WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

The WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast is your resource for tech law and policy news and interviews. Each week, the WashingTECH Policy Podcast presents the latest developments across the tech policy landscape plus interviews with a diverse array of tech policy influencers.
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Feb 20, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_desmond patton



Dr. Desmond Upton Patton (@SAFELab) is an assistant professor at the Columbia School of Social Work and a Faculty Affiliate of the Social Intervention Group (SIG) and the Data Science Institute. His research utilizes qualitative and computational data collection methods to examine how and why youth and gang violence, trauma, grief and identity are expressed on social media and the real world impact they have on well-being for low-income youth of color.

His current research projects examine:

  1. How gang involved youth conceptualize threats on social media
  2. The extent to which social media shapes and facilitates youth and gang violence
  3. Developing an online tool for detecting aggression in social media posts in partnership with the Data Science Institute at Columbia.

Dr. Patton’s research on Internet Banging has been discussed on several media outlets, including the Chicago TribuneUSA Today, NPR, Boston Magazine, ABC News, and Vice; it  was most recently cited in an Amici Curae Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in the Elonis v. United States case which examined the issues of interpreting threats on social media. Before coming to Columbia in July of 2015, Dr. Patton was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and School of Information. He received a BA in Anthropology and Political Science, with honors, from the University of North Carolina- Greensboro, an MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and a PhD in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.


SAFELab at Columbia University's School of Social Work

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

News Roundup

Mueller indicts 13 Russians in ’16 election hacking

 You have undoubtedly heard by now about FBI special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s indictment of 13 Russians who allegedly maintained a vast network of content creators in order to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. The defendants used social media by amplifying primarily mainstream news content, according to a new Columbia University study. The network stole Americans’ identities, and created fake social media profiles to spread divisive content that favored Donald Trump.

But the hacking began in 2014, prior to president Trump’s announcement that he would be running for president. The defendants even promoted content that favored Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. So the Trump administration is using this to try to illustrate that the Russians’ primary effort was to subvert our entire political system, rather than support Donald Trump’s election, specifically. Trump’s opponents argue that Russian conspirators saw the seating of Donald Trump as President as a no-brainer, given his susceptibility to blackmail because of his alleged hiring of prostitutes in 2013 in Moscow and his real estate deals with Russians. Sharon Lafraniere and Matt Apuzzo report for the New York Times. Craig Timberg reports for the Washington Post. But you can find coverage everywhere.

Meanwhile, Trump’s Director of National Intelligence warns that there is “no doubt” that Russians are planning to hack this year’s midterm elections. The consensus is that we’re not prepared for that. In fact, the website Hamilton 68, reported that Russian bots flooded Twitter with pro-gun messaging following Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland Florida that left 17 dead.

FCC is investigating its own Chairman Pai

Cecilia Kang at the New York Times reported last week that the FCC’s Inspector General is investigating FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for illegally paving the way for Sinclair Broadcasting. Pai led the agency in several efforts that, appearing to some, seemed timed to Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, including the relaxation of the media ownership cap and newspaper broadcast cross-ownership rules.

Amazon boosts lobbying spending

Spencer Soper, Naomi Nix, Ben Brody and Bill Allison report for Bloomberg that Amazon has significantly increased its lobbying spending in Washington. A number of policy issues have taken center-stage for the company, as Amazon seeks to expand into different areas, including healthcare. The company’s lobbying spending has grown by over 400% since 2012, according to Bloomberg. You can find the full report there.

Federal Court: Grubhub drivers are contractors not employees

In a major victory for on-demand takeout company Grubhub, the U.S. Dictrict Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Grubhub drivers are contractors not employees. The plaintiff sued Grubhub for paying subpar wages based on his classification as a contractor. The court ruled that Grubhub does not exercise a requisite amount of color over drivers’ work to justify classifying them as employees. Dara Kerr reports in CNET.

Google tests 911-caller locator system

Google tested a new system that would improve the ability of 911 operators to locate emergency callers. Currently, 911 calls made via cell phone are difficult to pinpoint. Ryan Knutson has the story in the Wall Street Journal.

Feb 13, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_brian howard



Brian Howard is a Research & Policy Analyst with the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University. Prior to joining the AIPI team in November 2016, Brian served over five years as a Legislative Associate with the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, DC. Working on behalf of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, Brian’s work included developing and advocating tribal policy initiatives in Congress and the Administration on issues such as Telecommunications, Government Contracting, and Cultural Protections (Sacred Places, Eagle Feather/Eagle Protections, NAGPRA, and Mascot issues). Brian’s work experience has included numerous D.C.-based research and policy internships, as well as with the New Mexico House of Representatives and the Gila River Indian Community Council’s Office.

Brian graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2009 with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Studies focusing on Federal Indian Law and Policy with a minor in Political Science. He is Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, and Pi-Pash, and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community where he grew up in the Komatke District.


American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University

National Congress of American Indians

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Jr. Vine Deloria

News Roundup

N.Y. Times: U.S. spies paid Russians for cyberweapons/Trump secret

Remember the dossier on Donald Trump that former British spy Christopher Steele built that made headlines about a year ago? The one that alleged encounters with prostitutes, bribes, and evidence of collaboration with Russians to hack Democrats? Well the problem with the dossier until now was that none of the allegations have been corroborated. But, over the weekend, the New York Times reported that U.S. spies paid a “shadowy Russian” some $100,000 in exchange for stolen National Security Agency cyberweapons. The Russian also promised secret information about President Trump. The total payout was to be $1 million. This was just the first installment. And the spies, according to the Times, delivered the cash in a suitcase to a Berlin hotel. The White House and CIA have obviously been trying to contain the report. Matthew Rosenberg reports in the New York Times.

Russian hackers continue to exploit U.S. cyber vulnerabilities

The Associated Press reports that Russian spies have continued to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. defenses. According to the report, the spies fooled contractors with phishing scams disseminated via email, which allowed them to gain access to data acquired by spy drones.

Waymo and Uber reach a settlement

Uber and Waymo reached a settlement last week. Uber agreed to give Waymo, the self driving car company built by Google, a $245 million stake in Uber’s equity, or about .34 percent. No cash was part of the settlement. Uber continues to deny that they either stole or used any of Waymo’s trade secrets or self-driving car technology. Alex Castro reports for the Verge.

U.S. arrests 36 in cyberfraud crackdown

The Justice Department reported last week that it had arrested and charged 36 people for running a cyberfraud ring that stole some $350 million. Officials allege that Svyatoslav Bondarenko created Infraud in 2010 to make online purchases with counterfeit or stolen credit card information. Tom Schoenberg reports on the details of the scheme in Bloomberg.

Internet giants back net neutrality bill

The Internet Association--the trade association that represents internet giants like Google, Facebook and others--wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week in support of a bipartisan legislative solution that would overturn the FCC’s repeal of the net neutrality rules. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

British officials grill Google, Facebook and Twitter in Washington

Eleven members of the British Parliament came to Washington last week to grill tech executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter about fake news. Hamza Shaban of the Chicago Tribune reported that the meeting was far from cordial, with the lawmakers sharply criticizing the companies’ moral compass and failure to curtail the spread of misinformation online. YouTube maintained that it hadn’t found any evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit vote.

In a separate story last week, CNN brought to Twitter’s attention the fact that hundreds of Russian propaganda videos remained on Vine—the video sharing platform that Twitter owns--until well after Twitter should have been aware that the Kremlin posted the videos

Also, YouTube had to change some of its policies after YouTuber Logan Paul engaged in an ongoing pattern of posting really repulsive videos such as the video of a suicide victim in Japan. Google decided to suspend advertising on Paul’s channel and announced a broader policy change under which it would make YouTube channels that post offensive content less discoverable. Ingrid Ludent reports for Tech Crunch

Winter Olympics were cyberattacked

An organizer of the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang reported that there was a cyberattack during the opening ceremony. However, the organizer won’t disclose who carried out the attack. Peter Rutherford reports in Reuters

New study finds gender pay gap among Uber drivers

A new University of Chicago study found a gender pay gap among Uber drivers. The study found that women driving for Uber earned some 7% less per hour than their male counterparts.

Mark Warner tees up ‘tech addiction’

At a speech last week, Senator Mark Warner teed up tech addiction as a concern for policymakers. The remarks came amidst several studies conducted recently that purport to illustrate Americans’ addition to tech. David McCabe has more in Axios

M.I.T. study shows facial recognition AI skin color bias

A new study from the M.I.T. Media Lab shows a commercial facial recognition technology is correct 99% of the time when it comes to identifying white man. But when it came to identifying black folks, the software was wrong 35% of the time. Steve Lohr reports in The New York Times

Spouses of highly skilled immigrants face job losses under Trump

The spouses of high skilled workers who enter the country under an H1B visa are permitted to work under an H-4 visa. But Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is seeking to end the program, potentially affecting that additional source of income.

Cleaver wants white supremacists out of cryptocurrencies

Several reports say that white supremacists have been raising funding with Bitcoin to circumvent the established tech sector. So Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver wrote a letter to the Bitcoin Foundation and Digital Chamber of Commerce, asking for measures to curtail white supremacists’ cryptocurrency fundraising activities. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

Senators pressure CFPB on Equifax

Thirty Senators want to know why Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, a Trump appointee has delayed the investigation into the Equifax breach that compromised the data of some 143 million Americans. Thirty Senators, led by Hawaii Democrat Brian Schatz, want to know why CFPB hasn’t taken preliminary steps in the investigation. So far the CFPB has declined comment.

Trump administration wants to privatize International Space station

Christian Davenport reports for the Washington Post that the White House is planning to stop funding for the International Space Station after 2024. It is working on a plan to turn the space station into a commercial enterprise.



Feb 6, 2018



Dr. Simone Browne (@wewatchwatchers) is Associate Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She teaches and researches surveillance studies and black diaspora studies.

Her first book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, examines surveillance with a focus on transatlantic slavery, biometric technologies, branding, airports and creative texts. You can read the Introduction to Dark Matters here.

She is an Executive Board member of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory). She is also a member of Deep Lab, a feminist collaborative composed of artists, engineers, hackers, writers, and theorists. Along with Katherine McKittrick and Deborah Cowen she is co-editor of Errantries, a new series published by Duke University Press.


Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness by Simone Browne

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble

UT Austin Department of Sociology

AI Now Institute at New York University

Deep Lab

Danielle Deane

Sadie Barnette

News Roundup

CFPB Head Mulvaney Halts Equifax Probe

Patrick Rucker at Reuters reported on Sunday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Acting Director, Mick Mulvaney, has been blocking the investigation into Equifax's massive September data breach. The breach exposed the data of some 143 million Americans to hackers. But Mulvaney has been working behind the scenes by not ordering any subpoenas, seeking sworn testimony, or really anything that would suggest CFPB is doing anything to further the investigation. CFPB has also blocked other agencies such as the FDIC and Federal Reserve from even stepping in to help out with the investigation. The U.S. Court of Appeals also affirmed Mulvaney's poltically-charged appointment.

Study finds text reminders reduced arrest warrants for those who fail to appear in court

A new University of Chicago Crime Lab and ideas42 study that was funded, in part, by the MacArthur Foundation, found that texts reminding people about court appearances in New York City, reduced Failure to Appear "FTA" arrest warrants by as much as a third. Changes to the summons form, that put the most relevant information on top, such as the date, time and place of the court appearance, plus the penalty associated with failing to appear,  translated to a reduction of FTA arrest warrants by 17,000, when the form changes were implemented system-wide.

U.S. Census Bureau to Ignore Detailed Race Classification

The U.S. Census Bureau is bowing to an apparent effort by the Trump administration to ensure that as many people as possible claim their race as "White" for census purposes. The Census Bureau released a statement on January 26th saying that the 2020 Census would ignore the Obama Administration's recommendation to allow census respondents to check specific ethnicities along with racial categories. Instead, the Bureau will continue to emphasize the broader racial categories of White and Black, with Hispanics and Latinos only being able to write-in their heritage, but also having to choose their race as Black or White. The form also indicates "Egyptian" as an example of "White". Additionally, the "White" racial category will continue to be listed first. But that would have been the case on the form that the Obama administration recommended as well. The Census Bureau has until March 31st to make its final determination.

PBS cries foul on YouTube content-flagging plan

YouTube’s plan to flag government-sponsored content isn’t going over so well with PBS. PBS receives some, but not all, funding from the federal government. So the powerful, non-profit broadcast network is concerned that YouTube will lump all of its content into one bucket. Hamza Shaban reports for The New York Times. 

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the FTC posts infographic warning of dating site scams

The Federal Trade Commission last week released a new infographic warning about dating site scams. Some of the things to look out for include, well, weirdos, basically – people who profess their love quickly, ask for money, or say they need help with an emergency. You know, standard stuff. The FTC says people lost $220 million from scams like these in 2016. DON’T let it happen to you.

Alphabet’s board names new Executive Chairman

Google’s parent company Alphabet has announced its new Chairman to replace outgoing Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. John Hennessy has taken the helm. Hennessy is the former President of Stanford University and he’s been an Alphabet board member since it was founded in 2015, and prior to that was a Google board member since 1997. Hennessy is a passionate defender of the DREAM Act. Schmidt remains an Alphabet board member and technical advisor to the company. He has also joined MIT as an innovation fellow.

Trump SOTU breaks Twitter record

 Twitter reports that Trump’s State of the Union Speech last week broke the Twitter record. The 3 million tweets during Trump’s speech surpassed the 2.6 million tweets Barack Obama’s garnered in 2015.


Jan 30, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_joemillerjd_chris snook


Chris J Snook (@chrisjsnook) is the Bestselling Author of Digital Sense: The Common Sense Approach to Effectively Blending Social Business Strategy, Marketing Technology and Customer Experience (Wiley, 2016)He is a Managing Partner at Launch Haus, a venture capital firm focused on cryptocurrency, blockchain, enterprise software, consumer products, digital marketing, event/media properties, and service businesses. He is also a Chairman and Founder of the WorldTokenomicForum ,the leading international organization for enabling public-private cooperation, interoperability, and innovation in token and blockchain based technology. He is also an INC magazine contributor.


World Tokenomic Forum

Digital Sense: The Common Sense Approach to Effectively Blending Social Business Strategy, Marketing Technology, and Customer Experience by Travis Wright and Chris Snook (Wiley, 2016).

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio 

News Roundup

Trump officials weigh 5G network

Trump officials are weighing building a new 5G network to compete with China's, according to a Powerpoint Axios obtained. The plan would be for the federal government to build a 5G network within 3 years. The report was met with resistance from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as well Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel. Olivia Beavers has the story in the Hill. Which do you think will be built first? The Wall between the US and Mexico or the 5G network?

Russia's Twitter presence 

Twitter announced on Friday that some 677,000 of its users engaged with a Kremlin-linked troll factory called the Internet Research Agency. Twitter has also identified an additional 13,512 Russian bots on Twitter, bringing the total to over 50,000. One hundred and twenty-six million people saw content from Russian bots on Twitter during the 2016 election cycle.

Twitter has big changes in store for the 2018 midterm election to significantly cut back on malicious Russian bots. Twitter also reported that Russian bots retweeted Donald Trump some 500,000 times over just two-and-a-half months between September 1 and November 16, 2016. Facebook reported to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian bots created some 129 events. Ashley Gold reports for Politico and Jacqueline Thomas for the Hill.

New York Attorney General to Investigate Fake Follower Farm

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he would be investigating Devumi--a company that sells millions of fake followers to high profile individuals. The New York Times reported over the weekend that some 15% of Twitter's active users are actually fake accounts. Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, and Richard Harris and Mark Hansen report in the New York Times.

Fitness Tracking App reveals secret US Army base location

A fitness tracking app called Strava inadvertently revealed the locations of secret U.S. army basis via military personnel who tracked their exercise by using the app. Alex Hern reports for the Guardian.

Trump nominates Suzette Kent as CIO

President Trump has nominated a new Chief Information Officer. Suzette Kent was previously with Ernst & Young, JP Morgan and the Carreker Corporation over 27 years in financial an payment services. Aaron Boyd reports in







Jan 23, 2018



Daiquiri Ryan (@daiquiriryan) is a Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge, where she uses her passion for the intersection of technology policy and social justice to help further innovative consumer advocacy. Prior to joining PK, Daiquiri spent time as a legal intern at Amazon and a Google Policy Fellow at the National Hispanic Media Coalition.

Daiquiri is a current member of Google’s NextGen Policy Leader’s inaugural class and contributes NextGen’s subcommittee on Data and Machine Learning’s impact on marginalized communities. She received her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and B.A. in Political Science and Media Relations at Arizona State University. Daiquiri is a Texas native with a special affinity for college football, Elvis Presley and her dog Bobo. 


Public Knowledge

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue 

News Roundup

Montana becomes first state to pass a law challenging the FCC's repeal of net neutrality

Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, signed an Executive Order last week that requires internet service providers to abide by the FCC' 2015 net neutrality principles. The order simply states that ISPs with state contracts must abide by the principles. Bullock says this is a template that other states should use. harper Neidig has more in The Hill.

FCC draft report says wireless broadband not a full substitute for wired 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai reneged on previous statements in which he suggested that the FCC would consider mobile broadband to be a full substitute for wired broadband. Back in 2014, the Obama era FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler raised the definition of what is to be considered high speed broadband from 4 Mbps down and 1Mbps up to 25Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.  But last August, the FCC proposed 10 Mbps up and 1Mbps down for mobile broadband as an adequate substitute for wired broadband. Thankfully, in a reversal last week, Pai circulated a draft report stating that he would keep the current broadband definition intact. The Open Meeting is scheduled for January 30th.

FCC to investigate false alarm in Hawaii

You've heard by now that a false alert went out to Hawaiians last week warning them about an incoming ballistic missile strike. The alert turned out to be false. So the FCC says it's investigating.

Apple and Verizon announce tax windfalls

Verizon and Apple announced windfalls last week stemming from Republicans' tax overhaul. Verizon said the new tax bill would reduce their 4th quarter tax liabilities by $16.8 billion, which translates to $4.10 in earnings per share. Apple claims that it would repatriate some $250 billion in overseas cash from the overhaul. The company claimed that it would invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy over the next 5 years.

Google's Sundar Pichai supports no NDAs for women reporting harassment

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Kara Swisher and Ari Melber last week that he would have "no issues" with women speaking out about sexual harassment, even if they are bound by an non-disclosure agreement. Pichai said he's not even aware of such agreements that would prevent women from telling their stories.

Comcast's NCB merger conditions expire

The merger conditions the feds placed on Comcast back when they acquired NBC Universal in 2011 have expired. This raises concerns for advocates who are concerned about Comcast now becoming emboldened to engage in anti-competitive practices. Kim Hart reports for Axios.

EFF files amicus brief urging Ninth Circuit to require warrants for border phone searches

Under President Trump, U.S. Customs searches of mobile devices belonging to people entering the U.S. have more than tripled at the U.S. border with Mexico. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants those warrantless searches to stop. So it filed an amicus brief in U.S. v. Cano, urging the court to apply the same Fourth Amendment standard to those entering the country that it applies to arrestees. 


Jan 16, 2018

techpolicypodcast_WashingTech_Leslie Kantor



Here to discuss net neutrality and sexual health is Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH (@lesliekantor), Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Vice President of Education. Dr. Kantor is a widely respected leader in the field of sexual and reproductive health, with over two decades of experience in sex education. Since arriving at PPFA, Dr. Kantor has led efforts to develop innovative, technology-based approaches to sex education, partnered with affiliates to strengthen programs and evaluation, served as a national spokesperson, and spearheaded PPFA’s policy efforts related to sex education.

Dr. Kantor has extensive experience training professionals as well as expertise in working directly with children, adolescents, young adults and parents throughout the United States. Ms. Kantor appears frequently in the media speaking about sexual and reproductive health and has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, The Daily Show with John Stewart, the CBS Evening News, NY1News and the Today Show. In addition, she is a member of the faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University where she teaches “Pedagogy of Sexuality Education.”

Dr. Kantor’s scholarly articles have appeared in journals such as Sexuality Research and Social Policy, the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association and she has published book chapters on adolescent sexual development and sexuality in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, Sixth Edition and Epidemiology of Women’s Health. She is a member of the editorial review board for the journal Sex Education.

Dr. Kantor has received two prestigious awards from the American Public Health Association (APHA) —the Early Career Award for Excellence from the Population, Reproduction and Sexual Health section and the APHA Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award which is awarded to a public health professional who has “challenged public health practice in a creative and positive manner.” In 2011, the Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE) awarded Ms. Kantor their prestigious “Golden Apple” award for leadership in the field of sexuality education.

Dr. Kantor has served on the boards of directors of several of the major organizations in the field of sexual health including the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Answer. She is a past board member of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and chaired their board committee on community education and leadership development for several years.

Dr. Kantor holds a BA magna cum laude from Barnard College, a master's in public health (MPH) from the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and a PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work. She is also the mother of a teenage son.


Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood's Statement on Net Neutrality and Sexual Health

Planned Parenthood's Chat Tool

Reproductive Justice: An Introduction by Loretta Ross and Rickie Solinger (University of California Press, 2017)

News Roundup

House passes FISA surveillance renewal

The House of Representatives voted last week to renew the statute that grants U.S. spy agencies sweeping powers to surveil foreign nationals. The statute--Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act--is set to expire at the end of January. President Trump introduced uncertainty as lawmakers negotiated the renewal by sending conflicting tweets, which first opposed the renewal and then appeared to support it.  Now the bill heads to the Senate where Democrat Ron Wyden as well as Republican Rand Paul, have vowed to filibuster the bill out of concern for the fact that American citizens' data are often swept into surveillance requests when they communicate with individuals outside the U.S. The bill would renew the surveillance program until 2023.

Jeff Bezos donates $33 Million for DREAMER college scholarships

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is donating $33 million in college scholarships for DREAMERS--undocumented high school graduates in the U.S. The grant will fund $33,000 worth of tuition for 1,000 students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status. Bezos indicated in a statement that his father came to the U.S. from Cuba when he was 16 years old and unable to speak English.

Facebook overhauls newsfeed

You'll be seeing a lot fewer ads and news stories on Facebook. The social media company announced last week that it is tweaking its news feed to emphasize content from its users' family and friends. Some are skeptical that this will have any effect on fake and misleading news appearing on the site. Popular articles shared by family and friends would still rise to the top of the news feed if they get enough engagements. Mike Isaac reports in the New York Times.

Trend Micro warns the Senate about Russian hackers

A new Trend Micro report warns about the ongoing threat of Russian hackers. The report states that the same Russian hackers who broke into the Democratic Party during last year's election are still at work. This time they are attempting to access the private emails of U.S. Senators. The Associated Press has more.

Intel promises more transparency

Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich wrote an open letter last week promising that Intel will be much more transparent going forward about the way its processors are performing. Krzanich wrote the letter in the wake of revelations that Intel's processors had two major security flaws affecting countless computers worldwide. In the meantime, Intel is facing at least 3 class-action lawsuits stemming from the security flaws. Tom Warren reports in the Verge and Samuel Gibbs reports for the Guardian.

FCC halts its review of Sinclair/Tribune

Reuters reports that the FCC has decided to pause the 180-day transaction clock on Sinclair Broadcast's acquisition of Tribune Media. The agency said that it needs to be able to "fully review" some station divestitures Sinclair will be making. These would include the 10 stations that Fox wants to purchase from Sinclair.

Jan 11, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_Elissa Shevinsky


Elissa Shevinsky (@ElissaBeth) is a successful serial entrepreneur, focusing on cybersecurity and cryptocurrency companies. An early employee at Geekcorps (acquired) and Everyday Health (IPO) she was most recently Head of Product at Brave. Shevinsky is also the author of "Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Startup Culture."  Little known fact: her first job out of college was as a lobbyist in DC, working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture by Elissa Shevinsky (OR Books: 2015)

Mastering Bitcoin: Programming the Open BlockChain by Andreas Antonopoulos (O'Reilly Media: 2017)

Mastering Ethereum by Andreas Antonopoulous (O'Reilly Media: forthcoming, 2018)

News Roundup

Online sex trafficking bill has 60 votes

The Senate bill to combat online sex trafficking has the 60 votes it needs to prevent a filibuster. The bipartisan bill, which met initial resistance and then acceptance by large tech companies, seeks to limit an exception in the Communications Decency Act that shields web hosts from liability for illegal content, such as prostitution ads, posted by third parties. The Senate bill would eliminate the exception for websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. Ben Brody has more in Bloomberg.

Apple announces security flaws

Apple announced last week that all Mac and iOS devices are susceptible to processing system flaws called Spectre and Meltdown. Apple said that, to avoid the possibility of hackers exploiting these vulnerabilities, consumers should avoid downloading anything from anyone other than trusted sources. Selena Larson reports for CNN.

Effort to overturn FCC's repeal of net neutrality gains first Republican supporter

Senator Ed Markey's effort to overturn the FCC's reversal of the 2015 open internet rules gained its first Republican supporter last week: Senator Susan Collins from Maine. Markey's resolution could now pass the Senate with just one more Republican vote. On Monday, Democrat Claire McCaskill joined the list of the bill's sponsors, bringing the total number of sponsors to 30. John Brodkin has the story in Ars Technica.

CEOs urge Congress to protect DREAMERS

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) set to expire on March 5th, more than 100 American CEOs sent a joint letter to Congress urging it to pass a bill to allow Dreamers--the children of undocumented immigrants who brought them to the U.S.--to remain in the country. The CEOs, who represented companies as diverse as Google, Apple, Best Buy, Levi Strauss, Facebook, Target, Verizon, Visa and others wrote that the impending expiration of DACA is a crisis. Harper Neidig has the story in the Hill.

The Internet Association will sue the FCC over net neutrality

The Internet Association--the trade group that represents major tech companies such as Google, Netflix, Facebook and others--announced last week that it would be suing the Federal Communications Commission over its repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules.

Fired Google memo writer sues the company

James Damore--the fired Google employee who wrote a controversial memo that played into stereotypes about women, sued Google for treating employees with conservative political views differently from the way it treated liberals working at the company. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

Pew: Half of Women in STEM jobs experience discrimination

Half of women in STEM jobs experience gender-based discrimination at work, according to a new Pew survey. Some 50 percent of women in STEM fields reported that they had been victims of discrimination, compared to 41 percent of women in non-STEM jobs. Cary Funk and Kim Parker wrote the report for Pew.

VTech settles with FTC for $650,000

Children's electronic toy maker VTech settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $650,000 on Monday. The FTC alleged that the company had collected kids' private information without the consent of their parents, and then failed to secure the information against hackers.

White House sent Car nomination to Congress

The White House has nominated Brendan Carr to a five-year term as a Federal Communications Commission Commissioner. Carr's current term expires in June.







Jan 3, 2018



Monica Anderson is a research associate at the Pew Research Center. Her work focuses on internet and technology issues. Much of her recent work focuses on the impact of the digital divide, growing role of automation in everyday life, and the role of online activism in the age of social media. She has a master’s degree in media studies from Georgetown University, where her work focused on the intersection of race, politics and social media.


Americans and Automation in Every Day Life by Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson

Pew Research Center

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown by Paul Taylor

News Roundup

Communications Workers Union sues companies for discriminatory Facebook employment ads

The Communications Workers of America, the nation's leading union representing telecommunications industry workers, is suing several companies for placing job ads on Facebook that targeted users under age 40 and, in some cases, under 38. The complaint alleges that T-Mobile, Amazon, and Cox Communications placed job ads on Facebook and placed age caps on their audience target. Sharon Bernstein reports for Reuters.

Twenty-six Senators plan to block FCC's net neutrality repeal

The likelihood that the Republican-controlled Congress will pass legislation to overturn the FCC's repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules seems like a long-shot. Nevertheless, as many as 26 Senators support Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey's effort to undo the vote using the Congressional Review Act. Colin Lecher reports in the Verge.

Republicans also announced their own version of a net neutrality bill. Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn unveiled the Open Internet Preservation Act, which would restore two of the repealed net neutrality rules including the rule against throttling and the rule against blocking. However, the bill doesn't bring back the rule against paid prioritization. Without that, ISPs would be free to charge website operators exorbitant fees for access to internet fast lanes. Brian Fung reports on this in the Washington Post.

AT&T announces layoffs

To celebrate Congress' passage of the tax overhaul, AT&T announced that it would pay $1,000 bonuses to its 200,000 employees. Then the company turned around and announced that it would be laying off more than a thousand workers. Carlos Bellesteros reports for Newsweek.

White House: Facebook, Microsoft thwarts cyber threats

The White House announced that Microsoft and Facebook disabled North Korean cyberattacks earlier this year. White House homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said that Facebook and Microsoft disabled the WannaCry virus that disabled critical institutions such as hospitals and banks earlier this year, as well as several other ongoing cyberattacks. Dustin Volz reports for Reuters.

Tax overhaul benefits Silicon Valley

The new tax overhaul has major benefits for Silicon Valley independent contractors, executives and investors. Many top tech executives will see more take-home pay, and some contractors will as well. Tech giants will see major tax cuts and will be able to bring back money earned overseas at a lower tax rate than they had been able to previously.  Blue collar workers in the Valley, such as security workers, will see some tax benefits but nowhere near as substantial as those of higher paid workers. Paresh Dave, Heather Somerville and Jeffrey Dastin report for Reuters.

DHS conducting unauthorized face scans at U.S. airports

In a new report, the Georgetown University Center on Privacy and Technology found that the Department of Homeland Security is scanning the faces of American citizens traveling internationally and comparing it to a national database. The report found that this program affects as many as 1 in 25 international travelers. Homeland is implementing the face scanning program at eight airports in Boston Logan, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Chicago O'Hare, Las Vegas McCarran, Miami International, Hobby International in Houston, New York's JFK, and Washington Dulles. Although it has approved the use of biometrics for screening foreign nationals who are entering the country, Congress has not yet authorized the practice of face-scanning American citizens who are exiting. Harrison Rudolph, Laura Moy, and Alvaro Bedoya authored the report, which you can find at




Dec 19, 2017

Full Color Future_Brian Woolfolk_WashingTech Tech Policy Podcast


Brian Woolfolk (@brianpwoolfolk) is the Founding Executive Director of Full Color Future--a new think tank and advocacy organization committed to changing the narrative about people of color in media, tech and innovation. He has been passionate about inclusive tech, telecom and media policy for more than 20 years, since he got his start on Capitol Hill.

Brian served as Democratic Counsel on the US House Judiciary Committee and advised Committee Members on the Telecommunications Act, media ownership diversity, and free speech issues. He also advised members and staff on constitutional, civil rights, antitrust, criminal justice and investigative issues. Prior to his Committee work, Brian served as legislative counsel to Congressman Robert C. (Bobby) Scott of Virginia, currently the Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Since leaving the Hill, Brian Woolfolk has worked in private practice, representing a broad array of clients with matters before Congress, federal agencies, and state and local governments. Brian also counsels clients involved in high profile Congressional Investigations.

Mr. Woolfolk has extensive technology and media policy experience. His advocacy on tech policy issues began when he ran a pro bono project that provided government relations services to minority media companies challenging anti-competitive practices in the cable marketplace. Over the years, Brian has worked on surveillance, artificial intelligence, net neutrality, mergers, set top boxes, and a host of other issues related to the fight to ensure diverse tech and media interests are protected.

Brian has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland and a J.D. from the William & Mary Law School. Brian currently serves as a Member of the William and Mary Board of Visitors (Trustees).


Full Color Future

Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir by George Clinton (Atria Books, 2014)

News Roundup

Net neutrality and media ownership caps: next steps

Of course you've heard by now that the Republican-led FCC voted to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules which classified ISPs as "common carriers". This classification brought them directly within the scope of the Commission's so-called "Title II" authority, which is the section of the Communications Act that deals with common carriers. The net neutrality rules banned ISPs from blocking, slowing down, or prioritizing speeds for content creators who can afford to pay for higher speeds, while keeping everyone else's in the slow lane. Those rules are gone now. However, the FCC did keep the so-called "transparency rule", which continues to require ISPs to be transparent about their network management practices. Still, the definition of "transparency" is subject to broad interpretation since there is no longer any underlying rules that say what ISPs are supposed to be transparent about. The FCC and FTC have said that they intended to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding which would define how the two agencies would work together to enforce net neutrality principles. But until that's done--there are no net neutrality rules--only unenforceable principles of net neutrality.

So what are the next steps? Well, first off, the FCC is likely to get sued. The most obvious basis for any lawsuit would be the way in which the FCC considered public comments in this proceeding, or, should I say--did NOT consider public comments. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said last week that he would be suing the FCC for illegally rolling back the net neutrality rules. He points to the fact that there were millions of fake or fraudulent comments in the record. He also says that the Commission failed to hold public hearings. Schniederman says that repealing the rules "rewards the very perpetrators who scammed the system to advance their own agenda." Other states that are planning to sue include Washington, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Delaware, Vermont, DC and Massachusetts. Advocacy organizations, like Free Press, have also expressed their intention to sue.

The other route is legislation. Verge reporter Jacob Kastrenakes reports that Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune called on Congress last week to pass a new net neutrality law.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he would force a vote under he Congressional Review Act to preserve the net neutrality rules.

Shannon Liao has excellent coverage of how all of this could play out in The Verge.

The FCC also passed a notice of proposed rulemaking, in which it is exploring how the FCC might reduce the broadcast ownership cap. Currently, it is illegal for a single broadcast owner to reach more than 39% of the national market. This standard was set by Congress, and it was legislation that current Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly worked on when he was a Legislative Assistant for former Republican New Hampshire Senator John Sununu. O'Rielly opposes raising the cap because he says the Commission doesn't have the authority to do so. However, he says that it is appropriate for the FCC to consider raising the cap, since it is unlikely that Congress will do so. John Eggerton explains in Broadcasting & Cable.

We should also note that David Shepardson of Reuters reports that the FCC has voted behind closed doors to fine Sinclair Broadcasting $13.3 million for failing to disclose that it ran paid programming on some of its stations that was sponsored by a cancer institute. Sinclair's proposed acquisition of Tribune Media is still pending.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal calls for Comcast-NBC merger investigation

U.S. Senator Richard Blumental wants the DOJ to revisit the Comcast/NBCU merger that closed back in 2011. The merger conditions Comcast committed to in exchange for the merger being approved are set to expire next fall. So Blumenthal is concerned that the market harms that some have already pointed to will get worse. He wrote a letter last week to U.S. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim asking him to consider breaking up Comcast/NBCU or, at a minimum, to extend the merger conditions. Ted Johnson reports for Variety.

NASA discovers 8th planet orbiting distant star

With the help of Google's artificial intelligence neural network, NASA has identified an 8th planet orbiting a distant star called Kepler 90, which is about 2,500 light years away from us. The planet, which is called Kepler 90i, has a 14-day orbit and is rocky and hot, with a surface temperature of 800 degrees Farenheit. It is within the first solar system humans have discovered with as many planets as our own. Maya Wei-Haas has the story in Smithsonian.

Twitter cracks down on hate speech

Twitter began enforcing a new policy to crack down on white nationalist hate speech on Monday, suspending accounts linked to white nationalists. The new policy prohibits users from advocating violence against civilians. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

Former Uber lawyer alleges thatUber hacked and surveilled its competitors

As you know, Uber, and Google parent company Alphabet's self driving car unit Waymo, have been embroiled in litigation. Waymo charges that a former employee took secrets back to Uber to help Uber develop its competing self-driving car. Well,  a new letter came to light last week, and it says that Uber hacked and surveilled its competitors to gain competitive insights in a way that went far beyond industry norms.  For example, the 37-page letter--dubbed Jacob's letter-- written by a former attorney to Uber's head of global intelligence, says that Uber collected the license, name and contact information of 35,000  drivers and used that information to entice them to work for Uber instead. The letter also states that Uber engaged in other less-than-savory practices as it spied on competitors. The letter was made public just days ahead of the trial that's set to commence in days. Jake Nicas reports in the Wall Street Journal.

House releases answer to the Senate's Sex Trafficking bill

The House of Representatives released its answer to the Senate's Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act last week. The House version, which is entitled the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, would make it so that companies can no longer claim immunity from *state* laws for third-party content that promotes sex trafficking. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act only prevents such immunity from federal law. The House bill also prohibits ads that solicit prostitution. Jack Corrigan reports in

Democrats push back on Disney/21st Century Fox merger

Democratic lawmakers are calling for hearings on Disney's $52 billion bid for 21st Century Fox. Senator Amy Klobuchar is concerned about the merger's potential competitive harms. Representatives David Cicilline and Emanuel Cleaver want hearings as well. Tony Romm reports for Recode.

Senator Brian Schatz warns about a lack of diversity in AI

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz--the top ranking internet subcommittee Democrat--scolded the tech sector for its lack of diversity at an artificial intelligence hearing last week. Schatz was particularly concerned about the lack of diversity among artificial intelligence development teams. He said that these teams are predominantly white and male and pointed to the potential for bias in setting up AI algorithms.  Ali Breland reports in The Hill.

YouTube takes down Ajit Pai's 'Harlem Shake' video for 7 hours

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's video of himself doing the Harlem Shake to ease minds about repealing net neutrality didn't go over so well with DJ Baauer, who created the track. Bauer filed a copyright claim and YouTube took the video down for  7 hours.   


In any case the video's back up but the ratio of dislikes to likes is some 24 to 1. with just 9,000 likes and 217, 000 dislikes. Sarah Jeong reports in the Verge. 







Dec 12, 2017

Carmen Scurato_net neutrality_WashingTech_NHMC



Carmen Scurato (@carmenscurato) is Vice President, Policy and General Counsel at the National Hispanic Media Coalition, where she leads NHMC's policy and government affairs office in Washington, D.C. She is responsible for developing policy and legal strategies that encourage open and affordable communications, innovation, competition, and diversity. Carmen represents NHMC in meetings with decision makers in Congress and at federal regulatory agencies. She has spoken extensively on the ways that communications policy impacts people of color and regularly appears in outlets such as Fast Company, Fortune, The Root and the Guardian to highlight NHMC’s policy and advocacy efforts.

Carmen coordinates organizational responses to regulatory proposals that threaten to widen the digital divide and has co-authored several notable filings for Voices for Internet Freedom highlighting the importance of Net Neutrality and the Lifeline program for communities of color. In 2017, Carmen was the architect of Freedom of Information Act requests that compelled the FCC to release more than 50,000 consumer complaints, previously undisclosed, that drew renewed attention to the importance of preserving the 2015 Open Internet Order. Carmen also supervises NHMC’s legal fellowship program, which provides an opportunity for select students throughout the country to experience media, technology, and telecommunications law and advocacy.

Before joining NHMC, Carmen worked at the Department of Justice and assisted in Medicare fraud investigations, including a False Claims Act case that resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars. She also worked at the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs on large document requests received from congressional oversight committees.

Carmen, a native of Puerto Rico, earned her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law and her B.A. cum laude from New York University.

Carmen also serves on the public policy advisory council to the American Library Association and is a member of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Full Color Future and was named as one of 2017’s Full Color 50. Carmen is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar, Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Federal Communications Bar Association.


National Hispanic Media Coalition

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'Neil

News Roundup

Despite deeply flawed public record, FCC still plans net neutrality repeal

The FCC is poised to repeal its net neutrality rules this Thursday despite tens of thousands of fake or fraudulent comments in the record. Both Democratic FCC Commissioners, several members of Congress, and protesters have called on the FCC to delay repealing the rules. However, Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues are planning to overturn the rules anyway.

The FCC on Monday announced a so-called framework under which it and the FTC would ostensibly work in partnership to weed out bad actors on the internet. However, this is more likely to be political maneuvering by the two agencies' Republican leadership, since FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeney wrote a widely-read op-ed in Quartz last week stating that the FTC does not have the expertise to regulate internet service providers.

Additionally, Brian Fung noted in the Washington Post that a case that's currently pending in the 9th Circuit could restrict those who wish to file grievances against their internet service providers even further. In FTC v. AT&T Mobility, the court will decide, within days, whether a parent corporate entity can escape being classified as a common carrier even if one or more of its smaller subsidiaries is classified as such. This is important because the FTC does not have jurisdiction over common carriers--only the FCC does. So if the court defines AT&T as a common carrier, the notion that the FTC would have any kind of authority to enforce net neutrality principles against ISPs, is a joke, basically--since AT&T would be able to claim an exemption from FTC enforcement based on the fact that its subsidiary is classified as a common carrier. And, as Brian explains, overturning the net neutrality rules would effectively remove AT&T from the FCC's common carrier definition. Taken together, a decision in the 9th circuit that's favorable to AT&T, combined with the FCC overturning the net neutrality rules, would make it a great week for AT&T, as it would mean that the company isn't subject to regulation by either agency.

House Democrats, including Elijah Cummings, are calling on the Government Accountability Office to investigate the fake comments.

Former National Security Officials say Trump voter database could be hacked

In an amicus brief filed in the DC Circuit in support of Common Cause's lawsuit against the Trump Administration, Former National Security officials are worried that the Trump administration's proposed database that's designed to prevent so-called voter fraud would be susceptible to large-scale hacking. The former officials, including former National Intelligence Director James Clapper say exposing the personal information of millions of Americans online would invite hacking by both nation-states and criminals.

Cloudflare CEO backtracks on 'Daily Stormer' takedown

Remember when Cloudflare decided to stop hosting the neo-Nazi website 'Daily Stormer' for mocking the woman who was mowed down during Charlottesville riots in August? Now, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says that was a mistake because he's almost a "free speech absolutist" and that he let his emotions get the better of him. He says he's going to try not to be so impulsive next time. And, in the future, if the Southern Poverty Law Center reaches out to him to complain about hateful content Cloudflare is hosting, he's just going to delegate it to the Electronic Frontier Foundation--a privacy-focused non-profit that's based on the West Coast--and let those two duke it out. He's too busy to help curtail hate speech, basically. Meanwhile, Google announced that it will be hiring 10,000 people to help stamp out extremist content on YouTube.


SEC Crypto unit files first charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission's new division that's focused on cryptocurrencies filed its first charges last week. They're against a company called PlexCorps, which was about to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) for which it claimed investors would receive 13 times their investment. The SEC alleged fraud and froze the company's assets. Meanwhile, the price of a single Bitcoin has jumped to over $17,000, from around $1,000 in January. Bitcoin futures also launched on the New York and London exchanges on Monday. Many experts are predicting that Bitcoin will eventually crash.


Facebook kids messenger app raises privacy red flags

Facebook released a new app last week called Messenger Kids which lets kids under 12 "connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want." Almost immediately, Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumentahl raised concerns, saying that the app raises privacy and security concerns. So they're asking Facebook for more clarity on how the app works.

White House says warrantless NSA surveillance can continue after statute expires

The NSA's warrantless surveillance program will expire on January 1st if Congress doesn't pass an extension. However, the White House says that it has the authority to keep the program going because the FISA court met on April 26th and made changes that would remain in place for a year. Charlie Savage reports in the New York Times. 

Google blocks Youtube on Amazon devices

Google has blocked YouTube on Amazon's streaming devices. Google says Amazon refuses to offer Amazon Prime through Google gadgets and has recently halted the sale of Google's Nest.

AT&T/Time Warner merger trial set for March

The trial between the Department of Justice against the AT&T/Time Warner merger is set to begin on March 19th. This is unlikely to meet that April 22 deadline for the deal to close, on which AT&T would have to pay Time Warner $500 million.





Dec 5, 2017

Victor Pickard_tech policy podcast_WashingTech


Victor Pickard (@vwpickard) is an Associate Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research focuses on the history and political economy of media institutions, media activism, and the politics and normative foundations of media policy. Before coming to Annenberg, he taught at New York University in the media, culture, and communication department. Previously he worked on media policy in Washington, DC as a Senior Research Fellow at the media reform organization Free Press and the public policy think tank the New America Foundation. He also taught media policy at the University of Virginia and served as a Media Policy Fellow for Congresswoman Diane Watson.

Pickard’s work has been published in numerous anthologies and scholarly journals, including Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journal of Communication; Media, Culture & Society; Global Media and Communication; International Journal of Communication; Communication, Culture & Critique; New Media and Society; Journal of Communication InquiryNewspaper Research Journal; Journal of Internet Law; International Journal of Communication Law and Policy; CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Policy; Political Communication; Journal of Information Policy; Digital Journalism; Journalism Studies; Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies; and Communication Theory. He is a frequent commentator on public and community radio and he often speaks to the press about med ia-related issues. His op-eds have appeared in venues like the Guardian, the Seattle Times, the Huffington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Atlantic.

In 2009, Pickard was the lead author of the first comprehensive report on the American journalism crisis, "Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy" (published by Free Press as part of the book Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age). He is the co-editor of the books Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights (with Robert McChesney, published by The New Press) and The Future of Internet Policy (with Peter Decherney, published by Routledge), and he is the author of the book America's Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform (published by Cambridge University Press).


University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt (Penguin Books, 2011)

News Roundup

The FCC's effort to overturn net neutrality in one word: chaos

The FCC's efforts to overturn the net neutrality rules have descended into total and complete chaos. First of all, it's hard to find anyone other than telecom companies, and the beltway insiders that represent them,  that support Ajit Pai's plan to overturn the rules at the December 14th meeting. A new Morning Consult poll finds that some 52% of Americans support net neutrality , with 29% who say they don't know. Just eighteen percent outright oppose. Further, the opposition to Ajit Pai's efforts appears to be bipartisan, with 53% of Republicans and Democrats coming in at just 2 points higher--55% who support the existing net neutrality rules.

And then there's the Pew Research study showing that just 6% of comments submitted in the net neutrality docket are genuine, with others being fake and duplicates. Yet the FCC doesn't appear to be accounting for the onslaught of fake comments submitted in this proceeding. 

And a man was arrested and charged for threatening to kill Congressman John Katko if he failed to support net neutrality. Twenty-eight year old Patrick D. Angelo left a voicemail for Katko saying "Listen Mr. Katko, if you support net neutrality, I will support you. But if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill…you…all. Do you understand?" This is according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

So the net neutrality debate has assumed a very unhealthy tone. Perhaps the FCC should wait on overturning the rules. That would certainly seem to be the most democratic way to go. Incidentally, some 200 businesses, including Airbnb, Tumblr, Pinterest and others sent a letter to Ajit Pai on Cyber Monday urging him to hold on overturning the rules. 

Supreme Court hears location-tracking case

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week in Carpenter v. U.S. --that's the cellphone location data tracking case. The defendant was suspected of serving as a lookout during several armed robberies in Detroit. Authorities used Carpenter's cell phone location data to determine his proximity to the robberies. They found that Carpenter was indeed nearby to where the crimes took place.  He was convicted and is now serving a 116-year sentence. But the justices seemed to lean in support of Carpenter's argument that his 4th Amendment rights were violated--despite the third party doctrine which holds that individuals give up their right to privacy in information disclosed to third parties. Robert Barnes covers this in the Washington Post. 

Pushback against tattoo recognition technology

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the U.S. government -- specifically the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security--for its work on developing a tattoo recognition technology. EFF sees the effort as an intrusion into civil liberties. Harper Neidig reports in The Hill. 

GAO: Tech severely lacks diversity

A new Government Accountability Officer report found that people of color are disproportionately underrepresented within tech firms.  Congressman Bobby Scott--Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee--ordered the study. The report found that some 10% of Hispanic and 7% of Black workers had Bachelors or Masters-level technology degrees, yet they represent only 5% or less of tech companies.


Softbank bids for Uber

Softbank has initiated a formal, $48 billion takeover bid for Uber--the embattled ride-sharing company. Softbank offered to purchase Uber shares despite 3rd Quarter losses of $1.5 billion, which was up from $1.1 billion Uber lost in the second quarter. Eric Newcomer reports for Bloomberg. 

Bitcoin takes off

Finally, the digital currency Bitcoin had banner week last week. It jumped to over $11,000, from just $1,000 in the spring. Is it a bubble? Should it be regulated? Should the Fed create its own cryptocurrency? And, most importantly, what the hell is it??? Those are the questions being asked this week as Nasdaq prepares to trade Bitcoin. Michael Derby reports in the Wall Street Journal. 






Nov 28, 2017

Emma Llanso_WashingTech Tech Policy Podcast_SESTA



Emma Llansó (@ellanso) is the Director of CDT’s Free Expression Project, which works to promote law and policy that support users’ free expression rights in the United States and around the world. Emma leads CDT’s work in advancing speech-protective policies, which include legislative advocacy and amicus activity in the U.S. aimed at ensuring that online expression receives the highest level of protection under the First Amendment. Recognizing the crucial role played by Internet intermediaries in facilitating individuals’ expression, she works to preserve strong intermediary liability protections in the U.S. and to advance these key policies abroad.

Emma also leads the Free Expression Project’s work in developing content policy best practices with Internet content platforms and advocating for user-empowerment tools and other alternatives to government regulation of online speech. The Project’s work spans many subjects, including online child safety and children’s privacy, human trafficking, privacy and online reputation issues, counter-terrorism and “radicalizing” content, and online harassment. Emma is also a member of the Freedom Online Coalition’s Working Group on Privacy and Transparency Online, which is developing best practices for transparency reporting by governments and companies regarding government demands to Internet companies for content removal and access to user data. Emma works with CDT’s Global Internet Policy & Human Rights Project on advancing policies that promote free expression in global fora; she also works with the Global project in advocating for decentralized, multistakeholder approaches to Internet governance.

Emma earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Delaware and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Emma joined CDT in 2009 as the Bruce J. Ennis First Amendment Fellow; her fellowship project focused on legal and policy advocacy in support of minors’ First Amendment rights in the US. She is a member of the New York State Bar.


Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)

SESTA Would Undermine Free Speech Online by Emma Llansó

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold (Microsoft Press, 2000)

News Roundup

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai releases draft orde rot overturn net neutrality

Ajit Pai released a draft order to repeal the net neutrality rules last week, which the Commission will vote on at their December meeting. The order would overturn the 2015 net neutrality order by reclassifying internet service providers as "information service" providers rather than Title II "common carriers". Telecom companies applauded the new order while others, on the right and left, decried the draft order which will give telecom carriers broad discretion to throttle, block or require payment for services it doesn't favor. The order would also preempt the states from enacting their own net neutrality legislation. Cecilia Kang reports in the New York Times.

NY AG Schneiderman callout FCC on net neutrality

In an open letter published on his Medium page, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. In it, he called on Pai to respond to repeated requests Schneider's office made to the FCC to release information on the individuals who were responsive for corrupting the FCC's notice and comment system. Schneiderman wrote that thousands of Americans' identities may have been used to submit fraudulent comments. Schneiderman wrote that his office has made 9 requests to the FCC since June, even offering to keep the information confidential, but to no avail.

Justice Department sues to block AT&T/Time Warner

The Justice Department has sued to block the $85 billion AT&T/Time Warner merger. Mekan Delrahim--Chief of the DOJ's antitrust devision, says the vertical merger would harm Americans with higher prices and fewer content options. Brent Kendall and Drew FitzGerald report in the Wall Street Journal.

Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in cellphone tracking case

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week in Carpenter v. U.S. In Carpenter, the FBI surveilled a defendant whom they suspected of acting as a getaway driver for several armed robberies in Detroit. The FBI tracked Carpenter without a warrant, using his cellphone location data. In the lower court, the FBI argued that it had broad authority to track anyone's location at anytime. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the FBI. Now the Supreme Court will consider the applicability of the so-called "third party doctrine" which holds that once you communicate your private information to a third party--you lose your privacy interest in that information. The third party doctrine already applies to things like your banking records. So the question before the court--for the first time--is whether that doctrine applies when you communicate your location to a cell tower. Matthew Tokson summarizes this case in New York Mag.

FCC not done relaxing media ownership rules

Two weeks ago, the FCC relaxed its Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-ownership rule. Soon, the agency may also relax the ownership limit that prevents a single corporation from reaching more than 39% of the national audience.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a proposal to his colleagues last week. If it is adopted at the December 14th Open meeting, the FCC will then commence to review the rule, which could take several months. The move is seen as being helpful to Sinclair Broadcasting, which is seeking to acquire Tribune Media. The combined company would reach 70% of U.S. households. Keach Hagey reports in the Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft experiments with 'white spaces' to provide internet access in Puerto Rico

Microsoft announced that it is attempting to provide internet access to Puerto Rico and other U.S. Virgin Islands that were devastated by Hurricane Maria. The plan is to provide the service via TV  "white spaces", which are the unused frequencies between tv stations.


Quartz: Android collects location data at all times

Keith Collins at Quartz reported that Android devices collect location data and send it back to Google even when the location data option is switched off. Privacy advocates are concerned that if Google can access the information, hackers can too.

Russia telecom czar plans retaliation against Google for de-ranking RT and Sputnik

David Filipov and Hamza Filiban report for the Washington Post that  Russia is preparing to retaliate against Google if Google de-ranks the Russia-based propaganda outlets RT and Sputnik. At the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend, Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt said that Google is working to restrict websites, like RT and Sputnik, that have been "weaponized".   Russian telecom czar Alexander Zharov responded to the remarks saying that it would be investigating how Google ranks sites like RT and Sputnik and considering retaliatory measures.

ProPublica: Facebook still allows race discrimination from advertisers

A new ProPublica investigation found that Facebook still allows advertisers to target consumers based on race. ProPublica bought dozens of fake real estate ads on Facebook that allowed it to exclude audiences based on race. Julia Angwin reports in ProPublica.

Multiple states are investigating a 2016 Uber data breach

Uber is under fire yet again. This time it's because the company apparently suffered a massive data breach last year and didn't report it to anyone: drivers, customers, regulators--no one. Uber said the breach affected some 57 million customers. In addition to inflaming the Federal Trade Commission investigation which was already in progress, the company has already been sued by one user for deceptive business practices, for not disclosing the breach.


Nov 21, 2017



Danielle Keats Citron (@daniellecitron) is the Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where she teaches and writes about information privacy, free expression, and civil rights and was the recipient of the 2005 “Teacher of the Year” award.

Professor Citron is an internationally recognized information privacy expert. Her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (Harvard University Press 2014) explored the phenomenon of cyber stalking and how law and companies can and should tackle online abuse consistent with our commitment to free speech. The editors of Cosmopolitan included her book in “20 Best Moments for Women in 2014.” Professor Citron has published more than 20 law review articles appearing in California Law ReviewMichigan Law ReviewHarvard Law Review ForumBoston University Law Review, Fordham Law Review, George Washington Law ReviewMinnesota Law ReviewNotre Dame Law ReviewTexas Law ReviewWashington University Law ReviewSouthern California Law ReviewWashington & Lee Law ReviewWake Forest Law ReviewWashington Law ReviewUC Davis Law Review, among other journals. Her opinion pieces have appeared in media outlets, such as The New York TimesThe AtlanticSlateTimeCNNThe Guardian, New Scientistars technica, and New York Daily News. In 2015, the United Kingdom’s Prospect Magazine named Professor Citron one of the “Top 50 World Thinkers;” the Daily Record named her one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Marylanders.” Professor Citron is an Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Center on Internet and Society, Affiliate Fellow at the Yale Information Society Project, and Senior Fellow at the Future of Privacy, a privacy think tank. She is a technology contributor for Forbes.

Professor Citron has advised federal and state legislators, law enforcement, and international lawmakers on privacy issues. She has testified at congressional briefings on the First Amendment implications of laws regulating cyber stalking, sexual violence, and nonconsensual pornography. From 2014 to December 2016, Professor Citron advised California Attorney General Kamala Harris (elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016) on privacy issues. She served as a member of AG Harris’s Task Force to Combat Cyber Exploitation and Violence Against Women. In 2011, Professor Citron testified about online hate speech before the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism at the House of Commons.

Professor Citron works closely with tech companies on issues involving online safety and privacy. She serves on Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council and has presented her research at Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. In addition, Professor Citron is an advisor to civil liberties and privacy organizations. She is the Chair the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Board of Directors. Professor Citron is on the Advisory Board of Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Without My Consent, Future of Privacy, Teach Privacy, SurvJustice, and the International Association of Privacy Professionals Privacy Bar. She is a member of the American Law Institute and serves as an adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement Third Information Privacy Principles Project.

Professor Citron has presented her research at federal agencies, meetings of the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Holocaust Museum, Wikimedia Foundation, the Anti-Defamation League, major universities, and think tanks. Professor Citron has been quoted in hundreds of news stories including in The New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalLos Angeles TimesSan Francisco ChronicleWired,USA TodayHBO’s John Oliver ShowHBO’s Vice NewsTimeNewsweekNew YorkerNew York MagazineCosmopolitanBarron’sFinancial TimesThe GuardianVice News, and BBC. She is a frequent guest on National Public Radio shows, including All Things Considered, WHYY’s Radio Times, WNYC’s Public Radio International, Minnesota Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, WYPR’s Midday with Dan Rodricks, WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show, and Chicago Public Radio.


Hate Crimes in Cyberspace by Danielle Keas Citron (Harvard University Press, 2014)

Constitutional Coup: Privatization's Threat to the American Republic by Jon D. Michaels (Harvard University Press, 2017)

University of Maryland Carey School of Law

News Roundup

DOJ sues to block AT&T/Tribune Merger

The Department of Justice has sued to block AT&T's proposed $85 billion acquisition of Times Warner. The complaint states that the merger would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act. It refers to AT&T's objection to Comcast's previous acquisition of NBC/Universal, back in 2011, which was also a so-called vertical merger. AT&T argued that a "standard bargaining model" could have been used to show the harmful effect the merger would have had on pricing.

If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it will be the first time a vertical merger case has reached the Court since 1972, in the Ford-Autolite case. The Trump administration has been vocal about opposing the AT&T/Time Warner merger and the president himself has railed repeatedly on Twitter about CNN's coverage of his administration. AT&T says it would not rule out using the judicial process in order to obtain correspondence between the White House and the DOJ which would help illustrate that the DOJ's lawsuit is politically motivated. Brian Fung reports in the Washington Post.

FCC rolls back media regulations, Lifeline, cracks down on robocalls

In its monthly meeting last week, the Federal Communications Commission killed long-standing media ownership rules, including the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership rule which, since 1975, had prevented the owner of a  tv station from owning  a newspaper in the same market. The Commission also eliminated the so-called eight-voices test, which required at least eight independently owned TV stations to remain in the market before any entity could own two stations in the market. Critics say the rules were cancelled simply to pave the way for Sinclair Broadcasting, which has proposed to acquire Tribune Media for $4 billion. Two high-ranking Democrats--Frank Pallone and Elijah Cummings--are calling for an investigation into Ajit Pai's relationship with Sinclair.

The Commission also restricted Lifeline support--that's the $9.25 per month subsidy for qualified customers who use it to help pay their internet bill. It restricted that support on tribal lands. The Commission is also seeking comment on a proposed plan to cap Lifeline expenditures.

The Commission also voted unanimously to crack down on robocallers by giving phone companies more authority to block annoying phone calls from marketers who play a pre-recorded message when you answer the phone. Also at the November meeting, the Commission voted to expand broadcasters' ability to experiment with the Next Generation Broadcast Standard, which will enable closer targeting of viewers for advertising. The Commission also adopted several other rules and proposed rules ostensibly geared toward stimulating broadband infrastructure investment and deployment.

In December, FCC Chair Ajit Pai is expected to overturn the net neutrality rules passed during the Obama administration.

Wall Street Journal: Comcast seeks to acquire 201st Century Fox

Comcast has joined a long list of companies, including Verizon, that are seeking to buy 21st Century Fox, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fox is looking to sell off everything except its news and sports assets. Verizon and Disney also also rumored to be potential suitors.

Federal Elections Commission opens rulemaking on political ads

The Federal Elections Commission put out a rulemaking for public comment on revisions to the political ad disclosure rules to apply them to internet companies. The rulemaking follows allegations of Russian efforts to sway the election in favor of Donald Trump by placing ads and sponsored content on on Facebook and Twitter.

China's supercomputers surpass the U.S.

The U.S. has dropped to second place, behind China, in its total number of super computers. The U.S. has 144 compared to China's 202. The number of China's supercomputers rose by 43 over just the last 6 months, compared to a drop in the U.S. by 25.

Nov 14, 2017


Cheryl A. Leanza (@cleanza) is the President of her consulting firm, A Learned Hand, LLC,  In this capacity she serves as policy advisor to the United Church of Christ’s historic media advocacy arm and as the Co-Chair of the Leadership Conference of Civil Rights Media & Telecommunications Task Force.  Her other clients have included the Progressive States Network, Leadership Conference Education Fund, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, Future of Music Coalition, Public Knowledge, and Native Public Media, among others.

Ms. Leanza helped to lead the victorious effort to pass the Local Community Radio Act, and has been a leader in public interest advocacy for more than 15 years, including advocacy for diversity in media ownership, protection for children in media, and other policies furthering First Amendment principles, including open Internet.  She has represented non-profits before the Federal Communications Commission, in the U.S. Appellate courts and before Congress, and has been widely quoted in the trade and mainstream press on these issues.

Ms. Leanza’s prior positions include a stint as Principal Legislative Counsel for telecommunications at the National League of Cities where she was lead lobbyist for local elected officials during the period when Congress was debating changes to local cable television franchising laws.  She also spent six and one-half years as Deputy Director of Media Access Project and began her career in the Federal Communications Commission’s honor attorney program.

Ms. Leanza is a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and the Ford School of Public Policy and teaches at Georgetown University’s Department of Communications, Culture and Technology.  Ms. Leanza serves on the board of the Prometheus Radio Project and has served as Vice Chair of the Media and Democracy Coalition, as well as on the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Executive Committee and the Foundation Board.  She is admitted in the District of Columbia and New York; and in the United States Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits.


A Learned Hand, LLC

United Church of Christ Office of Communication

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

News Roundup

Donald Trump Jr. communicated with Wikileaks

Juilia Ioffee reports for the Atlantic that Donald Trump, Jr. exchanged direct messages via Twitter with Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. The exchange went on at least through July of this year. This is the first connection that Congressional investigators have established between the White House and the notorious leaking site which investigators believe Russia enlisted to interfere with last year's election. Wikileaks warned Trump, Jr. ahead of time about a new website that was to be released showing ties between Trump and Putin. Wikileaks requested favors of Trump, Jr. including access to Trump's tax returns. 

House Democrats call for an investigation into FCC Pai's ties to Sinclair

Top House Democrats including House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone are seeking an investigation into FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's ties to Sinclair Broadcasting. Pai is accused of passing rules changes that clear the path for Sinclair's pending acquisition of Tribune Media, which would give the combined company access to some 70% of the U.S. TV market. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill. 

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's acquisition bid

The Qualcomm Board of Directors has unanimously rejected Broadcom's $103 billion acquisition bid. Qualcomm said that the bid is too low. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

Missouri's AG opens investigation into Google

Prompted by a record, $2.8 billion fine against Google by the European Union, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has issued subpoenas to Google as part of a state investigation to determine whether the company prioritizes its own search results over that of its competitors. Harper Neidig reports on this as well in the Hill. 

Softbank to participate in $1 billion bid for Uber

Uber has accepted an investment offer from Asian telecom conglomerate Softbank that is part of a total $1 billion investment being made into the ride-sharing company by a consortium of other companies. This investment will open up the possibility of Softbank acquiring up to $9 billion in equity from the company's shareholders. Softbank also owns a majority stake in Sprint. The deal with Uber is seen, in part, as an opportunity for Uber to expand into Asia as it struggles against stiff competition from Lyft in the U.S. for which Google parent Alphabet is leading a $1 billion investment effort. Ali Breland reports in The Hill.

Senate Commerce Committee approves sex trafficking bill

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved the Stop Online Sex Trafficking Act, or SESTA, which would limit the exception created by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which grants immunity to web sites for illegal posts made by their users. The current bill would crack down specifically on websites that facilitate sex trafficking. The current version of the bill is now supported by the Internet Association, as well as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. But Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has placed a public hold on the bill, which will now require it to meet a 60-vote threshold before moving on to the full Senate. 

DC Circuit Court of Appeals narrows warrants for data from inauguration daty protests

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked the Department of Justice's ability to obtain data from innocent, third party Facebook users who used a page dedicated to organizing a protest against Trump's inauguration. The court is seeking to institute what it terms as "procedural safeguards" to prevent innocent users' data from being sweept up with targeted suspects'. The Court will now be approving all of the DOJs search terms in connection with the investigation into criminal activity that occurred during inauguration protests.

Silicon Valley disapproves of GOP tax plan

Leading Silicon Valley figures are opposing the GOP tax plan to tax employee stock options once employees receive them. This is opposed to the current tax law providing that only the capital gains tax of stock options are taxable. Some five hundred Silicon Valley leaders from firms such as Facebook, Uber, Y Combinator and others criticized the plan in a letter to Orrin Hatch. Ali Breland reports in the Hill. 


Nov 7, 2017

Tiffany C. Li (@tiffanycli) is an attorney and Resident Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. She is an expert on privacy, intellectual property, and law and policy at the forefront of new technological innovations.

Li leads the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information, where she researches cutting-edge legal issues involving online speech, access to information, and Internet freedom. Additionally, Li is also an Affiliate Scholar at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.

Oct 31, 2017

Online Privacy_Mary Madden_WashingTech Tech Policy Podcast



Mary Madden (@mary_madden) is a veteran technology researcher, writer and public speaker, having studied trends in American internet users’ behaviors and attitudes for more than a decade. With the support of a grant from the Digital Trust Foundation, she is currently leading a Data & Society initiative to understand the privacy and security experiences of low-socioeconomic status populations.

Mary is also an Affiliate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University where she has collaborated with the Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Project to apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to study adolescents’ technology use and privacy management on social media. Prior to her role at Data & Society, Mary was a Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. She is a nationally recognized expert on privacy and technology, trends in social media use, and the impact of digital media on teens and parents. Mary is also a member of the National Cyber Security Coalition’s Data Privacy Day Advisory Committee and the Research Advisory Committee for the Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams Project.


Data & Society

Privacy, Security and Digital Inequality by Mary Madden (Data & Society, 2017)

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University

Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte

News Roundup

Social media giants tidy up ahead of big day on Hill

Ahead of appearances before the House and Senate intelligence Committees this coming Wednesday, social media giants appear to be tidying up. Reddit has announced that it will now ban content from Nazi and alt-right groupsTwitter announced that it will now ban the online media outlets RT and Sputnik. Twitter says the two sites are platforms for Kremlin messaging. Both Facebook and Twitter said that they will be more transparent about who is placing political ads on their platforms. The companies said they will begin to include links and other information enabling users to know who sponsored a political ad. The companies will also vet advertisers to weed out bots. But some Senators, including Virginia's Mark Warner are noting that explicit ads may only represent a tiny percentage of ad spend. Many expenditures, they say, are coming from content that appears to be legit--organic content designed to stoke emotions in favor of a political party.

Mark Zuckerberg also upped his pr game last week. The Hill reports that Zuckerberg will be investing $45 million of his own money to address mass incarceration and the housing crisis.

Still, however, Facebook is expected to reveal at Wednesday's hearings that the number of views Russia-sponsored ads garnered is closer to 126 million. This is compared to the 10 million views it initially reported.

And Politico reports that in August and September of 2016, Twitter made a bizarre change to its privacy policy amidst research into the way in which Russian operatives may have been manipulating the platform. The company updated its privacy privacy to require all users associated with deleted accounts to clear their tracks by deleting the content on their end as well. Also revealed last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee--Twitter actually pitched RT to buy ads during the 2016 campaign season--the problem is that the company didn't disclose it.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is also demanding that Twitter turn over information about Russia-linked accounts that targeted her. The Congresswoman said that she noticed several mysterious accounts tweeting lies about her every time she tweeted  something negative about Donald Trump.

On top of everything else, Axios and Survey Monkey released a study saying 54% of Americans think the issue of Russian meddling is a "serious issue". However, those results were along party lines with Democrats tending to think the issue is more serious than do Republicans.

Apple doesn't want shareholders to tie senior executive diversity to CEO performance 

Apple is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in and prevent a shareholder proposal from taking effect which would base the assessment of the CEO's performance, in part, on the diversity of the ranks of Apple's senior executive team. The shareholder cohort that is pushing for the measure is said to hold almost $10 billion in Apple shares. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

Georgia wipes out election data after being sued for voting violations

On July 3rd, election reform advocates concerned about the impact of Russian influence on the 2016 election filed a lawsuit against the state of Georgia which attempted to force the state to retire its antiquated election technology. And then Kennesaw State University, which runs the state election system, wiped everything on the voting system clean. The FBI is said to have taken a back-up image of the system back in March. But advocates say the State of Georgia must have had something to hide. Frank Bajak reports for the Associated Press on widespread concerns that outdated election systems in voting districts throughout the country may already be compromised by Russian actors and others seeking to undermine the electoral system.

Facebook by lawsuit saying the company attempted to evade overtime pay rules

Former Facebook employees are suing the company for deliberately evading overtime pay laws by misclassifying them as managers.  David Kravets reports in Ars Technica.

Uber faces yet another discrimination lawsuit

Uber is facing yet another discrimination lawsuit. This time, Latina engineers accuse Uber of not promoting or paying them at a rate that is comparable to their male, white and Asian counterparts. Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg.

U.S. widened surveillance of "homegrown extremists" under Obama

U.S. Air Force training slides obtained by a surveillance researcher at Human Rights Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request show the U.S. expanded its surveillance of suspected "homegrown violent extremists" in August of last year.  The guidance states that physical or digital surveillance of such suspects is authorized whether or not they're tied to a foreign terrorist organization. Dustin Volz reports in Reuters.

FCC to roll back media ownership rules/Lifeline

The FCC announced its agenda for its November 16th Open meeting. Trump's FCC plans to eliminate the media ownership rule that prevents a company from owning a full power TV station and newspaper in the same market. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also wants to place a cap on Lifeline subsidies for low-income broadband subscribers. That subsidy now stands at $9.95/month. The cap would limit the availability of Lifeline support to new subscribers. Brian Fung reports for the Washington Post and Jon Brodkin reports for Ars Technica.

Tech industry releases AI self-regulatory framework

The Information Technology Industry Council, which boasts tech giants Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and others as members, released a set of guiding principles around the industry's development of artificial technology. ITI President Dean Garfield says the  framework is intended to eliminate harmful bias, prejudice and discrimination from AI algorithms. Will Yakoqicz reports in Inc.

SoftBank drops bid for T-Mobile

SoftBank is ending its plan to merge its Sprint unit with T-Mobile, according to a report in the Asian Review.  This is the second time Softbank has abandoned its effort to acquire T-Mobile. The first time was during the Obama administration when the deal would have been faced with much harsher scrutiny.







Oct 24, 2017


Larry Miller (@larrysmiller) is a Clinical Music Associate Professor and Director of the Music Business Program at NYU. He is also a music and technology entrepreneur and advisor and host of the Musonomics podcast. He advises music creators and rights holders on public policy and litigation. Additionally, he has provided expert testimony before the Copyright Royalty Board and in arbitration. Larry supports media and technology companies and their financial sponsors on capital formation and growth strategy. Further, he advises on digital product & service development, as well as acquisitions and restructuring. Previously, Larry was a Partner at L.E.K. Consulting and a senior member of the firm’s media and entertainment practice. He later served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of MediaNet.

Larry founded and operated Or Music, a Grammy Award winning independent record label and music publisher where he signed, recorded and published multi-platinum artists Los Lonely Boys and Matisyahu; he was Vice President of Market Development at AT&T Labs Research, and began his career as a broadcaster at Tribune, NBC Radio Entertainment and WHTZ/Z100 New York, regarded as the most successful startup in U.S. radio history as the station went from “worst to first” within 72 days of signing-on in the country’s most competitive radio market.

Larry has commented on CBS, ABC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News and NPR; in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time, Business Week, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times and Billboard. His article "Metadata: How to Develop the Foundation for the Music Business of Tomorrow" was published in The Licensing Journal and is available to NYU students on BobCat.

He earned an MBA at Columbia Business School, and previously served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty member in the Music Business program at NYU-Steinhardt.


Paradigm Shift: Why Radio Must Adapt to the Rise of Digital by Larry S. Miller

NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions - Music Business


The Sound Machine:Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook

News Roundup

Senators announce bipartisan bill to require online political advertising disclosures

Five Senators--3 Democrat and 2 Republican--unveiled a new bill that would require sites with more than 50 million visits per month to follow the same political ad disclosure rules that broadcasters follow. It would require disclosures for sponsored posts in addition to explicit ads. Sites would be required to include clear and conspicuous language stating which candidate sponsored the content. Further, it would require sites to keep a record of anyone who attempted to purchase a political placement worth $500 or more. The bill is supported by Senators Klobuchar, Warner, Kilmer, McCain and Coffman.

Tech companies form 'Coalition for the American Dream'

Major tech companies have lined up in support of young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The companies will be lobbying Congress for bipartisan legislation to allow so-called "Dreamers" to continue working in the U.S. President Trump decided in September to allow the Dreamers program, which began under the Obama administration, to expire in March of next year. This would affect some 900,000 immigrants. Salvador Rodriguez and Jeffrey Dastin cover this in Reuters.

Tech giants to send General Counsels to offer Hill testimony on Nov. 1

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are planning to send their General Counsels to the Nov. 1st House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russia's use of the platforms to influence the 2016 election. Critics say the company should instead be sending executives with more technical expertise. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

U.S. proposes new controls to secure the electrical grid

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week proposed new controls to protect the nation's electrical grid from hacks. Experts have long worried about the effect an attack on the electrical grid might have on everything from the water supply to cars. The proposed rulemaking focuses on mitigating the impact of malicious transient devices, like laptops and mobile phones. Back in January, the Department of Energy released a report warning of an imminent danger to the electrical grid from cyberattacks. Naureen Malik reports in Bloomberg.


FCC review of Sinclair-Tribune merger delayed

The FCC's Media Bureau has pushed back the deadline for the public to submit comments regarding the Sinclair-Tribune merger. The public now has until November 2 to weigh in. Harper Neidig has the story in the Hill.

EU: US Privacy Shield implementation is 'adequate'

The European Union has found that the Privacy Shield framework it agreed to with the U.S. last year is working adequately. The Privacy Shield requires the U.S. to ensure the private information of European citizens is adequately protected when it reaches the U.S. However, the first annual report does make some recommendations. It notes that the U.S. could do a better job informing European citizens of their right to redress. Additionally, it says that U.S. agencies should do more to coordinate their compliance efforts. Joe Uchill reports in the Hill.

CNN awarded first FAA waiver of rules pertaining to drone flights over crowds

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded CNN with the first unlimited waiver of rules pertaining to drone flights over crowds. The FAA generally prohibits drone flights over crowds for safety reasons. However, CNN's 1.37 pound Snap drone's rotors are internal and it is designed to break apart in the event of a crash. Alan Levin reports for Bloomberg.


Whole Foods breach affected 100 taprooms

Amazon's Whole Foods announced that the data breach it reported last month affected about 100 of its taprooms. Hackers stole cardholder names, account numbers and security codes. The hack did not affect purchases made in Whole Foods retail stores or purchases made on Heatlher Haddon reports on the Wall Street Journal.

Oct 17, 2017

techpolicypodcast_Jason Resendez_WashingTech


Jason Resendez (@jason_r_dc) directs the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Network. LatinosAgainstAlzheimer's is the nation’s first-ever coalition of Latino organizations focused on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease within the Latino community. Previously, Jason served as senior manager of strategic partnerships at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). NCLR is the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization.  Prior to NCLR, he served as the director of corporate relations and development at LULAC National Educational Service Centers Inc. (LNESC). LULAC is the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organization.  Jason has written about Latino issues for national and regional media outlets. Those outlets include NBC News, Huffington Post, and the El Paso Times. He graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government.



Slow Dancing with a Stranger:Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's by Meryl Comer

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

News Roundup

Researchers discover vulnerability in Wi-Fi protocol

Researchers at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium have discovered a vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol that secures most modern Wi-Fi connections. The researchers call the proof-of-concept exploit KRACK, or Key Reinstallation attacks. What it does is it tells devices connecting to the network to reinstall the network key and replace the password with all zeros. This lets in criminals to steal essentially anything off of your computer. The hack is particularly effective against Android and Linux devices, although other devices aren't immune. Further, websites encrypted with https protocol are also vulnerable. Fortunately, you can still install updates even if your device has already been hacked using this method. Dan Goodin explains in Ars Technica.

Black and Hispanic lawmakers challenge tech companies on diversity, racist ads

In closed-door meetings, the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg last week. According to Politico, the CBC blasted Facebook for allowing Russian operatives to place ads designed to stoke racial resentment.

The ads were intended to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. Additionally, the CBC challenged Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg about the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at the company. CBC Chair Cedric Richmond pointed to a persistent lack of staff and board diversity.

Further, Sandberg met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. In addition to the diversity CBC raised issues, CHC reportedly focused on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the status of 700,000 Dreamers. Heather Caygle and Elana Schor report in Politico. Also, Olivia Beavers reports in the Hill that Pinterest has joined a growing list of companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, that reported ads and content tied to Russia during last year's election cycle.

Federal Election Commission seeks comment on online ad disclosure rules

The Federal Election Commission has opened a rulemaking on disclosure rules for online political ads. Facebook and Google had both received exemptions from the existing rules during the 2012 election cycle.  Comments are due November 9th. Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

Supreme Court will hear Microsoft privacy case

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding whether U.S. law enforcement officials can obtain a warrant to access digital evidence stored abroad. The case against Microsoft is up on appeal from the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The Second Circuit had overturned a lower court decision upholding a warrant U.S. prosecutors served on Microsoft. The court issued the warrant for data stored on Microsoft's servers both in the US and in Ireland. Robert Barnes reports in the Washington Post.

Supreme Court asks DOJ to weigh in on Apple case

The Supreme Court has asked the Department of Justice to weigh in on whether the Court should hear a class-action against Apple.  The case involves the 30% commissions Apple charges app developers to be included in the App store. However, customers--people who download the apps--are the ones bringing the class-action. Apple is saying the customers don't have standing since they're not the ones being charged the commission. Andrew Chung has the story in Reuters.

Facebook has suspended rapper Lil B for race-related post

Ali Breland reports in the Hill that Facebook has removed rapper Lil B for posting race related material.

Google unveils job training initiative

Google announced a job training initiative last week called Grow with Google. Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, said Google will be investing $1 billion over the next 5 years in the effort. The program will allow anyone to access training and professional certificates to improve their businesses.

Oct 10, 2017



Karan Chopra (@karchopra) a is Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Opportunity@Work, where he  provides leadership on strategic direction and execution of Opportunity@Work’s priorities and the TechHire initiative. He co-founded Opportunity@Work because he believes that meaningful work is not just a matter of economic wellbeing but of individual dignity.

Karan’s career has focused on building entrepreneurial ventures that increase upward mobility and provide opportunity for all. Prior to co-founding Opportunity@Work, Karan was the co-founder and director of GADCO (Global Agri-Development Company) -- a vertically-integrated agri-food business in sub-Saharan Africa. He led the company from business plan to building and operating the largest rice farm in Ghana, developing a processing center and launching a packaged food brand that contributed to domestic food security in Ghana and impacted the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Leading publications and institutions, including World Bank, UNDP, World Economic Forum, Financial Times and Guardian, have featured GADCO.

Karan is also the co-founder of WAVE (West Africa Vocational Education), a social venture tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria. WAVE is empowering West African youth with industry relevant skills and access to jobs while improving outcomes for employers. Prior to this, Karan was at McKinsey & Company where he was awarded the social sector fellowship.  Prior to this, Karan was a software developer with Siemens.

Karan holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with highest honors from Georgia Tech and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School with high distinction graduating as a Baker Scholar. In 2014, Forbes named Karan in its 2014 list of Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine and selected as a New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute.



Opportunity@Work Learn to Earn Application (Deadline October 15th)

Mindset: the New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

News Roundup

Social media still in spotlight regarding Russia

Social media companies turned over more evidence linking Russia to ads placed across their platforms. According to the Washington Post, Google reported tens of thousands of dollars worth of Russia-linked ads  across YouTube, Gmail and search results. Facebook had reported 10 million views of Russia-linked ads on its platform. And Twitter suspended 201 accounts linked to Russia. Executives from Facebook, Google parent Alphabet, Twitter are scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1st. The House Intelligence Committee has asked the executives to testify in connection with their own investigation the same day.  Harper Neidig reports in the Hill.

More federal agencies breached

A new report came to light last week that Russia hacked an NSA contractor's home computer back in 2015. We're just finding out about it now, but officials discovered it in Spring 2016. According to the Wall Street Journal, Russia stole sensitive information that lays out how the U.S. hacks into foreign governments' computer networks. The Russian hackers apparently got in via the Kaspersky antivirus software the contractor was running on his computer. A separate Fed Scoop report found that hackers breached the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corp. more than 50 times between 2015 and 2016. Hackers exposed the personal identifying information of hundreds of thousands of Americans in those breaches.

Google crackdown on fake news draws protest from diverse media voices

Google's crackdown on fake news is biased against smaller, independent content producers. That's a according to several smaller content producers that have noticed sharp declines in their web traffic. The declines have come since April. That's when Google announced its Project Owl initiative the company says it designed to boost more authoritative content. Daisuke Wakabayashi reports in the New York Times.

FCC finally responds to Puerto Rico

The FCC has finally developed a plan to help Puerto Rico's communications infrastructure get back up and running. On the advice of Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC has established a Hurricane Recovery Task Force, which will focus on all Hurricane-affected areas, including Puerto Rico.  The FCC has also approved $77 million to help repair Puerto Rico's communications networks. The agency also gave Google an experimental license to deploy its ballon-based communications system dubbed "Project Loon".

IRS under fire for signing a contract with Equifax

The IRS came under fire last week for entering into a $7  million contract with Equifax. The deal was for Equifax to help the IRS prevent tax fraud. The IRS and Equifax signed the agreement just three weeks after the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information of 145 million customers.

The IRS's Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Tribiano told the House Ways and Means Committee that the contract was a "bridge contract." The IRS had put the contract out for rebid and awarded the new contract to Experian. But Equifax protested that decision. As a result, Tribiano said, the IRS was under pressure to sign a bridge contract with Equifax since the existing one was set to expire on September 29th.

Tribiano told members of Congress that if the IRS failed to sign the bridge contract, millions of Americans would be unable to get their credit transcripts. But the Government Accountability Office says the IRS could have moved forward with Experian. It said that the IRS could have moved forward with Experian if it considered doing so to be in the best interests of the United States.   The GAO is expected to decide the outcome of Equifax's protest against the Experian award on October 16th. settles with 3 women settled with 3 women who allege they were victims of sex trafficking that the now-defunct site facilitated. The women were between the ages of 13 and 15 when the alleged sex trafficking happened. The court did not disclose the amount of the settlement. The parties settled in Pierce County, Washington Superior Court, which is in the Seattle area. In the meantime, IBM has announced that it is backing Senator Rob Portman's bill to make websites amore accountable for content posted by third parties.

Can algorithms draw district maps?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford last week. The key question in the case is whether courts can throw out voting district maps for being too partisan. This will be a landmark decision. The outcome of this case is likely to have huge implications for American democracy for generations to come. But a recent paper published by computer scientists at the University of Illinois proposes letting algorithms do the work of redistricting. Daniel Oberhaus reports in Motherboard.

EU orders Amazon to pay $295 million in back taxes

The European Union has ordered Amazon to pay $295 million in back taxes to Luxembourg. The EU's Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that Luxembourg did not tax almost three quarters of Amazon's profits. Robert-Jan Bartunek reports in Reuters.

Marsha Blackburn running for Senate

Marsha Blackburn announced last week in a YouTube video that she's running for Bob Corker's Senate seat in Tennessee. But Twitter took down Blackburn's campaign ad because in it, she talks about having fought against "the sale of baby body parts".

Verizon announces that hackers compromised ALL 3 billion Yahoo! accounts

Verizon announced last week that, back in 2013, hackers compromised ALL of  Yahoo's 3 billion accounts. Before the acquisition, Yahoo! had said that the hacks affected just 1 billion accounts. Verizon acquired Amazon earlier this year for $4.5 billion. Nicole Perlroth reports in the New York Times.


Oct 3, 2017



Iris Recognition Technology_Tech Policy Podcast_WashingTech_George Joseph

Iris Recognition Technology and the U.S. Border Patrol

One of Donald Trump's main campaign promises was to build a border wall on the U.S./Mexican border. But can iris recognition technology be used instead?


George Joseph (@GeorgeJoseph94) is 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.



Migra!: A History of the U.S. Border Patrol by Kelly Lytle Hernandez


News Roundup

Trump attacks Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg fires back

President Trump attacked Mark Zuckerberg last week. The president complained on Twitter that “Facebook was always anti-Trump ... The Networks were always anti-Trump." He continued, " hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” So Zuckerberg fired back "Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like.” Further, UNC Associate Professor Zeynep Tufekci wrote an op-ed for the New York Times. In it, she denounced Zuckerberg's rebuttal as more "both sides" false equivalency, pointing out Facebook's record ad revenues last year.

Senate digs into social media's ties to Russia

The Senate has called Twitter and Facebook to testify regarding Russian election interference. Facebook reports that 10 million users saw Russia-linked ads around the time of last year's election. One of the ads reportedly showed an image of a black woman shooting a rifle. In the meantime, Russia is threatening to ban Facebook unless the company stores Russian users' data on servers within Russia. Additionally, a new Oxford study has found that Twitter users shared more fake news, than real news, during the 2016 election.

Senate confirms FCC's Pai to 5-year term

On Monday, the Senate confirmed Republican Ajit Pai to a five-year term as FCC Chairman. The vote was 52-41 along party lines.

Conservatives are railing against YouTube

Conservatives are railing against YouTube for taking down ads appearing on content YouTube deemed to violate its terms of service. YouTube says the move was part of an effort to remove hate speech. But those on the right say YouTube is just discriminating against them. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

Senate unveiled driverless car bill

The Senate unveiled a driverless car bill. However, it doesn't address driverless trucks. The bill places safety oversight with the federal government instead of the current patchwork of state laws. Moreover, the bill includes language on cybersecurity standards. Harper Neidig reports in theHill.

Trump and tech sector team up on $500 million education plan

Vindu Goel of the New York Times reports that a third of IBM's workforce is now based in India--more than any other countryIvanka Trump last week announced a $200 million in Education Department grants to boost science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Further, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce are kicking in about $300 million. Cecilia Kang reports for the New York Times.

U.S. intrudes into social media accounts

Ron Nixon of the New York Times reports that he U.S. government will require all immigrants to turn over their social media data. Their social media data will become part of their immigration file. The order is set to take effect on October 18th. However, U.S. citizens are not immune from government scrutiny of their social media data. Zoe Tillman reports in Buzzfeed that the Department of Justice is seeking identifying information and data from three Facebook users. The users are now challenging the warrants. The Trump administration seeks to identify Facebook users who helped organize inauguration day protests.

Apple reports spike in secret national security orders

Apple reported an uptick in secret National Security orders in the first half of this year. Zack Whittaker at ZDNet reports that there was a threefold increase in secret orders issued against Apple users compared to the same period last year.

TechNet backs Trump tax plan

TechNet president Linda Moore wrote an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle in support of the the Trump administrations tax plan. Moore wrote that the current tax code is outdated and that the Trump proposal would clear the way for jobs and investment.

Securities and Exchange Commission charges two crytocurrency scammers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is charging two scammers in connection with their sale of cryptocurrencies. ReCoin Group Foundation and DRC world allegedly told investors they could expect huge returns for their investments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The problem is that the companies weren't actually in operation.  Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

FCC's has lackluster response to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria are stranded on the island without water, food, electricity or access to the Internet. What is Ajit Pai's only proposed solution? Telling Apple to open up iPhones to receive FM signals. FCC Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called out the FCC on its non-response in Puerto Rico. She tweeted that during hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the FCC held network recovery hearings. But the FCC hasn't held network recovery hearings in response to hurricanse Irma, Harvey, or Maria. Ali Breland reports for the Hill.

Senate confirms Makan Delrahim to DOJ Antitrust division

The Senate has confirmed Makan Delrahim to lead the DOJ's antirust division. Previously, Delrahim worked in the White House counsel's office. Harper Neidig reports for the Hill that Delrahim will head up the review of the $85.4 billion AT&T/Time Warner Merger.

EU threatens social media companies with fines for hate speech

Ivana Kottasová at CNN reports that the European Union has issued a final warning against Facebook and Twitter regarding hate speech. Mariya Gabriel, the EU's top digital economy and society official, says flagged hate speech needs to come down quickly. Gabriel says that in almost a third of cases, it's taking more than a week.   Some European countries are cracking down on hate speech with or without the EU. Germany, for example, is instituting $59 million fines for failing to remove hate speech within 24 hours.

 Dems propose $40 billion for rural broadband

Democrats are proposing $40 billion to boost rural broadband. Democrats released the recommendation as part of their "Better Deal" agenda released in July. Harper Neidig reports in The Hill.

Google separates shopping from search

Google acted last week to separate its online shopping unit from its traditional search. Some experts see the move as a concession to European officials who fined Google $2.7 billion over the summer. The European Commission had found that Google had prioritized its shopping results over rivals. The new structure will allow officials to directly regulate Google shopping. James Kanter has the story in The New York Times.

Equifax adds 2.5 million to data breach count

Ali Breland reports in the Hill that Equifax as raised its estimate of the number of people affected by its massive data breach by 2.5 million. Equifax has now brought the total estimate of affected customers up to 145.5 million.



Sep 26, 2017

Online Privacy Issues_Tech Policy Podcast_WashingTech_Jules Polonetsky

Online Privacy Issues -- An Overview

As online privacy issues mount in the U.S., regulators are pulling back. Earlier this year, Congress repealed the privacy rules the FCC passed under former Chairman Tom Wheeler. The rules would have required ISPs to obtain subscribers' permission before using their data for commercial purposes. The ISPs argued that they should be entitled to the same free reign over consumer data that large tech companies enjoy. But, of course, the FCC doesn't have jurisdiction to directly regulate tech companies. Jules Polonetsky discusses online privacy issues and where U.S. privacy law and policy now stand in light of recent data breaches. He also explains what consumers can do to protect their data from hackers.


Jules Polonetsky (@JulesPolonetsky) serves as CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF). FPF is a leading Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization focused on privacy. The chief privacy officers of more than 130 leading companies support FPF. Further, FPF is supported by several foundations. FPF has an advisory board comprised of the country’s leading academics and advocates. FPF’s current projects focus on Big Data, Mobile, Location, Apps, the Internet of Things, Wearables, De-Identification, Connected Cars and Student Privacy.

Jules' previous roles have included serving as Chief Privacy Officer at AOL and before that at DoubleClick, as Consumer Affairs Commissioner for New York City, as an elected New York State Legislator and as a congressional staffer, and as an attorney.Previously, Jules served as an elected member of the New York State Assembly from 1994 to 1997. From November 1992 through 1993, Jules was a legislative aide to Congressman Charles Schumer. Prior to that, he was also a District Representative for Congressman Steve Solarz.. Jules practiced law in the New York office of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1989 to 1990.

Jules has served on the boards of a number of privacy and consumer protection organizations. These include TRUSTe, the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and the Network Advertising Initiative. From 2011-2012, Jules served on the Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. He is also a member of The George Washington University Law School Privacy and Security Advisory Council.

Jules is a regular speaker at privacy and technology events. He has has testified or presented before Congressional committees and the Federal Trade Commission.

Jules is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Yeshiva University. He is admitted to the Bars of New York and Washington, D.C. Jules is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional.


Future of Privacy Forum

Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking

Machine Learning for Absolute Beginners by Oliver Theobald

News Roundup

Puerto Rico all but destroyed following Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico absolutely devastated last week. Puerto Ricans living in the mainland U.S. remain unable to reach friends and family members. Maria made landfall on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm with 155 MPH winds, the likes of which the island hasn't seen in generations. The storm knocked off Puerto Rico's entire electrical grid leaving millions without power. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released a statement saying 95% of Puerto Rico's cell sites are out of service. The island is running out of supplies. Many were thunderstruck over the weekend by President Trump's silence about Puerto Rico. Instead, Trump spent the weekend news cycle railing against NBA and NFL players taking a knee against the national anthem. Tom McKay has the story in Gizmodo.

Mother of slain sex trafficking victim testifies before Senate Commerce Committee

Yvonne Ambrose, the mother of the 16-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a 32-year-old user, testified on the Hill. Ambrose appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee in support of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESA). The bi-partisan bill, introduced by Senator Rob Portman, would hold internet companies more accountable for content on their sites. Currently, the Communications Decency Act shields websites from liability for content posted by third parties. That's what enabled to post ads placed by criminals selling opportunities to sexually abuse children. So the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act would hold web companies more accountable. It would do so by making them liable for knowingly hosting sex trafficking content. Sabrina Eaton reports on

SEC reports hackers breached EDGAR last year

So the Securities and Exchange Commission--the nation's top Wall Street regulator--was hacked. Last year. The SEC decided last week that it would finally get around to telling us.  In an eight-page statement, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton announced that hackers breached the agency's filing system--EDGAR. That breach may have enabled improper trading to take place. The statement doesn't explain either  the reason for the delay in notifying the public or the date on which the breach occurred. Renae Merle reports in the Washington Post.

Google signs $1.1 billion "cooperation agreement" with HTC

Google invested $1.1 billion in struggling device manufacturer HTC last week and is expected to announce the release of two new devices on October 4th. David Pierce, Jordan McMahon, Issie Lapowsky, Jack Stewart, Eric Niiler, Andy Greenberg, and Michelle Dean report in Wired.

Facebook to change ad targeting

In response to revelations that it was allowing advertisers to target racists, Facebook announced changes to its ad targeting system. For example, according to the New York Times, advertisers had the ability to target self-described "Jew Haters"  Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company would be adding more human review and oversight. Sapna Maheshwari reports in the New York Times.

Facebook turning over thousands of Russia-linked ads to Congress

In other Facebook news, Facebook announced last week that it would also be turning over some 3,000 advertisements placed by Russia-linked groups during the 2016 presidential campaign. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

U.S. and EU kick off first Privacy Shield review season

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova travelled to Washington last week to meet with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. The EU is set to release its first report on the efficacy of the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield on October 4th. The Privacy Shield allows data transfers between the U.S. and EU, which have entirely different standards when it comes to protecting consumer privacy. Privacy Shield replaced a previous framework that the EU overturned last year because it didn't provide enough oversight over U.S. mass surveillance practices.  Under the Privacy Shield, the U.S. is supposed to appoint an Ombudsman to review the U.S.'s mass surveillance tactics. However, the U.S. has yet to appoint anyone to the ombudsman role. Jimmy Koo reports for Bloomberg.

Equifax breach happened months earlier than initially disclosed

Ali Breland and Olivia Beavers report in the Hill that the Equifax breach happened in March rather than July. The breach exposed the personal data of an estimated 143 million Americans.


Sep 19, 2017

The Cyberwarfare Capability of North Korea

For decades, policymakers, journalists and the media have discussed, prevented, and continued to assess North Korea's nuclear capabilities. The United States and the United Nations have repeatedly issued sanctions against the country to prevent it from developing its nuclear arsenal.  But what is the cyberwarfare capability of of North Korea? The Council of Korean Americans' Jessica Lee sheds light on the cyberwarfare capability of North Korea and the current policy landscape affecting the Korean Peninsula.


Jessica Lee is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Council of Korean Americans (CKA)(@CouncilKA). Jessica works closely with the Executive Director and CKA members to define CKA’s policy agenda and advocacy strategy. Jessica leads research and analysis on leading issues of importance to Korean Americans.

Prior to joining CKA, Jessica was a Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu, HI. At the Pacific Forum, Jessica published articles on security and economic relations in East Asia. She brings a decade of public and private sector experience in Washington. Previously, Jessica was the director of a nonprofit organization specializing in women’s leadership training and development. She was also a senior manager of The Asia Group, LLC, a strategy and capital advisory firm.

Jessica previously served as a staff member in the House of Representatives. While she worked on the Hill, Jessica handled the Asia portfolio for the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. She was also a senior legislative assistant for a member of Congress on the Ways and Means Committee.

Jessica received a B.A. in political science from Wellesley College. She also holds an A.M. in East Asian regional studies from Harvard University. Jessica is a Truman Security Fellow, a David Rockefeller Fellow of the Trilateral Commission​, and a Google Next Gen Policy Leader​. Jessica has advanced proficiency in Korean and lives in northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.


Council of Korean Americans

Backchannel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Betweeen Washington and Havana by William M. LeoGrande

News Roundup

Equifax Hacked

The credit reporting agency Equifax last week reported that its systems had been breached.  The breach potentially exposed the data of some 143 million Americans. Equifax CEO and Chairman Richard Smith made the announcement last week. However, the actual breach took place on July 29.

Hackers got into Equifax's system by exploiting a flaw in a popular open source platform called Apache Struts. Equifax uses Apache Struts for the online form customers use to dispute errors in their credit reports. Equifax's initial attempt to repair the breach failed. Both the FBI and FTC are now investigating the data breach. Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey also introduced a bill called the "Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act". MarketWatch reported on Saturday that now-fired Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin doesn't have any educational background in information security. According to her LinkedIn profile, Mauldin has a bachelor's and Master of Fine Arts in Music Composition from the University of Georgia.  Equifax's stock price has fallen by more than 30% since Smith announced the breach. Experts suspect state actors played a role. AnnaMaria Andriotis, Michael Rapaport, and Robert McMillan report for the Wall Street Journal.

Kaspersky ousted from federal agencies

The Department of Homeland Security issued what's called a Binding Operational Directive that gives federal agencies 90 days to remove Kaspersky Lab technologies from federal networks. Officials suspect the Russia-based company has state ties to Russia and that they are a front for Russian spies. Agencies have 30 days to identify where they're using Kaspersky, and another 60 days to remove it. Jason Miller has the story on Federal News Radio.

Alphabet may be considering a $1 billion investment in Lyft

Greg Bensinger reports for the Wall Street Journal that Alphabet may be considering making a $1 billion investment in Lyft. This is still at speculation stage. Alphabet and primary Lyft rival Uber have been at odds over the last year or so. Tensions between Uber and Alphabet came to a head earlier this year when Alphabet sued Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets from Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo.

Google pay discrimination lawsuit

Three women who previously worked at Google are suing the company for pay discrimination. The former employees who worked in both tech and non-tech roles at the tech giant allege the company pays women less than men working in similar roles. The California lawsuit also alleges that Google hires women for roles less likely to lead to promotions. Daniel Weissner reports in Reuters.

Congress considers adding driverless trucks to autonomous vehicles legislation

Finally, Edward Graham reports in Morning Consult that Senators are considering adding language to its draft autonomous vehicles bill that would include driverless trucks. The House unanimously passed an autonomous vehicles bill on September 6th, which didn't include language on driverless trucks. In the meantime, a new Morning Consult poll shows consumers are still a bit wary of autonomous vehicles. Just 22% of those surveyed said they thought self-driving cars are safer than the average human driver. Thirty-five percent said they think they are less safe.


Sep 12, 2017


Licy Do Canto is founder and president of the Do Canto Group, a bipartisan government relations firm specializing in public health and health care legislative and regulatory policy, with a particular focus on underserved communities. An expert in health care policy with nearly 20 years of beltway experience, Licy has a track record of building bipartisan consensus, guiding federal legislation into law, and directing national issue campaigns and coalitions. Describing him as a “highly regarded healthcare lobbyist” among his peers, and Congressional officials and other decision-makers across the federal government, the prominent Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill named Licy one of Washington DC’s top lobbyists for seven consecutive years, earning the recognition in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Prior to founding the Do Canto Group, Licy was a principal at the Raben Group, where he lead the firm’s Health Practice Group, providing clients with a range of services, including policy development and analysis, coalition building, direct lobbying and strategic counsel and communications.

Licy also served as chief executive officer of the AIDS Alliance for Children Youth and Families, a leading national, non-profit advocacy organization focused on improving access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment for underserved communities across the United States. Mr. Do Canto is largely credited with significantly strengthening the Alliance's operational and policy structure and considerably expanding and fortifying its relations with public and private sector partners.

Prior to the Alliance, Licy served as the director of federal affairs for the National Association of Community Health Centers, the largest association of nonprofit clinics and health centers in the United States, representing over 1,000 clinics and 6,000 clinic sites that serve over 17 million people. Licy helped oversee the historic doubling of funding for the Federal Health Center program while also successfully managing the Association's legislative priorities on health center reauthorization and the Medicare, Medicaid and state Children's Health Insurance Programs.

While at NACHC, Licy also founded and chaired the Association's Partnership for Medicaid, a nationwide coalition of eighteen safety net providers and other key organizations, including nursing homes, community health centers, public hospitals and unions, focused on improving the Medicaid program. In addition, he co-founded and served as chair of the Association's twenty-two member Partnership for Primary Care Workforce, a nationwide coalition of national professional, provider and educational organizations dedicated to strengthening the health care workforce.

Before NACHC, Licy served as senior manager for federal affairs in the American Cancer Society's Federal Government Relations Department, directing the Society's federal legislative and executive branch advocacy efforts on health disparity issues. He also has extensive Capitol Hill experience, having served as senior legislative assistant for domestic policy to U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and held a number of positions in the office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).

Licy is well known to key Congressional committee and non-committee staff with jurisdiction over health issues, having authored and successfully guided into law the $25 million bipartisan Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act (aimed at helping low-income patients overcome health system barriers), the first piece of health legislation signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2005.

He successfully advocated for, and authored an array of, other key bipartisan-supported health policy issues before Congress, including passage of the Native American Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Technical Amendment Act; passage of the "Rep. Deal" amendment preserving hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding for Community Health Centers; the creation of a $50 million medical home program in Medicaid; a $100 million Health Center Medicare payment system; a $85 million Health Center financing system in the State Children's Health Insurance Program; and the establishment of a $1.5 billion Federal Early Childhood Home Visitation program within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Licy also served as staff to Commissioner John Rugge on the 2005-06 US Department of Health and Human Services National Medicaid Advisory Commission, established to advise the HHS Secretary on ways to strengthen and modernize the Medicaid program.

Licy is often quoted in the media, including Politico, The Hill, Roll Call, Financial Times, Reuters, Bloomberg, Inside Health Policy, among others, on a broad range of issues relating to health and health care policy.

The DoCanto Group’s current and former clients include First Focus, AARP, the Nurse Family Partnership, the California Endowment, the New York State Health Foundation, the Direct Care Alliance and The MENTOR Network, as well as the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery and the Climate Reality Project.

A native of Boston and fluent in Spanish and Cape Verdean Portuguese, Licy is a 1995 graduate of Duke University, with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, International Affairs and Spanish Studies. He also holds a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Certificate in Public Health Leadership from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Public Health and Kenan-Flagler Business School.


The DoCanto Group

America's Health-Inequality Problem by Olga Khazan (The Atlantic, 6/5/2017)

The Head Game: High Efficiency Analytic Decision-Making and the Art of Solving Complex Problems Quickly by Philip Mudd

News Roundup

Facebook reports $100,000 in fake Russian political ads

Facebook released new evidence last week that helps to illustrate Russia's role in impacting the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The social media company reported that a company called the Internet Research Agency spent more than $100,000 on 3,000 Facebook ads that ran between June 2015 and May 2017. While the ads did not endorse a particular political candidate, they did focus on divisive political issues such as race, LGBT rights, and gun control. They promoted views consistent with Donald Trump's platform. The New York Times' Scott Shane and Vindu Goel report on these and other suspicious ads appearing on Facebook that may have some connection to the Kremlin. Google, on the other hand, released a statement saying it has found no evidence of such advertising on its platform.

Industry backlash against Trump's DACA decision

A broad swath of major corporations and industry groups sharply rebuked President Trump for his decision to end  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Obama-era program gave 2-year work permits to individuals who entered the United States illegally as children. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Telemundo, Univision and many others expressed disapproval. Trump says he'll re-review the program if Congress doesn't pass definitive legislation with 6 months. Megan Wilson and Ali Breland report in The Hill.

Google appeals EU's $2.7 billion antitrust fine

Google has filed its appeal of the European Union's $2.7 billion fine against it for allegedly prioritizing its own search results over its competitors. A spokeswoman for the European Court of Justice told TechCrunch that it could take anywhere between 18 months and two years for the case to reach a final judgment. Natasha Lomas reports in TechCrunch.

Tesla hooked its customers up with more battery juice to escape Irma

For an extra fee, Tesla lets its vehicle owners unlock unused battery space. But the car company temporarily removed the restriction for its car owners in Florida as they evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Irma.  Brian Fung reports in the Washington Post.

FCC Extends s706 comment deadline

Every year the FCC is required to report on whether broadband speeds are fast enough and whether the ISPs are moving fast enough to deploy them. A big part of that debate has to do with whether wireless service is an adequate substitute for wireline broadband service. While democratic administrations have held that wireless is not a substitute, the current Republican-led FCC has indicated that it may go the other way. Before it releases the report, though, the FCC is required to allow the public to comment. The FCC extended that initial comment deadline to September 21st. So if you use the internet to run an online business or something else that requires the fastest speed possible, but you live in a remote area--you may want to weigh in. Wireless, at least from my own personal experience running this podcast, is not a replacement for wired broadband by any stretch of the imagination.

Oracle supports sex-trafficking bill

Oracle has decided to go against the grain in supporting a sex trafficking bill most other tech companies oppose.  The bill, which is entitled the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, was introduced by Republican Senator Bob Portman.  The bill has broad bipartisan support, with Senators McCain and McCaskill, among many others, on board. Precipitated by's advertisements of prostitutes and opportunities to sexually abuse underage victims, the bill seeks to hold websites more accountable for ads posted by third parties. Harper Neidig has the story in The Hill.

FBI probes Uber over tactics against Lyft

"Hell". That's the name of a now-defunct Uber program the New York Office of the FBI and U.S. Attorney are investigating. The program was the subject of a class-action lawsuit a Lyft driver brought earlier this year in a federal court in California. But the court threw out that case because the driver couldn't show any harm. But essentially the program allegedly created fake user accounts so Uber could see where Lyft drivers were going. This investigation adds to numerous legal matters Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi inherited when he took the helm last week. Rebecca Davis-O'Brien and Greg Bensinger report in the Wall Street Journal.

Sep 5, 2017


Edgar Figueroa

The Power of WiFi for Business and Communities

The potential for WiFi can't be understated. WiFi is beneficial not only for businesses, but also for communities that have traditionally lacked access. In this episode, Edgar Figueroa of the WiFi alliance helps us understand the different types of spectrum. Edgar also describes what WiFi is and how WiFi is playing an increasingly important role in telecom policy.


As president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance (@WifiAlliance), Edgar Figueroa has led an unprecedented period of growth for Wi-Fi®. Wi-Fi Alliance has grown to more than 700 member companiesUnder Edgar’s leadership. He has also maintained an aggressive development roadmap and adopted a vision of “Connecting everyone and everything, everywhere.” Edgar forged numerous strategic partnerships to facilitate penetration of Wi-Fi into established and emerging markets. Edgar also defined the Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program development framework. He also guided the launch of several generations of interoperable Wi-Fi programs. These programs have proliferated Wi-Fi into mass markets such as mobile and consumer electronics.

Prior to Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar was at Ridgeway Systems & Software (now Cisco). He was instrumental in delivering the industry’s first session border controller. He also helped develop the H.460.18 and H.460.19 International Telecommunications Union standards for secure network traversal. Before Ridgeway, Edgar held product management and engineering roles at 3M Company.

Edgar is a veteran of the United States Navy in which he served in a fighter pilot training squadron. Further, he received numerous awards including Sailor of the Year. Edgar has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, and various community programs in Austin Texas. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund inducted  Edgar into its Hall of Fame.

Edgar is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Masters in Technology Commercialization, and undergraduate degrees with honors in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.


WiFi Alliance

Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley

News Roundup

SEC warns the public on internet currencies

The Securities and Exchange Commission warned the public last week about potential internet currency offering (ICO) scams. Internet currencies like Bitcoin have been on an upward trend lately, with Bitcoin trading at over $4,000. The SEC is worried about companies that prey on the public by "pumping" prices for new products related to internet currencies. China moved on Monday to outlaw internet currency trading. Eugene Kim reports for CNBC.

Uber faces bribery law investigation

Douglass McMillan reported for the Wall Street Journal last week that the Justice Department has begun a preliminary investigation into Uber's potential violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Uber experienced rapid foreign expansion under former CEO Travis Kalanick, and the DOJ apparently suspects that bribery may have been factor. Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, formerly the CEO of Expedia, took the helm of Uber last week.

New America Fellow ousted after criticizing Google

A New America Foundation scholar was ousted from the think tank after he criticized Google's market dominance. Barry Lynn, who ran New America's Open Market's program, praised the European Union's recent $2.7 billion fine against Google for allegedly favoring its own search results over its competitors. Last week, New America let Lynn go, along with several other staffers. Lynn says Google, which has donated some $21 million to New America in recent years, is pulling the strings. Lynn followed up by launching a separate organization that is "going to make sure Google doesn't get away with this". Kenneth Vogel reports for the New York Times.

Tillerson to close State Department cyber division

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced his plans to close the State Department's cyber division. Tillerson made the revelation in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker . The division is responsible for protecting the United States' cyber security interests abroad.  Tillerson says he intends to roll the cyber division into a business and economic affairs bureau. Morgan Chalfant reports in the Hill.

Net Neutrality hearing delayed

The House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on net neutrality that was scheduled for September 7th has been delayed. Not a single one of the eight tech companies the Committee invited responded to the invitation to testify. Edward Graham at Morning Consult reports.

DHS warns of Harvey scams

The Department of Homeland Security warned the public last week about possible scams related to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The agency warned about phishing scams and other malicious activity designed to take advantage of good samaritans making email donations.


Aug 22, 2017

The FCC is currently considering whether it will overturn the long-fought net neutrality rules enacted under the Wheeler FCC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia subsequently upheld the rules. If the Ajit Pai FCC undoes the rules, as it is likely to do, there will be, as always, winners and losers. Who will they be?

Further, ISPs are arguing that they too believe in net neutrality principles. But does their purported support of net neutrality principles align with the original definition of net neutrality that was first advanced by their opponents?


Christopher Lewis (@ChrisJ_Lewis) is Vice President at Public Knowledge. He leads the organization's advocacy on Capitol Hill and other government agencies. Prior to joining Public Knowledge in 2012, Chris served at the Federal Communications Commission as Deputy Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.

At the FCC, Chris advised the FCC Chairman on legislative and political strategy. He is a former U.S. Senate staffer for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Chris also has over 15 years' worth of advocacy experience. Previously, Chris worked as the North Carolina Field Director for Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaign.

Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Local Self Reliance. He also represents Public Knowledge on the Board of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG). Chris graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelors degree in Government. He lives in Alexandria, VA where he loves working on local civic issues and is elected to the Alexandria City Public School Board.


Public Knowledge

Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Jeff Flake

News Roundup

Trump's manufacturing council disbands

After he made insensitive remarks following racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia the weekend before last, Trump was forced to shut down his manufacturing advisory council. Several CEOs had decided to resign from the council after Trump failed to denounce the KKK and White Nationalists, saying instead that there had been "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." He then backtracked reading a prepared statement, only to go back to saying all sides were at fault for the violence.  Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was among the CEOs to resign from the council.  Steven Musil reports in CNET.  But the American Tech Council remains intact, although the CEOS of Google, Apple and Microsoft wrote internal memos distancing themselves from the administration. That's in

Tech companies ban extremist websites and causes

Both Google and GoDaddy last week announced that they would not host sites like Daily Stormer that espouse white supremacist ideology. First Amendment advocacy groups, however, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that the move could backfire and set a bad precedent for civil rights groups. Andrew Morse reports for CNET. Sites like GoFundMe and Paypal are also banning white supremacists from raising funds on their platforms. Abbey White reports in Vox. But the LA Times reports that these groups are forming their own corporate ecosystem in defiance of Silicon Valley.

DOJ seeks user info from Anti-Trump website

Dreamhost wrote a blog post last week disclosing that the Justice Department has been demanding, for months, site visitor information from the anti-Trump website The warrant seeks all files from the site. Colin Lecher reports in the Verge.

Trump bolsters U.S. Cyber Command

President Trump is bolstering the U.S. Cyber Command making it a full combatant command. Now, administration officials will need to decide whether to spin out Cyber Command from the NSA. Jordan Fabian reports in The Hill.

The cozy relationship between Sinclair Broadcasting and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

The New York Times reported last week on Sinclair Broadcasting's enormous influence on current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Sinclair, known for its right-leaning content, currently owns or operates 175 television stations nationwide. But it has also proposed to merge with Tribune Media, which would bring that number up to 215 stations.

The deal would also give Sinclair a much larger presence in cities, including New York City, where it would own WPIX Channel 11.  When he was an FCC Commissioner, Pai even ripped language, almost verbatim, from Sinclair's own filings. Pai used the language to bolster his official legal arguments in support of Sinclair's opposition to the Wheeler FCC's crackdown on joint sales agreements. Then, just 10 days after he became FCC Chairman, Pai relaxed those restrictions. Since becoming Chairman, Pai has also relaxed some TV ownership limits.  Cecilia Kang, Eric Lipton and and Sydney Ember report in The New York Times.

Trump orders China IP practices investigation

President Trump has ordered an investigation into China's alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property. The administration estimates the alleged theft may have cost U.S. businesses some $600 billion. You can find the story in Fortune.

Federal Judge: LinkedIn must allow startup access to data--for now

U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen in San Francisco has ordered Microsoft's LinkedIn to open up its public data to a third-party startup. The startup, hiQ Labs, scrapes data LinkedIn users post publicly and uses it to predict which employees are likely to leave their jobs. Microsoft argues that hiQ's practices violate the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. But Judge Chen isn't buying it. He says that law doesn't apply to publicly available data. Jacob Gershman reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Ninth Circuit says Spokeo is liable for posting wrong info

In a 3-0 decision, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a man who sued Spokeo for posting the wrong picture and saying he was a married father, affluent, employed, in his 50s and with a graduate degree. The central issue was whether publishing this wrong information carried some particular harm. The Court ruled that it did .

The case had already been up to the Supreme Court, which sent it back down to determine the degree of harm caused by the wrong information. While the damages in this case are minor, only around $1,000, it is seen as having significant implications for large tech companies like Facebook and Google that publish a variety of different types of consumer information.

Uber agrees to FTC privacy audits

Finally, Uber will now be subject to FTC privacy audits for the next 20 years. The company settled with the FTC last week after failing, in 2014, to prevent the theft of over 100,000 names and drivers license numbers. Anita Balakrishnan reports for CNBC.

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