Info

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.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Category: podcast
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.

 

Dec 4, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_joekane

Joseph Kane: The Impact of Automated Vehicles on Your White Collar Job (Ep. 165)

Brookings' Joseph Kane joined Joe Miller to talk about how automated vehicles could impact your white collar job--not just those of drivers.

Bio

Joseph Kane (@jwkane) is a senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Kane’s work focuses on a wide array of built environment issues, including transportation and water infrastructure. Within these areas of research, he has explored infrastructure’s central economic role across different regions as well as its relationship to opportunity and resilience. Across several projects, he has concentrated on the use of innovative datasets, combining them with other qualitative measures to better assess current and future infrastructure needs. From the exploration of metropolitan freight trends to the first-ever analysis of infrastructure jobs at a metropolitan level, he has coordinated the production of new metrics and developed other interactive content to better inform decisions by policymakers and practitioners across the country.

Prior to Brookings, Kane was an Economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. He holds a master’s degree in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the College of William and Mary.

Resources

Metropolitan Policy Program @ Brookings

How big could the AV industry be? 9.5 million workers and counting by Joseph Kane and Adie Tomer

Why the Garden Club Couldn't Save Youngstown by Sean Stafford

News Roundup

Consequences Facebook’s poor engagement with people of color taking root

The consequences of Facebook’s poor engagement over the years with people of color began to take hold last week. On Tuesday, USA Today’s Jessica Guynn reported on a former black Facebook employee – Mark Luckie – who says the company has a deep seated race problem both internally and on the platform. Luckie wrote an internal blog post on Facebook earlier this month—to management and employees—that later went public—saying the platform itself actively works against black people. He says that Facebook works against attempts by black users to create safe spaces on Facebook, amplifies some users over others using class-based criteria, which effectively dilutes black voices, and fails to hire a workforce that reflects the demographics of its user base.

Color of Change CEO Rashad Robinson met with Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday. Politico reported that it was a victory, but then went on to talk about all of the ways in which it really wasn’t. For example, Facebook hasn’t committed to release records on its work with Definers Public Affairs to engage in promoting far right, anti-Semitic attacks against George Soros. It was a campaign that also targeted Color of Change. Robinson also told Politico that Sandberg defended Joel Kaplan. Apparently Sandberg, according to Politico’s account of the meeting, offered a sincere apology and Mark Zuckerberg popped his head in. But really, who cares. Sandberg did agree to a civil rights audit that Color of Change would conduct and agreed to have a public debate on the results of the audit. But that’s really non-negotiable since they have to do something to prevent a boycott.

Also, a New York Times report out the same day Robinson met with Sandberg suggested that Sandberg directed the communications team in their research of George Soros’s financial interests and actually sent an email asking if Soros had  shorted Facebook’s stock.

A lot of people are just sort of wondering why Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg and Joel Kaplan should keep their jobs. But would that solve Facebook’s race issues?

Mattis says Russia interfered in midterms

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said over the weekend during an interview at the Ronald Reagan Public library that Russian operatives attempted to interfere with the U.S. election. He said the Trump administration’s relationship with Russia has deteriorated. Mattis’ remarks came a couple of days after Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit amidst Michael Cohen’s guilty plea for making misstatements to Congress in the investigation into the Trump administration’s business dealings with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

Marriott hack affects 500 million guests

Marriott reported a hack that apparently affected some 500 million of its Starwood guests, exposing personal information including home addresses, passport numbers, drivers’ license numbers, names, and other personal details. New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood is investigating the breach. The company has known about the breach since early September.

Nexstar to acquire Tribune

Nextstar has announced plans to acquire Tribune Media for $4.1 billion, making it the largest tv station owner in the U.S. The merger would add 42 stations to Nexstar’s portfolio bringing its total number of stations to 216 in 118 markets, just under the FCC’s 39% ownership threshold. The deal comes after Sinclair failed in its bid for Tribune earlier this year.

Delrahim for AG?

CNN reports that President Trump may be considering Makan Delrahim to replace Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General.  Currently, Delrahim is the Assistant Attorney General who sued AT&T to stop its acquisition of Time Warner—he lost. That deal went through. Some are still debating whether the president directed Delrahim to stop the merger. Delrahim denies this. But if he did act at Trump’s behest, the Attorney General job would be a big reward—ya think?

FBI Charges 8 in Ad-fraud scheme

The FBI charged eight individuals last week in an ad fraud scheme. The men face 13 charges for allegedly scheming to infect 1.7 million computers and drive traffic to counterfeit websites serving up ads. Craig Silverman has a detailed report in BuzzFeed News.

DOJ Indicts 2 Iranians for Ransomware Attacks

The Department of justice indicted 2 men in connection with an alleged Iranian ransomware plot since 2015 that has caused some $30 million in financial damage to city universities, governments and hospitals, including the City of Atlanta. Officials say the scheme, known as SamSam, affected more than 200 victims and led to some $6 million in ransom payments. Brian Fung has the story in the Washington Post.

Google employees pledge $200k to help striking employees

Some Google employees have banded together to create a $200k fund to help striking engineers who are opposing Google’s work on a censored search engine in China. The project is known as Project Dragonfly and hundreds of engineers oppose the effort and signed a letter to that effect last week.

 

Nov 27, 2018

 

techpolicypodcast_washinctech_chiqui cartagena

Chiqui Cartagena: The Public Policy Implications of Hispanic Marketing (Ep. 164)

Chiqui Cartagena joined Joe Miller to discuss the public policy implications of Hispanic marketing amidst an increased demand for Latino data.

Bio

Chiqui Cartagena (@ChiquiCartagena) is the author of Latino Boom II and most recently served as senior vice president of the Political & Advocacy Group at Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America. At Univision, she was responsible for increasing the understanding of the importance of Hispanic voter and the key political issues that affect them among key political constituents across the country.

In 2014, Ms. Cartagena was named one of Campaigns & Elections "50 Influencers". In 2013, she was recognized with a Multiethnic TV Leadership Award from Broadcasting & Cable magazine and in 2012, Cartagena received the ADCOLOR® Legend Award in recognition of her tireless efforts in leading the conversation about the Hispanic market. In 2007, she was named the Hispanic Direct Marketing Professional of the Year by the Direct Marketing Association. And finally, she is the author of Latino Boom II, Catch the Biggest Wave Since the Baby Boom, her second book on the Hispanic market which was published in 2013.

Ms. Cartagena is a Hispanic media and marketing pioneer with 25 years of experience developing, launching, and leading some of America’s most successful Spanish-language consumer magazines, including People en Español and TV Guide en Español. She has also developed many integrated marketing programs for leading consumer brands to successfully reach the Latino community. Her career also includes senior roles as a broadcast journalist, having previously worked in the news divisions of Univision and Telemundo.

Ms. Cartagena, a graduate of the University of Miami, is a member of the Awards Committee for National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and lives in New York City.

Resources

Latino Boom

Nielsen LatinX

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman

News Roundup

Can Facebook overcome its woes with Zuckerberg and Sandberg still leading the company?

Facebook, which has lost about $100 billion in market value since March, can’t seem to right itself after a year of the Cambridge Analytica and election interference debacle. The UK Parliament got hold of senior level communications from a company in the U.S. called Six4Thirty which is suing Facebook. Six4Thirty, whose core business model was scanning Facebook data for bikini photos, obtained the communications in the discovery process in an attempt to establish that Facebook knew about the loophole it used to obtain Facebook’s users data, which was allegedly the same loophole that Cambridge Analytica used. Some of the communications are said to be from Mark Zuckerberg himself.

So normally, the communications would be shielded from disclosure as the matter is being litigated. But it just so happens that Damian Collins, the Chair of the Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports select committee, caught wind of the fact that one of Six4Thirty’s founders was in London—bringing the company within the UK’s jurisdiction. So that enabled Collins to seize the documents by sending a Serjeant at Arms to the founder’s hotel room and requiring him to turn over the documents within 2 hours or face a fine or potential jail time.

So there’s that.

And as far as Facebook’s hiring of a lobbying firm that allegedly worked to play into anti-Semitism against George Soros, Facebook’s head of public policy Elliot Schrage announced in an internal memo that he was responsible for hiring the firm. However, he said that it was never his intention to play into anti-semitism. Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg weighed in in a comment, saying that she was ultimately responsible. Schrage has been planning to leave the company for some time, and he will be replaced by former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Calls by some shareholders and others for Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandberg to step down from at least some of their responsibilities has fallen on deaf ears. As Zuckerberg said in a CBS Business Interview that, while he apologized for the company’s woes, said that stepping down or replacing Sandberg is “not the plan”.

Can Amazon be humbled by pushback from its workforce?

Amazon has huge, global aspirations. But will the company go as far as it needs to in order to resolve internal labor disputes? In the U.S., Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour but eliminated other perks, including employee benefits. But on Black Friday, thousands of European workers went on strike, demanding better pay and working conditions. All of this is happening amidst Amazon’s aggressive expansion efforts beyond ecommerce. For example, the company is bidding for 21st Century Fox’s 22 Regional Sports assets—including YES TV which broadcasts the New York Yankees. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Amazon is now the Number 3 digital advertising platform, behind just Google and Facebook, with ad sales growth projected to be at over 400% between 2017 and 2020, way ahead of second-place Tencent in China whose ad sales growth is projected to be at just under 200%.

Roger Stone crony Jerome Corsi says he won’t take FBI plea deal

Conspiracy theorist and Roger Stone ally Jermone Corsi told CNN that Robert Mueller offered him a plea deal on one count of perjury connected with statements Corsi made saying that he had no communication with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Trump confidante Stone himself said that he’d never had direct communication with Assange either, saying that he got all of his info through a backchannel alleged to be New York radio personality Randy Credico, which Credico has denied.

Russian hacking is resurgence

American officials and security firms are reporting that Russian hacking efforts are on an uptick following the U.S. midterm elections. The hackers are apparently trying to test the waters with the new Congress coming in. But experts are concerned that we won’t know the full scale of the hackers’ capabilities until the 2020 presidential election.

Is China’s TikTok the next big video karaoke app?

Axios has a report on the growth of TikTok, which has seen impressive user growth over the last year. The platform is now up to 7.2 million monthly users. It’s now ranked in the Top 5 U.S. apps in both Google Play and  the iOS app store and its global monthly usage comes in around 130 million. So some are asking how big TikTok can become in the U.S.

NASA lands on Mars again

For the 8th time, NASA has landed on Mars. This time, the rover Insight will explore Mars’ interior, digging beneath the red planet’s surface to determine its origins. It’s expected to be a 2-year mission.

Trump ponders state-run TV network

Is President Trump considering establishing a state-run TV network? Some think he is and it follows the same playbook as most dictators.

Nov 20, 2018

 

Sahra V. Nguyen: Public Policy as a Creative Spark (Ep. 163)

Sahra Nguyen joined Joe Miller to chat about her new Brooklyn-based coffee venture—Nguyen Coffee Supply.

Bi0

Sahra Nguyen is an award-winning filmmaker, entrepreneur, and founder/CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Nguyen is also the co-founder of podcast agency Listening Party and a member of the 2018 Google Next Gen Tech Policy Leaders.

In 2018, Nguyen launched Nguyen Coffee Supply—the first-ever Vietnamese-American owned importer, supplier, and roaster of green coffee beans from Vietnam—as a way to showcase the diversity of single-origin arabica and robusta. She works directly with a fourth-generation Vietnamese coffee farmer from Da Lat in the Central Highlands, whose beans are certified clean and organic in Vietnam. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees in Boston, MA, the company’s name is a nod to Nguyen’s Vietnamese heritage.

Nguyen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a double major in Asian American Studies and World Arts & Cultures, served as the Director of the Writing Success Program at UCLA, and published an e-book of poetry exploring themes of identity, race in America, and the Vietnamese-American experience.

Building on her love of storytelling, in 2015 Nguyen started her own production company, One Ounce Gold. Her first self-produced documentary web series, “Maker's Lane," evolved into a brand new series for NBC News entitled "Self-Starters,” a show about Asian American entrepreneurs around the country. Helping launch the video channel for NBC Asian America, "Self-Starters" was nominated for the EPPY Awards and LA Press Club Awards.

In mid-2016, Nguyen sold her second documentary series to NBC News, "Deported," which follows the grassroots fight to end deportation of Cambodian-Americans from the U.S. to Cambodia. "Deported" was nominated alongside CNN's Lisa Ling's "This is Life" and won the 2018 NAMIC Vision Award for Best Digital Media, Long Form.

With a passion to constantly take on new challenges, Nguyen, along with three friends (all under the age of 30), opened up their first storefront business Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen, in Bushwick, NY, in March of 2015. Within the first 9 months, Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen won "Best Vietnamese Restaurant" by popular vote and has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Zagat, VICE, and more.

Follow Sahra Nguyen on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Resources

Sahra V. Nguyen

Nguyen Coffee Supply

‘Deported’ on NBC

News Roundup

Bombshell New York Times report reveals Facebook’s political machinations

A bombshell New York Times report last week cast new light on the extent to which Facebook sought to contain accusations that it was enabling Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Apparently, the company sought to promote the image that the company knew nothing about Russia’s interference while, at the same time, Mark Zuckerberg was kept in the dark. But internally, while Joel Kaplan and Cheryl Sandberg were doing their magic on the Hill working their Harvard connections, Facebook kept uncovering new evidence that Russians continued to use the platform to protect president Trump and spread propaganda in advance of the election and beyond.

The New York Times also reports that the company apparently also hired lobbyists, such as Definers Public Affairs, to help the company oppose its critics.

In a video-conferenced all-hands meeting on Friday, Zuckerberg defended the company saying the New York Times report was unfair and untrue, even as Cheryl Sandberg accepted responsibility for hiring Definers Public Affairs.

And another report by the Wall Street Journal found that Zuckerberg himself pointed fingers at Sandberg, blaming her for the Cambridge Analytica fallout.

Reuters: Russians impersonating State Department officials

Reuters reports that Russian hackers have been impersonating at least one State Department official, Heather Nauert, over email trying to get other officials to download malicious code. Security firms CrowdStrike and FireEye uncovered the effort. But Russia denies involvement.

Julian Assange back in spotlight

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who played a key role releasing hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election, is back in the spotlight. George Washington University Program on Extremism researcher Seamus Hughes uncovered a court filing which found that the Department of Justice appears to be pressing sealed charges against Assange. The Hill also reports that Ecuadorian officials have grown weary of granting Assange asylum at their embassy in London since 2012. If they evict Assange, Assange could be extradited back to the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes prosecuting Assange, claiming that doing so would be a First Amendment violation.

Nation’s only African American network chief to step down

ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who is African American, is stepping down from the company as Disney seeks to restructure the company in advance of closing on its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets next year. Dungey is the only African American network head in the country, and she’s been with the company for 14 years. She’s been responsible for launching ‘Scandal’, “black-ish” and the “The Good Doctor”. But ABC has seen overall ratings decline 10%, with an 18% decline among adults 18-49 according to The Wall Street Journal.

JD.com’s chief shifting focus

China-based ecommerce giant JD.com’s chief has announced that he will delegate more responsibilities. It’s seen as a long-term move to groom his replacement. Richard Liu was arrested in Minnesota in September for alleged “criminal sexual misconduct” with a Chinese student at the University of Minnesota. The company’s share price has also dropped 55% since January amidst the U.S.-China trade war.

Snap subpoenaed on IPO disclosures

Reuters reports that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have subpoenaed Snap to uncover whether the company downplayed competition from Instagram during its initial public offering (IPO) in March of 2017. Snap’s share price has tumbled down to $6.71 per share from its offering price of $17 per share.

TV station groups settle with DOJ over ad sales collusion allegations

Six tv station groups the Department of Justice alleges colluded to fix ad sales prices have settled. Sinclair, Raycom, Tribune, Meredith, Griffin, and Dreamcatcher all settled. The settlement simply requires the station groups not to share nonpublic pricing data with each other for 7 years. There are no penalties, according to Meredith. A private class action by advertisers against the station groups is still in progress.

 

 

Nov 13, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_jonathanfriebert

 

Jonathan Friebert: Public Policy and the Future of Retail: A Starter's Guide (Ep. 162)

Jonathan Friebert, U.S. Head of Public Policy of China's largest retailer, JD.com, joined us to discuss the public policies that are most crucial to the future of retail.

Bio

Jonathan Friebert (@friebs) is the head of U.S. Government Relations for JD.com--China's largest retailer. He has more than 20 years of Fortune 50, political, non-profit and governmental experience.

Previously, he was at Microsoft where he helped partners, entrepreneurs, customers and consumers advocate for positive technology public policies through overseeing Microsoft's Voices for Innovation (VFI) initiative: a community of more than 100,000 technology leaders in the U.S. who engage with government leaders. Through VFI, he spearheaded traditional and digital grassroots on issues such as competition policy, STEM funding, high-skilled immigration reform, online privacy, software piracy, cloud computing regulations, security, IP protection and government procurement mandates.

Before Microsoft, he was with the PepsiCo government affairs team where he managed several Midwest states as well as federal issues impacting the Gatorade and Quaker Oats brands. This includes bottle deposit bills, food labeling, school breakfast and lunch funding, R&D tax credits and soft drink taxes. Jonathan led an effort on a significant legislative threat to Gatorade business around banning soft drinks in schools. He implemented a successful campaign to protect Gatorade in multiple states.

Jonathan also served in the Clinton Administration as a political appointee in the Immediate Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Resources

JD.com

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman

News Roundup

Tech leads Dow drop of 600 points

Market uncertainty in the tech sector led to a 600 point drop across the Dow in Monday’s trading. Apple’s 5% decline led to a selloff across oil, manufacturing, entertainment and beyond, as investors moved some of their assets to the more stable real estate market—the only sector that rose MMnday at .2%.

Amazon will spilt their second headquarters between New York City and Crystal City in Arlington, VA

Amazon is expected to announce that it will spit its second headquarters between Northern Virginia and Long Island City in Queens, according to several media outlets, including NPR and the New York Times. The cities beat out 238 proposals across the country.

Boeing failed to train pilots on dangerous flight control feature that led to crash in Indonesia

Safety experts and midlevel Federal Aviation Administration investigators have  found that Boeing never trained pilots on a dangerous flight control feature that can unexpectedly push down the nose of a Boeing 737. That’s the model that crashed in in Indonesia last month, killing all 189 people on board. The New York Times notes that the plane crashed into the ocean at 400 miles per hour within seconds—a force so strong that it reduced some of the plane’s metal fittings to powder.  The safety feature was apparently intended to prevent the plane from stalling if the nose goes up too high. But it can force the plane down unexpectedly, which can cause pilots to lose control, according to report.

FBI and Homeland: No significant foreign influence on midterms

Both the FBI and Department of Homeland security concluded that there were no significant efforts by foreign agents to breach the U.S. midterm elections. At a press briefing, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen said that the main concern was disinformation on social media, but that there was no evidence of breaches into election machines.

Google, Facebook, eBay, and Airbnb end forced arbitration in employment agreements

Following Google’s lead, Facebook, eBay and Airbnb have all removed forced arbitration provisions from their employment policies. The companies moved to end forced arbitration after thousands of Google employees worldwide staged a protest a couple of weeks ago, in protest of the $90 million Google paid Android creator Andy Rubin when he left the company amidst sexual harassment allegations that a Google investigation had found credible.

DEA and ICE are hiding surveillance equipment in streetlights

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have begun to hide surveillance equipment within streetlights, according to a Quartz analysis of federal contracting documents. The DEA apparently paid a company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments out of Houston some $22,000 since June for “video recording and reproducing equipment”. ICE paid about $28,000 to the same company since then as well.

Motel 6 corporate to pay $7.6 million settlement after a franchise owner faxed guests’ names to ICE

Finally, The Motel 6 hotel chain will pay a $7.6 million settlement to class action litigants after a Motel 6 franchise owner in Warwick, Rhode Island routinely faxed the names of Hispanic guests to the local police department. Another location in Arizona sent guest names directly to ICE. Motel 6 the corporation has denied wrongdoing.

Nov 6, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_amy cappellanti wolf

 

Amy Cappellanti-Wolf: How to Instill a Culture of Mutual Respect (Ep. 161)

Symantec’s Chief Human Resources Officer Amy Cappellanti-Wolf joined Joe Miller to discuss Symantec's efforts to instill a culture of mutual respect on diverse teams. 

Bio

Amy Cappellanti-Wolf (@amycappellanti) is CHRO at Symantec in Mountain View, CA. As CHRO, Amy leads the Global HR, Workforce Planning and Real Estate organizations. With more than three decades of experience leading companies across high tech, entertainment and consumer products industries through complex transformations, Amy is a proven organizational design and development leader and executive coach focusing on talent as the key driver of business growth. Amy specializes in helping businesses survive and thrive while undergoing deep transformation. Her focus areas include Business Transformation and Change Management, Organizational Design and Process Management, Business Partnership, Communication Strategy Facilitation, and Diversity in Tech.

As CHRO at Symantec, Amy has successfully led the global organizational operating model, structure, change management and integration strategies for large scale acquisitions and divestitures. She has led effectiveness strategies related to organization and people optimization, and delivered systemic program and metrics related to structure, workforce planning, talent, and real estate consolidation. Amy has deep experience in architecting HR Operating Models in support of the business with her most recent emphasis on building Talent Development and HR Solutions capability. She has delivered high-impact automation and predictive data analytics and reporting, reducing operating expense, while improving operational effectiveness. In the real estate space, she has integrated workforce planning with real estate optimization, significantly reducing operating costs while also delivering award-winning workspaces for better collaboration and productivity, among other successes.

Prior to joining Symantec, Amy was CHRO at Silver Spring Networks, where she led Global HR, Real Estate, and Technical Education organizations. Amy helped to deliver a successful IPO in March 2013. She established HR infrastructure, programs, and technology to drive global scale for the fast growing hardware, software, and services business, and she led several organizational companywide restructures. Amy built and ramped a professional talent acquisition team, doubled the employee population in less than eighteen months, implemented various automation and information systems, and opened up the European, South American, and Asian offices.

From 2001 to 2009, Amy held key human resources roles at Cisco Systems, where she developed innovative leadership development programs and processes. She directly contributed to Cisco’s globalization efforts by developing workforce planning and global mobility practices to resource new and emerging capabilities outside of the US. Specifically, Amy led HR for the U.S. Enterprise Sales team; Worldwide Marketing; Business Functions; and the Decision Support, Services and Operations Businesses. Prior to Cisco, Amy also led HR teams at Sun Microsystems, The Walt Disney Company, and Frito-Lay.

Amy provides ongoing support of children and foster children as a Board member of the non-profit Silicon Valley Children’s Fund. She was recently named one of the top 50 most influential women tech leaders by the National Diversity Council.

Amy holds an M.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and a B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations, both from West Virginia University. She is a frequent speaker and lecturer at industry-related conferences.

Resources

Symantec

News Roundup

Supreme Court declines to overturn ruling to uphold the 2015 net neutrality rules

The Supreme Court has declined to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling to uphold the 2015 net neutrality rules. Although the F.C.C. overturned the rules itself, and another lawsuit is working its way through the court’s, the Supreme Court’s denial to hear the original case preserves the FCC’s ability to regulate the internet like a public utility. Harper Niedig reports in the Hill.

Google employees stage worldwide walkouts for company’s handling of sexual harassment; Sundar Pichai supports

Thousands of Google employees staged walkouts around the world in protest of Google’s handling of Android creator Andy Rubin’s exit from the company, which was mired in sexual harassment allegations which he denies. In a bombshell report, The New York Times had reported that Google paid Rubin some $90 million after he left, even though an internal investigation at Google found the allegations against him to be credible. Protesting staffers are demanding an end to forced arbitration for discrimination and harassment claims, a commitment to pay and opportunity equity, a publicly-disclosed sexual harassment transparency report, a clear and uniform way to report sexual harassment, and a promotion of the Chief of Diversity Officer to direct-report status to the CEO. CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in support of the protests.

Amazon commences paying workers $15/hour minimum wage

Amazon has commenced paying workers a $15/hour minimum wage. It began on November first, and Amazon called on its competitors to follow suit. None of the big box retailers have set a minimum wage of $15 per hour.

Google’s Susan Molinari to step down

Susan Molinari—who has served at the head of Google’s Washington office for nearly seven years—will be stepping down from her post. The former Republican representative will remain on board as a Senior Advisor. Molinari sites family changes as the reason for stepping down.

Facebook, Twitter fail to respond to aftermath of Pittsburgh massacre

Facebook and Twitter both failed to adequately respond to the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre that left 11 Jewish congregants dead. The Intercept reports that Facebook allowed advertisers to use “white genocide” as a target keyword, and Twitter found itself apologizing for allowing “Kill all Jews” to be a trending topic.

An uptick in hate speech on Instagram

Columbia University media researcher Jonathan Albright found an uptick in hate speech appearing on Instagram. He found numerous instances of hashtags like #soros49 #maga #libtards and others associated with hate speech. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

Sens. Klobuchar/Warner: Facebook’s political ad transparency tools are ‘unacceptable’

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warner – both Democrats -- sent a letter to Facebook last week urging them to improve their political ad transparency tools saying they’re ‘unacceptable’ since they’re still capable display the wrong sources of funding for ad campaigns. The letter followed Vice News’ successful, experimental attempts to purchase Facebook ads posting as Mike Pence, the Islamic State in Iraq and all 100 Senators.

U.S. charges 10 Chinese intelligence agents with commercial hacking

The Trump administration has unsealed charges against 10 Chinese intelligence agents the U.S. accuses of engaging in a persistent campaign to hack into American aviation companies in Arizona, Massachusetts, Oregon, and elsewhere. The Chinese embassy in Washington denies the allegations. Back in 2015, former U.S. President  Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an accord to refrain from conducting cyber operations against the other. But now some experts are saying that the Trump administration’s aggressive stance towards China has led the world’s second largest economy to stop enforcing the accord. Aruna Viswanatha and Dustin Volz have the report for the Wall Street Journal.

56 major companies oppose Trump administration’s efforts to erase legal protections for transgender people

Fifty-six companies, including Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Lyft, Twitter and others issued a business statement opposing the Trump administration’s plans to remove legal protections for transgender people. The statement calls for “respect and transparency in policy-making, and for equality under the law for transgender people.”

HBO and Cinemax go dark for first time in 40 years

AT&T’s HBO and Cinemax went dark last week after they couldn’t reach a carriage deal with Dish Networks. HBO said it’s the first time in 40 years they’ve gone dark. Dish accuses AT&T of preventing other carriers from accessing HBO. The dispute involves subscriber guarantees Dish would have to meet in order to carry HBO.

Hackers continue to target U.S. elections

Hackers have ramped up efforts to target the United States’ election infrastructure, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Attempts have largely been thwarted. But the agency is seeing as many as 10 hacking attempts per day.

Atlantic: Democrats significantly outspent Republicans on Facebook

Democrats have significantly outspent Republicans on Facebook with 63.5% of political spending on the platform, compared to just 17.8% for Republicans, according to the Atlantic. Democrats spent $9.4 million while Republicans have spent just $2.7 million. Alexis Madrigal reports in the Atlantic.

California gives Waymo green light to test on public roads

Finally, the state of California has given Waymo the green light to conduct tests of robot cars without human drivers on public roads. Waymo is the first company to which California has granted the privilege. The permit allows Waymo to test 40 cars on roads with speed limits up to 65 miles per hour.

 

Oct 30, 2018

techpolicypodcast_washingtech_brook bello

Brook Bello: Tech and Tech Policy Solutions to End Sex Trafficking (Ep. 160)

Brook Bello joined Joe Miller to discuss how tech policies can help end sex trafficking.

Bio

Dr. Brook Bello (@BrookBello) is Founder and CEO/ED of More Too Life, Inc., -- an anti-sexual violence, human trafficking and youth crime prevention organization that was named by United Way Worldwide as one of the best in the nation. A sought-after international speaker and champion against human trafficking, Dr. Bello has been recognized with countless achievement awards, fellowships and appointment, she was recently named a Google Next Gen Policy Leader, with the ability to learn from leading Google executives and other leaders in profound aspects that deal with world issues in relation to tech and tech policy. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the 44thPresident of the United States and the White House in December 2016. She also received the advocate of the year in the state of Florida from Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney Pam Bondi’s Human Trafficking Council.

Dr. Bello is also the author of innovative root cause focused successful curricula such as, RJEDE™ (Restorative Justice End Demand Education) -- a court appointed and volunteer course for violators of sexual violence, prostitution and human trafficking prevention in Miami/Dade, Sarasota and Manatee counties. In addition, LATN™ and LATN D2 (Living Above the Noise) educational mentoring curriculum for victims to prevent sexual violence and human trafficking.

She holds a Masters and PH.D in pastoral clinical counseling and accreditation in pastoral clinical and temperance based counseling. Her bachelor’s is in biblical studies. She also holds two honorary doctorates -- one in humane letters, theology and biblical studies from the Covenant Theological Seminary and Richmond Virginia Seminary.

Her dissertation defends the urgency in spirituality in mental health and the profound pain caused by shame. Bello is also a licensed chaplain and ambassador with the Canadian Institute of Chaplains and Ambassadors (CICA)—the only university accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC). She is also an alum of the Skinner Leadership Institute’s Masters Series of Distinguished Leaders.  Dr. Bello was chosen 1 of 10 national heroes in a series by Dolphin Digital Media and United Way Worldwide called, The Hero Effect.”

Resources

More Too Life

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Life is Not Complicated, You Are by Carlos Wallace

News Roundup

Tech stocks tank following earnings reports

Tech stocks led a slide on major indexes as Amazon posted a two-day decline Monday, eliminating some $127 billion from its market value, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon actually posted a $2.88 billion profit in the 3rd quarter—11 times last year’s figure—but its sales increased by only 29%, falling about half a billion dollars shy of the average analyst estimate of $57.1 billion.

Alphabet too missed analyst estimates by about $310 million, coming in with $33.74 billion in revenue in the third quarter, which was up by 21% over last year.

At Twitter, active monthly users declined, but revenue was up 29% to 650 million for the third quarter. Twitter attributed the user decline to its purging of suspicious accounts.

Tesla also reported strong earnings, with $312 million in profits on $6.8 billion in revenue.

As for Snap – it looks like Facebook’s Instagram stories is eroding the platform, although Snap beat estimates, however slightly. Snap lost about 2 million users since the second quarter, but its net loss was two cents per share less than expected, and it also had more revenue than analysts expected -- $297.6 million – which was about $14 million more than analysts’ expectations.

N.Y. Times reports that Trump uses iPhones spied on by Russia/China

The New York Times reported that President Trump uses unsecured iPhones to gossip with colleagues that Chinese and Russian spies routinely eavesdrop on to gather intelligence. President Trump denies the report saying that he only uses a government phone and, in a Tweet, said the New York Times report is “sooo wrong”.

Facebook identifies Iranian misinformation campaign

Facebook identified an Iranian misinformation campaign which led it to delete 82 pages the company says were engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. Facebook’s head of cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher said the pages had over 1 million followers.

Google paid ‘Father of Android’ $90 million to leave the company following a sexual misconduct allegation

The New York Times reported last week in an investigative report that Google paid Android creator Andy Rubin some $90 million dollars in 2014 when he left the company following sexual misconduct allegations. Google released Rubin with praises from Larry Page even though an internal investigation found the allegations credible, according the New York Times. The newspaper reports that Google similarly protected 2 other executives. Rubin has denied the allegations and, in a letter to Google’s employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that Google has fired some 48 employees for sexual harassment since 2016.

U.S. launches election protection cyber operation against Russia

U.S. cybercommand has launched a first-of-its-kind mission against Russia to prevent election interference. The initiative followed a Justice Department report released Friday outlining Russia’s campaign of “information warfare”.

Alleged Pittsburgh shooter repeatedly posted violent content on social media prior to mass murder

Before he allegedly murdered 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, including a 97-year-old holocaust survivor, Robert Bowers allegedly posted hateful and violent content on social media numerous times on Facebook, Twitter, and the alt-right website Gab -- but he still wasn’t on the radar of law enforcement. Joyent, the web hosting platform that hosted Gab, has since banned Gab from using its platform, knocking it offline. Kevin Roose has more in the New York Times.

U.S. restricts exports to Chinese semiconductor firm Fujian Jinhua

The U.S. has decided to restrict exports to Chinese semiconductor firm Fujian Jinhua. The Trump administration says the company stole intellectual property from U.S.-based Micron Technology. The rationale is that if Fujian Jinhua supplies chips to Micron, there’s a risk that the Chinese-manufactured chips would edge out those manufactured by American competitors.

President Trump signs U.S. spectrum strategy

President Trump has signed a memo directing the Commerce Department to develop a spectrum strategy to prepare for 5G wireless. Mr. Trump has also created a Spectrum Task Force to evaluate federal spectrum needs and how spectrum can be shared with private companies.

UK fines Facebook £500,000 for data violations

Finally, the UK has fined Facebook just £500,000 for Cambridge Analytica-related data violations. That’s a little over $640,000— The Guardian notes that Facebook brought in some $40.7 billion last year. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office found that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of some 1 million Facebook users in the UK via loopholes on Facebook’s platform that allowed developers to access the data of Facebook’s users without their consent.

Oct 23, 2018

 

Tiffany Moore: Trade, 5G, and Beyond: The Policy Landscape for Consumer Tech (Ep. 159)

How will the current trade war with China affect small, American-owned technology manufacturers? What's the potential of 5G for consumer tech? How is the consumer technology industry tackling diversity and inclusion? The Consumer Technology Association's Senior Vice President of Political and Industry Affairs, Tiffany Moore, joined Joe Miller to discuss these and other issues affecting the policy landscape for consumer tech.

Bio

Tiffany Moore (@TiffanyMMoore) currently serves as Senior Vice President of Political and Industry Affairs for the Consumer Technology Association.  Promoted to the newly created position in April 2018, Tiffany’s expanded role includes overseeing CTA’s U.S. Jobs, and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.  In addition, Tiffany leads the association’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill on issues including communications and technology policy, patent litigation reform, strategic immigration reform and international trade, and overseeing CTA’s political action committee CTAPAC.

Tiffany joined CTA as Vice President of Government and Political Affairs for the Consumer Technology Association in December 2015.

Previously, Tiffany served as a government relations consultant to CTA as principal at Moore Consulting and strategic consultant with TwinLogic Strategies. In addition to CTA, Moore advised numerous corporate and association clients on how to influence technology and innovation policy before Congress and the Administration.  Before launching Moore Consulting, Tiffany served as senior legislative advisor in the Legislative and Government Affairs Practice Group at Venable LLP.

In 2006, Tiffany was appointed Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) by Ambassador Rob Portman.  In this role, Moore led domestic outreach efforts to American business, agriculture and consumer communities on the U.S. trade policy agenda and served as primary intermediary with governors, mayors and local elected officials on U.S. trade policy.

Prior to joining USTR, Tiffany served as director of government relations for Kellogg Company and led legislative policy efforts around a broad array of issues including trade, food security, safety, tax and advertising as director, government relations.

Tiffany began her legislative career working in a variety of roles in the office of U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), where she served as legislative director from 2000-2002.

In January 2018, Tiffany was named to the Board of Trustees of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation.  Tiffany also serves on the Women’s Health Board of The GW Medical Faculty Associates dedicated to supporting the Mobile Mammography Program (Mammovan). In addition, Tiffany serves on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute and the Washington Government Relations Group.

A proud native of Detroit, Michigan, Tiffany earned her M.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and her B.A. from Western Michigan University.

 

Resources

Consumer Technology Association

Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation by Gary Shapiro (pre-order)

 

News Roundup

Twitter purges pro-Saudi bots

Twitter has purged bots that NBC News discovered were simultaneously tweeting pro-Saudi talking points regarding the alleged murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post also reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered a network of Twitter trolls to attack Kahshoggi’s viewpoints in the days, weeks and months leading up to his disappearance.

Why is Softbank’s CEO still warm on the Saudis?

Several companies have decided to distance themselves from Saudis, following the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But not Masayoshi Son—head of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, which has made extensive investments in U.S.-based companies, including WeWork, Uber and Slack, and which also owns Sprint. The New York Times has the report.

Russian-linked Twitter bots

Some bots connected to Russia’s Internet Research Agency have also been attempting to interfere with U.S. elections, according to Twitter. Apparently the bots use platforms of automation companies like IFTTT  to quickly disseminate tweets. IFTTT says it’s investigating.

The Justice Department also charged a Russian woman-- Elena Khusyaynova—with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Kusyaynova allegedly helped spearhead a campaign to divide Americans via social media.

Ebay sues Amazon

Ebay has sued Amazon in California Superior Court for allegedly poaching sellers by using Ebay’s internal email system. The complaint includes allegations of violations of both civil and criminal statutes.

Richard Parsons resigns from CBS board

Media veteran Richard Parsons has stepped down from the board of CBS, including as Interim Chairman, citing health issues related to a rare blood cancer he was diagnosed with several years ago. Strauss Zelnick will take up the reigns as interim chair. Zelnick is seasoned in all areas of the entertainment industry, including as CEO of Take Two Interactive—the creators of the Grand Theft Auto game franchise.

Netflix to take on more debt

Netflix—already under a mountain of debt—is seeking to take on another $2 billion worth, the company announced Monday during an earnings call. It’s the second time this year the company will take on more debt. Netflix was down .94% points at Monday’s close.

Uber considers IPO proposals

Finally, Uber is considering IPO proposals from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, some of which value the ride-sharing company at as much as 120 billion. The valuation exceeds that of the top three U.S. car makers – GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler – combined. Lyft is also said to be considering an IPO next year—its valuation is $15 billion.

Oct 16, 2018

Petra Molnar joined us to discuss her new paper which looks at the human rights impact of automated decision-making and immigration.

Bio

Petra Molnar (@PMolnar) is a refugee lawyer and researcher based in Toronto, Canada. She is a former refugee settlement worker who has researched forced migration issues in Canada and internationally including immigration detention, health and human rights, and gender-based violence. She is currently working on a book on resilience in the face of the Syrian conflict. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Master of Arts, Social Antropology, at York University.

Resources

Thinking Forward Network

Bots at the Gate: A Human Rights Analysis of Automated Decision-Making in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System by Petra Molnar (University of Toronto, 2018)

News Roundup

GAO: “Nearly all” U.S. weapons systems are susceptible to cyber attack

The Government Accountability Office issued a report last week saying that “nearly all” weapons systems reviewed for weaknesses between 2012-2017 were vulnerable to cyberattacks. Testers were able to exploit the security holes using relatively simple tools and techniques, with one team taking only about an hour to hack into the weapons system. A key risk factor among these technologies is that many of them are interconnected, allowing them to transfer information more easily. Ryan Browne has more over at CNN.

Lawmakers demand answers from Google

Top Senate Republicans on the Commerce Committee delivered a letter to Google on Thursday demanding answers about why Google failed to disclose a privacy vulnerability in Google Plus immediately when it discovered it last March. Senators Thune, Moran, and Wicker are especially concerned that Google Chief Privacy Officer didn’t disclose the breach during his Senate testimony several weeks ago. Democrats too are jumping into the fray. Senators Blumenthal, Markey and Udall wrote a separate letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting an investigation into the Google Plus privacy breach. An independent audit conducted by Ernst and Young had approved Google’s security practices earlier this year.

Google drops out of Pentagon bid

Google has decided to drop out of the competition to handle the Pentagon’s cloud computing infrastructure. The contract was worth up to $10 billion. Google said it couldn’t be sure that the contract would align with its AI principles. Thousands of Google employees had signed a letter starting back in April asking Google to withdraw.

Republicans warn of Chinese efforts to sway the midterms

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and FBI Director Christopher Wray both stated at a Senate committee hearing last week that China is attempting to sway the U.S. midterm election. However, they did not say that there is any evidence that China is interfering with the U.S.’s election infrastructure. Nielsen said that China’s efforts to sway public opinion are unprecedented. Wray says that China is the most significant long-term threat to U.S. counterintelligence the U.S. faces.

Warner/Rubio ask Canada to ban Huawei from 5G

Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Warner sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week urging him to ban China-based company Huawei from participating in Canada’s 5G deployment program. The Senators accuse Huawei of being an agent of the Chinese government.

Lyft taps Anthony Foxx to head up its policy team

Lyft has tapped former Obama Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to head up its policy team. Foxx will report directly to Lyft President John Zimmer.

Group warns of malicious emailed ballots

Apparently there are a few jurisdictions that permit voters to submit their ballots via email as an attachment. But election security groups including Common Cause and R St. are warning election officials that these ballots could come laden with malicious software that could grant a hacker backdoor access to election systems. So elections officials need to be wary of malicious ballots submitted by unknown persons. According to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission, some 100,000 voters submitted ballots via email during the 2016 presidential election.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died. He was 65. The cause was non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and amassed a $26 billion fortune which he used to build Seattle into a cultural destination and engage in philanthropy. He also owned the Seattle Seahawks. Steve Lohr at The New York Times has a full obituary.

Oct 9, 2018

 

Sean Perryman: How to Promote Diversity & Inclusion in Tech (Ep. 157)

How do the internet sector's efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in tech align with its broader policy agenda? Sean Perryman joined us to discuss.

 

Bio

 

Sean Perryman (https://www.linkedin.com/in/seanperryman/) is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Counsel at the Internet Association. He is responsible for leading IA’s advocacy efforts around diversity, inclusion, and workforce-related policies at the local, state, and federal level.

Prior to joining IA, Sean served as Counsel on the House Oversight Committee, Democratic staff where he advised on technology policy including AI, cybersecurity, and privacy issues. Before working on the Oversight Committee, Sean practiced civil litigation both in Texas and D.C.

Sean is passionate about issues of equity and inclusion. In his spare time he serves as Education Chair for the Fairfax County NAACP. He also regularly writes about issues related to race and advocates for a more equitable society.

Sean earned his B.A. from City University of New York- Baruch College. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. A Brooklyn, New York native, he now resides in Fairfax, Virginia with his wife and daughter.

Resources

Internet Association

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

News Roundup

DOJ indicts 7 Russian intelligence officers for conspiracy

The Department of Justice indicted 7 Russian intelligence officers on Thursday on  charges that they conspired to conduct malicious cyberattacks against the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Morgan Chalfant reports in the Hill that on that same day, the UK and the Netherlands announced that they had thwarted a Russian-led cyberattack against The Hague’s global chemical weapons watchdog. The indicted officials allegedly work for Russian military intelligence GRU. FBI special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 GRU officials earlier this year for their alleged role in hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Google+ bug exposes 500,000 users to potential data breach

Google announced that as many as 500,000 of its users may have had their personal data exposed from a breach in its unpopular social media platform, Google Plus. The company announced that it discovered the bug back in March but that there is no evidence that anyone exploited the bug. The company also announced that it will be shuttering Google Plus by August of next year.

Facebook executive stokes internal conflict at Facebook for supporting Kavanaugh

Joel Kaplan – Facebook’s vice president for global public policy is under internal fire at Facebook for supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Kaplan sat directly behind Kavanaugh at the hearing, then threw a party for him to celebrate his confirmation, which reports say Kavanaugh and his wife attended. Kaplan and his wife hosted the party despite apologizing, in a note to Facebook’s staff, in which Kaplan said he recognizes that this moment is a painful one. Kaplan, however, as a private supporter and personal friend of Kavanaugh’s, did not break any company rules, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Victim’s Fitbit data leads to arrest of 90-year-old murder suspect

A Fitbit has led to the arrest of a 90-year-old San Jose man for allegedly murdering his 67-year-old stepdaughter after dropping off a homemade pizza and biscotti, according to police. The police tied the suspect to the victim’s heart rate which, according to her Fitbit device, surged and then rapidly declined while the suspect was still in the house. This was corroborated by surveillance footage, also synced up to internet time, that allegedly shows that his car was still parked outside, thus placing him in the house, when the victim expired.

Amazon announces $15/hour minimum wage but cuts bonuses

Amazon has announced a $15 minimum wage for all of its 250,000 employees, engendering the support of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Amazon also announced that it will begin lobbying Congress to raise the national minimum wage. Target’s minimum hourly wage stands at $12 while Walmart’s stands at $11.

Ranking Member Pallone questions tech CEOS about Russian influence on Kavanaugh hearing

House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone sent several questions to the CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, and Twitter to determine the extent to which Russian trolls impacted debate on the Kavanaugh hearing in ways that resembled Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. U.S. officials believe that Russians have continued their hacking operations against the U.S. Pallone noted that one Facebook Group that was vocal about supporting Kavanaugh, also advocated for boycotting Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Ali Breland reports in the Hill.

Trump administration relaxes restrictions on driverless trucks

Finally, the Trump administration has decided to relax restrictions on driverless trucks—shifting the onus for safety away from the federal government to companies who develop driverless technologies. But transportation Secretary Elain Chao says that the administration continues to be concerned about the effect that driverless vehicles will have on the workforce.

 

Oct 2, 2018

x

 

 

 

Alex J. Wood -- Liberator or 'Boss from Hell'?: The Gig Economy's Double Edge

Oxford Internet Institute Researcher Alex J. Wood discusses the gig economy's double edge from the perspective of workers themselves.

Bio

Alex J. Wood (@tom_swing) is a Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. He is a sociologist of work and employment, focusing on the changing nature of employment relations and labour market transformation.

Alex is currently researching new forms of worker voice and collective action in the online gig economy as part of the iLabour project.

Alex previously researched online labour markets and virtual employment relations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia as part of the “Microwork and Virtual Production Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia” project. This project investigates the economic and social implications of new forms of economic activities in the context of ICTs for development.

Alex completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge Department of Sociology where he also worked as Research Associate on an ESRC impact acceleration project to evaluate potential ways of reducing workplace stress resulting from insecure scheduling.

Alex’s PhD (2015) is titled the “The insecure worker: workplace control in the 21st Century”. His PhD focuses on the changing nature of flexible and insecure forms of work such as zero hour contracts. New patterns of working-time flexibility and how this relates to insecurity, well-being, and issues of workplace control and resistance being central to account developed.

He also has a long standing interest in the relationships between industrial relations, union renewal and emerging forms of workplace representation and new patterns of class and inequality.

Previously he received his MPhil in Sociology from the University of Cambridge (2011) with distinction. He received a first class BSc (hons) degree in Politics and Sociology, from Aston University (2009).

Resources

Oxford Internet Institute

Good Gig, Bad Gig: Autonomy and Algorithmic Control in the Global Gig Economy by Alex J. Wood, Mark Graham and Vili Lehdonvirta

 

News Roundup

New Facebook breach affects 50 million users

Facebook reported a data breach that began to take effect in July of 2017 when Facebook updated its View As feature which allows users to see how their profile looks to specific friends. The company said it didn’t discover the breach until September. While the company didn’t dislose exactly which user data was stolen or who stole it, it did reveal that the hackers obtained access tokens that enabled them to manipulate user accounts. Facebook says it has notified affected users and required them to log back into their accounts.

Elon Musk steps down as Tesla over tweets/SEC fraud investigation

Elon Musk has stepped down as the Chairman of Tesla and will need to pay a $20 million fine for his tweet last month saying he had “funding secured” for a $420 per share buyout of the company. The SEC had sued Musk for the tweet saying it misled investors. The SEC said that the $420 stock price was a weed reference—intended to impress his girlfriend\, rapper Grimes. He was also smoking up on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Obviously he was confused and bewildered—talking in tongues and rapping freestyle.

Federal prosecutors are now probing the ad industry

Federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into ad agencies who buy advertising time on behalf of large corporate brands. A recent Association of National Retailers report found that media outlets have been offering ad agencies rebates—cash back after they meet spending threshholds -- but that the money hasn’t been making its way back advertisers. Suzanne Vranica and Nicole Hong report in the Wall Street Journal.

Environmental Protection Agency to dissolve science advisory office

The EPA will be dissolving its science office and ostensibly rolling it into the agency’s Office of Research and Development. This is the same agency that has basically censored the terms “climate change” from its website, speeches and all of pr collateral. It has also stopped giving climate change awards and is working to roll back full efficiency standards.

Federal preemption is trending

The doctrine of Federal pre-emption took center-stage this week in three different areas: net neutrality, privacy, and 5G buildout. Remember the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution makes federal law the supreme law of the land. On the net neutrality front, the state of California passed its own set of net neutrality rules that mirror the ones the FCC passed in 2015 but that Ajit Pai’s FCC repealed earlier this year. The Department of Justice is now suing the state of California, claiming the federal preemption doctrine.

On privacy, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple, AT&T, Charter, and Twitter told the Senate Commerce Committee last week that they would support federal privacy regulation that would preempt California’s privacy law, set to go into effect in 2020, which would give California consumers more control over their data. But a national privacy framework that would preempt state privacy rules has support from both sides of the aisle.

And on 5G … the FCC passed new rules last week that would minimize the role of local and state authorities in the review process to build out 5G wireless infrastructure, by limiting fees that local and state authorities charge carriers in order to deploy 5G and capping the shot clock to require local authorities to approve 5G applications within 60 to 90 days.

Verizon begins 5G rollout in 4 cities

Five days following the FCC’s order to limit local and state oversight of 5G deployment, Verizon announced that it would be deploying 5G in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. This makes Verizon the first company in the world to offer 5G on a commercial basis to individual consumers. Brian Fung has more in the Washington Post.

Federal court rules against Uber drivers suing as a class

Finally, the federal District Court of the Northern District of California has ruled to de-certify a class of nearly 240,000 Uber drivers who are suing Uber, saying that they should be considered employees rather than independent contractors. This would entitle them to better benefits and things like reimbursement for gas. The decision was long expected since the US Supreme Court ruled back in May – in Epic Systems v. Louis – that courts are required to honor arbitration agreements that gig workers sign up for.  All 240, 000 drivers would now have to pursue their claims individually.

Sep 25, 2018

Naeemah Clark: How to Define 'Viewpoint Diversity' in a Polarized America (Ep. 155)

Are 'viewpoint diversity' and 'ethnic diversity' mutually exclusive? Elon University professor Naeemah Clark helps put 'viewpoint diversity' in perspective.

Bio

Naeemah Clark (@NaeemahC)  is an Associate Professor of Communications at Elon University. Noticing a lack of diversity and unfair portrayal of marginalized groups in the media, Naeemah Clark pursues an interest in race and gender, economic status, disabilities, LGBTQIA and ethnicity in the media. She also studies and teaches about economic, programming and diversity issues related in the media and entertainment industries. She has edited the book, "African Americans in the History of U.S. Media," co-authored a textbook, "Diversity in U.S. Mass Media," published work in Journalism History, American Behavioral Scientist and has presented numerous papers at various conferences. She earned a B.A. in education from Florida State University, and her Masters and Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Florida.

Resources

Elon University School of Communications

Diversity in the U.S. Mass Media by Catherine Luther, Carolyn Ringer Lepre, and Naeemah Clark (Wiley Press, 2012)

News Roundup

Comcast beat out 21st Century Fox in bid for SkyTV

Comcast beat out Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in its bid for UK cable provider Sky with a $40 billion offer. At 17.28 pounds per share, it tracks Sky’s share price which was trading at about 17.16 pounds per share Monday morning on the London Stock Exchange. This also takes Disney out of the running for Sky. Disney hoped to acquire Sky when it closes on its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, which it won back in July for $71 billion and which includes 21st Century Fox’s 39% stake in Sky.

Feds weigh regulation of social media platforms

Bloomberg News reported that the White House is considering a draft order that would direct the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook and Google’s social media practices. The administration has repeatedly claimed the platforms are biased against conservative viewpoints. However, no similar measures to curtail broadcasters’ bias have surfaced, leaving one sector of a broader media ecosystem under attack, while traditional media are free to discriminate against differing viewpoints without restriction. For example, Sinclair Broadcasting’s commentators and talk radio hosts hold almost exclusively conservative viewpoints.

The Department of Justice is weighing a discussion with state attorneys general regarding the so-called “shadow banning” of conservative viewpoints at the National Association of Attorneys General meeting from November 27-29th in Charleston, South Carolina. And the Wall Street Journal also reported that, following the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban, Google employees discussed tweaking search results to inform users about how they might contribute to pro-immigration causes and counteract the effects of the ban. Google says it never implemented the changes.

Paypal stops doing business with Infowars

Paypal has stopped doing business with Alex Jones’ conspiracy website Infowars

PayPal ended the relationship in an email saying InfoWars violated PayPal’s acceptable use policy by “promoting hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.”

Trump administration releases new cyber strategy

The Trump administration announced a new cyber strategy last week that’ll prioritize attacks against foreign adversaries. National Security Advisor Josh Bolton made it clear last week that the U.S. will focus on both offense and defense on a cyber front that has grown to be infinitely more complex since the 2016 presidential election.  

Google says it allows third parties to share data from Gmail

As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, Google wrote a letter to Senators saying that it allows app developers to scan Gmail accounts for data, even though Google itself says that it no longer uses Gmail data for ad-targeting. App developers have ready access to valuable data about Gmail users’ buying preferences, whom they interact with, and other valuable psychometric data. But Google’s Vice President of public policy and government affairs wrote that the company only shares data with third parties who agree to be fully transparent.

Sen. Wyden’s office discovers targeted Gmail attacks against members of Congress

Foreign hackers are targeting senators’ Gmail accounts. That’s according to a letter Senate Democrat Ron Wyden wrote to senate leaders last week, which was subsequently confirmed by Google spokesman Aaron Stein who said that his company informed Senator Wyden of the breach attempts. Neither Wyden nor Google confirmed details of which members the hackers are targeting or how. But Wyden is calling for rule changes that would empower the Sergeant-at-Arms to protect members’ personal email accounts.

New York Times sues FCC over Russian influence in net neutrality proceeding

The New York Times has sued the Federal Communications Commission in the Southern District of New York to determine the extent of Russian meddling in the net neutrality proceeding. Of the record 22 million commenters in the proceeding to overturn the 2015 net neutrality rules, some 450,000 had Russian email addresses. But the New York Times also wants IP addresses, timestamps, and user-agent headers to gain a fuller understanding of how Russians interfered with the proceeding.

Federal Judge keeps electronic touch screen machines in place in Georgia

A federal judge in Georgia denied a motion that would have required Georgia to switch from electronic touch screens to paper ballots. Judge Amy Totenberg found that switching to paper ballots on such short notice would have a worse effect on the November election than the touch screens would.

Facebook to team with anti-fake news nonprofits

Facebook has announced that it will be teaming up with the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute -- two anti-propaganda nonprofits on the left and right -– as the company continues to battle fake news ahead of Brazilian elections in October and the U.S. November midterms. Facebook announced the partnership as new research found that 3 out of 4 articles being shared about the Brazil election are false. Joseph Menn has the story at Reuters.

Sirius XM to acquire Pandora

Finally, in a $3.5 billion deal, satellite broadcaster Sirius XM will be acquiring internet streaming service Pandora in an all-stock transaction, according to a company announcement on Monday. The deal will combine Sirius XM’s 36 million subscribers with Pandora’s 70 million, with projected revenue for this year of $7 billion.

Sep 18, 2018

 

 

Rebekah Tromble: How to Combat Misinformation (Ep. 154)

Leiden University's Rebekah Tromble joined Joe Miller to chat about ways to combat misinformation on social media.

 

Bio

Rebekah Tromble (@RebekahKTromble) is an assistant professor in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where she teaches and conducts research on media and politics, digital research methods and ethics, and computational social science.

Dr. Tromble is deeply committed to understanding and promoting responsible and ethical uses of data and technology and has founded the Data in Democracy Initiative at Leiden University to pursue that commitment through teaching, research, and public outreach.

Previously, she conducted extensive fieldwork in former Soviet Central Asia, where she focused on political discourses about Muslims and Islam.

She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Bloomington, and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Knox College.

 

Resources

Rebekah Tromble

Leiden University, Institute of Political Science

Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity by Lilliana Mason

 

News Roundup

U.S. sanctions Russian and Chinese firms over North Korea

The U.S. has sanctioned tech firms in Russia and China for funneling money to North Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions, by using fake social media profiles to solicit work from North Koreans. The sanctions target Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Company, whose CEO is North Korean, and a Russian subsidiary called Volasys Silverstar.

Arizona is investigating Google’s location data practices

Arizona’s Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has initiated an investigation into Google’s location data practices, according to The Washington Post. Google was accused recently of recording the location data of Android users even when the location setting was turned off. The company denies the allegation saying that it is transparent with users by giving them the option to toggle what gets collected and delete their location history.

FCC stops review clock on T-Mobile/Sprint merger review

The FCC has stopped the clock on its review of the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Traditionally the FCC sets the clock at 180 days. But, citing the transaction’s complexity, the FCC paused the T-Mobile/Sprint review 60 days in.

Trump has signed off on election interference sanctions

President Trump has signed off on a set of sanctions against foreign actors who engage in election interference. The executive order gives federal law enforcement officials 90 days to review instances of potential interference and act on them if they determine that doing so would be necessary.

Google under scrutiny for China plans

Reuters reports that Google and its parent company Alphabet are under scrutiny by 16 lawmakers regarding its plans to expand into China. China has banned the company since 2010. In a letter, both liberal and conservative members of Congress asked Google how they would protect its users in light of China’s censorship laws. Google said that its ambitions in China are merely exploratory and not close to launching. Some 1,000 Google employees wrote a letter questioning Google about its ambitions in China. At least one research scientist has resigned in protest.

European Union adopts draft copyright bill

The European Union has adopted a draft copyright bill that would require tech companies to pay higher royalties to media companies for the right to host their content. Under the new law, publishers would have the right to negotiate payment for content posted on sites like YouTube. Tech giants would also have to pay “proportionate remuneration” to large media companies for hosting their content. Big tech is pushing back saying that keeping track of every piece of content would be unwieldy.

CBS sets aside $120 million in severance for Les Moonves

Finally, CBS wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it is setting aside $120 million in severance for their departing CEO Les Moonves—but the company has a year to decide whether to let him go for cause. If they do, he’ll get nothing.

This $120 million is down from an original severance amount of $238 million. Twelve women have accused Moonves of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. CBS will also be contributing $20 million to causes that support the #MeToo movement.

Sep 11, 2018

 

Francella Ochillo: Latinos and Tech Policy -- The Policy Year Ahead (Ep. 153)

Francella Ochillo joined Joe Miller to talk about the tech policy issues the National Hispanic Media Coalition is most focused on during the policy year ahead.

Bio

Francella Ochillo (@Francella202) is the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Vice President, Policy and General Counsel. Francella brings a unique combination of litigation and community activism experience to NHMC. At the Department of Justice, she worked on securities fraud investigation teams, prosecuting banks for corporate misconduct under the False Claims Act and Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act. Meanwhile, she maintains her commitment community engagement in various roles at the YMCA, a non-profit devoted to strengthening communities.

Even though Francella has called the District of Columbia home for the past ten years, she is originally from New Orleans and still loves jambalaya. She has a B.S. degree in Marketing from Morgan State University where she graduated with honors from the School of Business. She earned her J.D. from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois where she excelled as a moot court competitor and went on to represent the City of Chicago in Administrative Hearings. Francella is currently a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Resources

National Hispanic Media Coalition

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

Human and Machine: Rethinking Work in the Age of AI by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson

News Roundup

Google under heat

Google is under heat after the company left its seat vacant at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian election interference. Donald Trump has led the charge against the tech company, accusing it, Facebook and Twitter of having an anti-conservative bias. Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, wasn’t happy when Google offered to send its General Counsel, Kent Walker to testify. He wanted company founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page to appear. Although Google’s seat was empty at the hearing, it sent written testimony from Mr. Walker.

Outcry against Google’s lack of a physical presence at the hearing was bipartisan. The Committee’s top Democrat -- Senator Mark Warner – said that he was deeply disappointed that Google didn’t appear.

Washington is now abuzz wondering how this will affect how Congress will consider potential regulations that would affect the company. Back in July, Google was the subject of the largest antitrust fine in European Union history -- $5 billion -- for illegally tying Chrome to its Android operating system, among other things—a decision the company is appealing.

Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones

Twitter has decided to permanently ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The company said that Jones violated its abusive behavior policy.

Justice Department investigates whether tech companies stifle conservative viewpoints

The Justice Department has announced that it will be investigating whether platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter stifle free speech. DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley made the announcement as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrapped up their Senate Intelligence Committee testimony on Wednesday.

Politics sends NASDAQ down 161 points

These political issues sent the NASDAQ composite on a 4 day losing streak, which it recovered from slightly on Monday. Overall, though, the NASDAQ is down about 161 points since the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter bans Myanmar military accounts

Google, Facebook, and Twitter have banned dozens of accounts belonging to Myanmar military officials. The company banned the officials for spreading hate speech and misinformation against Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar. Reuters reports that the decision came hours after the United Nation’s reported that the Myanmar military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent”.

President Trump asks Apple to shift production back to U.S.

Finally, President Trump urged Apple on Twitter last week to shift production back to the United States from China. The president threatened tariffs and offered tax incentives, including a zero percent tax rate, if the company moves its production operations to the U.S.

 

 

« Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 Next »