake accounts purporting to support divisive candidates like Howard Schultz. Previously, USA Today had quoted Wohl as saying that he was planning to create “enormous left-wing online properties”. Wohl says it was just an “intellectual exercise”.
The Federal Trade Commission has established a new task force designed to look specifically at tech sector monopolies. The task force will boast 17 staff attorneys and be based in the competition bureau.
Some passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight shared a viral video showing the seatback video monitors in front of them had cameras in side them. Another passenger shared a picture of a similar camera he found on an American airlines flight. United and Delta followed up saying their screens also contain cameras. All four airlines say the manufacturer ships that screens that way for potential future uses, but that currently the cameras are disabled. Currently. One of the manufacturers—Panasonic—told BuzzFeed that it would never activate the cameras without consent from the airline.
So as you know, Amazon backed out of plans to build out one of its new headquarters locations in Long Island City. And now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is like [new edition clip] [PAUSE] Love is HARD! [PAUSE] Representatives from some 70 powerful New York organizations took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Amazon Founder & CEO Jeff Bezos. Signatories included National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and the NAACP’s New York State Conference and Astoria Chapter and the Presidents of the Queensbridge Houses and Astoria Houses Tenants Associations—corporate signatories included Ken Chenault and others. The State University of New York’s Chancellor also signed the letter, as did the Chancellor Designee of the City University of New York and the President of LaGuardia Community College. Several unions also signed. In the letter, the signatories characterized the public debate that followed the announcement as “strident”. It’s pretty hard to pass up an opportunity to add your name to a full-page letter in the New York Times. Whether anyone has carefully evaluated the upsides of the deal for every day New Yorkers isn’t clear. No word yet from Amazon.
House Energy & Commerce Hearing
“Inclusion in Tech: How Diversity Benefits all Americans”
Wed., 3/6 2019 @ 10:30am
Federal Communications Commission
“Symposium on Media Diversity”
Thurs., 3/7 2019 @ 9AM-5:30PM
445 12th St., SW