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WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

Subscribe to the WashingTech Tech Policy podcast for an inclusive look at tech policy. Join Joe Miller for the week's tech policy news plus the most diverse array of policy-related interviews with tech policy influencers from around the globe.
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Aug 14, 2019

Bio

Johanna Blakley, PhD, is the managing director at the Norman Lear Center. Based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Blakley performs research on a wide variety of topics, including global entertainment, cultural diplomacy, entertainment education, celebrity culture, fashion, digital media and intellectual property law. She has two talks on TED.com: Social Media & the End of Gender and Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture. She speaks frequently in the U.S. and abroad about her research and her work has been cited by Reuters, the New York TimesThe Economist, the Washington PostThe Atlantic, the Los Angeles TimesPoliticoHuffington Post, RAND, ForbesBusiness Week, PR Week and GOOD. She has appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC, Al Jazeera and Current TV, and on several radio programs, including On the MediaPlanet MoneyMarketplace and the TED Radio Hour.

Blakley is co-Principal Investigator, with Marty Kaplan, on the Media Impact Project (MIP), a hub for collecting, developing and sharing approaches for measuring the impact of media, primarily funded by the Gates Foundation. MIP seeks to better understand the role that media plays in changing knowledge, attitudes and behavior among individuals and communities, large and small, around the world. MIP currently works with the US State Department on three cultural exchange programs: American Film ShowcaseGlobal Media Makers and the Middle East Media Initiative.

Much of her work addresses the intersection between entertainment and politics, including two nationwide polls on the relationship between political ideology and entertainment preferences, and she co-authored a report on the Primetime War on Drugs & Terror. With funding from the Pop Culture Collaborative, Blakley is currently analyzing the impact of narrative ingredients of scripted TV shows on viewers.

Blakley is a regular contributor to the Lear Center Blog, and she has guided more than forty manuscripts through the publication process at the Lear Center, including Warners’ War: Propaganda, Politics & Pop Culture in Wartime Hollywood. She has also overseen two major research initiatives about the impact of intellectual property rights on innovation and creativity – Ready to Share: Fashion & the Ownership of Creativity and Artists, Technology & the Ownership of Creative Content. At USC, she co-directed a university-wide research initiative on Creativity & Collaboration in the Academy; she developed course materials on cultural diplomacy for the new Masters in Public Diplomacy program at Annenberg, and she taught masters courses on transmedia storytelling.

She received a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught courses on popular culture and twentieth-century literature. Blakley has held a variety of positions within the high-tech industry, including Web producer and digital archivist at Vivendi-Universal Games. She is on the advisory board of Women@Paley at the Paley Center for Media and FEM inc., a technology venture. She has served as an advisor to the Aspen InstituteActive Voice, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and TEDxUSC, the first TEDx event in the world. She’s on the editorial board of the International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology and she’s a founding member of the board of directors for Les Figues Press, a venue for literary experimentation.

Resources

Norman Lear Center

Are You What You Watch?: Tracking the Political Divide Through TV Preferences

News Roundup

CBS & Viacom strike merger deal

CBS and Viacom have struck a merger deal worth about $50 billion, according to CNBC. The companies have been negotiating a merger deal for three years, which often put CBS and Viacom Vice Chair Shari Redstone at odds with former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who has since left the company mired by sexual harassment and abuse claims. The Redstone family-controlled National Amusements owns both companies. The combined entity will include CBS, as well as Viacom brands MTV, BET, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount. 

Whole Foods workers protest Amazon’s work with ICE

Whole Worker, the anonymous group of Whole Foods workers seeking to unionize the Amazon subsidiary’s workforce, released a protest letter yesterday opposing Amazon’s work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The letter specifically calls out Amazon’s cloud support for Palantir—the mysterious company partially-owned by Trump supporter Peter Thiel that helps ICE use artificial intelligence to carry out deportations.

 

Federal Appeals Court rules Facebook users can sue over facial recognition

You know how Facebook figures out if it’s your face in the images you post? Well, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a class of Facebook users can sue Facebook under California law for using the facial recognition technology behind that feature. California’s Biometric Information Act requires companies to obtain consent before using the biometric data of their users. The 2015 lawsuit could put Facebook on the hook for billions of dollars.

 

Senator Marsha Blackburn calls out Huawei

 U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, who’s a member of the Senate’s Technology, Innovation, and the Internet subcommittee called out Huawei for allegedly implanting spyware on devices. Blackburn said the China-based company is part of China’s military industrial complex designed to spy on the United States and other countries. Huawei is still on the Commerce department’s blacklist. But last month President Trump said that he would allow U.S. companies to sell equipment to Huawei.

 

Democrats blast McConnell at DEFCON hacker conference

Senator Ron Wyden and California Representative Ted Lieu blasted Mitch McConnell at the main worldwide hacker conference, DEFCON, last week, for McConnell’s opposition to election security. McConnell has blocked legislation to strengthen election security—stating that federal legislation to defend election systems interferes with states rights.

Jul 30, 2019

Bio

 

Francella Ochillo (@franochillo) is the Executive Director of Next Century Cities. Previously, Francella was the Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Francella is a digital rights advocate who is committed to expanding access for unserved and underserved communities. Francella has worked on a variety of technology and telecommunications issues with a specific focus on assessing the impact of policy proposals on marginalized communities. Having worked for more than a decade with government and public interest organizations, she understands the challenges associated with getting various stakeholders to agree on connectivity solutions. Francella helps policymakers and lawmakers understand how broadband access can change socioeconomic outcomes and revitalize communities. It motivates her work to ensure that state and local leaders are given every opportunity to resolve their own connectivity issues and have a voice in shaping federal policies. 

Francella is based in Washington, DC and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. She earned a B.S. in Marketing from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland and a J.D. from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

 

Resources

 

Next Century Cities

 

 

News Roundup

 

Mitch McConnell Blocks Election Security Bills

The day after Robert Mueller gave testimony warning about election interference happening right at this very moment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked two election security bills last week intended to bolster election integrity. One of the bills would have required paper ballots to be used and passed the House 225-184. Another bill—a Senate bill from Senator Richard Blumenthal—would have required candidates, campaign officials and their family members to report to the FBI any assistance they’ve been offered from foreign agents. Leader McConnell blocked consent on both bills saying they were partisan.

 

Senate Intelligence Committee Finds Russian Election Interference Extended to 2014

A Senate Intelligence Committee report found that Russians interfered in U.S. elections as far back as 2014. It also found Russian activities continued into 2017. The committee released the 67-page report the day after Robert Mueller’s testimony.

 

France Announces Tax on U.S. Tech Companies, Trump vows retaliation

French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a 3% digital services tax last week on U.S. tech companies that make at least $750 million Euros in revenue annually. President Trump said he intends to retaliate, that only the U.S. should tax American-based companies, and that American wine is better than French wine.

 

Tulsi Gabbard Sues Google for $50 million, Claims Censorship

Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard sued Google last week claiming that the company censored her presidential campaign advertisements. The complaint alleges that by suspending Gabbard’s presidential campaign’s Google Ads account for several hours last month, that Google effectively censored her. Google says that they have an automated system that flags unusual activity. Gabbard is claiming $50 million in damages.

 

DOJ Approves the T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The Justice Department has approved the proposed, $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger. However, a lawsuit brought by several state Attorneys General needs to be resolved before the merger takes effect. In exchange for the merger approval, the Hill reports that the Department of Justice is requiring T-Mobile to turn over subscribers and spectrum to Dish Network, which will become a facilities-based, carrier that will compete with the merged company.

 

Facebook Settles with SEC for $100 Million

Finally, Facebook has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $100 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission had claimed that Facebook misled investors for more than 2 years after the company became aware of the Cambridge Analytica breach in 2015. Facebook disclosed the breach in February of 2018.

Jul 16, 2019

 

Bio

 

Michael J. Alkire (@AlkirePremier) is the President of Premier, Inc.. As President, Alkire leads the continued integration of Premier’s clinical, financial, supply chain and operational performance improvement offerings helping member hospitals and health systems provide higher quality care at a better cost. He oversees Premier’s quality, safety, labor and supply chain technology apps and data-driven collaboratives allowing alliance members to make decisions based on a combination of healthcare information. These performance improvement offerings access Premier’s comparative database, one of the nation’s largest outcomes databases.

Alkire also led Premier’s efforts to address public health and safety issues from the nationwide drug shortage problem, testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives regarding Premier research on shortages and gray market price gouging. This work contributed to the president and Congress taking action to investigate and correct the problem, resulting in two pieces of bipartisan legislation.

Prior to serving as President, Alkire was president of Premier Purchasing Partners, which offers group purchasing, supply chain and resource utilization services to hospitals and health systems. Premier remains among the top group purchasing organizations in the industry as the value of supplies purchased through its contracts has increased to more than $56 billion. Upon joining Premier in late 2003, Alkire worked closely with the Purchasing Partners team to develop and implement a three-year transformation plan designed to dramatically increase returns to the alliance’s shareholders while building stronger relationships with members and suppliers.

Alkire is a past board member of GHX and the Healthcare Supply Chain Association. He recently was named one of the Top 25 COOs in Healthcare for 2018 by Modern Healthcare. In 2015, Alkire won the Gold Stevie Award for Executive of the Year and in 2014 he was recognized as a Gold Award Winner for COO of the Year by the Golden Bridge Awards. He has more than 20 years of experience in running business operations and business development organizations at Deloitte & Touche and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Before joining Premier, he served in a number of leadership roles at Cap Gemini, including North American responsibilities for supply chain and high-tech manufacturing.

Alkire graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University and an MBA from Indiana University.

Resources

 

Premier, Inc.

 

Advocacy @ Premier

 

Premier, Inc. and 10 Hospitals Launch Initiative to Improve Maternal and Infant Health (Press Release, July 11, 2019)

 

 

HEADLINES:   The FTC fines Facebook $5 billion—many say it’s not enough; Trump goes on a racist tirade on Twitter; and Michael Alkire is my guest.

 

News Roundup

 

FTC fines Facebook $5 billion

 

The Federal Trade Commission has fined Facebook some $5 billion with many saying it’s a slap on the wrist. One commentator on Twitter called it a parking ticket, although it was a record fine.  But the New York Times notes that the fine concludes just one of several investigations currently pending around the world. Facebook’s revenue last year was $56 billion.

 

Brian Stelter on Trumps racist tweets

 

You already know about Trump’s racist tweets over the weekend in which he told democratic, progressive Congresswomen of color, obviously including Representative Ilhan Omar, who fled to the U.S. from Somalia, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”. Of course the other Congresswomen to whom he was clearly referring, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were born in the U.S. But Brian Stelter from CNN pointed out something interesting – media outlets like Fox News are avoiding calling the president’s tweets racist, and instead relying on third-party commentators to do that. Twitter even said that the president’s tweets didn’t violate its policies. Twitter though is in a difficult predicament since it’s currently under fire by Trump, along with several other tech companies, for allegedly having an anti-conservative bias.

 

Social Media Summit

 

The Trump administration held a social media summit with conservative content creators and politicians last week. The president told those in attendance that he would invite tech companies to the White House to explain their alleged anti-conservative bias. But the president didn’t provide any evidence.

 

Huawei plans massive U.S. layoffs

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Huawei, the China-based company that’s been besieged by the Trump administration for allegedly sharing the confidential and sensitive information of U.S. companies with the Chinese government, will be laying off as many as 850 people in the U.S. The U.S. Commerce Department has blacklisted Huawei, which Huawei estimates will cost it some $30 billion.

 

U.S. Army to test armed, robotic vehicles

 

Andrew Liptak reported in the Verge that the U.S. government is planning to test armed, robotic vehicles beginning next year. The Army will conduct the live-fire tests in Colorado and Europe. The vehicles will be remote controlled.

 

 

 

First quantum entanglement photograph

 

Scientists at the University of Glasglow photographed, for the very first time, two photons interacting and sharing physical states for a brief moment. What does it mean? Well the photograph will advance the field of quantum mechanics because it proves that photons physically interact with one another—something that was theoretical before. Also, the process of taking the photograph was very involved, creating a model that scientists can use to capture other scientific phenomena that are difficult to observe.

 

Chris Lewis elevated to President & CEO of Public Knowledge

 

Christopher Lewis, a seven-year veteran of progressive tech policy think tank and advocacy group Public Knowledge, has succeeded Gene Kimmelman as President & CEO. Previously, Chris was a staffer in the late Ted Kennedy’s office.

 

Events

Tues., 7/16

House Commerce Committee

Our Wireless Future: Building a Comprehensive Approach to Spectrum Policy

10:30AM

Rayburn, 2322

 

New America

Paying for Our Privacy: What Online Business Models Should be Off-Limits?

3:00-4:30pm

New America, 740 15th St., NW

 

Thurs., 7/18

 

New America

The Future of Free Expression Online in America

12-2pm

New America, 740 15th St., NW

Jul 2, 2019

 

Bio

 

Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonTGB) is Co-Founder of The Giving Block. The Giving Block is a DC-based start-ups focused on helping non-profits incorporate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into their funding model. Previously he was a Director at Block Shop, also DC-based, which is a blockchain incubator focused on building real blockchain solutions beyond the hype.   a blockchain incubator focused on building real blockchain solutions beyond thehype and serves as Washington DC's blockchain hub for top startups and events. He’s also a Senior Consultant at Optimity Advisors – a Management Consulting Firm in DC. He’s earned his BA at Wake Forest’s School of Business.

 

 

Resources

 

The Giving Block

 

Block Shop DC

 

HEADLINES: ProPUblica deiscovers an obscene Border Patrol facebook Group insulting migrants and Latina Congresswomen, Twitter’s right wing attacks Kamala Harris, and Alex Wilson is my guest

 

News Roundup

 

ProPublica discovers secret, obscene Facebook Group of Border Patrol agents targeting migrants and Congresswomen

 

ProPublica uncovered a secret Facebook Group containing some 9.5 thousand members in which Border Patrol Agents ridiculed migrants and members of Congress with obscene photos. In one comment, one of the agents suggested they throw a burrito at Representatives Veronica Escobar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when they come to visit an El Paso area border Patrol facility. Another group member posted the photo that went viral last week of a man lying face-down in the water next to his young daughter. The poster referred to them as “floaters” and suggested the photo wasn’t real. There were several other racist and sexist comments that I’ll let you find on your own … Customs and Border Patrol says they’re investigating but skeptics believe there to be a pervasive culture at the agency that encourages this type of bigotry.

 

 

 

Right wing Twitter accounts promote false rumors about Kamala Harris’ nationality

 

Twitter accounts identified as bots by researchers Josh Russell and Caroline Orr retweeted a conspiracy by Trumpworld personality Ali Alexander, in which Alexander wrote that Kamala Harris is “not an American Black” because she is half Indian and half Jamaican. Sound familiar? Anyway, Twitter denies that bots were involved and claimed that all of the users who contributed were actual human beings. The social media company said the tweets did not violate its terms of service.

 

Senators Warren and Jaypal criticize FCC panel’s corporate influence

 

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Senators Warren and Jaypal criticized the FCC’s Communications, Security, Reliability and Interoperability Advisory Committee for having to many corporate members on board. Currently, out of 22 members, 15 are corporate, 6 are government officials, and just one is from the nonprofit sector. Neither the FCC nor Chairman Ajit Pai have commented publicly.

 

Maine passes net neutrality

 

In defiance of the FCC’s overturning of the 2015 net neutrality rules, Maine has become the 12th state to pass its own net neutrality rules. These include Colorado, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Montana, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and California.

 

Trump relaxes Huawei ban

 

President Trump has relaxed the ban he imposed earlier this year preventing American companies from selling products to Chinese device manufacturer Huawei. The policy shift came as part of a deal with China to ease trade restrictions.

 

Facebook civil rights audit concludes with findings many already knew

 

Facebook has released the latest findings from the civil rights audit being conducted by prominent civil rights attorney Laura Murphy. It’s been received by many social justice advocates working on tech policy as a restatement of things they’ve been calling Facebook out on for a long time, such the need for board diversity, better treatment of people of color and women. The company announced that a task force will be created to address some of the issues raised in the report. But some some say the task force will just be a networking opportunity for members of the task force.

 

 

Events

 

Fri., 7/5

 

DC Fringe Festival

Fri., 7/5-Sun. 7/28

Various locations

Jun 25, 2019

 

Bio

Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble (@safiyanoble) is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Information Studies and African American Studies, and a visiting faculty member to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in Department of Media and Cinema Studies and the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

She is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-reviewed in journals and periodicals including the Los Angeles Review of Books, featured in the New York Public Library 2018 Best Books for Adults (non-fiction), and recognized by Bustle magazine as one of 10 Books about Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You.

Safiya is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology. She is regularly quoted for her expertise on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias by national and international press including The Guardian, the BBC, CNN InternationalUSA TodayWired, Time, Full Frontal with Samantha BeeThe New York Times, and Virginia Public Radio, and a host of local news and podcasts, including Science Friction, and Science Friday to name a few. Recently, she was named in the “Top 25  Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers of 2019” by Government Technology magazine. 

Dr. Noble is the co-editor of two edited volumes: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of the Commentary & Criticism section of the Journal of Feminist Media Studies. She is a member of several academic journal and advisory boards, including Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018. 

 

Resources 

Safiya U. Noble

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya U. Noble (NYU Press: 2019)

Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media by Sarah T. Roberts (Yale University Press: 2019)

 

News Roundup

 

FTC is investigating YouTube over children’s privacy

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating YouTube over children’s privacy concerns, according to the Washington Post. The Alphabet subsidiary faces steep fines if it’s found to have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits tracking and targeting children under 13. The FTC and YouTube both declined to comment.

 

Lawmakers divided over election security

The Hill reports that GOP lawmakers are divided over election security, with some, including Mitch McConnell, who think additional legislation is unnecessary to deal with the challenges posed by technology. Other Republicans, like Lindsay Graham think there’s more we can do.

  

Facebook plans cryptocurrency, Maxine Waters resists

We reported last week that Facebook announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency called Libra. But House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters is pushing back. Waters asked Facebook to place a moratorium on the release of its cryptocurrency until after Congress has had a chance to review it. Virginia Senator Mark Warner agreed. Both lawmakers said the company’s troubled past is a warning sign. Waters has scheduled a hearing for July 17.

  

DHS moving global biometric data to Amazon Cloud

The Department of Homeland Security stated in request for information it released last week that it would be moving the data of hundreds of millions of people around the globe to Amazon Web Services. The DHS is moving the data to a Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) System, hosted by AWS, which will upgrade the agency’s ability to link biometric and biographical data to DNA. The system is designed to quickly identify anyone who’s in the database such as suspected criminals, immigration violators, terrorists and, frankly, you, if you’re in the database.

 

Google’s board rejects shareholder proposals to fight sexual harassment and boost diversity

The Guardian reports that Google parent Alphabet’s board of directors voted down thirteen shareholder proposals that would have ended forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims by contract workers, addressed ethical concerns stemming from AI and China, and several other social concerns. The board voted against the proposals despite a protest happening outside the company’s headquarters during the vote.

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls out big tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook called out big tech at a Stanford Commencement speech last week. He said tech companies need to accept responsibility for the chaos they create and that “Lately it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation – the belief you can claim credit without accepting responsibility … We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning out national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood.”

 

Members call on tech companies to address law firm diversity concerns

In a letter penned by Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver, members of the House of Representatives are calling on tech companies to diversify the ranks of outside counsel the companies use. Currently, tech companies retain large law firms notorious for their dismal diversity records and segregating lawyers of color into contractor roles. Congressman Cleaver, along with Representatives Robin Kelly, G.K. Butterfield, and Barbara Lee sent the letter to Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Intel, HP, Cisco and Facebook.

 

Fairfax County gets first state funding for autonomous vehicles

Fairfax County Virginia and Dominion Energy landed a $250,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for an autonomous electric shuttle in Merrifield. The pilot will be part of a larger potential effort to build a largescale autonomous transportation system in Virginia. This first pilot will connect the Dunn Loring MetroRail Station with the Mosaic district. Under the deal, Dominion will purchase or lease the vehicle and Fairfax County will handle operations.

 

Events

 

Tues., 6/25

Senate Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

Optimizing for Engagement: Understanding the Use of Persuasive Technology on Internet Platforms

10AM

Hart 216

 

House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism

Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations

10AM

Cannon 310

 

House Committee on Small Business: Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure

Broadband Mapping: Small Carrier Perspectives on a Path Forward

10AM

Rayburn 2360

 

House Energy & Commerce Committee: Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

2PM

Rayburn 2123

 

House Committee on Financial Services

Task Force on Financial Technology: Overseeing the Fintech Revolution: Domestic and International Perspectives on Fintech Regulation

2PM

Rayburn 2128

 

House Committee on Homeland Security: Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation                                                  Cybersecurity Challenges for State and Local Governments: Assessing How the Federal Government Can Help

2PM

Cannon 310

 

House Committee on the Judiciary: Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties

Continuing Challenges to the Voting Rights Act Since Shelby County v. Holder

2PM

Rayburn 2141

   

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight

Election Security: Voting Technology Vulnerabilities

2PM

Rayburn 2318

 

 

 

Transformative Technology of DC

How the Future of Work and STEM are impacting social wellbeing, digital transformation and mindset growth through tech

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDT

District Offices

10 G Street Northeast

 

GEICO Data Science

Tech Talk & Open House

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT

5260 Western Avenue

Bethesda, MD 20815

 

Wed., 6/26

 

House Committee on Homeland Security

Examining Social Media Companies' Efforts to Counter Online Terror Content and Misinformation

10AM

Cannon 310

 

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Artificial Intelligence: Societal and Ethical Implications

10AM

Rayburn 2318

 

House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology: Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

NASA’s Aeronautics Mission: Enabling the Transformation of Aviation

2PM

Rayburn 2318

 

Wine Wednesday

Founding Farmers

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Founding Farmers, Reston

1904 Reston Metro Plaza

 

Thurs., 6/27

 

Federal Trade Commission

PrivacyCon

8:15AM-5PM

FTC Constitution Center

400 7th ST., SW

 

Ford Motor Company Fund

 HERImpact Entrepreneurship Summit

9:30AM-4PM

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
3700 O St NW

 

General Assembly

Inside the Minds of Brilliant Designers

6:30-8:30PM

General Assembly, 509 7th Street NW, 3rd Floor 

 

 

Fri., 6/28

 

Federal Communications Commission

Workshop on Promoting Multilingual Alerting

9AM-2:30PM

FCC

 

Tues., 7/2

 

Universal Service Administrative Company

Lifeline Program Consumer Support Training for caseworkers, service agents, and support professionals

9:30AM-12PM

Universal Service Administrative Company

700 12th St., NW

Jun 18, 2019

Bio

Monica Anderson (@MonicaRAnders) is a senior researcher at Pew Research Center primarily studying internet and technology issues. Much of her recent work has focused on the impact of the digital divide, the role of technology in the lives of teenagers, and 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 media.

Resources

Pew Research Center

Teens’ Social Media Habits and Experiences by Monica R. Anderson (Pew Research Center, 2018)

News Roundup

Elizabeth Warren demands Assistant AG recuses himself from tech antitrust investigation

U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim recuse himself from the DOJ’s antitrust investigation of Google and Apple. In the past, Delrahim lobbied on behalf of both companies. Senator Warren wrote directly to the Assistant Attorney General saying that not recusing himself would create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

CBP announces data breach

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a data breach last week. The agency says thieves obtained traveler photos and license plate numbers via a malicious cyberattack to a subcontractor’s network. The hackers did not directly access CBP’s database.

Zuckerberg may have been aware of shady privacy practices

The Wall Street Journal reports that internal documents may show that Facebook knew about shady data practices happening at the company. Sources say internal emails in which executives are seen grappling with how to comply with the requirements of an FTC consent decree included silence by Zuckerberg as to the implications of an app that had the ability to reveal Facebook user data on its own site, irrespective of the users’ privacy settings on Facebook.

OTI, Free Press, and Georgetown Law Center file FCC complaint against wireless carriers for selling location data

New America’s Open Technology Institute, Free Press and Georgetown Law Center’s Center on Privacy and Technology lodged a complaint at the FCC Friday, claiming that AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint & Verizon have threatened public safety by enabling stalkers, people posing as police officers, debt collectors, and others by disclosing subscribers’ location data to bounty hunters.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency gains major backers

The Wall Street Journal reports that Visa, Mastercard, Uber and Paypal will each be investing around $10 million in Facebook’s new cryptocurrency called Libra, which Facebook’s planning to announce this week. Facebook’s been largely quiet about the currency but the Wall Street Journal reports that it would be a currency that’s pegged to government-backed cryptocurrencies and allow users to use the digital coin to make purchases across the internet. Some experts are worried about money laundering.

Sweetgreen acquires delivery startup

DC-founded Sweetgreen—the salad giant—is stepping up its delivery game. Even though Sweetgreen is now headquarted in LA, it announced its acquisition of Galley Foods last week, also a DC-based company, to handle delivery logistics. This is Sweetgreen’s first acquisition.

Events

Tues., 6/18

Senate Finance Committee

The President’s 2019 Trade Policy Agenda and the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement

10:15AM

215 Dirksen

Wed., 6/19

House Ways & Means Committee

The 2019 Trade Policy Agenda: Negotiations with China, Japan, the EU, and UK; New NAFTA/USMCA; U.S. Participation in the WTO; and Other Matters

9:30AM

1100 Longworth

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Building Smart Cities and Communities at the Regional Level

2PM-3PM

Department of Commerce

Demos at Dusk

5:30-8PM

General Assembly

509 7th St., NW

Thurs., 6/20

House Small Business Committee

The Importance of Accurate Census Data to Small Business Formation and Growth

10AM

Rayburn 236-

House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress

Cultivating Diversity and Improving Retention Among Congressional Staff

2PM

Rayburn, 2253

Kora Research Center

Broccoli Talk: Bridging the Gap Between Artists & Tech

5-8PM

Broccoli City Bar

1817 7th St., NW

Sat., 6/22

Black Girls Code DC Chapter

 A Virtual Reality Experience

10AM-4PM

Howard University School of Business

2600 6th St., NW

Mon., 6/24

Federal Communications Commission

Advisory Committee on Diversity & Digital Empowerment

10AM

FCC

Jun 11, 2019

Bio

Alfred Mathewson (@hubisoninthe505) is the former Emeritus Professor of Law and Henry Weihofen Chair of Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He joined the UNM law faculty in 1983 after working as a corporate, securities and banking lawyer in Denver. He was named the Director of the Africana Studies Program in 2013 after having served as Acting or Interim Director since 2009. From 1997 through 2002, he was Associate Dean of Academics. In that position, he oversaw the curriculum, clinical law program, faculty appointments, the faculty promotion and tenure process, library, faculty development and related issues. Professor Mathewson served as a Co-Dean of the law school from 2015 to 2018.

Mathewson's teaching and research focuses on antitrust law, business planning, sports law, minority business enterprises and corporate governance. He frequently supervises in the Business and Tax law Clinic and has served occasionally as Acting Director of the Clinical Law Program during the summer. He recently added Transactional Negotiations to his teaching portfolio. He has published numerous articles and given speeches in these areas and he brings this expertise to his teaching.

He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Law Institute. He has served on several ABA accreditation inspection teams. He is a member of the AALS Section on Law and Sports Law, of which he has previously served as chair. He currently is serving another stint as chair of the UNM Athletic Council. He serves as the faculty adviser of the UNM Chapter of the Black Law Students Association.

He is active in various community organizations, including the Albuquerque Council on International Visitors. He has served as the president of the New Mexico Black Lawyers Association and the Sam Cary Bar Association (Denver).

His recent publications include The Bowl Championship Series, Conference Realignment and the Major College Football Oligopoly: Revolution Not Reform, 1 Miss. Sports L. Rev. (2012) and Remediating Discrimination Against African American Females at the Intersection of Title IX and Title VI, 2 Wake Forest J. L. & Policy (2012). He presented “Times Have Changed: A New Bargain for Sharing the Revenue Stream in Intercollegiate Athletics with Student Athletes,” a paper prepared for panel at AALS 2014 Annual Meeting Section on Law and Sports program entitled, “O'Bannon v. NCAA: Is There An Unprecedented Change To Intercollegiate Sports Just Over The Horizon?”

Resources

Race in Ordinary Course: Utilizing the Racial Background in Antitrust and Corporate Law Courses by Alfred Mathewson, 23 St. John’s J. Legal Comment 667 (2008).

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

Civil Rights and the Anti-trust Laws by Philip Marcus

Race, Markets and Hollywood’s Perpetual Dilemma by Hosea R. Harvey

Amazon Antitrust Paradox by Lina M. Khan

News Roundup

Google walkout organizer leaves the company

Claire Stapleton, one of the organizers of last year’s global walkout at Google following revelations that the company allegedly hid sexual harassment allegations against Android developer Andy Rubin, has left the company, saying she was retaliated against. She wrote in an internal document, later posted on Medium by Google Walkout for Real Change, “These past few months have been unbearably stressful and confusing. But they’ve been eye-opening, too: the more I spoke up about what I was experiencing, the more I heard, and the more I understood how universal these issues are.” Stapleton said she’s leaving the company because she’s having a baby. Google has refuted the allegations.

Maine signs robust privacy bill

The State of Maine’s governor, Janet Mills, signed a new privacy bill into law last week requiringcarriers to get consumers’ permission before selling their data to third parties. It specifically prohibits ISPs from retaliating against consumers for refusing to allow their data to be sold.  

 

YouTube Revokes Steven Crowder’s Ads

 

YouTube shifted gears and revoked the ads of far-right commentator Steven Crowder over Crowder’s use of homophobic language. The company backtracked following outcry over the company’s initial defense of Crowder. But the ban isn’t permanent. Crowder simply must remove the offensive content, including the homophobic t-shirts he was selling in his online store.

 

FCC permits carriers to block more robocalls

 

The FCC allowed carriers last week to ban even more robocalls by allowing them to stop calls on behalf of subscribers.  The order had bipartisan support, but Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said it opens the door for carriers to charge for the service since the order doesn’t contain any language to prevent that from happening.

 

Pew reports lagging tech adoption in rural

 

Pew reports that rural communities lag the rest of the country when it comes to tech adoption. At 63%, rural households are 10 points lower than the rest of the country. Smartphone penetration, at 67%, is also 10 points lower. Tablet penetration and the number of households with desktop computers also lags.

 

Congress kills bill provision preventing IRS from setting up free filing service

 

Finally, it looks like you’re going to have an alternative to Turbo Tax. The tax preparation service is facing some competition from the IRS itself. Congress has killed a provision of the Taxpayer First Act that would have prevented the IRS from creating its own, free online tax filing service.

 

Events

 

Tues., 6/11

 

NCTA/Rural Broadband Caucus

Trailblazing a Path for Rural Broadband

11:30AM-1:00PM

 

Uber

Elevate Summit 2019

Reagan International Center

Today & Tomorrow

 

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood & Color of Change

Digital Privacy Briefing

Rayburn 2322

3:30-5:00pm

 

Entertainment Software Association

ES3

LA Convention Center

Today through Wednesday

 

House Judiciary Committee

Hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 1: The Free and Diverse Press

Rayburn 2141

2PM

 

Wed., 6/12

 

Federal Communications Commission

Tribal Workshop

Riverwind Casino in Oklahoma

Wed. and Thurs.

Jun 4, 2019

 

Bio

Chris Jones (@cjones2002) is the Chief Marketing Officer of Dragonchain and Co-founder of the Blockchain Seattle Conference. He’s a long-time entrepreneur and an expert in strategy, product marketing and user acquisition. He is adept at translating complex, technical features and functionalities into easy to understand concepts. Previously Chris held executive roles with Adidas America, Mattel and Boost Mobile. Chris is an evangelist for blockchain technology and the people and projects.  In addition, he consults to other blockchain & technology companies including Storm, a gamified microtasks platform and Sirqul, a leader in the IoT space. He attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and earned an MBA from Northwestern University.

Resources

Dragonchain

Dragonchain

Free Blockchain Project Planning Guide

Blockchain Use Cases

Blockchain Blog Articles

Gartner Report

News Roundup

Amazon considering purchasing Boost from T-Mobile

Reuters reports that Amazon is considering purchasing Boost from T-Mobile. The report comes as the Department of Justice has called for Sprint and T-Mobile to spin off some property to ensure their proposed merger maintains at least 4 mobile competitors.

U.S. to require social media profiles from visa applicants

The New York Times reports that visa applicants planning to enter the U.S. will need provide their social media profiles from the last 5 years. They implemented the policy on Friday. The crackdown comes amidst a staggering anti-immigration posture that largely targets Muslims and people of color, China, and Mexico.

Markets rattled as antitrust investigations of tech loom

Tech shares tumbled Monday following reports that the DOJ, FTC and Congress will begin investigations against Google parent Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The New York Times reported that the DOJ has an investigation of Alphabet and Apple teed up. And the Federal Trade Commission will investigate Amazon and Facebook, according to sources. House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler also announced his committee will conduct its own investigation. The Nasdaq was down 1.6% and tech stocks in indexes around the world rode the rollercoaster in Monday’s trading. 

FCC broadband report ridiculed by policy experts

The FCC released its broadband report last week, concluding that carriers are building high speed internet service in a reasonable and timely fashion. This is even though some 23 million Americans lack access to broadband. FCC Commissioner Starks said the report’s findings are “fundamentally at odds with reality”. For example, in DC, some 9,000 people lack access to high speed internet service defined as 25mbps download speed. DC concentrates most of those lacking broadband internet in Wards 5, 7, and 8.

Airbnb host in NYC calls black guests ‘monkeys’ and calls the police

An New York City Airbnb host—an Asian woman—called her black guests monkeys and criminals and then called the police. The guests ended up leaving and staying in a hotel. You can find the link to the Instagram video in the show notes.

Events

Tues., June 4th

Committee on Oversight & Reform

Facial Recognition Technology (Part II): Ensuring Transparency in Government Use

10:00AM

2154 Rayburn

 

House Energy & Commerce Committee

Hearing: STELAR Review: Protecting Consumers in an Evolving Media Marketplace

10:30AM

Rayburn 2322

 

House Committee on Small Business

Hearing: Mind the Skills Gap: Apprenticeships and Training Programs

11:30AM

2361 Rayburn

Wed., June 5th

Senate Commerce Committee

The State of the Television and Video Marketplace

10:00AM

Dirksen G50

 

New America

Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet

11:45AM-1:00PM

New America, 740 15th St., NW

Epic.org

AI and Human Rights: The Future of AI Policy in the US

National Press Club

1PM-3PM

 

Thurs., June 6th

 Federal Communications Commission

Open Commission Meeting

10:30AM-12:30pm

445 12th St., SW

May 28, 2019

Bio 

Kriti Sharma (@sharma_kriti) is an Artificial Intelligence expert and a leading global voice on ethical technology and its impact on society.

She built her first robot at the age of 15 in India and has been building innovative AI technologies to solve global issues, from productivity to inequality to domestic abuse, ever since. Kriti was recently named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was included in the Recode 100 List of Key Influencers in Technology in 2017. She was invited as a Civic Leader to the Obama Foundation Summit. She is a Google Anita Borg Scholar and recently gave expert testimony on AI Policy to the UK Parliament in the House of Lords.

While much of Silicon Valley worry about doomsday scenarios where AI will take over human civilization, Kriti Sharma has a different kind of concern: What happens if disadvantaged groups don’t have a say in the technology we’re creating? In 2017, she spearheaded the launch of the Sage Future Makers Lab, a forum that will equip young people around the world with hands-on learning for entering a career in Artificial Intelligence.

Earlier this year, she founded AI for Good, an organization creating the next generation technology for a better, fairer world. Kriti also leads AI and Ethics at Sage.

Resources

AI for Good

 

Kriti's Ted Talk: How to Keep Human Bias out of AI

 

 Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks

 

Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

 

News Roundup

 

Amazon shareholder effort to restrict company’s facial recognition fails

 

Two Amazon shareholder resolutions to curb Rekognition—with a K—the company’s facial recognition platform—failed to garner shareholder approval last week. One proposal would have required the company to determine whether the technology violates civil liberties before rolling it out to law enforcement. The other resolution would have required Amazon to conduct a study of human rights violations posed by Rekognition. While Amazon is reluctant to address these issues, Google and Microsoft have pledged not to sell their facial recognition to law enforcement.

 

U.S. spy chief warns U.S. businesses about China

 

The Financial Times reports that U.S. National Security Advisor Dan Coates has been warning U.S.-based companies about doing business with China. Coates has even gone as far as sharing classified information with executives.  The classified briefings come amidst a U.S. trade war with China which includes a ban of China-based tech company Huawei from doing business in the U.S. because of a cozy relationship it allegedly had with Iran and the fact that China is alleged to be using the company’s components to spy on the U.S.  The Financial Times says the briefings have largely focused on the espionage and intellectual property threats China poses.

 

 

Senate passes anti-robocall bill

 

A bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Ed Markey and John Thune, that would slap robocall offenders with a fine of $10,000 per call, passed the Senate with a vote of 97 to 1 on Thursday. The legislation also increases penalties for scammers and works to combat number blocking. The bill is called the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACE) Act and now heads to the House where Democrat Frank Pallone’s got a similar bill in the works.

 

 

Google tweaks abortion ad policy

 

Google has tweaked it policy for abortion ads after several misleading abortion ads showed up on the platform. Now, the company’s saying that it will certify advertisers who want to place abortion-related ads as either abortion providers or non-providers. Any advertiser that doesn’t fall into one of those categories won’t be able to run abortion ads on Google.

 

Events

 

 

Wed., 5/29

 

AT&T/Carnegie Mellon

Livestream: Privacy in the World of Internet of Things

1pm-2:30pm

 

Fri., 5/31

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Public Forum on the USA FREEDOM Act

10:00AM-12:30PM

Reagan Building

1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

 

Mon., 6/3

 

Federal Communications Commission

Consumer Advisory Committee Meeting

9:00AM

445 12th St., SW

May 14, 2019

 

Bio

Harold Feld is Public Knowledge's Senior Vice President. Before becoming Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge, Harold worked as Senior Vice President of Media Access Project, advocating for the public interest in media, telecommunications, and technology policy for almost 10 years. Prior to joining MAP, Harold was an associate at Covington & Burling, worked on Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and accountability issues at the Department of Energy, and clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals. He received his B.A. from Princeton University, and his J.D. from Boston University Law School. Harold also writes Tales of the Sausage Factory, a progressive blog on media and telecom policy. In 2007, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin praised him and his blog for "[doing] a lot of great work helping people understand how FCC decisions affect people and communities on the ground."

Resources

Public Knowledge

The Case for the Digital Platform Act by Harold Feld

 

News Roundup

 

Supreme Court takes a bite out of Apple in app store case

 

In a 5-4 the decision, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to Apple in a class action lawsuit claiming that company’s app store is a monopoly. The case will now proceed in the district court. The issue was whether regular consumers have standing to sue Apple for antitrust violations, or whether it was just competitors who have standing to sue. Justice Kavanaugh sided with the court’s liberal justices, saying that if consumers didn’t have standing, that retailers would be able to evade antitrust enforcement, by structuring deals with suppliers and manufactures in a way that complies with the black letter of the law, but still effectively have a monopoly.

 

Uber driver allegedly locks two women in his car

 

Police in Pittsburgh arrested an Uber driver, Richard Lomotey, who is also an assistant professor at Penn State’s Beaver campus, for allegedly locking two female passengers in his car and telling them, “you’re not going anywhere”. Lomotey is charged with two counts of kidnapping.

 

Protests over Palantir

 

Protestors converged on Palantir’s headquarters around the country over the company’s $38 million contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. According to the Intercept, Palantir, which was founded by Trump adviser Peter Thiel, has been working with ICE to help them target and deport unaccompanied children and their families. Palantir says that it only helps ICE with investigations. But the Intercept found written documents, obtained via a FOIA request, that show Palantir pursued an “Unaccompanied Alien Children Human Smuggling Disruption Initiative” with both of ICE’s two major divisions: Homeland Security and Investigations and its other division, which is called Enforcement and Removal Operations.

 

Symantec: Chinese spies captured NSA’s hacking tools and used them against the U.S.

 

The New York Times reports that Symantec has discovered that Chinese spies hacked into the National Security Agency and stole its hacking tools. Then it took those tools and used them against the United States. Experts are now questioning what role the U.S. should now play in defining cybersecurity practices around the world. The New York Times describes what China did as being similar to a “
gunslinger who takes an enemy’s rifle and starts blasting away”, making cybersecurity, in a lot of ways, like the Wild West.

 

Justice Department charges Chinese Nationals in Anthem breach

 

The Justice Department has charged two Chinese nationals for hacking Anthem back in 2015 that affected some 78.8 million Americans. The DOJ says the hackers used “extremely sophisticated techniques” to hack into Anthem and three other companies. DOJ officials call it one of the worst attacks in U.S. history.

 

Amazon reports “extensive fraud” following merchant hack

 

Amazon reported that over 6 months last year, it was hit by what it termed an “extensive fraud” with hackers siphoning funds from merchant accounts.

 

Pew reports that Americans’ interest in social media is unchanged since 2018

 

Pew reports that despite all of the breaches, and hacks and problems in the tech sector and Facebook, in particular, Americans’ interest in tech remains unchanged compared to last year. Black and Hispanic adults’ use of YouTube exceeds that of Whites by 6 and 7 points respectively, with 78 and 77 percent saying they’ve ever used YouTube. Notably, Hispanic adults far outpace Whites on Instagram—by some 18 points, with 51 percent of Hispanics saying they’ve ever used the platform compared to just 33% of Whites. Blacks and Hispanics also far outpace Whites on WhatsApp, by 11 points and 29 points, respectively. You can find a link to the report in the show notes.

 

Uber drivers strike worldwide on day of IPO

 

Uber drivers around the world protested Uber and Lyft on the day of Uber’s IPO last week. The largest number of protestors, hundreds, appeared outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco. But the turnout in other cities around the world, were more modest. This underscores the difficulty of organizing in a company without a central company-wide email system that drivers can use to organize.

 

Oracle sues the Pentagon for offering jobs to DoD workers

 

Oracle is suing the Pentagon for eliminating it from a bidding process after Amazon allegedly offered a job to a Department of Defense employee for crafting the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure in a way that benefitted Amazon.

 

Fight over Airbnb regulation in DC intensifies

 

DC City Council member Phil Mendleson threatened DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Twitter, saying that he would withhold building permits for government projects if the Mayor fails to implement a law designed to regulate short -term rentals like Airbnb. The Mayor’s office is saying the law may be unconstitutional because it limits owners of units that don’t actually reside at their property from sharing with renters for more than 90 days per year. The law is scheduled to take effect on October 1st.

 

Events 

Tues., 5/15

 

If you’re in the Bay Area …

New America

2020 Census: Everyone Counts

12:30-1:30

SPUR
1544 Broadway Oakland

 

FCC

Webinar: Information for Older American Consumers

2PM-3PM

 

If you’re in New York …

Politico’s Women Rule Networking Event

The Future of Female Entrepreneurship

6PM-8PM tomorrow, Wed. May 15

New York

This event has a high demand and the location isn’t public. But you can find the link to the interest list in the show notes.

May 7, 2019

 

 

Bio

 

Randy Abreu (@AbreuAndTheCity) is the Senior Legislative Advisor to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Abreu served in the Obama Administration where he was appointed to the Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transitions and Clean Energy Investment Center. He is an alum of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Google Policy fellowships and is currently a Google NextGen Leader, Internet Law and Policy Foundry fellow, and member of the Bronx Progressives.

Abreu has a personal history of advocating for social justice, and federal experience producing regulations and initiatives on intellectual property, drones, self-driving cars, cybersecurity, broadband access, spectrum allocation, e-privacy, and tech-transfer.


Read more at https://washingtechpodcast.libsyn.com/randy-abreu-tech-policy-in-the-bronx-and-beyond-ep-128#ySt87YOYc4MbviFm.99

 

Resources

 

New Green Deal

 

IPCC Special Report on Global Warming

 

 

HEADLINES:

 

News Roundup

 

Mark Zuckerberg comes under direct assault ahead of a shareholder vote to keep him on the Board, Microsoft defends election security, and Randy Abreu is my guest

 

Zuckerberg under assault

 

Two civil rights groups—Color of Change and Majority Action—are circulating a proposal and meeting with Facebook’s shareholders pushing to oust Mark Zuckerberg from the board. Color of Change President Rashad Robinson wrote “ "Lasting change to address the misinformation, discrimination, violent movements and data breaches that put users, especially Black users, at risk cannot subject to the whims of a single person." Currently, Zuckerberg controls 57.7% of voting shares. The Hill notes that 35% of Facebook’s shareholders withheld votes last year.

 

Here in DC Senators Blumenthal and Hawley wrote to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to wrap up its investigation into Facebook, calling for significant damages that exceed the $5 billion that some reports have anticipated.

 

Facebook bows to additional FTC oversight

 

Several sources have reported that Facebook has told federal regulators at the Federal Trade Commission that, in addition to paying what’s expected to be a multibillion dollar fine, it will also bend to additional oversight. Any major changes that Facebook plans to make to the platform would now need to go through a more rigorous approval process. And Facebook would need to hire a new privacy executive that the FTC pre-approves.  Facebook has also redesigned its website to emphasize group messages over the news feed in order to address privacy concerns.

 

 

Trump expands biometric data collection at the border

 

The Trump administration has expanded its collection of biometric data from migrant families at the U.S. border with Mexico. The Department of Homeland Security will now conduct DNA tests and a pilot to collect fingerprints from children under 14. 

 

Putin signs new law closing Russia off from the internet

 

Russia took a huge step last week to close itself off from the internet. Vladimir Putin signed a new bill that would allow his country to develop a “sustainable, fully-functioning, and secure sovereign internet” to defend itself against potential cyberattacks.  The bill envisions doing this by creating a Russia-specific Domain Name Server.

 

 

Senators introduce bill to protect U.S. citizens’ data at the U.S./Mexico border

 

Senators Steve Daines And Gary Peters introduced a bipartisan bill that would prevent the Customs and Border Protection’s ability to sell personally identifiable information, like addresses and social security numbers, to third parties. The senators say the new measure could help prevent identity theft and credit card fraud.

 

Uber and Lyft stop adding new drivers in New York City

 

Uber and Lyft have stopped adding new drivers in New York City approximately 3 months after a new law went into effect that requires drivers to earn at least $17.22 per hour after expenses. The new law is intended to address low pay but also reduce the number of unused ride-sharing vehicles on the street. Politico noted that Uber and Lyft drivers have earned some $56 million more than they would have prior to February first.

 

Google employees stage sit-in to protest retaliation

 

Several hundred employees at Google offices around the world, including in London, staged a sit in last week to protest alleged retaliation against Google employee Meredith Whittaker for organizing a 20,000-employee walkout to protest forced arbitration f. During the sit-in other employees spoke about instances of retaliation that they too have allegedly experienced. Google released a statement saying it takes retaliation seriously and that it offers multiple channels by which employees have the ability to complain about retaliation, including anonymous complaints.

 

 

Microsoft takes initiative to beef up election security

 

Microsoft is taking the initiative to beef up election security by offering a free software that secures and validates votes and elections with new encryption methods. The company says it is ready to release “early prototypes” by 2020. Keep in mind though that it won’t be prepared for “significant deployments” until after the 2020 elections.

 

 

 

Events

 

 

Tues., 5/7

Federal Communications Bar Association

CLE: Lawyering Social: Legal Issues on Social and Digital Media

6:00pm-8:15pm

Wiley Rein, 1776 K St.

$250 for non-members/$135 for members

 

 

Wed., 5/8

 

Washington Post

116th Congress State of Play

Livestream

 

House Administration Committee

Full Committee Hearing on Election Security

10:00AM

1310 Longworth

 

 

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission: Strengthening Protections for Americans’ Privacy and Data Security

10:30AM

Rayburn, 2123

 

Thurs., 5/9

 

House Small Business Committee

The Digital Ecosystem: New Paths to Entrepreneurship

10:00AM

Rayburn, 2360

 

Federal Communications Commission

May Open Meeting

10:30AM-12:30PM

FCC,  445 12th St., NW

Apr 30, 2019

 

 

 

Bio

 

Jelani Anglin is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Good Call. Good Call’s mission is to ensure that anyone who is arrested will have immediate access to a lawyer via its hotline 833-3-Goodcall. Jelani  is a community organizer and serial entrepreneur. During High School, Jelani started his first online business, for which he was awarded the NYS FBLA Business Plan of the Year award, and was featured on national TV. Prior to founding Good Call, Jelani worked on a variety of issue-based and electoral campaigns, in addition to being a community organizer at AirBnb. Growing up in Far Rockaway, NY, and organizing in low-income communities across the east coast, Jelani experienced firsthand the pitfalls that exist for those oppressed by the criminal justice system. He works every day to better communities similar to where he grew up, and hopes his work will be a stepping stone for other young black males. In addition to being Co-executive Director at Good Call, Jelani is an Echoing Green fellow and a Civil Justice Fellow at Blue Ridge Labs.

Resources

 

Good Call

 

Mastery by Robert Greene

 

The 50th Law by Robert Greene

 

News Roundup

 

Twitter, Facebook, and Google dominate the headlines in another week of near chaos as tech and public policy still fail to see eye-to-eye on privacy, hate speech, and workplace issues, and Jelani Anglin is my gust

 

Twitter

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Called Rep. Ihan Omar

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called Representative Ihan Omar the same day he met with President Trump, after she started receiving death threats following Trump’s tweet of her giving a speech alongside images from the September 11th terrorist attacks. The Washington Post says he called her to tell her he stood by his company’s position to keep the tweet up because he concluded it didn’t violate Twitter’s rules. He also said that taking it down wouldn’t have done much since the tweet had already been widely shared. Dorey also said the company needed to do a better job monitoring for and removing hate speech and harassment.  At the meeting with Trump, Trump complained to Dorsey that too many of his followers had been removed. But Dorsey reportedly said that it removes followers based on how much spam they tweet and that he also lost a lot of his own followers.

 

 

Twitter won’t ban more hate speech because Republican politicians would be affected

 

So Twitter won’t ban certain hate speech, apparently because certain GOP politicians would also be affected by it. During an all hands meeting someone asked why the company could ban Islamic State propaganda but not white supremacist content. An executive and engineer responded saying societal norms allow some Arabic language to be banned in order to sweep up ISIS tweets, but that societal norms wouldn’t allow sweeping up politicians’ tweets flagged as hate speech.

 

So yeah … Just total armchair policymaking at Twitter. Although, to be fair, Twitter did release a statement saying that this approach did not reflect the real approach at all.

 

But why won’t Twitter take down David Duke, for example? Not even Jack Dorsey knows since, when he was asked at a Ted event to explain, he just punted.

 

In any case, reading all of the news reports it’s clear that Twitter has absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on or how to design algorithms that prevent it from being used as a political propaganda machine. But the company is reportedly working on a way to make the context for political tweets more transparent—whatever the hell that means.

 

And meanwhile, we’re just supposed to sit here and deal with the mass shootings, and deal with the death threats and there’s absolutely not a single mechanism in this democracy that can handle it?

 

Facebook

 

New York AG announces investigation into Facebook’s email sweep

 

Recall that last week we reported that Facebook swept up some 1.5 million user emails to help it build new products and services. Well, users didn’t authorize the use of their emails for that purpose. So New York Attorney General Letitia James is now investigating.

 

Canada promises to sue Facebook for privacy violations

 

The Washington Post reports that up in Canada, regulators are planning to sue Facebook for breaking privacy laws. Canada began an investigation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and found that the company’s privacy protections are merely “superficial”.

 

Ireland is also investigating Facebook

 

The Hill reports that Ireland is now also investigating Facebook for exposing the passwords of “hundreds of millions” of users . Ireland’s looking into whether the company violated the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

 

Facebook hires Patriot Act writer as General Counsel

 

Facebook has hired Jennifer Newstead as its new General Counsel. Newstead previously helped draft the Patriot Act under George W. Bush when she was an attorney in the Bush administration. She’d previously worked for OMB, Justice, and the White House. Before she was appointed as Facebook’s GC, she was Trump’s appointed legal adviser at the State Department according to Politico.

 

Look for Facebook’s Q1 earnings report tomorrow (Wed., 5/1)

Facebook is scheduled to report its first quarter earnings tomorrow, Wednesday May 1, so keep an eye out for that.

 

Facebooking while black

 

A report in USA Today discusses how Facebook censors black users from talking about race. So you’re going to want to check that out.

 

Google changes harassment and discrimination reporting protocol

 

Google has changed its reporting and harassment protocol for harassment and discrimination. The change comes after two employees who helped organize the walkout of some 20, 000 other employees in protest of Google’s forced arbitration for such complaints claimed the company retaliated against them. Google will now have a dedicated site where employees can report harassment and discrimination, and the company will also now make arbitration an option for employees. The company has also expanded its annual internal misconduct report to include information about sexual harassment investigations, 

Events

 

Tues., 4/30

           

House Appropriations Committee

Oversight Hearing: 2020 Census Preparation

10:00AM

CAPITOL, H-309

Streaming

 

House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications & Tech Subcommittee

Hearing on “Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls”

Rayburn, 2123

Streaming

 

Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property

World Intellectual Property Day 2019: The Role of Intellectual Property in Sports and Public Safety

Dirksen, 226

Streaming

  

Wed., 5/1

 

New America

Exploring Online Hate

11:00AM-2:00PM

740 15th St. NW #900

RSVP

 

Senate Judiciary Committee

Hearing on the DOJ’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election

10:00AM

Dirksen, Rm. 226

Streaming

 

 

Thurs., 5/2

 

Department of Justice

Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop Information (Day 1)

1:30-5:30pm

Liberty Square Building

Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall

450 Fifth Street, NW

 

           

Fri., 5/3

 

Department of Justice

Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop Information (Day 2)

9:30am-1:00pm

Liberty Square Building

Anne K. Bingaman Auditorium & Lecture Hall

450 Fifth Street, NW

Apr 2, 2019

 

techpoloicypodcast_washingtech_Ben Green

 

Ben Green: A More Inclusive Approach to Smart Cities

Ben Green joined Joe Miller to discuss how stakeholders can develop a more inclusive approach to smart cities by engaging local residents.

Bio

Ben Green (@benzevgreen) is a PhD Candidate in Applied Math at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. He studies the implementation and impacts of data science in local governments, with a focus on “smart cities” and the criminal justice system. Analyzing the intersections of data science with law, policy, and social science, Ben focuses on the social justice and policy implications of data-driven algorithms deployed by governments. His forthcoming book, The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future, will be published in April 2019 with MIT Press (Amazon link).

Ben’s research draws on his extensive experience working with data and technology in municipal government. He most recently spent a year working for the Citywide Analytics Team in the City of Boston, where he developed analytics to improve public safety operations and civic engagement strategies for the City’s new open data program. Ben previously worked as a Fellow at the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Summer Fellowship, and partnered with the City of Memphis, TN using machine learning to identify blighted homes. He also worked for a year at the New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic, and Parking, where he managed the deployment of new parking meter payment technology.

Ben completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics & Physics at Yale College. His graduate work has been funded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Herbert Winokur SEAS Graduate Fellowship.

Resources

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future by Ben Green (forthcoming MIT Press, April 9, 2019).

 

News Roundup

Rough Week for Google on LGBTQ issues

It was a rough week for Google in the LGBTQ community.

First, the Human Rights Coalition suspended Google from its rankings, for which Google had a perfect rating, because Google allowed an app promoting conversion therapy to remain in its app store. Google has since pulled the app.

Also, several Googlers took aim at Google’s new Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) last week for naming Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James as a member. Cole has repeatedly spoken out frequently against LGBTQ interests and trans folks in particular. So over a thousand Googlers signed on to a letter published on Medium opposing Cole’s appointment.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson also criticized Google for failing to include civil rights leaders on the council.

Facebook bans white nationalism and white separatism

Facebook announced that it will now ban content promoting white nationalism and white separatism. The company will ban content with phrases that explicitly refer to white nationalism and white separatism. But Facebook said that finding implicit instances of white nationalism and white separatism will take some time for Facebook to learn how to identify. Mark Zuckerberg also wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed seeking a third-party tribunal that would reinforce Facebook’s efforts. Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr weighed in opposing such a framework.

Department of Housing and Urban Development now looking into Twitter and Google

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has already sued Facebook for allowing real estate advertisers to exclude certain ethnicities and zip codes, is now investigating Twitter and Google as well, according to the Washington Post.

IBM sued for age discrimination

A group of IBM ex-employees sued the company in federal court in New York City for failing to disclose how many people it laid off who were over the age of 40. It’s the second lawsuit following a ProPublica report last year that documented rampant alleged age discrimination at the company. At issue is a provision in IBM’s separation agreement that requires employees to agree not to sue the company in exchange for severance pay.

Google, Cuba work together to improve connectivity

Google and Cuba’s state-run telecommunications monopoly ETECSA have agreed to begin negotiations on bringing better connectivity to the island. The agreement entails Google’s and ETECSA’s engineers working together to bring better connectivity to the island via Google’s points of presence in Florida, Mexico, and Colombia without having to pay the hefty interconnection fees it’s been paying to a third party carrier to connect  to Venezuela.

Nipsey Hussle advocated for STEM

Finally, Nipsey Hussle, the rapper and community champion who was murdered in front of his clothing shop in L.A. on Sunday, was an avid supporter of science, technology, engineering, and math education for underrepresented youth and diversity in tech. John Ketchum writes in AfroTech that in an LA Times interview last year, Hussle was quoted as saying that kids are often nudged to emulate athletes and entertainers but that there should be more messaging around emulating tech leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

Events

CHCI

CHCI Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series

Rayburn Rm. 2043

Washington, DC

4/2

 

Privacy + Security Academy

International Privacy & Security Forum

The Marvin Center

800 21st St. NW

Washington, DC

4/3-5

 

The Bridge

Women Talk Tech & Policy

WeWork

1440 G St. NW

4/3, 6-8PM

Mar 19, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_alisa valentin

 

Dr. Alisa Valentin: The Unifying Power of Social Justice (Ep. 178)

Alisa Valentin of Public Knowledge joined Joe Miller to discuss her approach to building a constructive dialogue at the intersection of tech and social justice.

Bio

Alisa Valentin (@alisavalentin) is the Communications Justice Fellow at Public Knowledge, where she focuses on digital inclusion policies for communities of color and policies that diversify media ownership.

Prior to joining Public Knowledge, Alisa served as an intern in the Office of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at the Federal Communications Commission and as a legislative fellow for Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. Alisa was also an adjunct professor at several D.C. area colleges and universities where she taught communications and women’s studies courses.

Alisa received her Ph.D. in Communications from Howard University. She also earned her B.S. from the University of Florida and an M.S. from Northwestern University.

Resources

Public Knowledge

Racial Taxation: Schools, Segregation and Taxpayer Citizenship, 1869-1973 (Justice, Power & Politics) by Camille Walsh

#TechPolicySoWhite by Alyssa Valentin (Public Knowledge, 2019)

 

News Roundup

Facebook failed to block 20% of New Zealand shooter videos

Facebook failed to block some 20% of videos showing the shooting in New Zealand, including videos that praised the shooting. That’s some 300,000 videos. The company reports though that it did manage to take down some 1.2 million videos related to a white supremacist’s massacre of 50 worshippers at 2 mosques in Christchurch.

Arlington approves Amazon incentives

Arlington County, Virginia has approved $23 million in incentives for Amazon to put its second headquarters in Crystal City. Protestors attended an Arlington County board meeting to oppose the vote saying the county should focus on affordable housing before Amazon. Opponents are also concerned about traffic congestion and school overcrowding.

The Arlington chapter of the NAACP also opposed certain aspects of the incentive package. But the County board unanimously approved the incentives with a 5-0 vote. So again—just like in Queens—very superficial engagement by Amazon to reach out to the local community or even include them in negotiations. It’s just extremely poor stakeholder engagement – and they do it because they can.

Facebook reinstates Warren ads calling for tech breakup

Facebook has reinstated Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ads calling for a breakup of the social media giant along with Google and Amazon. A company spokesman says it removed the ads because they violated a policy regarding the use of Facebook’s logo … even though the whole point of that type of policy is obviously to prevent ads going up that criticize the company.

Apple defends is app store policies against Spotify

Finally, Apple is defending its app store policies against Spotify after Spotify filed  a complaint against Apple in Europe for allegedly engaging in anticompetitive behavior by setting its cost to carry the Spotify app in the app store too high. Apple currently charges 30% for anything sold in the app store. Apple says Spotify is simply seeking to avoid paying the same fee everyone else pays.

Events

Federal Trade Commission

Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in U.S. broadband markets

Constitution Center

400 7th St. NW

9AM-5:45pm

Wed., 3/20

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/ftc-hearing-10-competition-consumer-protection-21st-century

 

Public Knowledge/Georgetown/Goodfriend Group

Algorithmic Exclusion and Data Deserts

Georgetown University Law Center

600 New Jersey Ave., NW

3:30-5:30PM

Monday, 10/25

https://www.georgetowntech.org/datadeserts

 

Mar 5, 2019

 

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_jevan hutson

 

Jevan Hutson: How Racism in Online Dating Affects Economic Opportunities (Ep. 176)

Jevan Hutson joined Joe Miller to talk about how racism in online dating affects economic opportunities.

Bio

Jevan Hutson (@jevanhutson) is a Gregoire Fellow at the University of Washington School of Law, where he researches technology policy, social computing, surveillance and privacy, and data ethics, and is an editor for the Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts.

Jevan currently works for the Technology & Liberty Project of the ACLU of Washington, where he advocates for algorithmic accountability in government and restrictions on government use facial recognition technologies. He previously worked for Nintendo of AmericaMiller Nash Graham & Dunn, and Boeing. Jevan holds an MPS in Information Science and a BA in History of Art & Visual Studies from Cornell University, where he was a Research Assistant in the Social Computing Lab and Social Media Lab.

Resources

What Dating Apps are doing to Fight Bias by Jevan Hutson (Axios, 2019)

Debiasing Desire: Addressing Bias and Discrimination on Intimate Platforms by Jevan Hutson, Jessie G. Taft, et al. (University of Washington School of Law, 2018)

Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media by Tarleton Gillespie

News Roundup

US took down Russian troll factory during 2018 election

Several U.S. officials said last week that they blocked the Internet Research Agency’s internet access as the Russian troll factory attempted to interfere with last year’s midterms. The Washington Post reports the operation was the first of its kind after the president and Congress bolstered cybercommand last year. Donald Trump approved the operation. 

YouTube disables comments on videos featuring minors

YouTube has disabled comments on videos that include minors under age 18. The move comes after pedophiles were lurking in comment sections directing users on where to access suggestive images of children.

FTC wins fraud case against company that hired fake Amazon reviewers

The Federal Trade Commission has won a case against Cure Encapsulations for paying a third party to write Amazon reviews of a supplement called garcinia cambogia. The drug is known to cause acute liver failure. It’s the first-evern case of its kind. Among other reviews, fake reviewers wrote that the supplement “literally stops fat from forming” rated it an average 4.3 out of 5 stars. Cure Encapulastions is now liable to pay a $12.8 million fine.

FTC fines TikTok

The Federal Trade Commission has fined China-based social media company TikTok $5.7 million because before it merged with Musical.ly, Musical.ly illegally collected the names, emails, pictures and location data of kids under 13. The U.S. hasn’t fined TikTok for anything that happened after the merger. TikTok has over 1 billion downloads – 100 million here in the U.S. – and is seen by many experts as legit Facebook rival.

California AG Becerra looks to expand privacy

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is looking to improve his state’s privacy law that’s set to take effect next year by allowing private individuals to sue companies for damages. The current bill as written allows individuals to take legal action only after giving companies 30 days to correct violations.

Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto takes on racial ad targeting

Catherine Cortez Masto -- the Democratic Senator from Nevada -- is taking on racial ad targeting in a new bill that prohibits companies like Facebook from targeting on the basis of race. Propublica found back in 2016 that Facebook allows advertisers to exclude racial groups from certain campaigns—a practice which continued at least until the end of 2017.

Twitter suspends Jacob Wohl

Twitter suspended far-right activist Jacob Wohl for allegedly attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election by creating fake accounts purporting to support divisive candidates like Howard Schultz. Previously, USA Today had quoted Wohl as saying that he was planning to create “enormous left-wing online properties”. Wohl says it was just an “intellectual exercise”. 

New FTC monopoly task force

The Federal Trade Commission has established a new task force designed to look specifically at tech sector monopolies. The task force will boast 17 staff attorneys and be based in the competition bureau.

Airline seatback monitors have cameras

Some passengers on a Singapore Airlines flight shared a viral video showing the seatback video monitors in front of them had cameras in side them. Another passenger shared a picture of a similar camera he found on an American airlines flight. United and Delta followed up saying their screens also contain cameras. All four airlines say the manufacturer ships that screens that way for potential future uses, but that currently the cameras are disabled.  Currently. One of the manufacturers—Panasonic—told BuzzFeed that it would never activate the cameras without consent from the airline.  

New York governor Cuomo wants Amazon back

So as you know, Amazon backed out of plans to build out one of its new headquarters locations in Long Island City.   And now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is like [new edition clip] [PAUSE] Love is HARD! [PAUSE] Representatives from some 70 powerful New York organizations took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to publish an open letter to Amazon Founder & CEO Jeff Bezos. Signatories included National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial and the NAACP’s New York State Conference and Astoria Chapter and the Presidents of the Queensbridge Houses and Astoria Houses Tenants Associations—corporate signatories included Ken Chenault and others. The State University of New York’s Chancellor also signed the letter, as did the Chancellor Designee of the City University of New York and the President of LaGuardia Community College. Several unions also signed. In the letter, the signatories characterized the public debate that followed the announcement as “strident”. It’s pretty hard to pass up an opportunity to add your name to a full-page letter in the New York Times. Whether anyone has carefully evaluated the upsides of the deal for every day New Yorkers isn’t clear. No word yet from Amazon.

Events of Note

House Energy & Commerce Hearing
Inclusion in Tech: How Diversity Benefits all Americans
Wed., 3/6 2019 @ 10:30am
2322 Rayburn

Federal Communications Commission
Symposium on Media Diversity
Thurs., 3/7 2019 @ 9AM-5:30PM
445 12th St., SW

Feb 26, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_renee diresta

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

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

Bio

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

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

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

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

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

Resources

RenéeDiResta.com

New Knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

News Roundup

Facebook

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

Google

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

Microsoft defends military contract

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

Bipartisan group of Senators ask DoE and Homeland to block Huawei

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

Feb 19, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_mignonclyburn

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

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

Bio

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

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

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

News Roundup

Groups urge Congress to consider civil rights in privacy legislation

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

FTC and Facebook negotiate multibillion dollar fine

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

Apple, Amazon & Google push to protect Dreamers

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

Pai warns carriers about robocalls

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

Amazon Cancels NYC Plans

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

Feb 5, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_Betsy Cooper

 

Bio

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

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

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

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

Resources

Aspen Tech Policy Hub

Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellowship Application

News Roundup

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

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

DC Circuit Appeals panel hears net neutrality oral arguments

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

Report: FamilyTreeDNA works with the FBI

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

Feds charge second Chinese Apple car worker with data theft

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

Apple reports Group FaceTime bug

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

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

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

Mignon Clyburn to advise TMobile/Sprint

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

Jan 29, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_alicia mazzara

 
https://techpolicypodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/alicia_mazzara-500x500-e1548763637485.jpg

 

Alicia Mazzara: Mapping How a Housing Vouchers Loophole Furthers Segregation (Ep. 171)

Landlords across the U.S. are refusing to rent to prospective tenants with housing vouchers. As a result, demand for voucher-eligible housing units in low-income areas greatly exceeds supply. But in high income areas, the opposite is true.

Bio

Alicia Mazzara is a Research Analyst in the Housing Division at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She works on issues related to federal low-income housing policy.

Prior to joining the Center in 2015, Mazzara was a Policy Advisor in Third Way’s Economic Program where her research centered on income inequality, labor market dynamics, and workforce development. She has also spent time working in the federal government and as a Research Associate at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Mazzara has a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and international relations from Carleton College and a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University.

Resources

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Interactive Map: Where Voucher Households Live in the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas by Alicia Mazzara, Brian Knudsen, and Nick Kasprak (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2019).

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

News Roundup

AOC and Pingree call out tech firms for sponsoring event featuring climate-change deniers

Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chellie Pingree called out Google, Facebook, and Microsoft last week for sponsoring an event put on by the CO2 Coalition, an organization that opposes policies that are designed to address climate change. Through company spokespeople, all three companies sought to distance themselves from the views expressed at the event by saying they support organizations across the political spectrum and highlighting their substantial investments to address climate change. After those companies released statements, Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree pushed back even further saying the climate-change crisis is too great for the companies to permit themselves to undermine their leadership by associating with propagandistic organizations like the CO2 Coalition.

U.S. Charges Huawei

The Department of Justice has indicted several affiliates, subsidiaries and executives of Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. The company is accused of  stealing intellectual property from T-Mobile and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. U.S. officials say Huawei’s alleged theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile gave the Chinese government backdoor access to technology from a U.S.-based telecommunications company thereby endangering U.S. national security interests. The U.S. is also in the process of extraditing Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wengzhou from Vancouver in order to face charges that she worked to circumvent U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

Big Tech Increased Lobbying in 2018

Google, Facebook and Amazon increased their lobbying spending in 2018 over the previous year during increased scrutiny from Congress regarding how the companies use personal data. Google’s lobbying expenditures jumped from $18 to 21 million. Amazon spent $14.2 million, up from $12.8 million in 2017. Facebook spent $13 million—a million-and—half more than the previous year. All three companies concentrated a fair share of that spending in the fourth quarter.

Netflix joins MPAA

Netflix has joined the Motion Picture Association of America which, since 1922, has been the trade association for the six major film studios. The announcement came the same day Netflix received its first-ever Best Picture nomination for ‘Roma’.

Advocacy groups call on FTC to breakup Facebook

Several advocacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Color of Change, are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to break up Facebook, according to a Wall Street Journal report on a draft letter it obtained. In addition to Facebook, Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp. Many advocates and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, have taken aim at Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica debacle for how the company traffics in its users’ data. It’s not clear what authority the FTC would have to break up Facebook. However, the agency is assessing whether Facebook violated the terms of a consent decree the company signed back in 2011 when it allowed Cambridge Analytica to access the data of some 87 million Facebook users when Cambridge Analytica allegedly handled most of the analytics that went into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.

US Labor Department sues Oracle for discrimination

The U.S. Labor Department filed a federal complaint against Oracle last week claiming the company owes some $400 million in lost wages to women and people of color. The Labor Department says only 11 of 500 people hired into technical jobs over a four-year period were African American or Hispanic and that 5,000 women and 11,000 Asian employees were also underpaid by as much as 20% compared to their white male counterparts.

MIT report says Amazon’s facial recognition technology is biased

A new MIT study says that Amazon’s facial recognition technology is biased against women and people of color. The study found that Amazon’s Rekognition classified a disproportionate number of women as men.

Mignon Clyburn appointed to new Artificial Intelligence advisory group

The Secretaries of Defense and Commerce and top Republicans and Democrats in Congress appointed former FCC Chairman and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve on the newly-created National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which will advise the U.S. government on national security and competition issues related to artificial intelligence. Former Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt will Chair the Commission and Clyburn will serve with Oracle CEO Safra Catz and executives from Google and Microsoft among others. The Commission was created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and has a $10 million budget through 2020.

Jan 22, 2019

 

Bio

Lauren Rhue is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics at the Wake Forest School of Business where she’s also an Exxon-Wayne Calloway Rising Faculty Fellow. Her research uses empirical and econometric methods to explore the economic and social implications of technology. Dr. Rhue is also interested in investigating the economic implications of technology platforms for traditionally disadvantaged populations. She earned her Bachelor’s in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford and her Ph.D. in Information Systems from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Resources

Wake Forest University School of Business

Racial Influence on Automated Perceptions of Emotions by Lauren Rhue (Wake Forest University School of Business, 2018)

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World by Bruce Schneier

Jan 15, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_claire brown

 

H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas (Ep. 169)

The New Food Economy’s Claire Brown joined Joe Miller to discuss how an FDA algorithm is killing bodegas by flagging otherwise legal transactions as fraud.

Bio

H. Claire Brown (@hclaire_brown) is a staff writer for The New Food Economy focusing on food policy and the environment. Her reporting has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Press Club. She is based in Brooklyn.

Resources

New Food Economy

How an Algorithm kicks small businesses out of the food stamp program on dubious fraud charges by Claire Brown

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

News Roundup

Federal officials worry about shutdown’s effect on cyber security

Federal security officials are worried about the short and long-term harm to the nation’s cybersecurity during the shutdown. They’re worried about losing furloughed talent and about criminals and foreign actors taking advantage of the shutdown to launch cyberattacks.

Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly issued a strong rebuke against Trump for the shutdown saying it’s immoral and unnecessary. She noted that when she served as the ranking member of the IT subcommittee in the last session of Congress, the subcommittee repeatedly discussed the federal government’s inability to attract top IT and tech talent. She said the shutdown makes federal IT jobs seem even less attractive than they were before.

Motherboard paid $300 to a bounty hunter to access customer location info from carriers

Remember in 2017 when the Republican-controlled Congress repealed the Obama-FCC’s privacy rules that would have required carriers to obtain opt-in consent from customers before sharing their data? Well, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox reported last week that he paid just 300 bucks to a bounty hunter to identify the location of a phone. This is exactly the kind of harm the privacy rules were designed to prevent. The Motherboard investigation found that all the bounty hunter had to do was purchase the location data that ultimately came from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint and voilá – here’s your phone … or the phone of that person you’re stalking …

So House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone demanded an emergency briefing from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai … Pai declined, citing the shutdown --- claiming that the issue wasn’t a “threat to the safety of human life or property.”

AG nominee Barr to recuse himself from AT&T/Time Warner merger appeal

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced last week that Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr assured her in a private meeting that he would recuse himself from the AT&T/Time Warner Merger. The Justice Department is appealing a lower court’s decision to approve the $85 billion merger of the two companies. Barr’s Senate confirmation hearing takes place today, Tuesday, January 15.

Google shareholder sues for $90 million Andy Rubin payout

Google shareholder James Martin filed a lawsuit against the company last week for its $90 million payout to former executive Andy Rubin after he left the company amidst sexual harassment allegations. The complaint alleges a “multi-year scheme to cover up sexual harassment and discrimination at Alphabet” and claims the board, including Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, breached their fiduciary duties as board members and as executives who set the internal tone that enabled extramarital affairs at the company.

Thune/Wicker switch roles on the Senate Commerce Committee

South Dakota Republican John Thune has stepped down as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and now heads up the Communications Subcommittee. Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker now Chairs the full committee.

Trump administration proposes to allow drones to fly at night

The Federal Aviation Administration issued proposed rules Monday that would allow small commercial drones to fly over cities at night.  Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says she’s keenly aware of the safety concerns.

 

Jan 15, 2019

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_claire brown

 

H. Claire Brown: How an FDA Algorithm is Killing Bodegas (Ep. 169)

The New Food Economy’s Claire Brown joined Joe Miller to discuss how an FDA algorithm is killing bodegas by flagging otherwise legal transactions as fraud.

Bio

H. Claire Brown (@hclaire_brown) is a staff writer for The New Food Economy focusing on food policy and the environment. Her reporting has won awards from the Newswomen’s Club of New York and the New York Press Club. She is based in Brooklyn.

Resources

New Food Economy

How an Algorithm kicks small businesses out of the food stamp program on dubious fraud charges by Claire Brown

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

News Roundup

Federal officials worry about shutdown’s effect on cyber security

Federal security officials are worried about the short and long-term harm to the nation’s cybersecurity during the shutdown. They’re worried about losing furloughed talent and about criminals and foreign actors taking advantage of the shutdown to launch cyberattacks.

Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly issued a strong rebuke against Trump for the shutdown saying it’s immoral and unnecessary. She noted that when she served as the ranking member of the IT subcommittee in the last session of Congress, the subcommittee repeatedly discussed the federal government’s inability to attract top IT and tech talent. She said the shutdown makes federal IT jobs seem even less attractive than they were before.

Motherboard paid $300 to a bounty hunter to access customer location info from carriers

Remember in 2017 when the Republican-controlled Congress repealed the Obama-FCC’s privacy rules that would have required carriers to obtain opt-in consent from customers before sharing their data? Well, Motherboard’s Joseph Cox reported last week that he paid just 300 bucks to a bounty hunter to identify the location of a phone. This is exactly the kind of harm the privacy rules were designed to prevent. The Motherboard investigation found that all the bounty hunter had to do was purchase the location data that ultimately came from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint and voilá – here’s your phone … or the phone of that person you’re stalking …

So House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone demanded an emergency briefing from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai … Pai declined, citing the shutdown --- claiming that the issue wasn’t a “threat to the safety of human life or property.”

AG nominee Barr to recuse himself from AT&T/Time Warner merger appeal

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced last week that Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr assured her in a private meeting that he would recuse himself from the AT&T/Time Warner Merger. The Justice Department is appealing a lower court’s decision to approve the $85 billion merger of the two companies. Barr’s Senate confirmation hearing takes place today, Tuesday, January 15.

Google shareholder sues for $90 million Andy Rubin payout

Google shareholder James Martin filed a lawsuit against the company last week for its $90 million payout to former executive Andy Rubin after he left the company amidst sexual harassment allegations. The complaint alleges a “multi-year scheme to cover up sexual harassment and discrimination at Alphabet” and claims the board, including Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, breached their fiduciary duties as board members and as executives who set the internal tone that enabled extramarital affairs at the company.

Thune/Wicker switch roles on the Senate Commerce Committee

South Dakota Republican John Thune has stepped down as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and now heads up the Communications Subcommittee. Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker now Chairs the full committee.

Trump administration proposes to allow drones to fly at night

The Federal Aviation Administration issued proposed rules Monday that would allow small commercial drones to fly over cities at night.  Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says she’s keenly aware of the safety concerns.

 

Jan 8, 2019

Bio

Kimberly Tignor (@Kim_Tignor) is the Public Policy Director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Ms. Tignor manages a portfolio that includes education, voting rights, employment discrimination, fair housing, affirmative action, criminal justice, and immigration. In addition, she manages the Judicial Diversity Program of the Lawyers’ Committee.

Ms. Tignor has spent her career immersed in the most pressing of legal issues surrounding underprivileged persons and advancing the causes of equality and social justice. She is particularly well-versed in working across multicultural issues and topics of key interest to people of color. Her impressive legal experience spans from directing policy at the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of African American legal professionals, to coordinating state and national level pipeline and advocacy efforts for Presidential judicial nominees at the VENG Group, the leading government affairs firm consulting group representing Presidential nominees to the federal judiciary. During her time with the Georgetown Law Juvenile Justice Clinic, Ms. Tignor studied the impact of laws on adolescents and advocated for a higher quality of rehabilitation services within the justice system.

Ms. Tignor Chairs the National Bar Association Judicial Evaluations Committee and is an active member of the organization’s Civil Rights Law and Legislative Affairs Sections. In her local community, she is a board member of the DC Ward 4 Democrats, a member of the Potomac (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the DC Lawyers for Youth. Ms. Tignor has been a guest speaker for numerous panels including C-Span’s After Words, the American Bar Association Commission of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the profession, and the Washington Bar Association. Ms. Tignor was recently recognized by On Being a Lawyer of Color as one of the country’s top lawyers under the age of 40.

Kimberly Tignor is a proud Washington DC native. She received her JD from Georgetown University, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Information Technology from the College of William and Mary.

Resources

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Creative Control

News Roundup

Outgoing Congress fails to reinstate net neutrality

The House of Representatives failed to vote on a Senate-passed resolution that would have reinstated the 2015 open internet rules the FCC repealed after Trump took office. A lawsuit from consumer advocates and state attorneys general is still pending in the DC Circuit, with oral arguments set for next month. The FCC says the lawsuits are moot since they’ve already repealed the rules.

Apple lowers revenue forecast

Apple lowered its revenue forecast last week citing uncertainty about tensions with China. Apple CEO Tim Cook revised the company’s first quarter forecast down by some $9 billion. The report sent stocks down early last week. But the market was up 700 points at the end of the week after reports of strong unemployment numbers.

FCC back up to 5 commissioners

The FCC is back up to 5 commissioners after the Senate confirmed Democrat Jeffrey Starks and re-confirmed Republican Brendan Carr.

Airbnb blocks New York City host identity lawsuit

Airbnb has won a legal victory in a federal lawsuit it brought against the City of New York for a law requiring the homesharing company to disclose the names and addresses of hosts to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement. The court issued a preliminary injunction against the new law which was supposed to go into effect in February.

Warner/Rubio propose new White House cyber office

Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio proposed bi-partisan legislation last week that seeks to establish a new White House office of Critical Technology and Security. The new office would be tasked with dealing with increasing cyberthreats from China.

Marriott: Hackers accessed 5 million passport numbers

Marriott reported last week that its November data breach allowed hackers to access some 5 million unencrypted passport numbers. Over twenty million total passport numbers were swiped, including encrypted ones. Marriott also claims that 117 million fewer guests were affected by the breach. It now says 383 million guests had their data breached—that’s down from the 500 million it claimed back in November.

Dec 18, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_ambar januel

Bio

A Mexican American with a creative background and an untraditional career path, Ambar Januel (@ambarjanuel) is a marketing strategist and branding expert for non-profits and innovative tech companies. With a focus on social impact, her partners utilize future technologies to disrupt the system, while prioritizing diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and social justice. Tech startup project manager, turned creative director, turned agency co-founder, Ambar currently works independently as a strategist, bringing marketing, event production, and branding skills together through her work. She has spoken at a variety of conferences and has been featured in many publications, including 7in7, BBC Media, Vanity Fair, Forbes, Digital LA, Honeybook, WeRule, and more.

Resources

Ambar Januel

Good Call

Call Them by Their True Names by Rebecca Solnit

News Roundup

NAACP launches Facebook boycott for targeting people of color

The NAACP has launched a boycott of Facebook following reports that the Kremlin specifically used Facebook and other social media to recruit African Americans and other people of color to support Donald Trump. The NAACP is calling on Facebook users to log out of Facebook for one day—today, Tuesday.

Data analysts from the University of Oxford submitted a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, yesterday, analyzing how Russians infiltrated social media to spread pro-Trump propaganda leading up to the 2016 presidential election. We’ve got a link to coverage in the show notes. But Russian operatives working for the Internet Research Agency—the propaganda arm of the Kremlin—sought to entice African Americans and other people of color to host events, start coalitions, and engage in other activities -- on American soil -- to gin up support for Donald Trump. These were leaflets, folks.

So even though the Kremlin used other social media platforms -- including Twitter , Google, and others -- to promote propaganda, and the report to the Senate Intelligence Committee says that these companies may have evaded Congress and provided incomplete datasets during testimony over the past year, this was the icing on the cake for the NAACP as far as Facebook’s concerned. The 110-year-old civil rights organization found a persistent pattern of anti-democratic tactics that have repeatedly implicated Facebook since the 2016 election cycle.

To add insult to injury, Facebook revealed yet another breach affecting private photos of some 6.8 million users. So this goes far beyond smart lawyering. Tech company’s testimony before Congress all year came with legal implications. And, as long as they didn’t commit perjury, disclosing as little as possible is frankly well within their Fifth Amendment rights. But there’s a particular quality to Facebook that’s fundamentally different from other platforms--because it’s so pervasive, and so personal.

YouTube has removed 58 million videos in last quarter

YouTube reports that it removed some 58 million videos during the past quarter for violating community standards. The Google unit said that 72% of the videos promoted spam or were misleading. YouTube also removed 1.67 million channels during the same period.

HuffPo: Cloudflare hosts terror organizations

The web giant Cloudflare apparently provides cybersecurity services to at least 7 foreign terrorist organizations and militant groups, according to the Huffington Post. All of the groups are listed on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. Jesselyn Cook has the report in the Huffington Post.

AP: Iranian operatives hacked personal emails of American security officials

The AP reports that Iranian hackers hacked into the personal email accounts of U.S. officials last month to attempt to thwart the Trump administration’s new sanctions. The AP obtained the data from London-based security firm Certfa. Raphael Satter has more overage in the AP.

FCC allows internet service providers to block texts

The FCC voted last week to allow internet service providers to block some text messages, supposedly to prevent spam. Opponents say it’s a threat to net neutrality and gives ISPs too much control over content, in this case texts.

Manchin blocks Carr nomination

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin moved to block Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr’s nomination to the the FCC  after the Republican-controlled agency voted to block the expansion of wireless internet service to rural areas. Carr’s term is actually already expired—it expired back on June 30th. And if the current Congress doesn’t vote to approve a new five-year term by January 3rd, which is when the current Congress concludes, and we move into the next session of Congress, Carr will need to step down. However, he could still be renominated and confirmed by the next Senate, which is what happened with Jessica Rosenworcel.

Dec 11, 2018

 

Alexandra Channer: Automation, Displacement and Slavery in Southeast Asia (Ep. 166)

Alexandra Channer joined Joe Miller to discuss how automation is leading to labor abuses and slavery in Southeast Asia.

Bio

Dr. Alexandra Channer (@channer_alex) is a human rights advisor for business, helping to identify and mitigate impacts resulting from their commercial activities and relationships. She has a technical background in risk analysis and due diligence for labour standards, civil and political rights and community impacts.

In her previous role, Alex was principal analyst and head of human rights strategy at Verisk Maplecroft. In this role, Alex supported multinationals with global supply chains in the technology, extractives, food and beverage, and apparel sectors. Areas of focus included modern slavery, human rights defenders and automation.

Alex’s approach is enriched by her doctorate in politics - involving eight years of fieldwork on grievance-based mobilisation in Kosovo - as well as experience working in political communications. Alex learnt Albanian in Kosovo and translates plays and books in her spare time.

Key services:

  • Modern slavery training workshops and e-learning programmes
  • Gap assessments of human rights management systems
  • Stakeholder consultation   
  • Disclosure statement support
  • Risk and impact assessments
  • Issue briefing, horizon scanning

Resources

Slavery and labour abuses in SE Asia supply chains set to spiral over the next two decades as automation consumes job market by Alexandra Channer (Verisk Maplecroft, 2018)

Confidential documents obtained by UK’s Parliament suggest Facebook sold data

Two-hundred fifty pages of confidential documents obtained by a UK Parliamentary committee from a company embroiled in litigation with Facebook in the U.S. seem to reveal that Facebook sold data to certain buyers as it sought to grow. Zuckerberg denies that allegations. But the trove of emails between Facebook and a company called Six4Three contain several communications with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that seem to discredit his assertion that Facebook never sold users’ data.

In other Facebook news, The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook’s board of directors backs Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s handling of the anti-Semitic campaign against George Soros. And Facebook plans to a buyback of $9 billion more of its shares to boost investor confidence after a stock slump of more than 40% since July.

Verizon’s Oath to pay a $5 million settlement in child data protection lawsuit

Verizon’s Oath has agreed to pay $5 million to the New York State attorney general to settle charges that its AOL unit violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, also known as COPPA. It’s the largest settlement paid by a company in COPPA history. New York’s Attorney General had accused AOL of displaying ads on children’s sites even though AOL’s policies prohibited it.  Sapna Maheshwari has more in The New York Times.

FCC watchdog clears Pai of collusion with the White House

The FCC’s own, internal Inspector General has completed an investigation of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. It found that Pai didn’t violate ethics rules when he failed to disclose conversations he’d had with former White House counsel Don McGahn regarding the Sinclair merger because the FCC’s rules didn’t prohibit the conversation even though the FCC is not a cabinet-level agency and is supposed to be independent of the White House. Margaret Harding McGill has the story in Politico.

Google contract employees push for better working conditions

Google’s contract employees are pushing for better working conditions. In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Googler’s are calling for inclusion in corporate-wide communications as well as equal pay and better treatment. The contract workers, known internally as TVCs, are also referred to as Google’s “shadow workforce”. And they were excluded from Google’s new policies regarding sexual harassment which the company began implementing following the walkout of thousands of employees world-wide protesting the company’s handling of Andy Rubin’s departure, after he’d been accused of sexual misconduct—an accusation Mr. Rubin has denied. The contract employees say that Google’s $30 billion in profit this year alone is more than enough for the company to compensate them fairly.

Google accelerates closure of Google+

Google has found a new bug exposing user data to some 52 million users. The company had already planned to shut down Google+ by the end of next year, but it has accelerated the closure to August. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on today, Tuesday, December 11th and the new data breach is sure to be an issue.

 

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