WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

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Jan 21, 2020


Yosef Getachew ( @ygetachew2) serves as Program Director of the Media & Democracy Program at Common Cause. Prior to joining Common Cause, Yosef served as a Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge where he worked on a variety of technology and communications issues. His work has focused on broadband privacy, broadband access and affordability, and other consumer issues. Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Yosef worked as a law clerk for several technology and communications organizations including the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast, Facebook, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Yosef has also served as a Project Coordinator and Research Assistant for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Yosef received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. In law school, he was an Articles Editor for the

Federal Communications Law Journal. Yosef was born and raised in Washington D.C.




Common Cause, Media & Democracy Project

We Must Remedy Discrimination in Our Media System by Jessica J. González

(Common Dreams, 2019)

News Roundup

Pelosi accuses Facebook of intentionally misleading voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped Facebook last week saying the company shamefully, intentionally misleads voters by failing to remove political ads. Ms. Pelosi specifically called out Facebook’s capitalistic model as being antithetical to democracy and a fair election in 2020. She told reporters Thursday that Facebook only wants two things: continued tax cuts and weak antitrust enforcement.


There were 58.5 billion robocalls made in 2019, which is up 22 percent

Robocall-blocking service YouMail released a report last week finding a 22% increase in the number of robocalls placed in the U.S. since 2018.  The company claims that Americans received nearly 18 robocalls per year in 2019. According to the company, overall, Americans have received some 100 billion robocalls over the last 2 years. At the end of December, President Trump signed a bi-partisan bill to reduce robocalls.


Former Mueller Chief of Staff says Washington is failing to ensure election security

John Carlin, the former Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller reportedly told the Hill that the federal government isn’t doing enough to prevent election interference. Mr. Carlin says the federal government’s response to the 2016 attacks, including a $425  million spending bill to address election security, did not go far enough its ongoing effort to deal with the proliferation of ransomeware and what he termed a “here and present threat”


National Institute of Justice paid Purdue University to study social media for warnings of future crimes

According to the National Institute of Justice’s own website, it awarded nearly $2 million to Purdue University to assign convicted offenders wearable devices and then monitor them remotely to determine the likelihood that they’ll commit future crimes. The NIJ claims the goal is to determine whether offenders should be permitted to re-enter society. But the results of the study could have significant implications for mass surveillance as the study, which calls for testing 250 randomly-selected offender participants, will likely unfairly target African American inmates since roughly 40% of the prison population is African American even though we comprise 13% of the total U.S. population.

City of Washington discovered 115 “ghost guns” in 2019

The Washington City Paper reports that the number of “ghost guns” police discovered in 2019 grew by 25% compared to the year before, or to more than 115 ghost guns. DC Police found only 3 such guns in 2017. Ghost guns are guns made from materials that can’t be found by metal detectors, such as the plastic used to print 3D guns. The DC Council has proposed a bill that would ban some but not all 3D printed guns. Some officials are worried that legislation doesn’t encompass enough of the various types of ghost guns. DC officials report that ghost guns were used in 3 homicides in 2019.

Dec 17, 2019




Mohamed Abdel-Kader (@MAKtweeter) is Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute. He previously served in the administration of President Barack Obama as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education at the US Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. In that role, Mohamed was responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of the cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States. He led his division’s work in administering grants for overseas studies and research programs funded through the Fulbright-Hays Act as well as Title VI grants to support language and area studies programs in the United States.

Before joining the US Department of Education, Mohamed served as the Director of Development for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and managed the university’s advancement strategy in the Middle East, where he focused on major gifts and strategic engagement. Previously, he developed international partnerships and led donor development efforts at George Mason University. He has advised a variety of clients on organizational strategy, doing business in emerging markets, intercultural communication, and cultural competency in international philanthropy.

He speaks fluent Arabic and basic Spanish, is a Truman National Security Fellow and is the author of a children’s book about stereotypes. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Mohamed is a trustee of the Longview Foundation for International Education & World Affairs.


Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute

Virtual Exchange Impact and Learning Report (Stevens Initiative, 2019)

News Roundup

Texas men plead guilty to committing hate crime against Grindr users

 Two Texas men admitted to using gay dating app Grindr to target gay men for hate crimes. The 24 and 18-year-old pleaded guilty to committing a hate crime, conspiracy to commit a hate crime, car jacking and use of a firearm, according to the Justice Department. The defendants used Grindr to lure gay men to a vacant apartment where they allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted them, forcing them to withdraw money from ATMs at gunpoint.  They face between 15 and 30 years for their crimes.

Groups file net neutrality appeal

Several tech companies and advocacy groups, including Mozilla, Etsy, Vimeo, Free Press, and Public Knowledge, among others, filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit asking the full panel of judges to reconsider the three-judge panel’s October decision to uphold the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama-era net neutrality rules. If the court grants the appeal petition, the full court will rehear the matter.

Senators Booker/Wyden call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address algorithmic biases in healthcare

Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma calling for action to address racial and ethnic biases in healthcare. The Senators specifically cited recent research published in Science magazine showing that doctors were more likely not to refer black patients for additional care since their healthcare costs are typically lower than those of white patients. The Senators also cited a 2016 study showing that medical students and residents thought that black patients have a higher threshold for pain than white patients, affecting treatment recommendations offered to black patients. The Senators requested answers to several questions as to how CMMS is addressing algorithmic bias in healthcare. The answers to those questions are due by December 31st.

ProPublica: Facebook still allows discrimination against women and older workers in ad targeting

 ProPublica reported last week that Facebook still allows advertisers to to discriminate based on age and gender even though the company made changes to its platform to prevent advertisers from explicit targeting discrimination. But a new report by Northeastern and Upturn found that advertisers can still discriminate based on proxies for age and gender. Targeting audiences based on software engineering as an occupation, for example, can yield a larger percentage of male applicants. Facebook is adamant that it has done more than any other company to address advertising bias.

New study finds increase in robocalls

A new report from Hiya, a company that tracks robocalls, released a report Monday showing that some 54.6 million robocalls were placed between January and November of this year—a 108 percent increase compared to last year. Congress is expected to pass legislation that will require phone carriers to block robocalls as well as verify that the phone numbers from which calls originate are legit.

Dec 10, 2019


Facebook and Civil Rights: What are the Options? with Ebonie Riley (Ep. 212)



Ebonie Riley currently serves as DC Bureau Chief of National Action Network’s Washington, DC Bureau. The function of the Bureau is to advocate for and influence Federal public policy that reflects the needs and desires of the communities based on the Action Agenda set forth by the National Action Networks national board and senior leadership. In this capacity, Ebonie serves as a conduit for information about what is happening in the halls of Congress, in the office and administration of the President, and United States Supreme Court. Moreover, she and her team work to educate lawmakers and other stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities facing communities, by advocating for more resources and polices that help invest and advance economic and social equality.

Ebonie’s government affairs portfolio includes criminal justice, federal sentencing reform, ending racial profiling, equal employment protection, access to comprehensive healthcare, immigration, access to quality education, women’s rights, environmental justice, voting rights protection, housing, among other various issues that impact social and economic status, mobility, prosperity and empowerment of urban and under served communities.

Prior to this role, she served as the Bureau’s Research and Policy Associate, analyzing legislation, drafts advocacy strategies, develops policy recommendations and monitors policy developments related to federal, state and local legislation while co-managing NAN’s Social Media.

During her time at NAN she has helped organized several events and marches including coordinating NAN’s 2015 National Convention, NAN’s events in Baltimore, MD after the death of Freddie Gray, the Justice For All March in December 2014, NAN’s Legislative & Policy Conferences in 2015 and 2014, the National Action to Realize the Dream Rally and March in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington with over 200,000 people in attendance and Justice For Trayvon 100 City Vigil in Washington, D.C. both in 2013, just to name a few.

Born in Chicago, Illinois and growing up in Severn, Maryland, Ms. Riley graduated from Ft. Meade Senior High School and attended UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in History. While at UMBC; she served as President of Africana Studies Council of Majors, while sitting on several academic research teams that focused on civil rights, voting rights, political behavior and attitudes, identity politics, race and representation, Congress, and elections. Specific interests include political engagement, civil rights law, voter turnout, voter suppression, and identity group politics.




National Action Network

News Roundup

LGBTQ+ groups call on Facebook to take down false drug ads

Several LGBTQ+ civil rights groups are calling on Facebook to take down an ad posted by lawyers apparently seeking to capitalize by spreading misinformation about Truvada for PrEP, which studies have shown helps reduce the risk of contracting HIV by 99%. According to groups including GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign and other groups, the lawyers are inaccurately claiming the drug causes certain side effects, and the groups are concerned that the ad will discourage people from taking the drug.

Pensacola hit by cyberattack

In a Facebook post, The City of Pensacola, Florida reported that it was the victim of a cyberattack over the weekend and into Monday, which took down much of the city’s network, including its online payment system and city government emails. 311 service was also affected. Pensacola Mayor Grover Robertson said in a press conference that it was not known whether the cyberattack was connected to last week’s shooting at the Pensacola Naval Station in which 3 people were killed and many others injured.

 TikTok lawsuits

Legal troubles are mounting for Chinese social media company TikTok, whose growth has been outpacing that of established social media platforms, including Facebook. Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, was already under federal investigation into potential ties to the Chinese government. Plaintiffs filed two lawsuits last week, one of which was settled. But a second lawsuit brought against ByteDance in the Northern District of California by a student alleges that TikTok is transferring private user data to the Chinese government.

Separately, German digital rights and digital culture blog NetzPolitik reported that TikTok has been blocking users with disabilities including overweight users and users with intellectual disabilities. Netzpolitik also reports that TikTok has been nbanning gay users as well. The company purports to ban these users so that they won’t be subjected to bullying.

Google Ads staff files retaliation complaint against Google

The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint last Tuesday claiming the company fired several employees in retaliation for their having joined or supported a labor group and protesting the company’s terms and conditions of employment. Reports also state that Google’s rules prevent employees from organizing.

Nov 5, 2019


The Common Law History of Section 230 with Brent Skorup (Ep. 208)



Brent Skorup (@bskorup) is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research areas include transportation technology, telecommunications, aviation, and wireless policy.

He serves on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and on the Texas DOT’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. He is also a member of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project.

The White House, the FCC, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and a dissenting opinion at the Illinois Supreme Court have cited his research. In addition to economics and law journal publication, he has authored pieces for National Affairs, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Air Traffic Management magazine, Regulation magazine, and elsewhere. He’s appeared as a TV and radio interview guest for news outlets like C-SPAN, NPR, CBS News, ABC News, and CNBC Asia.

Brent has a BA in economics from Wheaton College and a law degree from the George Mason University School of Law, where he was articles editor for the Civil Rights Law Journal. He was a legal clerk at the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and at the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before joining Mercatus, he was the Director of Research at the Information Economy Project, a law and economics university research center.



Mercatus Center


The Erosion of Publisher Liability in American Law by Brent Skorup and Jennifer Huddleston (Mercatus Center, 2019)


News Roundup


Zuckerberg, Facebook under mounting pressure over political ads


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to meet with civil rights leaders this week after his company has maintained its policy to leave up political ads containing false statements by politicians. The company has applied the policy unevenly, first allowing Donald Trump to maliciously post an ad with false information about Joe Biden; then leaving up an Elizabeth Warren ad containing false information designed to illustrate the absurdity of Facebook’s ad policy.  During a hearing, Zuckerberg also admitted to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that if she were to place a false political ad, that the company would probably leave it up. 


But Facebook is inexplicably removing false ads placed by Political  Action Committees. One notable example is an ad placed the Really Online Lefty League – ROLL – a Political Action Committee co-founded by Adriel Hampton – which falsely claimed that Lindsey Graham supports the New Green Deal. Hampton, an experienced marketing and political strategist, responded by filing to run for governor of California. Then gubernatorial candidate Hampton posted a false political ad and Facebook took it down, saying his campaign wasn’t legit—that it was just a ploy to place a false ad to see what Facebook would do. Even though Hampton says he fully expects to win the governorship, Facebook hasn’t reinstated the ad.


It’s a mess.


Top officials from the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg this week to express their concerns with Facebook’s political ad policy, which the company now says has been extended to the UK.


Facebook sued for age, gender bias in financial services ads


A plaintiff in San Francisco filed a potential class action federal lawsuit last week claiming that Facebook discriminates against users based on age and gender in determining who can see financial services ads.  The lawsuit comes 7-months after Facebook agreed to tailor its platform to avoid discrimination on the basis of age, gender and zip code for job, credit, and housing ads.


US launches Tik Tok investigation


The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has launched a national security investigation into Tik Tok, which is owned by the Chinese firm Bytedance. A bipartisan cohort of lawmakers including Democrat Chuck Schumer, Republican Marco Rubio, and Tennessee Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon have all expressed concern about how the Chinese government uses TikTok’s data. TikTok’s growth has been outpacing the growth of incumbent social media companies in the U.S.



Snowden: Facebook as untrustworthy as the NSA


Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is exiled in Russia for blowing the lid off the National Security Agency’s mass data collection practices six years ago, told ReCode’s Kara Swisher last week that Facebook is as untrustworthy as the NSA when it comes to privacy. But he didn’t limit his remarks to Facebook. He said that all tech companies are looking to exploit our personal data no matter the consequences. He also said that, on the surface, users may appear not to be concerned about how big tech companies handle their data but that, in reality, users are very concerned but feel powerless.


Five people shot and killed at Airbnb rental


Five people were shot and killed at an Airbnb rental Northern California during a Halloween party on Thursday. The rental listing on Airbnb prohibited parties and the renter claimed it was renting the space for family members who were suffering from smoke inhalation from the fires in the Los Angeles area. A witness reported to Buzzfeed that the shooting occurred with apparently no provocation. Airbnb has banned the renter from the platform.


China launches 5G network


Chinese officials announced last week that it would roll out 5G to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou 2 months ahead of schedule. The country also announced plans to roll out 5G to over 50 cities by the end of this year. While U.S. telecom companies have begun their 5G roll-out, it’s largely been rolled out on higher frequency bands than the 5G service that’s being rolled out in China. The lower frequency bands that China’s using cover a larger surface area, while the higher frequency bands U.S. companies are using are more powerful but cover less ground.


Corey Booker introduces bill to ban facial recognition in public housing


Senator Corey Booker has introduced a bill to ban facial recognition in public housing. The Senator cites the disproportionate impact that facial recognition technology threatens to have on the nation’s most vulnerable communities. The No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act targets public housing that receives funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Apple pledges $2.5 billion for California affordable housing


Apple announced that it will invest $2.5 billion to address California’s affordable housing shortage. Some of those funds will be applied statewide. Others will be allocated for projects in the Bay Area. Three hundred million dollars will go towards affordable housing on Apple-owned property.


Following Katie Hill’s resignation, Democrats push for revenge porn law


Thirty-five democrats in Congress sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee to pass a federal revenge porn law that would criminalize the nonconsensual posting of sexually explicit images online. The letter followed Congresswoman Katie Hill’s resignation from Congress after someone posted nude images depicting her and others as well as accusations that she was having inappropriate relations with campaign and congressional staffers. Hill blames her husband, whom she is in the process of divorcing, for posting the photos.



MIT president acknowledges discrimination against minorities and women on campus


Finally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Rafael Reif acknowledged last week that women and people of color often face exclusion and belittlement on campus and that it’s something the university is trying to improve. The development follows revelations of Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the university.

Sep 10, 2019




Malcom Glenn (@malcomglenn) is a writer, speaker, and public policy and communications specialist.


Malcom is currently the Head of Global Policy for Accessibility and Underserved Communities at Uber Technologies in Washington, DC, where he leads Uber's worldwide efforts to make the current and future platform more accessible for historically marginalized groups, spearheading the company's work to improve outcomes for people with disabilities, low-income families, communities of color, rural residents, seniors, and returning citizens, among many other groups facing barriers to transportation or work.


Malcom is a member of the board of directors for BUILD Metro DC, an organization that helps high school students from low-income backgrounds learn entrepreneurship skills, graduate from high school, and attend college. He's also on the board of directors for the World Institute on Disability, a Berkeley-based nonprofit that works to fully integrate people with disabilities into their communities. Malcom is a former fellow for the Transatlantic Digital Debates program, a joint venture of New America and the Global Public Policy Institute that's focused on building more long-term transatlantic cooperation in the digital age, particularly between Germany and the United States.


Malcom is a former executive communications manager at Google in Mountain View, CA, where he developed strategic communications for two of Google’s Chief Financial Officers, the head of the company's Access and Energy practice, as well as their respective leadership teams. 


Before joining Google, Malcom was the director of communications at the American Federation for Children, a leading national education advocacy organization focused on expanding educational options for children from low-income communities.


Malcom previously worked on issue campaigns at the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, where he helped organizations hone their messages.


A native of Denver, CO, Malcom graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in history, where he was the president of The Harvard Crimson, the nation's oldest continuously published daily college newspaper.





Uber - Community


Uber - Accessibility


Malcom Glenn




Google and Facebook come under intense scrutiny as attorneys general throughout the country and the DOJ open investigations , Paypal suspends an account linked to the KKK and can Uber solve transportation inquality? Malcom Glenn is my guest for this, episode 200


News Roundup


50 Attorneys General launch Google investigation


The Attorneys General from 50 states and territories launched an antitrust investigation into Google Monday. Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are represented among those that filed lawsuits. California and Alabama abstained.


Attorneys General coalition announces Facebook investigation


Another coalition of attorneys general from eight (8) states announced an investigation into Facebook on Friday. The coalition, led by New York State AG Letitia James, will investigate Facebook’s dominance in social media. 


DOJ requests documents from Google


In addition, the Department of Justice made a document request from Google and its parent company Alphabet on Friday. Alphabet says the document request is for documents released during a prior antitrust investigation.


PayPal suspends account linked to KKK


PayPal suspended the account of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for six days. PayPal had pledged to suspend accounts seeking to raise money for hate groups. And the Loyal White Knights profile linked to a landing page requesting donations. Now the link points to a page that’s no longer accepting donations, the Hill reports.


Flagstaff schools close following breach


Public schools in Flagstaff, Arizona shut down last week following a ransomware attack. In an effort to find the bug and prevent a re-infection, schools closed Friday as the school district investigated all of the computers issued to teachers and staff. Schools re-opened on Monday morning.


14 women sue Lyft alleging that they were attacked by drivers who turned out to be sexual predators


Fourteen anonymous women sued Lyft in San Francisco claiming that they were attacked or kidnapped by Lyft drivers. The lawsuit alleges that Lyft mishandled the investigation of the drivers, keeping them on despite the reports. Five of the women, including one woman who is blind, claimed they were raped.


8chan founder testifies in House hearing


Jim Watkins, the founder of 8chan-the message board on which alleged mass shooters posted manifestos before their rampages, gave a deposition to the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday. In his prepared testimony, Watkins wrote “"My company has no intention of deleting constitutionally protected hate speech”. The statement came the same day a federal court in the Northern District of California ruled that a man was barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from suing Facebook for treating his alleged hate speech more strictly than similar content posted by white users.

Aug 20, 2019



Patrick van Kessel (@pvankessel) is a senior data scientist at Pew Research Center, specializing in computational social science research and methodology. He is the author of studies that have used natural language processing and machine learning to measure negative political discourse and news sharing behavior by members of Congress on social media, and is involved in the ongoing development of best practices for the application of data science methods across the Center. Van Kessel received his master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago, where he focused on open-ended survey research and text analytics. He holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Pew Research Center, he worked at NORC at the University of Chicago as a data scientist and technical advisor on a variety of research projects related to health, criminal justice and education.




Pew Research Center


Many Turn to YouTube for Children’s Content, News, How-to Lessons  by Aaron Smith, Skye Toor, and Patrick van Kessel


News Roundup


Trump falsely claims that Google manipulated millions of votes


In a tweet Monday, President Trump cited a debunked study to claim that Google manipulated between 2.6 million and 16 million votes. Even the author of the study Trump cited, Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, said the president’s claim was false. Here’s the president’s tweet: “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Epstein says the report showed bias but not that Google manipulated votes. The report has been discredited many times since its release in 2017.


Beto O’Rourke wants to hold tech companies accountable for hate speech


Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he wants to hold tech companies accountable for hate speech, despite the fact that Section 230 shields tech companies from liability for content posted by third parties. The proposal is part of a sweeping gun reform proposal O’Rourke released and looks to connect the dots between online radicalization and real-world violence.


FCC considering making ‘988’ a national suicide prevention hotline


The Federal Communications Commission is considering designating the digits 988 as a national suicide prevention and mental health hotline. The proposal was laid out in a Joint Report to Congress last week by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and analytics. It’s endorsed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.


LGBTQ+ content creators sue YouTube


A class of LGBTQ+ content creators is suing YouTube for allegedly discriminating against their content. The complaint states that YouTube concealed their content, limited their subscribers, and thwarted their ability to sell ads, according to The Hill. The case is filed in the Northern District of California, San Jose division. YouTube says their algorithms don’t demonetize or discriminate against content posted by the LGBTQ+ community.



Facebook, YouTube say China spreading misinformation about Hong Kong


Facebook and YouTube announced Monday that China has been using the platforms to spread misinformation about the uprising in Hong Kong. Twitter says it found 936 accounts originating from China that Twitter found were designed to spread discord in Hong Kong. Prompted by Twitter, Facebook found seven pages, three groups and five accounts spreading misinformation which collectively boasted some 15,000 users. Some 200,000 accounts were active in spreading misinformation, according to Facebook. Facebook said it’s striving to continually improve. Twitter suspended the accounts.


FCC to increase oversight of broadband subsidies


Finally, The FCC has a proposal on circulation that would increase oversight of the Lifeline program—the federal subsidy for broadband that offers users $9.25 per month to help defray the cost of broadband in low-income households—according to a report in The Hill. The FCC is zeroing in on “waste, fraud and abuse” it says pervades the program. An FCC Inspector General report found Lifeline subsidies were going to some 50,000 deceased individuals.

Jul 23, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_lauren mccarty


5G Broadband Beyond Faster Speeds with Lauren McCarty (Ep. 194)

Nokia's Lauren McCarty joined Joe Miller to discuss the potential for 5G beyond faster speeds on Ep. 194 of the WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast.


News Roundup


 FaceApp Terms of Service Prompt Angst Among Lawmakers


FaceApp, a viral app created by Russian firm Wireless Lab sparked privacy concerns and angst among law makers last week. Faceapp allows users to upload selfies and lets users see what they’d look like if they swapped genders or what they’re likely to look like 50 years from now.


The app’s terms of service, though, which few of us actually reads, leaves it within Faceapp’s sole discretion to terminate your access to its services, even if losing access causes you loss or harm. The terms also reserve FaceApp’s right to store your pictures, even after you remove them, to “including and without limitation” comply with certain U.S. and foreign regulations, which could be those of any government in the world, including the Russian government.  The terms acknowledge that Faceapp uses an artificial intelligence algorithm that enables its ability to alter your photos.


Senator Chuck Schumer called for the FBI and FTC to investigate, saying in a letter to the agencies that the app could pose “national security and privacy risks for millions of U.S. citizens”.


Senate passes bill to criminalize voting systems hacking


Partially in response to the domestic hacking of election systems, and partially in response to Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election that was alleged in the Mueller report, the Senate has passed a bill which would criminalize the hacking of voter machines to gain access to voter data. The Defending the Integrity of Voting Systems Act passed by unanimous consent on Wednesday night. Senators Whitehouse,  Blumenthal, and Graham introduced the legislation earlier this year.




President’s plea to Trump supporters on the fence: download the app


The Washington Post reported last week that Trump’s re-election campaign is trying to shore up support via a new app that campaign officials say will be released in the coming weeks. The mobile will allow Trump supports to organize in their local communities and register to vote.


Feinstein targets social media bots spreading misinformation

Social media bots are widely seen to have played a decisive role in spreading misinformation in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In fact Symantec released a report in June showing that Russia’s propaganda program in that election cycle was even more extensive than was originally thought. So Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced legislation to prohibit campaigns from using these spam bots to “subvert future elections”.  It’s called the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act.


Maxine Waters, Senate Banking Committee, Trump, Mnuchin all highly skeptical of Facebook’s Libra

Powerful lawmakers including Maxine Waters and most of the Senate Banking Committee, as well as administration officials including the president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are all highly skeptical of Facebook’s new cryptocurrency, Libra. Senator Sherrod Brown on the Senate Banking Committee was especially vocal in his opposition to the currency during a hearing in which Facebook’s lead for the project, David Marcus, testified. Brown was incredulous that after Facebook which “moved fast and broke our political discourse … broke journalism,  helped incite a genocide and … undermin[ed] our democracy” now wants to have a global cryptocurrency available to its 2 billion+ users that would be a global, commercial version of the Federal Reserve. Republicans on the panel also expressed opposition including Banking Commission Chairman Mike Crapo, who suggested the creation of a separate regulatory agency to deal with cryptocurrency.


In the House, Maxine Waters announced that she will be calling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in to testify.


Amazon hires Trump ally to bolster lobbying on Pentagon contract

Amazon has hired Trump ally Jeff Miller to lobby on behalf of the company to win approval to work on a $10 billion “war cloud” contract for the Pentagon. Earlier in the week, Trump had expressed opposition to the contract. Republicans are also urging the president not to thwart the contract.


Sanders, Omar urge investigation into working conditions at Amazon warehouse


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar were joined by 10 other members of Congress in a letter to the Department of Labor asking the agency to investigate working conditions at an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota where workers protested about working conditions.


Real Estate Agent Tanya Gersh scores $14m victory against Daily Stormer Founder Andrew Anglin

A magistrate judge in the Federal District of Montana, Missoula Division recommended that Chief Judge Dana Christensen enter a default judgement of $14 million in damages against the founder of a neo-Nazi website. Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin had twice failed to appear for his deposition in the case brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of Ms. Gersh back in 2017. The suit contends that Anglin initiated a “troll storm” against real estate agent Tanya Gersh after Gersh advised the mother of alt-right figure Richard Spencer to denounce her sons views in order to sell her property. Judge Christensen has already ruled in favor Gersh, finding that the First Amendment doesn’t protect harassing speech, so now it’s just a question of whether Judge Christensen will sign off on the magistrate judge’s damages recommendation.





Tues., July 23

American Federation for Children

Parents and Students Share their Vision for Twenty-First Century Education in America

11:45pm – 1pm

Senate Visitors Center, Room 202


Congressional Caucus on Smart Cities

Smart Campuses 101: Introduction to the Future


Rayburn House Office Building, Rm. 2044


Population Association of America

Drawing a Line: How We Measure Poverty and Why it Matters


Rayburn, 2043

Wed., July 24

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Anti-Semitism: The World’s Oldest Hatred – New Again


Rayburn House Office Building Rm. 2168


Girls in Tech

Venture Capital 101



1301 K St., NW


Girl Scouts of America

Ready for Takeoff: Girl Scouts and Space Science


Rayburn, 2325


Government Affairs Industry Network

Career Transitions:  Expectations v. Reality


Covington & Burling

850 10th St., NW


Leader Schumer+Senate

Diversity Ice Cream Social


Hart Senate Office Building, 902


U.S. Department of Energy

Modernizing the Grid for American Security, Innovation, and Economic Growth


Rayburn, 2253



Mon., July 29


Public Opinion Strategies

What’s Next for Patient Experience Measurement?


Dirksen Senate Office Building, G50


May 21, 2019




Luis Avila (@phoenikera) is the President and Founder of Iconico Campaigns, a company that works to build advocacy capacity in organizations around the country. Migrating in 2000 from Mexico, Luis stayed in the U.S. to attend college, where he developed projects with people involved in arts, politics and social justice.  In 2004, Luis learned about civic participation in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of the American Freedom Summer program. He collaborated with organizers and leaders to advocate for the DREAM Act, fight against SB1070 and challenge Sheriff Joe Arpaio's discriminatory practices in Arizona. In 2008, Luis joined the Obama campaign where he got insight on cornerstone aspects of electoral organizing. This knowledge, paired with technologies developed to boost volunteer engagement, is applied now in all his advocacy and community engagement work. Luis spearheaded Somos América in 2011, the largest immigrant-rights coalition in Arizona, and currently sits on the Boards of Advisors of the National Council for La Raza and The New Teacher Project, an organization working to end education inequality. A long-time family and community engagement expert, Luis has designed engagement models for domestic and international organizations and school systems. In 2016, he served as Nevada's Democratic Coordinated Campaign Field Director, contributing to major victories in the state legislature, electing the first Latina Senator and delivering the state to Hillary Clinton, and he’s currently launching Instituto, an organization to build political infrastructure in communities of color in Arizona.






News Roundup

The FCC signals that it will approve the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, China’s Huawei has a tough week as President Trump limits its U.S.-based business, and Luis Avila is my guest


FCC signals Sprint/TMobile approval

The Trump administration appears divided over whether to approve the Sprint/TMobile merger. The companies say if the merger’s approved they’ll have 5G built out to the entire country in 6 years. Sprint says they’ll also sell prepaid wireless company Boost mobile. FCC Chair Ajit Pai says the merger conditions the companies are proposing are adequate and said he’d approve the deal. The two other Republicans on the Commission signaled their support as well giving the deal the majority it needs at the FCC. Policy expert Gigi Sohn says though that over at the DOJ’s antitrust division, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim is saying the conditions aren’t enough.


Tough week for Huawei


Chinese device manufacturer Huawei had a tough week last week as President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that bans American telecom companies from installing foreign-made equipment that could pose a national security threat. American officials have accused the company of violating an American trade embargo against Iran and with assisting China with spying on U.S. companies. Since Trump issued the order, Google parent Alphabet has suspended doing business with Huawei, outside of what’s available via open source, by revoking the Android licensing deal the tech giant had with Huawei.


President Trump creates story database to collect stories of conservatives being censored on social media


Looks like the White House wants to set up its own social network to compete with Twitter and Facebook. The White House has created a creepy new database that lets conservatives report instances in which they’ve been censored on social media platforms. The President is attempting to get users to opt-in to a separate White House newsletter that purports to allow anyone, irrespective of their political views, to receive updates without relying on Facebook and Twitter.


The White House also decided not to sign on to a multinational campaign created by Christchurch, New Zealand to stamp out online hate speech. The White House says the effort would dilute the freedom of speech. 18 other countries, including many of America’s allies, disagreed.


Johns Hopkins releases free online course on gun violence prevention


Johns Hopkins has released a free online course where users can learn how to prevent and protect against gun violence. The course contains six modules taught by experts, including mental health professionals. It’s entitled Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change and its intended to equip students to use research to combat gun violence in America.


Carriers claim to stop collecting geolocation data but evidence suggests otherwise


Major wireless carriers including AT&T and Verizon have claimed that they have stopped sharing geolocation data with third party bounty hunters. But the the facts suggest otherwise. Congressman Mike Doyle notes that the number of complaints about police departments and others unauthorized (and unconstitutional, for that matter) surveillance of individuals has been on the rise. AT&T has acknowledged that it took advantage of a loophole in a Communications Act privacy provision that doesn’t cover a type of geolocation data known as A-GPS which AT&T’s Joan Marsh says is less precise than location data covered by the National Emergency Address Database.


Amazon releases HQ2 plan for Arlington

Amazon released its plan for 2 LEED-certified 22 story office buildings in Arlington. There will be 50,000 square feet of street level space for retail and restaurants.


San Francisco becomes first city to ban facial recognition technology


San Francisco became the first city to ban the use of facial recognition technology. The ordinance passed by a vote of 8-1 and is headed to Mayor London Breed for her signature.




Tues., 5/21

New America

2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index

740 15th Street NW



House Judiciary Committee

Full Committee Hearing: Understanding the Digital Advertising Ecosystem

Dirksen 226



House Homeland Security Committee

Growing and Diversifying Our Cyber Talent Pipeline

310 Cannon


City Year

Idealist Gala

Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania

6PM Reception/7PM Program and Dinner


MIT Enterprise Forum

Celebrating Entrepreneurship in Our Nation’s Capital

600 Mass. Ave.



Wed., 5/22

Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide Conferences

Goes through 5/24

Vint Cerf Keynotes

Georgetown University Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy

37th/O NW


House Oversight Committee

Facial Recognition Technology (Part 1): Its Impact on our Civil Rights and Liberties

2154 Rayburn



House Energy & Commerce Committee

Full Committee Hearing on “LIFT America: Modernizing Our Infrastructure for the Future”

2123 Rayburn House Office Building

10 AM


Tues., 5/28

New York University Center for Critical Race & Digital Studies

2019 Critical Race and Digital Studies Conference

NYU Washington D.C., 1307 L St., NW



Sat, 6/1

DC Stem Network




Apr 23, 2019




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.




National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)


Lack of Internet Access Threatens 2020 Census Success and the Future of Latino Voting Power by Daiquiri Ryan





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


News Roundup


Mueller report says Russians attempted to hack Hillary Clinton’s data just 5 hours after Trump called for it, then CIA warns the world over 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.


CIA warns UK over Huawei


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.


Facebook uploaded 1.5 million email addresses without consent

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.


Twitter left up death threats against Ilhan Omar


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.




DOJ: Sprint/T-Mobile not likely to survive scrutiny


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.



Law enforcement’s increased reliance on Google


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.


Microsoft turns down California law enforcement request for AI


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.

Apr 9, 2019




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)



News Roundup


Net neutrality bill looks increasingly unlikely

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 ramps up tech scrutiny

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 cancels AI ethics board


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 to Amazon: stop selling facial recognition technology


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 vows to focus on discrimination at employee meetings

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

Hearing on Hate Crimes and White Nationalism

Today, Tues., 4/9 at 10AM

Rayburn 2141, Streaming


Federal Trade Commission

FTC Hearing #12: Competition and Consumer Protection

Tues., 4/9 and Wed., 4/10

Constitution Center

400 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20024



Senate Judiciary Committee

Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse

Wed., 4/10 at 2:30PM

Dirksen 226, Streaming


Senate Commerce Committee

Illegal Robocalls: Calling all to stop the scourge

Thurs, 4/11 at 10AM

216 Hart, Streaming



How Will Emerging Technologies Affect the Future of Work

Fri., 4/12 at 10AM

1775 Massachusetts Ave.. NW


FCC Open Meeting

Fri., 4/12 at 10:30AM

445 12th St. SW

Commission Meeting Room, Streaming


Mar 26, 2019

techpolicypodcast/washingtech/mauren k ohlhausen


Maureen K. Ohlhausen: Should Antitrust Law Rein in Big Tech? (Ep. 179)

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.


Baker Botts – Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Group

Here’s how we can break up big tech by Elizabeth Warren (Ms. Ohlhausen argues against.)

News Roundup

Facebook blocks race, age, gender, ZIP code ad targeting for housing, employment, credit

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.

Dems plan to vote on net neutrality bill on April 8th

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.

Security firm: Facebook stored user data in plain text for years

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.

Cummings demands documents related to Kushner’s use of encrypted app for official business

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.

FCC to pay $43k in settlement for not releasing fake comments records

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.

Nunes suing Twitter

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.

Trump finally names a CTO

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

Hudson  Institute

How Does the U.S. Maintain its Competitive Edge in 5G?


1201 Pennsylvania Ave.

It will be livestreamed


Senate Commerce Committee

Hearing on Small Business Perspectives on the Federal Data Privacy Framework

2:30pm – Dirksen 562


Wednesday March 27th

House Judiciary Committee

Lost Einsteins: Lack of Diversity in Patent Inventorship and the Impact on America’s Innovation Economy


2141 Rayburn


March 29th


Stephen Bryer Lecture: Digital Technology in the age of artificial intelligence: A comparative perspective

10:30-12 noon

Falk Auditorium @ Brookings

1776 Massachussetts, NW

There will be a webcast for this as well.

Mar 12, 2019


Tom Wheeler: Gutenberg, Google, Darwin & Beyond (Ep. 177)

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.


Brookings Governance Studies

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)

The Root of the Matter: Data & Duty: Rules of the New Digital Economy Should Look to Old Common Law Traditions (Harvard: Kennedy, 2018)

The Supreme Court and House Democrats Breathe New Life into Net Neutrality (Brookings, 2018)

Who Makes the Rules in the new gilded age? (Brookings, 2018)


News Roundup

Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up big tech

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.

Democrats announce net neutrality bill

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 details plan for government-owned 5G

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.

Huawei sues the U.S.

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 spent $195k at Trump hotel

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.

A ‘Greenbook’ for bigots

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

Hearing on Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet

Tues., 3/12, 11:00AM

Rayburn 2322



House E&C Committee, Comms & Tech SubComm

The Impact of Broadband Investments in Rural America

Tues., 3/12, 2:30PM

Hart, Rm. 216



Voters to Policymakers: Bridging the Digital Divide Inlcudes Unlicensed Spetrum

Thurs., 3/14, 9:30AM

Dirksen, Rm. 562



Federal Communications Commission Monthly Meeting

Friday, 3/15, 12:30-2:30

445 12th St., NW

Washington, D.C.



Aug 21, 2018




Otessa Marie Ghadar (Instagram: @otessa_, @dcwebfest, @2020newmedia, @hardDCcore)  is an award-winning digital storyteller who uses writing, filmmaking, photography, and technology to share her narratives and build communities. As one of the web series medium’s earliest adopters, Otessa is a true forerunner of digital media. Starting in 2006, Otessa’s web series "Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden" is now the longest continually running show online, with an international audience in over 145 countries. 

Otessa founded the DC Web Fest (one of the first of its kind & now in its 7th year) out of the need for digital content creators to showcase their works, inspiring creativity and innovation. 

As an Adjunct Professor at American University, and through additional guest lecturing, Otessa uses her passions to guide the next generation of digital storytellers. Stemming from her knowledge and expertise, she published the world’s first new media textbook called "The Wild West of Film."

In addition to speaking, she also enjoys exhibiting her work, having shown work as part of FotoWeek DC, Transformer Gallery, The National Museum for Women in the Arts, amongst others. 

A newly initiated Google Next Generation Policy leader, Otessa works diligently to increase technology awareness and innovation among minority and marginalized communities

She resides in Washington DC, and is currently working on her next trans-media project -- the Young Adult Science Fiction series, "Lemma."

She Completed her Graduate Film Studies at Columbia University's film school in NYC.


Otessa Marie Ghadar

DC Web Fest

hardDCCore series

She So Crazy series

Orange Juice in Bishops Garden series

The Wild West of Film by Otessa Ghadar

20/20 Productions: perfect vision new medi


News Roundup

HUD and DOJ back Facebook advertising discrimination lawsuit

The Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Justice last week backed a lawsuit that housing justice advocates brought back in March alleging that Facebook allows advertisers to discriminate against certain groups. The lawsuit alleges that Facebook facilitates unlawful discrimination by allowing advertisers to exclude keywords that are closely associated with those groups and zip codes in which certain demographics reside. HUD filed a formal administrative complaint, which was then followed up by a statement of interest by the DOJ.

Former Tesla security employee files whistleblower complaint

Tesla’s problems escalated a bit last week-the week following Founder and CEO Elon Musk’s August 7th tweet saying that investors were interested in taking the company private. A former Tesla security employee named Martin Trip has now filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission claiming that he was fired for raising allegations internally that Tesla had failed to report to investors the theft of some $37 million in raw materials from the Gigafactory -- Tesla’s lithium-ion battery production plant in Nevada. The complaint also alleges that Tesla spies on employees and that some Tesla employees engage in drug trafficking.

The SEC is already investigating Tesla and Elon Musk to determine whether Musk’s tweet was designed to inflate share prices.

Pushback on Google’s China Plans

According to a companywide meeting transcript obtained by Reuters, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced last week that, contrary to rumors, the company is not close to launching a search engine in China. To launch such a search engine, Google would need to comply with China’s censorship regulations, a move that has raised internal resistance from many Google employees.

In other Google-related news, a new class action lawsuit alleges that Google continues to track users after they turned off their location settings. The case is Patacsil v Google Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Alex Jones drama continues

The Department of Justice is suing the alleged operators of a pirate radio station in Austin, Texas who were allegedly using a makeshift facility in an apartment complex to illegally broadcast Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories to 90.1FM without a license, via an extension cord. The FCC levied a $15,000 fine against the station operators back in 2014, but the station owners refuse to pay it, claiming that the FCC doesn’t have jurisdiction to levy the fine.

Meanwhile, Vimeo joined the long list of internet companies that have booted Alex Jones for violating their terms of service. Twitter has also suspended Jones. President Trump tweeted that internet companies are discriminating against conservative content and that he may “get involved”

Pai: White House called him regarding Sinclair

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai told the Senate Commerce Committee during an oversight hearing last week that White House counsel Don McGahn contacted him to make a “status inquiry” immediately after Pai announced back in July that he and the FCC had serious concerns about the ill-fated merger of Sinclair and Tribune Media.  But Pai insists that the White House did not interfere in the proceeding.

Melania Trump speaks out on cyberbullying

First Lady Melania Trump spoke out against cyberbullying at a Rockville summit on Monday as part of her Be Best initiative. The remarks come days after President Trump called Omarosa Manigault a “dog” on Twitter, underscoring a disconnect between the East and West wings of the White House on their approaches to cyberbullying.

Netflix signs Kenya Barris

Finally, Netflix has signed showrunner Kenya Barris to a multi-year deal to produce a new tv series. Barris created ABC’s successful “black-ish” about an upper-middle class black family, as well as last summer’s movie hit “Girl’s Trip”. The Wall Street Journal reports that Barris negotiated an early exit from the Disney-owned TV network after it refused to air a black-ish episode that featured a plot about athletes kneeling during the national anthem. Barris will be joining Shonda Rhimes at Netflix.

Jul 31, 2018



Jennifer Becker: Confronting Tech-Enabled Domestic Violence (Ep. 148)

Legal Momentum's Jennifer Becker joined Joe Miller for Part 2 of our series on how perpetrators use technology to engage in domestic violence.


Jennifer Becker is Deputy Legal Director and National Judicial Education Program (NJEP) Senior Attorney. At Legal Momentum, Jennifer is engaged in a range of litigation, education, and policy on issues of gender-based discrimination and violence, including efforts to strengthen state gender-based violence statutes and reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act. Jennifer has presented nationally and internationally on issues related to gender equality and gender-based violence. Jennifer is engaged in NJEP’s judicial training and technical assistance efforts and has developed and presented information about sexual assault and the intersection of sexual assault and domestic violence at national and state judicial conferences and multidisciplinary conferences.

Jennifer is a former sex crimes and child abuse prosecutor, having served for seven years in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office in Bronx, NY. During that time she handled hundreds of such cases throughout all stages of the criminal justice process. Prior to joining Legal Momentum, Jennifer was the Title IX Coordinator for the New York City public school system, a district of more than 1 million students and 135,000 employees. In that role she was responsible for overseeing gender equity compliance, including responding to and investigating sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in schools. Jennifer has developed and conducted trainings for attorneys and non-legal staff on substantive issues related to gender equity laws, discrimination, criminal law, and litigation techniques and strategies. 

Jennifer is an active member of the New York City Bar Association Sex and Law Committee and co-chair of the New York County Lawyers Association Women in Law Committee. She is a graduate of CUNY Law School and Quinnipiac University. 


Legal Momentum

Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse (N.Y. Times, June 23, 2018)

News Roundup

Facebook posts biggest single-day loss in stock market history

Facebook’s market value dropped $119 billion Thursday after the company released a poor quarterly report.  The single-day drop was the biggest in stock market history and represented 19% of Facebook’s market cap , taking it down to $510 billion. In its quarterly report, Facebook reported usership that fell short of expectations by 20 million active daily users, and its  revenue fell short of analyst estimates by some $130 million for the second quarter. And at $1.72 Facebook’s earnings per share was also two cents lower than Thompson Reuters had estimated.

Facebook and Amazon set lobbying records in 2Q18

Facebook and Amazon set new lobbying records for themselves in the second quarter, spending over $7 million combined on its lobbying efforts. This is according to lobbying disclosure records. Facebook spent $3.6 million to deal with the Cambridge Analytica and Russian hacking debacles. Amazon spent some $3.47 million.  Google spent its fair amount on lobbying as well, coming in at $5.9 million for the second quarter alone. Ali Breland reports in Politico.

Is Trump doing enough to stave off Russian attacks on the midterms?

President Donald Trump met with members of the National Security Council on Friday to discuss cyber threats to the rapidly approaching midterm election. The White House released a statement that said in part, “The president has made it clear that his Administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation state or other malicious actors.” The statement made no specific mention of Russia.  

But the president tweeted that he is concerned that Russia might help Democrats—even though Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during the infamous Helsinki Summit that he wanted Trump to be re-elected in 2020. In addition, the Daily Beast reported that Russian hackers recently attempted to access Senator Claire McCaskill’s emails as she launched her 2018 re-election bid. Senator McCaskill acknowledged the attempt, saying it was “not successful”.

House Democrats said that the White House’s effort to prevent election interference is insubstantial. They want a more robust action plan from the White House. And Politico reported that most states are unprepared for cyberattacks. Even though Congress appropriated $380 million back in March to help states replace their voting machines, Politico reports that only 14 states and DC plan to do so before he 2020 presidential election.

Over in the UK, British lawmakers are proposing that tech companies be held liable for publishing fake news on their sites.

Facebook signs binding agreement with Washington State not to help advertisers target customers on the basis of race

Facebook signed a binding agreement with Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson last week in which the company promised not to allow advertisers to target users on the basis of race. This would include ads for housing, employment, credit, insurance and “public accommodations”. However, advertisers may not need to target race directly. They could target and exclude on the basis of race using non-racial proxies for race. Facebook could potentially still have the ability to cross-reference facial recognition data and users’ likes and dislikes to build psychometric profiles that show trends that correlate with race, which advertisers could then use without creating a paper trail.


DOJ Investigates Sinclair

Finally, the Justice Department is now investigating whether Sinclair, Tribune and others engaged in anticompetitive behavior that affected advertising sales rates. The Wall Street Journal reports that the DOJ is looking into whether Sinclair and Tribune coordinated in such a way as to generate higher rates for tv ad spots. The DOJ had stumbled upon potential evidence of coordination practices as it was reviewing Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune, which is now in the hands of administrative law judge after the FCC voted unanimously not to approve the acquisition.

Jul 17, 2018


Natalie Salmanowitz: How Virtual Reality Can Help Mitigate Implicit Bias (Ep. 146)


Natalie Salmanowitz (@nsalmanowitz) is a rising 3L at Harvard Law School and is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. After studying neuroscience at Dartmouth College, she went to Duke University for a master’s degree in Bioethics and Science Policy before spending a year at Stanford Law School as a fellow in the Neuroscience and Society Program.


The Impact of Virtual Reality on Implicit Racial Bias and Mock Legal Decisions by Natalie Salmanowitz (Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 2018)

What Money Can’t Buy by Michael J. Sandel

News Roundup

FBI indicted 12 Russians in connection with 2016 DNC Hack

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced a DC Grand Jury indictment of 12 Russians charged with hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016. They’re all GRU members, which is Russia’s intelligence agency. And one of the defendants is accused of hacking into state election systems themselves. Intelligence officials say Russia intended for the hacks to help Donald Trump. But during a presser following his closed-door meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, the President sided with Russia. This was met with strong rebukes from U.S. intelligence officials and Republicans.

Meanwhile, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates warns of an imminent “crippling cyber attack on our critical infrastructure”. He names Russia as “the most aggressive foreign actor, no question.” And CNN reports that a Kremlin-linked internet company, Mail.Ru, had access to a Facebook app that collected user data without their consent.

FCC changes consumer complaint rules

The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission passed a new rule last week that will require consumers to pay a $225 fee to file formal complaints with the agency. Democrats were livid, with Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel calling the rule change “bonkers”, and FCC Chairman Pai passed the rules over the objections of Democratic representatives Frank Pallone and Mike Doyle. They’re concerned the rule change will dilute the impact of informal complaints.

Purdue study: Airbnb benefits local economies in white neighborhoods. Black and Latino neighborhoods? Not so much.

A new study of Purdue University, that looks at Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yelp data, has found that Airbnb’s economic benefits local economies—with one wrinkle: it’s mainly neighborhoods that are predominantly white. The study specifically looked at the spillover effect to local economies when Airbnb guests stay there by evaluating how many new jobs were created in area restaurants. Apparently, Airbnb guests are less likely to eat at restaurants surrounding Airbnbs in neighborhoods where the black or Latino population exceeds 50%, than they are in predominantly white neighborhoods.

U.S. Lifts Ban on ZTE

The Trump administration lifted its ban against ZTE on Friday. The ban required U.S. companies to refrain from contracting with Chinese telecom manufacturer ZTE because U.S. intelligence officials accused ZTE of lying about how it was handling sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Justice Department to appeal AT&T/Time Warner

Finally, The Justice Department announced that it would be appealing the DC Court of Appeals decision approving AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. This re-opens litigation that could have major implications for how courts and the federal government will consider vertical mergers.

Jul 10, 2018

George Joseph: Palantir and the Police (Ep. 145)

Palantir and the police have joined forces in Los Angeles to crunch the city's suspect database. George Joseph joined Joe Miller to discuss what this means for local communities and individuals who are disproportionately targeted by surveillance.


George Joseph (@GeorgeJoseph94) is criminal justice reporgter at The Appeal. Formerly, he was a reporting fellow at Demos focusing on surveillance, immigration, law enforcement, and the entry of big data in criminal justice systems. His work has appeared in outlets such as The Guardian, NPR, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Verge, Slate, and CityLab.


The Appeal

The LAPD Has a New Surveillance Formula, Powered by Palantir by George Joseph


Trump nominates Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Washington Post’s Ann Marimow reports that even though Kavanaugh clerked for the justice he would replace—Justice Anthony Kennedy—Kavanaugh’s ideology is far to the right of Kennedy’s, and he has a broad view when it comes to presidential authority. For example, in his 12 years as a judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Kavanaugh has supported military tribunals for terrorism suspects and restructuring the consumer financial protection bureau. As far as tech is concerned, Kavanaugh issued a dissent in the case that upheld the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules, arguing that Congress did not provide the FCC with clear statutory authority to issue the rules. Kavanaugh needs just 50 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.

Trump’s trade war

China’s Commerce Ministry on Friday accused Trump of using bullying tactics to launch “the biggest trade war in economic history”, after the White House began implementing a 25% tariff against Chinese goods, which will cost China an estimated $34 billion, according to CNN. China retaliated with another $34 billion worth of tariffs against American produce. The tech sector decries Trump’s tariffs, with ITI’s Josh Kallmer saying they would harm American consumers and businesses. Trump may have another $16 billion worth of tariffs coming against China later this month.

Facebook faces more scrutiny

As if the scrutiny of Facebook couldn’t get any worse, the FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Federal Trade Commission will now join the wide-ranging investigation into how it and Cambridge Analytica shared the data of 71 million Americans in 2015. The investigation is trying, among other things, to understand more about why Facebook failed to disclose its data-sharing practices.

It was also reported last week that Facebook suffered another mishap in late May and early June in which a bug caused it to temporarily unblock accounts that some 800,000 users had previously blocked. The company also came under fire for deleting a post containing references to “Indian savages”—it turns out the post was an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence—so Facebook apologized for that as well.  Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg has surpassed Warren Buffet for the third spot on the list of the world’s richest people. Zuck is work $81.6 billion—behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Inspector General: DC Metro susceptible to cyberattack

The DC Metro is susceptible to cyberattack, according to a leaked Inspector General’s report that was presented to Metro’s board of directors last month. The report cites vulnerabilities that threaten Metro’s rail traffic control systems, gas and fire sensors, the power grid, station ventilation, an voice and data communications. Martine Powers reports in the Washington Post.

Report: Amazon still selling Nazi paraphernalia

Amazon is still selling Nazi paraphernalia, according to a new report by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race & the Economy. The report listed a swastika pendant, cross burning baby onesie for girls, stickers and decals, and even music among the products. Amazon had promised last year to stop selling items featuring the Confederate flag but the company was found to have kept a lot of those products active.

Twitter deleted 70 million accounts in May and June

Finally, Twitter deleted 70 million fake accounts and bots in May and June this year, according to the Washington Post. This would significantly reduce Twitter’s user base, but lately the social media company has been increasing its usership, which has led to more investment in the company. The Washington Post reports that Twitter has been deleting accounts at the same rate in July.

May 30, 2017

How can policymakers balance consumers' need for targeted, relevant content against such consumers' desire for privacy? Anindya Ghose (@aghose) is a Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences and a Professor of Marketing at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. He is the Director of the Center for Business Analytics at NYU Stern, and the co-Chair of the NYU-AIG Partnership on Innovation for Global Resilience. He is the NEC Faculty Fellow and a Daniel P. Paduano Fellow of Business Ethics at NYU Stern. He has been a Visiting Associate Professor at the Wharton School of Business. He also serves as the main Scientific Advisor to 3TI China . He was recently named by Business Week as one of the "Top 40 Professors Under 40 Worldwide" and by Analytics Week as one the "Top 200 Thought Leaders in Big Data and Business Analytics". His rise from assistant to full professor in 8.5 years at NYU Stern is widely regarded as one of the fastest in the history of the entire Information Systems and Marketing academic disciplines in business schools globally.

He has consulted in various capacities for Berkeley Corporation, CBS, Dataxu, Facebook, NBC Universal, OneVest, Samsung, and 3TI China, and collaborated with Alibaba, China Mobile, Google, IBM, Indiegogo, Microsoft, Recobell, Travelocity and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from IT investments, internet marketing, business analytics, mobile marketing, digital analytics, social media, and other areas. He has published more than 75 papers in premier scientific journals and peer reviewed conferences, and has given more than 200 talks internationally. He is a frequent keynote speaker in executive gatherings and thought leading events globally. His research has received 12 best paper awards and nominations. He is a winner of the NSF CAREER award and has been awarded 14 grants from Google, Microsoft and several other corporations.

His research analyzes the economic consequences of the Internet on industries and markets transformed by its shared technology infrastructure. He has worked on product reviews, reputation and rating systems, digital marketing, sponsored search advertising, wearable technologies, mobile commerce, mobile advertising, crowdfunding, and online markets. He also plays a senior advisory role to several start-ups in the Internet space. He has been interviewed and his research has been profiled numerous times in the BBC, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, China Daily, The Economist, Financial Times, Fox News, Forbes, Knowledge@Wharton, Korean Broadcasting News Company, Los Angeles Times, Marketplace Radio, MSNBC, National Public Radio, NBC, Newsweek, New York Times, New York Daily, NHK Japan Broadcasting, Reuters, Time Magazine, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Xinhua,and elsewhere. He teaches courses on social media, digital marketing, business analytics and IT strategy at the undergraduate, MBA, EMBA, MSBA, and Executive Education level in various parts of the world including the US, India, China, and South Korea.

He is on the Research Council of the Wharton Customer Analytics Institute, a faculty affiliate with the Marketing Science Institute and the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at the University of California, Riverside. He serves as an Associate Editor of Management Science and a Senior Editor of Information Systems Research. Before joining NYU Stern, Dr. Ghose worked in GlaxoSmithKline, as a Product Manager in HCL-Hewlett Packard, and as a Senior E-Business Consultant with IBM. He has a B. Tech in Engineering from the Regional Engineering College (NIT) in Jalandhar, and an M.B.A in Finance, Marketing and Systems from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the 9 key forces shaping the mobile economy that entrepreneurs and policymakers alike need to know.
  • the future of mobile technology as a key driver of marketing.
  • how policymakers should balance privacy policy against consumers' desire for targeted and relevant content.


Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy by Anindya Ghose (MIT Press: 2017)

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (Ecco: 2017)



The Federal Communications Commission released the text of its proposal to undo the Obama-era net neutrality rules. The rules classify internet service providers as "common carriers", thus bringing ISPs within the FCC's jurisdiction. The rules also outlaw blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of site traffic.

Comments are due to the Commission by August 17th--they even seek comment on whether such rules are necessary--which, of course, the Commission settled on two years ago when it pulled together countless comments from members of the public who said, "yes--they are necessary"--So it's like we're just going around and around--net neutrality is the gift that keeps on giving--for lobbyists, that is.

President Trump released his fiscal year 2018 budget request last week, which calls for numerous cuts to entitlement programs, as well as education. However, the budget calls for $228 million to modernize the federal government's IT--or phase out clunkier technologies in favor of technologies that are more secure and efficient. That $228 million amount is significantly less than the $3.1 billion called for by the Obama administration. Billy Mitchell covers this story in FedScoop.

Apple reported last week that the federal government's requests for user data skyrocketed in the second half of 2016 to almost double what it was in the first half of the year. Apple reports on the number of requests using ranges instead of revealing the exact number of data requests.  In the first half of 2016, the federal government made between 2,750 and 2,999 data requests. However, during the second half of 2016 the number of requests jumped to between 5,750 and 5,999. Joe Uchill reports in the Hill.

Private drone users will no longer need to register their drones with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is following a DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn the rules. The court held that the rules violated another statute that precluded the FAA from promulgating rules pertaining to model aircraft. Tim Wright covers this in Air & Space.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union and Wikimedia Foundation can indeed pursue a lawsuit the two parties brought against the National Security Agency. They argue that the NSA violated Wikimedia's First and Fourth Amendment rights when the agency tapped into Wikimedia's backbone network because Wikimedia has such a large footprint, tapping into just a part of it can have constitutional implications. Adi Robertson has the story in The Verge.

Finally, big box retailer Target has settled with 47 states in connection with a widespread data breach in 2015 in which hackers obtained the credit card information of millions of customers. The settlement amount was $18.5 million and is being distributed based on each state's size.Wyoming, Wisconsin and Alabama don't appear to be part of the settlement.  The terms of the settlement also require Target to separate cardholder data from the rest of its computer network, as well as undergo an independent assessment of its data security practices.  Rachel Abrams has the story in The New York Times.

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 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


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. 


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. 


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.   


Nov 8, 2016

David Robinson (@dgrobinson) is a Principal at Upturn, a public interest technology and policy consulting firm. Prior to co-founding UpTurn, David was the Associate Director of Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy. He also launched The American, a national magazine of business and economics at the American Enterprise Institute, growing The American's website to more than 1.5 million unique visits in its first year.

David holds a JD from Yale, was a Rhodes Scholar, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Philosophy from Princeton.

In this episode we discussed:

  • what predictive policing is.
  • how predictive policing technologies fall short of their marketing claims.
  • how predictive policing enables disparities within the criminal justice system.
  • what policymakers should consider as they incorporate predictive policing technologies into their law enforcement activities.



Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey



Julia Angwin and Terry Parris Jr. at Pro Publica raised a lot of red flags last week when they reported that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude audience segments on the basis of race. Angwin and Parris discovered a chilling echo of race-based redlining in real estate where African Americans and other minority groups were prevented from buying real estate in predominantly white neighborhoods. Angwin and Parris purchased an ad on Facebook targeting Facebook users who are house hunting and allowed them to exclude anyone who was African American, Asian-American or Hispanic.

But the Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal “"to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

Facebook says it does what it can to prevent discrimination.


Did FBI Director James Comey break the law when he announced 11 days before the election that his agency was re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails? Several leading experts say it was. Passed in 1939, the Hatch Act limits federal employees, with a few exceptions, such as the President, from engaging in activities that would impact the outcome of an election.

Legal experts such as former Chief White House Ethics attorney Richard Painter, who filed a formal ethics complaint against Comey and the FBI last week, think there was no other reason for Comey to make the disclosure other than to impact the outcome of the election.

Comey did, however, announce to members of Congress on Sunday that the agency will not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton based on the emails discovered on former Congressman Anthony Weiner's computer.

Lauren Hodges has the story reporting for NPR. You should also read Painter’s Op-Ed in The New York Times.


1.4 million people “checked in” to Standing Rock on Facebook, even though they weren’t actually there, to support opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Rumors had spread that the police were monitoring Facebook to crack down on protesters. But how exactly do the police use social media data to surveil protests?  Jeff Landale has the analysis in Christian Science Monitor.


A new University of Washington and Stanford study of 1,500 rides found Uber and Lyft drivers discriminate against black passengers. For example, blacks waited 30% longer for rides--5 minutes and 15 seconds--versus 4 minutes for white passengers, according to the study. The ride cancellation rate was also 6 points higher, or 10.1 %, for black sounding names compared to white sounding names. Elizabeth Weise has the story at USA Today.


Mobile browsing as surpassed desktop browsing for the first time. This is according to a new report from StatCounter. Mobile browsing now accounts for over 51% of all online browsing actvitiy. Check Samuel Gibbs’ story in the Guardian.


Black Lives Matter is opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership arguing the trade deal would further disenfranchise blacks by sending capital to nations with lower wages and poorer working conditions,  allowing employers to avoid domestic courts, increase mobility for workers with higher paying jobs but no one else, and prevent the formation of unions.


AT&T had a tough legal and regulatory week

The Dodgers Channel, owned by Time Warner Cable, offered customers exclusive access to live Dodgers games.  Even though Time Warner Cable owned the Dodgers Channel, the company attempted to license it to other cable providers, which would have provided each licensees’ customers access to the games.  But, as Brian Fung reports in the Washington Post, the Department of Justice is now suing AT&T and its subsidiary, DirectTV, for colluding with their LA competitors, including Cox and Charter, to make sure none of them agreed to license the Dodgers Channel from Time Warner Cable. This way, the three companies could take comfort in knowing they wouldn’t lose subscribers.  Charter of course has now acquired Time Warner Cable.


Finally,  the FCC says AT&T incorrectly interpreted FCC rules when it sued the City of Louisville in federal court for granting Google access to utility poles in order to build out its fiber network. AT&T had said the FCC’s pole attachment rules pre-emept state rules.  However, the FCC submitted a statement of interest to the Department of Justice saying the federal pole attachment rules do not pre-empt state rules at all and, in fact, defer to state regulations where states show they have the situation under control with its own regulations. John Brodkin has the story in Ars Technica.

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.



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, 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.


Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

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


Michael Shear at the New York Times reported that last week that 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 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.


InterCambio Group

Digi.City (scheduling app)

Full Contact (contact management)

Give and Take by Adam Grant


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.

Aug 9, 2016

Jermane Bond (@JermaneBond) is a Senior Fellow at the National Collaborative for Health Equity where he leads efforts to address the determinants of health for boys and men of color. His research interests include men’s preconception health and reproductive life planning, paternal involvement in pregnancy outcomes and racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality. With funding from the Office of Minority Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Bond formed the Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes, (a transdisciplinary working group of social scientist and public health professionals) to raise awareness for the importance of paternal involvement in pregnancy and family health by reframing debates, informing research, policy and practice to support greater involvement of expectant fathers in pregnancy. Dr. Bond is a member of the American Public Health Association, the American College of Epidemiology and serves on several editorial boards, including the Maternal and Child Health Journal and the American Journal of Public Health. He received a B.A. from Morehouse College, and a Ph.D. from Howard University.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Health disparities within the black community.
  • Specific health disparities affecting black men.
  • How health technology can play a vital role in creating better outcomes for black men.



This Week's News

The Federal Trade Commission plans to crack down on celebrity product endorsements on social media. The agency thinks the endorsements aren’t transparent enough because they often don’t contain an explicit statement that the endorsement is actually a paid advertisement. So this will affect celebrities like DJ Khaled who promotes Ciroc vodka on Snapchat and other celebrities who earn revenue from sponsorships in exchange for giving products their stamp of approval.
The FTC has brought lawsuits against several companies that secure product endorsements from celebrities.
But marketing executives think this is an overreach, saying the these celebrity influencers recognize the trust their audiences place in them and would never violate that rapport by endorsing products they don’t actually believe in.
Experts are advising celebrity endorsers to know include hashtags in their sponsored posts, with #ad being the preferred indicator, although these hashtags often get jumbled up with a bunch of other hashtags.
Sarah Frier and Matt Townsend at Bloomberg have more.
The U.S. is concerned that voting machines will be hacked on election day. Remember that crazy 2000 election that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court? Well, picture that scenario—except no one even knows where to start counting—since the entire system was hacked.
The problem is that with more than 9,000 voting districts in the U.S., it’s quite a task to monitor all those. So the Obama administration is considering whether to designate voting machines as “critical infrastructure”.
Check out Julie Hirschfeld Davis’ Coverage in The New York Times.
So if you’re in or around a court house, you may want to watch what you say—even if you’re talking to your own lawyer. Apparently, the FBI placed bugs in and around the San Mateo County courthouse while they were investigating an alleged foreclosed homes bid-rigging scheme. The FBI started out sending under-cover agents with wires, but apparently the agents fell out of favor with the suspects who began sharing less information with the undercover agents. So the FBI decided to try and capture the suspects’ conversations at the courthouse. But they went ahead and captured EVERYONE’S conversations—including people discussing their sex lives.
In any case, US District Judge Charles Breyer issued an order last week suppressing over 200 hours of audio recordings because he found the suspects had a legit expectation of privacy and so the surveillance tactic violated the Fourth Amendment. But technically, the FBI can keep placing bugs outside courthouses, since another federal judge in San Mateo issued the exact opposite ruling in another case—saying the suspects didn’t adequately protect their own privacy.
Joe Mullen covers this story over at Ars Technica.
Privacy Shield went into effect last week. That’s the privacy deal worked out between the U.S. and European Union after lawyer and PhD student Max Schrems — who is Austrian — successfully challenged Facebook’s privacy protection practices. Schrems filed 22 complaints against Facebook in Ireland, which ultimately led the EU to strike down the so called Safe Harbor—which for 16 years had governed transatlantic data exchanges between European citizens and servers in the United States. After the Safe Harbor was struck down, tech companies had to make individual agreements, which proved cumbersome, while the U.S. and E.U negotiated an alternative arrangement that would protect Europeans’ private data from the prying eyes of the National Security Agency.   The result is the Privacy Shield. But 28-year-old Schrems thinks Privacy Shield still isn’t good enough.
Adam Satariano and Stephanie Bodoni covered this for Bloomberg.
In a letter to Congress, the U.S. Copyright Office weighed in on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rules to open up set-top boxes to competition. The goal is to allow consumers to choose which set-top box they access content from, instead of being stuck with the box that they lease from their cable provider for an average of $231 per year. The U.S. Copyright Office wrote that the FCC’s proposed rules would give rise to widespread copyright infringement.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Mitch Stolz argues that the Copyright Office’s legal analysis is full of holes, mainly because it fails to account for the fact that copyright law doesn’t confer any rights with respect to how the technology that consumers use to access the actual, copyrighted material, is designed.
Check out Mitch Stolz’ analysis at EFF and John Bergmayer analysis at Public Knowledge.
The Justice Department has decided it will not update the consent decrees performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI entered into back in 1941. Those agreements set the standard for how media outlets would pay royalties. But, of course, the Internet wasn’t around then, and ASCAP and BMI had sought to have the consent decrees updated for the digital age. The Department of Justice declined and actually are adding a rule requiring ASCAP and BMI to get clearance from all of the artists who contributed to a song, and pay each of them their share of royalties. This is known as 100% licensing.
ASCAP and BMI, of course, were not happy with the decision, arguing that it would lead to musicians being paid less for their works.
Ben Sisario has the full story and analysis in the New York Times.
Finally, a former technician a the FBI has pled guilty to charges that he spied for the Chinese government, providing sensitive intelligence to Chinese officials, in exchange for travel reimbursements, cash and even prostitutes. Kun Shan Chun, a Chinese-born naturalized U.S. citizen faces 10 years in prison.
Camila Domonoske covered this story for NPR.
Aug 2, 2016

Jessica Gonzalez (@JGonzalezNHMC) is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Jessica oversees all NHMC operations from headquarters in Pasadena, California. Jessica has testified before the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and has been interviewed on television and radio. Additionally, she played an instrumental role in drafting the historic Memorandum of Understanding between Comcast Corporation and leading national Latino leadership organizations. Before joining NHMC, Jessica was a staff attorney and clinical teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s renowned Institute for Public Representation (IPR). At IPR Jessica represented NHMC and other consumer, civil rights and public interest organizations before the FCC, the NTIA and in the Courts of Appeal. While in law school, Jessica clerked at the Media Access Project in Washington, DC, and prior to law school she was a public high school teacher in Los Angeles, California. Jessica earned a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Georgetown Law, a JD from Southwestern Law School, where she worked on the Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas and the Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law, and a BA in Communication Studies and Spanish from Loyola Marymount University. She is licensed to practice law in California and the District of Columbia. Jessica serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and sits on the FCC’s Diversity and Open Internet advisory committees. In recognition of her public service accomplishments and commitment to mentoring, Harvard Law School selected Jessica as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow for the 2013-2014 school year.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the relationship between media ownership diversity and hate speech.
  • the FCC's role in promoting media ownership diversity and where it has fallen short.
  • the psychological impact of hate speech.
  • how making broadband more affordable can help counter the effects of hate speech.


National Hispanic Media Coalition

Why Not Me?  by Mindy Kaling

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