Jelani Anglin is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Good Call. Good Call’s mission is to ensure that anyone who is arrested will have immediate access to a lawyer via its hotline 833-3-Goodcall. Jelani is a community organizer and serial entrepreneur. During High School, Jelani started his first online business, for which he was awarded the NYS FBLA Business Plan of the Year award, and was featured on national TV. Prior to founding Good Call, Jelani worked on a variety of issue-based and electoral campaigns, in addition to being a community organizer at AirBnb. Growing up in Far Rockaway, NY, and organizing in low-income communities across the east coast, Jelani experienced firsthand the pitfalls that exist for those oppressed by the criminal justice system. He works every day to better communities similar to where he grew up, and hopes his work will be a stepping stone for other young black males. In addition to being Co-executive Director at Good Call, Jelani is an Echoing Green fellow and a Civil Justice Fellow at Blue Ridge Labs.
Mastery by Robert Greene
The 50th Law by Robert Greene
Twitter, Facebook, and Google dominate the headlines in another week of near chaos as tech and public policy still fail to see eye-to-eye on privacy, hate speech, and workplace issues, and Jelani Anglin is my gust
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called Representative Ihan Omar the same day he met with President Trump, after she started receiving death threats following Trump’s tweet of her giving a speech alongside images from the September 11th terrorist attacks. The Washington Post says he called her to tell her he stood by his company’s position to keep the tweet up because he concluded it didn’t violate Twitter’s rules. He also said that taking it down wouldn’t have done much since the tweet had already been widely shared. Dorey also said the company needed to do a better job monitoring for and removing hate speech and harassment. At the meeting with Trump, Trump complained to Dorsey that too many of his followers had been removed. But Dorsey reportedly said that it removes followers based on how much spam they tweet and that he also lost a lot of his own followers.
So Twitter won’t ban certain hate speech, apparently because certain GOP politicians would also be affected by it. During an all hands meeting someone asked why the company could ban Islamic State propaganda but not white supremacist content. An executive and engineer responded saying societal norms allow some Arabic language to be banned in order to sweep up ISIS tweets, but that societal norms wouldn’t allow sweeping up politicians’ tweets flagged as hate speech.
So yeah … Just total armchair policymaking at Twitter. Although, to be fair, Twitter did release a statement saying that this approach did not reflect the real approach at all.
But why won’t Twitter take down David Duke, for example? Not even Jack Dorsey knows since, when he was asked at a Ted event to explain, he just punted.
In any case, reading all of the news reports it’s clear that Twitter has absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on or how to design algorithms that prevent it from being used as a political propaganda machine. But the company is reportedly working on a way to make the context for political tweets more transparent—whatever the hell that means.
And meanwhile, we’re just supposed to sit here and deal with the mass shootings, and deal with the death threats and there’s absolutely not a single mechanism in this democracy that can handle it?
Recall that last week we reported that Facebook swept up some 1.5 million user emails to help it build new products and services. Well, users didn’t authorize the use of their emails for that purpose. So New York Attorney General Letitia James is now investigating.
The Washington Post reports that up in Canada, regulators are planning to sue Facebook for breaking privacy laws. Canada began an investigation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and found that the company’s privacy protections are merely “superficial”.
The Hill reports that Ireland is now also investigating Facebook for exposing the passwords of “hundreds of millions” of users . Ireland’s looking into whether the company violated the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Facebook has hired Jennifer Newstead as its new General Counsel. Newstead previously helped draft the Patriot Act under George W. Bush when she was an attorney in the Bush administration. She’d previously worked for OMB, Justice, and the White House. Before she was appointed as Facebook’s GC, she was Trump’s appointed legal adviser at the State Department according to Politico.
Facebook is scheduled to report its first quarter earnings tomorrow, Wednesday May 1, so keep an eye out for that.
A report in USA Today discusses how Facebook censors black users from talking about race. So you’re going to want to check that out.
Google has changed its reporting and harassment protocol for harassment and discrimination. The change comes after two employees who helped organize the walkout of some 20, 000 other employees in protest of Google’s forced arbitration for such complaints claimed the company retaliated against them. Google will now have a dedicated site where employees can report harassment and discrimination, and the company will also now make arbitration an option for employees. The company has also expanded its annual internal misconduct report to include information about sexual harassment investigations,
Oversight Hearing: 2020 Census Preparation
Hearing on “Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls”
World Intellectual Property Day 2019: The Role of Intellectual Property in Sports and Public Safety
740 15th St. NW #900
Senate Judiciary Committee
Hearing on the DOJ’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election
Dirksen, Rm. 226
Department of Justice
Liberty Square Building
Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall
450 Fifth Street, NW
Department of Justice
Liberty Square Building
Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall
450 Fifth Street, NW
Daiquiri Ryan (@DaiquiriRyan) serves as the policy counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition where she leverages her policy expertise to advocate on behalf of the Latino community on Capitol Hill and beyond. She monitors, reviews and analyzes policies, programs, regulations and proposals to identify ways to close the Latino digital divide and expand access to communications for all Americans, regardless of their income or home zip code. Daiquiri’s advocacy work includes preserving net neutrality, strengthening privacy protections, and increasing diversity in media ownership.
Previously Daiquiri served as policy fellow at Public Knowledge, where she created and led the Broadband Connects America rural broadband coalition, engaged online creators in the fight to restore net neutrality, led litigation against the FCC’s repeal of the 2016 Tech Transitions order, and advocated for policies to close the digital divide. Her other fellowships have included time at Amazon, the DC Office of Attorney General, and the Arizona Department of Education. She is a member of the inaugural class of Google Next Gen Policy Leaders, where she co-leads a working group focused on creative policy solutions for intellectual property and social justice.
Daiquiri also serves as Vice President and co-founder of the Joey Ryan Foundation, a 501(c)(3) created in honor of her late brother that focuses on empowering young people with disabilities. She received her Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School, Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Media Relations from Arizona State University, and is admitted to the state Bar of Texas.
The Muellerreport finds Russians tried to hack Hillary emails within 5 hours after Trump called for it, the CIA warns the world about Huawei, and Daiquiri Ryan is my guest
The Mueller report on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election found that Russians attempted to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails just 5 hours after Trump called for Moscow to do so while he was on the campaign trail. It’s just one of the many, many lies and deceptive tactics both Russia and the Trump administration employed during the 2016 campaign season.
The CIA told spy agencies abroad last week that China’s People’s Liberation Army, National Security Commission and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, have funded Chinese telecom giant Huawei to supply 5G technology to Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. We reported back in December that Canada arrested Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou for allegedly defrauding multiple financial institutions in order to evade sanctions against Iran. The DOJ has since charged Meng with fraud. And Huawei is currently banned from doing business in the U.S. Huawei is suing the U.S. for the ban saying in part that the ban is politically motivated.
Business Insider reported last week that in 2016, Facebook “unintentionally uploaded” some 1.5 million of Facebook users’ emails in order to develop new products and services. Facebook says it’s deleting the data.
BuzzFeed News reported that Twitter left up death threats made against Rep. Ilhan Omar. The threats came after President Trump tweeted spliced footage of the Congresswoman alongside footage of the September 11th attacks. Twitter said it left the threats up so that Capitol Police could investigate.
Meanwhile, the EU parliament voted in a measure that would fine social media companies for leaving up extremist content for too long.
The DOJ’s Antitrust Division told Sprint and TMobile last week that the proposed $26 billion merger of the two companies, in its current form, is unlikely to be approved. That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
In an investigative report, the New York Times has found that law enforcement agencies are increasingly relying on Google’s SensorVault technology as an evidence repository to identify devices that were present at crime scenes. Some of the data dates back several years. Law enforcement officials interviewed in the report claim the search data it obtains from Google is only used to supplement additional evidence it collects from suspects.
Reuters reports that Microsoft turned down an unnamed California law enforcement agency after the agency asked the company to install facial recognition technology in squad cars and body cams. Microsoft President Brad Smith said the agency’s use of the technology would lead to a negative impact on women and people of color because thus far it has only tested the technology on white males.
Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. She is one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. For 30 years, Gigi has worked to defend and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that have made broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open and protective of user privacy. From 2013-2016, Gigi was Counselor to the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. From 2001-2013, Gigi served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading telecommunications, media and technology policy advocacy organization. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm. Gigi holds a BS in Broadcasting and Film, Summa Cum Laude from the Boston University College of Communication and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution by Susan Crawford (Yale University Press, forthcoming, 2019)
The success of the net neutrality bill designed to reinstate the 2015 net neutrality rules that passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee last week by a vote of 30-22, looks increasingly unlikely to succeed, as its still gotta get past the Senate, and the Trump administration has threatened to veto even if it does. A floor vote in the House is expected today.
Congress is continuing its ramp up of scrutiny of big tech, looking specifically at how social media and tech companies enable harmful speech. They’re also looking at competition issues like Amazon’s promotion of its own private label products over competing products offered by smaller businesses.
The House Judiciary Committee is holding a bipartisan hearing today on the rise of hate crime and white nationalism 10AM in 2141 Rayburn.
On the competition front…several members are taking a fresh look at antitrust issues following Elizabeth Warren’s SXSW announcement of her proposal to rein in big tech with better antitrust enforcement. And so Amazon quietly removed promotional ads that gave preferential treatment to its own private label products. And Senators Amy Klobuchar and Marsha Blackburn sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to investigate Google for antitrust and data privacy violations.
Elizabeth Warren also introduced a new bill last week that could hold tech executives criminally liable for tech breaches. And Ed Markey introduced a bill that would require Google and Facebook to comply with online privacy rules. Markey’s bill is designed to stem harmful marketing on channels like YouTube that are largely unregulated in terms of the marketing and advertising that kids are exposed to.
Google has killed the AI ethics board it set up. That’s after thousands of employees and public advocates pushed the company to remove Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James--over comments she made about trans people and for the Heritage Foundation’s skepticism regarding climate change. The board also lacked civil rights leaders, as NAACP President Derrick Johnson noted on Twitter.
Leading AI scientists, including Yoshua Bengio, who won the Turing Award, which is basically the Nobel Prize of technology, have signed a letter urging Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition software, known as Rekognition. A couple of peer-reviewed papers have found the software, which police departments have been using, disproportionately misidentifies women and people of color. The New York Times has more.
Microsoft promises to give its employees space to discuss discrimination issues at monthly employee meetings. CEO Satya Nadella and HR Chief Kathleen Hogan announced during an all-hands call last week. The move comes after employees erupted in an email thread, complaining about gender discrimination issues at the company.
House Judiciary Committee
Today, Tues., 4/9 at 10AM
Rayburn 2141, Streaming
Federal Trade Commission
Tues., 4/9 and Wed., 4/10
400 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20024
Senate Judiciary Committee
Wed., 4/10 at 2:30PM
Dirksen 226, Streaming
Senate Commerce Committee
Thurs, 4/11 at 10AM
216 Hart, Streaming
Fri., 4/12 at 10AM
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FCC Open Meeting
Fri., 4/12 at 10:30AM
445 12th St. SW
Commission Meeting Room, Streaming
Ben Green joined Joe Miller to discuss how stakeholders can develop a more inclusive approach to smart cities by engaging local residents.
Ben Green (@benzevgreen) is a PhD Candidate in Applied Math at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. He studies the implementation and impacts of data science in local governments, with a focus on “smart cities” and the criminal justice system. Analyzing the intersections of data science with law, policy, and social science, Ben focuses on the social justice and policy implications of data-driven algorithms deployed by governments. His forthcoming book, The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future, will be published in April 2019 with MIT Press (Amazon link).
Ben’s research draws on his extensive experience working with data and technology in municipal government. He most recently spent a year working for the Citywide Analytics Team in the City of Boston, where he developed analytics to improve public safety operations and civic engagement strategies for the City’s new open data program. Ben previously worked as a Fellow at the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship, and partnered with the City of Memphis, TN using machine learning to identify blighted homes. He also worked for a year at the New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking, where he managed the deployment of new parking meter payment technology.
Ben completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics & Physics at Yale College. His graduate work has been funded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Herbert Winokur SEAS Graduate Fellowship.
The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future by Ben Green (forthcoming MIT Press, April 9, 2019).
It was a rough week for Google in the LGBTQ community.
First, the Human Rights Coalition suspended Google from its rankings, for which Google had a perfect rating, because Google allowed an app promoting conversion therapy to remain in its app store. Google has since pulled the app.
Also, several Googlers took aim at Google’s new Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) last week for naming Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James as a member. Cole has repeatedly spoken out frequently against LGBTQ interests and trans folks in particular. So over a thousand Googlers signed on to a letter published on Medium opposing Cole’s appointment.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson also criticized Google for failing to include civil rights leaders on the council.
Facebook announced that it will now ban content promoting white nationalism and white separatism. The company will ban content with phrases that explicitly refer to white nationalism and white separatism. But Facebook said that finding implicit instances of white nationalism and white separatism will take some time for Facebook to learn how to identify. Mark Zuckerberg also wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed seeking a third-party tribunal that would reinforce Facebook’s efforts. Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr weighed in opposing such a framework.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has already sued Facebook for allowing real estate advertisers to exclude certain ethnicities and zip codes, is now investigating Twitter and Google as well, according to the Washington Post.
A group of IBM ex-employees sued the company in federal court in New York City for failing to disclose how many people it laid off who were over the age of 40. It’s the second lawsuit following a ProPublica report last year that documented rampant alleged age discrimination at the company. At issue is a provision in IBM’s separation agreement that requires employees to agree not to sue the company in exchange for severance pay.
Google and Cuba’s state-run telecommunications monopoly ETECSA have agreed to begin negotiations on bringing better connectivity to the island. The agreement entails Google’s and ETECSA’s engineers working together to bring better connectivity to the island via Google’s points of presence in Florida, Mexico, and Colombia without having to pay the hefty interconnection fees it’s been paying to a third party carrier to connect to Venezuela.
Finally, Nipsey Hussle, the rapper and community champion who was murdered in front of his clothing shop in L.A. on Sunday, was an avid supporter of science, technology, engineering, and math education for underrepresented youth and diversity in tech. John Ketchum writes in AfroTech that in an LA Times interview last year, Hussle was quoted as saying that kids are often nudged to emulate athletes and entertainers but that there should be more messaging around emulating tech leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
Rayburn Rm. 2043
Privacy + Security Academy
The Marvin Center
800 21st St. NW
1440 G St. NW