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WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

Subscribe to the WashingTech Tech Policy podcast for an inclusive look at tech policy. Join Joe Miller for the week's tech policy news plus the most diverse array of policy-related interviews with tech policy influencers from around the globe.
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Jan 10, 2017

Debra Berlyn (@dberlyn) is the Executive Director of The Project to Get Older Adults onLine (GOAL), and President of Consumer Policy Solutions.

Debra is a seasoned veteran of telecommunications and consumer policy issues and an advocate for consumers of technology services. She represented AARP on the digital television transition and has worked closely with national aging organizations on several Internet issues, including online safety and privacy concerns.

Prior to launching Consumer Policy Solutions, Debra was senior legislative representative in the Federal Affairs Department of AARP, responsible for all communications and energy matters. She advocated on behalf of the members of AARP before Congress, the federal agencies (FCC, FERC, FEC, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce), and the Administration.

Ms. Berlyn has served as a faculty instructor with Boston University’s Washington Program. She received a B.A. from American University and a M.A. from Northwestern University.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • key barriers older adults face in getting online.
  • how Lifeline can help improve older adults' access to technology.

Resources:

Project GOAL

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

NEWS ROUNDUP

By now you've probably heard about the Director of National Intelligence report that came out last week which conclusively establishes that Vladimir Putin ordered a quote "influence campaign" to sway the election in favor of Donald Trump. But, as David Sanger notes in the Washington Post, there is no information in the declassified version of the report about how U.S. intelligence officials conducted their investigation. Trump, even after seeing a classified version of the report, still says the Obama Administration is engaging in a witch hunt, as does Vladimir Putin who calls the report amateurish. Here's the report.

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China's National Energy administration last week released its 3 -year, $360 billion plan to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind. On the other hand, President-elect Trump, who has expressed skepticism about climate change, appears to be headed in the opposite direction. China expects their effort to create as many as 13 million new jobs in China, as well as reduce the level of greenhouse gases China emits into the atmosphere. Here in the U.S., Trump has said the notion of human-caused climate change is a "hoax", threatened to dismantle the Paris Accord, and nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is himself a human-caused climate change denier, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Michael Forsythe has the story in the New York Times.

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Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson is calling for Uber to release its diversity numbers. In a letter to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Jackson called on Uber to follow the lead of companies including Facebook, Google and Apple and do its part to "change the face of technology" by releasing its hiring data to the public. Melanie Zanona has the story in The Hill.

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Last week, NCTA -- The Internet & Television Association, which is the leading lobbying association representing cable companies like Charter, Comcast and Cox, opened a new front in its war against Obama-era telecom regulations by filing a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to overturn the consumer privacy rules the FCC issued last year. The rules are designed to prevent the industry from exploiting its vast stores of user data to favor its own content at the expense of edge providers like Netflix, Facebook and Google.  The telecom industry's fight against the Commission's 2015 net neutrality rules, which were upheld by a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last year, was already underway: the carriers are requesting a review by the full court.

The telecom industry thinks the net neutrality and privacy rules give disproportionate protection to the tech sector. The tech sector argues that cable companies have access to far more user data and, if that market power is left unchecked, would give carriers monopoly power over both content and infrastructure.  Brian Fung has more in the Washington Post.

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The House has passed a bill that would allow Congress to repeal any rule President Obama passed during the last 6o legislative days of his administration. The bill had been approved by the previous Congress in November. The bill is basically the Select All+Delete of lawmaking: as Lydia Wheeler notes in the Hill, the bill would allow Congress to bundle together a whole bunch of rules and overturn them en masse with one vote.

 

The House also adopted rules last week which would prevent members from livestreaming sit-ins and other protests on the House floor. Members had been ignoring existing rules prohibiting members from taking any photos or videos on the House floor, but now there will be a $500 fine for the first offense and $2,500 for each offense thereafter. The new rule was passed in response to a sit in members, including John Lewis, livestreamed last year as a protest against Republicans' failure to consider gun control legislation.

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Gabriel Sherman reported in New York magazine that his sources told him that Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch is advising the Trump transition team on who should Chair the Federal Communications Commission once Tom Wheeler steps down. This alignment could impact how a Trump administration would treat the AT&T/Time Warner Merger --to which President-elect Trump has already expressed opposition -- since Murdoch is the Executive Chairman of News Corp, Executive Co-Chair of 20th Century Fox, and the Acting CEO of Fox News. Sherman notes that Fox News has already begun to double-down on its alignment with the incoming far-right administration by installing Tucker Carlson in the 7pm slot to replace Greta van Susteren.

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A new Pew Research analysis of National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data conducted by Monica Anderson shows African-American and Hispanic 12th graders are significantly less interested in math and science than their Asian and White counterparts. Overall, 71% of 12th graders surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement "I like science." That's compared to 78% for Asians, 73% for Whites, 70% for Hispanics, and just 62% for Black students. An overwhelming number of Asian students actually want jobs in science, at 59%,  compared to just 39% of Black students, 40% of Hispanic students, and 45% of White students.

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Reuters reports that the U.S. Labor Department has sued Google to obtain its compensation data. The Labor Department claims the company has ignored repeated requests to submit the data as part of a routine Equal Opportunity compliance investigation which has been going on since 2015. A Google spokesperson said Google had repeatedly told Labor that the request was too broad in scope but didn't receive a response back from the Labor Department.

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On Christmas Eve in 2014, five-year-old Moriah Modisette died in a car crash. The other driver was allegedly using FaceTime immediately before impact. Now, Moriah's parents --James and Bethany Modisette -- are suing Apple in Texas for failing to include a mechanism that disables FaceTime during driving. The lawsuit points to one of Apple's patents. You can find this story at BBC.com.

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Finally, the White House has re-submitted the nomination of former FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel after Rosenworcel vacated her seat at the Commission in December because her term expired and Congress failed to re-confirm her for political reasons. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune has said he is open to reconfirming Rosenworcel but not without a Republican Majority. Currently the Commission is comprised of two Republican (Ajit Pai--who endorsed Jeff Sessions' Attorney General nomination, and Michael O'Rielly) and one Democratic Commissioner--Mignon Clyburn.

 

Dec 27, 2016

Alondra Nelson (@alondra) is the Dean of Social Science at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, she writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and inequality. She is author of the award-winning book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. Her latest book, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations and Reconciliation after the Genome, was published in January.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the meaning and importance of "racial reconciliation" and the potential for genetic research in helping to promote it.
  • the extent to which the concept of race is based on biology as opposed to being socially-constructed.
  • the role of DNA evidence in historical analysis.
  • key national priorities policymakers ought to focus on as they consider ways in which genetic research can help to advance social equality.

Resources

Columbia University Division of Social Science

The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome by Alondra Nelson

Dark Matters on the Surveillance of Blackness by Simone Browne

 

NEWS ROUNDUP

FCC Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly sent a letter to associations representing Internet Service Providers saying they plan to roll back the FCC's net neutrality rules. The FCC passed the landmark rules which state that ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally, without prioritizing their own content, in 2015. The rules were subsequently upheld by a 3-judge DC Circuit Panel.

A complete reversal of the rules would take some time, since a public comment period would need to be conducted first. Ajit Pai, who is expected to serve as the interim FCC Chairman once current Chairman Wheeler resigns in January, has said the days of the net neutrality rules are quote-unquote "numbered".

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The FCC has passed new rules enabling consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to communicate. Previously, those who are deaf and hard of hearing had to rely on clunky, so-called teletype (TTY) devices to communicate with others. TTY devices converted tones into text and required the recipients to read on paper. Under the new rules, the FCC will now require wireless carriers and device manufacturers to enable "real time" text messaging, or RTT standard, which allows messaging recipients to see, in real time, what deaf and hard of hearing individuals are communicating. Sam Gustin has the story in Motherboard.

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Researchers at Google, UT Austin, and the Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago have devised a new way to test algorithms for biases. Examples of biases in machine learning have included computer programs that take data and target black neighborhoods, show advertisements for payday loans to African Americans and Latinos, or display executive-level jobs only to white male applicants.

The approach developed by the researchers, entitled the Equality of Opportunity in Supervised Learning, would enable algorithms to determine that particular demographic groups were more likely to have particular behaviors, but would not target or exclude all individuals based on their race, ethnicity or gender, simply because some individuals within a particular sample had the behaviors. For example, if the algorithm determined that white women were in general more likely to buy wine, and then conclude that someone who bought wine was likely to be a white woman, that would be less biased than excluding non-white women from ad campaigns for white wine. Hannah Devlin has the story in The Guardian.

Separately, the White House released a report warning of the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the workforce. The report concludes AI can lead to significant economic opportunities, but have detrimental impact on millions of workers.

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Nokia has sued Apple for patent infringement in Germany and in a federal court in Texas, accusing Apple of not renewing some patents the mobile industry relies on, and which Nokia now relies on for profit. Apple is stating that Nokia is acting like a patent troll by extorting Apple and not licensing the patents on reasonable terms. Nate Lanxon, Ian King and Joel Rosenblatt have the story at Bloomberg.

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Two consumer groups have filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Google accusing it of privacy violations after the company updated its privacy policy back in June. Consumer Watchdog and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse claim the company had its users opt-in to a privacy change in which the company allegedly merged data from several Google services without providing adequate notice. Craig Timberg has the story in the Washington Post.

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Pinterest released its diversity data, and while the company hit some of its internal hiring goals, black employment at the company remains at 2% with Hispanic employment at 4% of the company's total, tech and non-tech workforce.

--

Facebook released its annual Global Government Requests report showing a 27% uptick globally in the number of government requests for user data, to over 59,000 total requests.

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Finally, HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced a major White House initiative to help students living in HUD-assisted housing to gain access to computers and the internet at home. In the partnership between HUD, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, the New York City Housing Authority and T-Mobile, 5,000 families living in public housing in the Bronx will get internet connected tablets. The ConnectHome program has thus far reached 43 states, with other major partners including Google Fiber, Comcast, AT&T, Sprint, Best Buy, the Boys and Girls Club of America, PBS, and others.

Dec 20, 2016

Dr. Sepehr Hejazi Moghadam (@sepurb), Head of Research and Development, K-12 Pre-University Education at Google. Previously, Sepehr was an Associate at both A.T. Kearney and Booz Allen. He also served as Associate Director of Teacher Effectiveness for the New York City Department of Education. He has broad experience leading key components of strategic human capital plans in the public and government sectors. He has led the design of human capital policies, programs, and practices; and managed the implementation of highly effective, performance-based systems. He is an expert on research methods, data analytics, emerging technologies, business development, program management, high-level negotiation and partnership strategy, data visualizations, performance reporting and education policy. Sepehr received a PhD from Columbia University, where his dissertation was on the Treatment of African Americans in Education Research. He also has a Masters from Stanford and Bachelors from UC Santa Barbara.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Google's research on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) achievement gaps.
  • The two key factors affecting African-American and Latino participation in STEM careers.
  • How Google is using this research to make the company and the tech sector more inclusive.

Resources

Google for Education - Computer Science Education Research

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

NEWS ROUNDUP

The FBI announced last week that it agrees with the CIA's finding that Russia deliberately hacked into the Democratic National Committee's servers in order to help Donald Trump's candidacy for president.

At first, the President-elect called the allegations "ridiculous", but on Fox News Sunday, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus suggested Trump may consider accepting the accusations if the CIA and FBI issue a joint report. But, of course, the report would be done under the Trump administration, spearheaded by a Director of National Intelligence who would be nominated by Trump. It is not clear whether FBI Director James Comey, although he is a Republican, would stay on board at the FBI, but the head of the Department of Justice, under which the FBI sits, would also be selected by Trump.

For an analysis of how Russia carried out the intrusions into the DNC, check out Eric Lipton, David Sanger, Scott Shane's coverage in the The New York Times, which you can find the link for in the show notes.

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The Department of Defense's Office of Inspector General has concluded that the DOD is almost totally deficient when it comes to cybersecurity. The report on 21 audits and reports found the DOD isn't up to par on 7 out of 8 cybersecurity metrics. Sean Carberry has more in FCW.

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President-Elect Trump invited Silicon Valley luminaries to Trump Tower last week to discuss working together after the tech industry snubbed Trump on donations during the campaign season. In attendance were Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Tesla's Elon Musk, Tim Cook from Apple, Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and others.

Although diversity has been a major topic of discussion in tech, no black or Latino tech executives were present at the meeting.

Donald Trump assured those in attendance that he's "here to help" them do well.

As a side note, all the gentleman in attendance wore ties to the meeting except for Paypal founder Peter Theil. Thiel supported Trump with more than a million dollars late in the campaign season, roiling tech sector diversity and inclusion advocates. David Streitfeld has the story for The New York Times.

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Yahoo revealed yet another hack. This time it affected 1 billion accounts. The hack took place in 2013. Yahoo is currently negotiating an acquisition by Verizon, with Verizon asking for either a reduction in the sale price or exit from the deal given this breach, plus another breach the company revealed in September that affected 500 million users.

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Twenty-two social justice organizations sent a joint letter to tech companies urging them to refuse participation in helping the Trump Administration build a Muslim Registry.

The groups take aim at the so-called National Security Entrance Exit Registration System or NSEERs, a post-9/11 program that requires Muslims entering the U.S. on non-immigrant visas to register. According to the groups, the NSEERS registry hasn't led to a single arrest. Thus far, Twitter is the only company that has refused to participate in building up the registry. Sam Biddle has the story in The Intercept.

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Google has announced a new agreement with Cuba to improve internet speeds there. The agreement gives Cuba access to Google's Global Cache Network, which brings YouTube and Gmail closer to end users. It's not clear how Cuba's commercial relationship with the U.S. will evolve under the Trump administration. Mark Frank at Reuters writes the Obama-era Executive Agreements  that have normalized relations with the communist country can be easily reversed.

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Justin Ling at Motherboard reports that blacklivesmatter.com suffered some 100 DDoS attacks between January and July alone.

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Senate Republicans failed to confirm Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to another term at the agency. Rosenworcel, who is a highly-regarded public servant who fought on behalf of underserved communities, will end her term at the end of the month.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will leave the Commission on January 20th, giving the Republicans a 2-1 majority at the agency. Sam Gustin has the story in Motherboard.

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Free Press released a study tying systemic racial discrimination to the digital divide. The report finds lower investments in broadband in both rural and urban areas hit by high rates of unemployment and low incomes. Sam Gustin has the story in Motherboard.

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Finally, Twitter has reinstated white supremacist Richard Spencer, President of the National Policy Institute who has advocated that the United States was created by and for white people. Twitter reinstated Spencer because he was not found to have violated Twitter's policy against inciting violence.

Dec 13, 2016
Alan S. Inouye heads public policy for the American Library Association (ALA). In this role, Alan leads ALA’s technology policy portfolio ranging from telecommunications to copyright and licensing, to advance the ability of libraries to contribute to the economic, educational, cultural, and social well-being of America’s communities.
 
Alan is a recognized expert in national technology policy, published in various outlets such as The Hill, Roll Call, and the Christian Science Monitor. He serves on advisory boards or committees of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the U.S. State Department, Library For All, and the University of Maryland.
 
From 2004 to 2007, Dr. Inouye served as the Coordinator of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) in the Executive Office of the President. At PITAC (now merged into the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology—PCAST), he oversaw the development of reports on cybersecurity, computational science, and other topics.
 
Prior to PITAC, Alan served as a study director at the National Academy of Sciences. A number of his major studies culminated in book-length reports; three of these are LC21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of Congress, The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age, and Beyond Productivity: Information Technology, Innovation, and Creativity.
 
Dr. Inouye began his career in the computer industry in Silicon Valley. He worked as a computer programmer for Atari, a statistician for Verbatim, and a manager of information systems for Amdahl (now Fujitsu). Alan completed his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley and earned three master’s degrees, in business administration (finance), systems engineering, and computer systems.
 
In this episode, we discussed:
  • the role of libraries in creating opportunities.
  • library resources for entrepreneurs.
  • how libraries and the incoming Tump administration might align on tech policy.
 
Resources:
 
American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy
The Future of the Professions: How Technology will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind
 
 
NEWS ROUNDUP
 
What a mess. The CIA has officially concluded that Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election not just to undermine voter confidence, but to get Donald Trump elected.  This is according to a widely reported secret assessment conducted by the agency. The FBI on the her hand, isn't going that far. The FBI acknowledges that Russia did something--it's just saying it's not clear about Russia's motive: it thinks Russia carried out the intrusions for a mix of different reasons. The National Security Agency is due to release its own findings in the coming weeks before the election. The investigation is getting bi-partisan support from Chuck Schumer and Democrats, but it is also getting support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, as well as John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
 
Here's what we know. We know the Director of the FBI, James Comey, sent a letter to Congress 11 days before the election saying more of Hillary Clinton's emails found on Anthony Weiner's computer could lead to a new investigation. Of course, that inquiry was dropped after a few days but, by then, the damage had already been done. Outging Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is calling for a Congressional investigation of Comey.
 
We know Trump said many times that the election was rigged.
 
We know that Trump called on Russia during the campaign season to leak Hillary Clinton's emails.
 
And now, Trump wants to appoint ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, whom the Wall Street Journal reports has close ties to Russia.
 
We also now know that hackers got into the Republican National Committee's servers as well but, for whatever reason, only the DNC's emails were released to the public.
 
Trump and others on his transition team called the CIA's conclusions "ridiculous". Ridiculous or not, whether those advocating to get 37 Electors to change their votes in favor of Hillary Clinton win or not, this isn't going away.
 
The electoral system of the country that prides itself on being the greatest democracy the world has ever seen, has been, according to the CIA, hacked to favor a particular candidate. And that particular candidate, by the name of Donald J. Trump, won. He won! This is is crisis mode.
 
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Andrea Wong reports in Bloomberg that Apple is taking advantage of a massive tax loophole that allows it to earn free money from American taxpayers without paying any taxes. The loophole lets Apple stash its foreign earnings, untaxed, overseas, and then use the money to buy U.S. bonds. The Washington Post reports that this has yielded Apple some $600 million in payments from the U.S. Treasury over the last 5 years.
 
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The Wall Street Journal reported that the State of Georgia allegedly sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security accusing the agency of attempting to hack the state's voter database. The State of Georgia opposes Federal efforts to declare election systems critical infrastructure, which would enable more robust federal monitoring for cyberattacks.
 
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USA Today reports that the Trump transition team has scheduled a meeting with the tech sector for Wednesday, December 14th in New York City. Should be interesting since most of the tech sector essentially opposed Donald Trump during the campaign, with the exception of Peter Thiel who now sits on President-elect Trump's transition team. Interestingly, Google has posted a job posting for a conservative outreach manager. e
 
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Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are partnering to weed on content posted by terrorists. The companies will be creating a shared database that will included "hashes" or digital encoding or fingerprints, which will enable the companies to alert each other as to the offensive content. Each company will retain the power to make decisions for themselves as to whether to take down the content.
 
-
 
The White House has announced further investments in science, technology, engineering and math education in 2017. The National Science Foundation will spend $20 million in addition to the $25 million it spent in 2016. Ali Breland has the story in The Hill.
 
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John Horrigan at Pew  released survey results last week showing those who lack access to smartphones, broadband and tablets actually report more stress and lack of confidence accessing information than those who have access to the technologies. Conventionally, we tend to think of having all of these devices at our constant disposal as the contributing factor to information overload.
 
 
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Finally, the FCC set letters to Verizon and AT&T about their so-called zero-rating practices. With zero rating, multichannel video providers select which programming their customers will have access to without it counting against their data caps.  Net neutrality advocates argue this is a Trojan horse against the net neutrality rules, allowing the companies to prioritize the content they choose over competing content. Colin Gibbs has the story at Fierce Wireless.
Dec 6, 2016

Hannah Putman (@nctq) is the Director of Research at the National Council on Teacher Quality. Hannah's recent work includes a study on trends in teacher diversity in collaboration with researchers from the Brookings Institution, an examination of 100 early childhood teacher preparation programs, and a report that quantified the rigor in coursework offered by teacher preparation programs. She has also worked on all editions of NCTQ's Teacher Prep Review. Prior to joining NCTQ, Hannah conducted education research with Westat, a social science research company. Her projects included work on informal science education and teacher incentive programs. Previously, Hannah taught seventh and ninth grade English for three years in the Bronx, New York, as a Teach For America corps member. Hannah holds BA's in English and Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, an MS in Teaching from Pace University, and an MPP from the George Washington University with a focus on education policy and evaluation.

In this episode we discussed:

  • how teacher diversity affects student performance.
  • statistics policymakers should be focusing on as they consider how to address teacher diversity.
  • how teachers and administrators from a different racial and ethnic background than their students can help offset the effects of low teacher diversity.

Resources:

National Council on Teacher Quality

High Hopes and Harsh Realities: The real challenges to building a diverse teacher workforce by Hannah Putman, Michael Hansen, Kate Walsh and Diane Quintero (Brookings, 20016)

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

NEWS ROUNDUP

Fake news has gone too far. Here in Washington, D.C. Sunday, a man armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a Colt .38 and a shotgun entered Comet Ping Pong--a popular family restaurant in Chevy Chase. The restaurant has been targeted by conspiracy theorists who have claimed, with no evidence, that Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager were running a child sex ring out of the restaurant. Twenty-eight year old North Carolina resident Edgar Maddison, said he decided he was going to QUOTE "self investigate", and so he got all his guns together then went up to Comet Ping Pong, pointed the assault rifle at an employee, and started shooting. Police said there were no injuries, but they have charged Welch with assault with a deadly weapon. Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis released a statement saying "What happened today demostrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences. I hope thatbthose involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away." Faiz Saddiqui and Susan Svrluga have the story in the Washington Post.

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The controversial Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal procedure went into effect last week, giving judges the power to issue search warrants for computers located anywhere outside their jurisdiction. The rules got the Supreme Court's stamp of approval earlier this year, and several legislative attempts to scale back the rules all failed.

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The U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP) came under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union last week, after the ACLU learned that border patrol agents seized an award-winning Canadian photojournalist's smartphone without a warrant, as he was on his way to cover the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

The photojournalist, Ed Ou, said the agents had asked him to unlock his phone and, when he refused, confiscated the smartphone. The ACLU said the phone's SIM card had been tampered with, suggesting the agents copied the phone's data.

Normally, the police must obtain a warrant before searching smartphones, but CBP claims an exception at the border.

Andrea Peterson has the story in the Washington  Post.

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Google warned several prominent journalists that their gmail accounts may have been hacked by foreign-based hackers. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, GQ correspondent Keith Olbermann and others received e notification. Dan Goodin has the story in Ars Technica.

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Trump has a new telecommunications advisor who opposes Title II regulation for Internet service. Rosyln Layton is a Visiting Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and joins Trump's other two advisors--Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison, who also oppose the net neutrality rules. Jon Brodkin has this story in Ars Technica.

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Trump also named his nominee for Commerce Secretary last week. The 80-year-old billionaire Wilbur Ross made is fortune in real estate by investing in distressed properties. He is own as the King of Bankruptcy. Jim Puzzanghera has this in the Washington Post.

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Finally, House Republicans have elected Oregon Representative Greg Walden to Chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden opposes most if not all Obama-era regulations including net neutrality.

 

Nov 29, 2016

Melinda Epler (@changecatalysts) is Founder and CEO of Change Catalyst, a certified B Corp whose mission is to empower diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation through education, mentorship and funding. Change Catalyst won a Certified B Corporation "Best for the World” award for community impact in 2014 and “Best in the World” overall in 2015.

Melinda has more than 20 years of experience elevating brands and developing business innovation strategies for social entrepreneurs, mature social enterprises, Fortune 500 companies and global NGOs.

As Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda empowers diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation through events, education, mentorship and funding. Through Tech Inclusion, an initiative of Change Catalyst, she partners with the tech community to solve diversity and inclusion together. Her work spans the full tech ecosystem, from Education to Workplace, Entrepreneurship and Policy.

Melinda speaks, mentors and writes about diversity and inclusion in tech, social entrepreneurship, women entrepreneurs and investing. She is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker – her film and television work includes projects that exposed the AIDS crisis in South Africa, explored women’s rights in Turkey, and prepared communities for the effects of climate change. She has worked on several television shows, including NBC’s The West Wing.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • building bridges toward inclusiveness in tech after a damaging and divisive presidential campaign season
  • key areas the diversity and inclusion and policy communities should focus on in a Trump administration.

Resources

Insight Timer

Headspace

Tara Brach

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

NEWS ROUNDUP

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and members of the intelligence community want President Obama to fire National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, according to Ellen Nakashima at The Washington Post.

Clapper and Rogers cite numerous instances of security breaches under Rogers' watch, including one by Booz Allen Hamilton contractor Harold T. Martin III, who was arrested in August for the largest ever theft of classified government data. There was also another breach in 2015 allegedly carried out by an individual whose name has not been disclosed, but who has since been arrested.

President-elect Trump is considering putting Rogers in charge of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, and Congressional Republican leaders have come out in support of Rogers, including California Representative David Nunes who also serves on Trump's transition team, who praised Rogers in the Washington Post.

Rodgers is also the head of U.S. Cyber Command. Ash Carter has not been impressed with Rogers' performance in that role, either, as the cyber command's operations in Syria and Iraq have been largely unsuccessful, according to Carter.

Further annoying Carter and Clapper is the fact that Rogers met with Trump last week unbeknownst to the White House.

Further complicating matters, Clapper and Carter are also looking to split Cyber Command from the National Security Administration, a move opposed by Senate Republicans including John McCain.

Meanwhile, as Mallory Shelbourne at The Hill reports, at a news conference in Peru last week, President Obama called Rogers a "patriot".

In separate comments, Obama told German newspaper Der Spiegel that he had no plans to pardon Edward Snowden. The president said Snowden would first need to appear before a court.

--

Mark Jamison, a member of Trump's tech policy transition team, suggested in a blog post last week that maybe the FCC shouldn't exist. Jamison wrote, "Most of the original motivations for having the FCC have gone away." He also said there are few monopolies in telecom, an assertion with which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has disagreed. Brian Fung has this story in the Washington Post.

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A new Stanford University report found that most students from Middle School to college are unable to tell the difference between sponsored content and real news.

The study of 7,804 students found 82% could not tell what was sponsored and what was real. Seventy percent of middle schoolers also found no reason to distrust a finance article that was written by the CEO of a bank. Amar Toor has the story on The Verge.

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Downloads of the encrypted messaging app Signal have soared by 400% since Donald Trump's election, according to Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike. Governments have the ability to tap unencrypted text messages for intelligence gathering. Paresh Dave has the story in the LA Times.

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Following a successful effort to get the FCC to clear its entire November meeting agenda, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune have now asked Federal Trade Commission Chair Edith Ramirez and Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Elliott Kaye not to move forward on any controversial regulations. Upton and Thune wrote that the American people decided to make a change on November 8th and that agencies should this refrain from passing new regulations. Trump, of course, lost the popular vote by over 2 million.

--

Finally, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a statement last week praising Trump's Department of Justice nominee Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post reports that Sessions is widely seen as a climate change skeptic and his entire career has been dogged by accusations that Sessions is a virulent racist, which cost him a federal judgeship back in '86. Sessions has been quoted as saying that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana."

Pai is reportedly on the short list to become Trump's nominee to Chair the FCC.

 

Nov 22, 2016

Andrew Jay Schwartzman (@aschwa02) is the Benton Senior Counselor at the Institute for Public Representation of Georgetown University Law Center. He directed Media Access Project, a public interest media and telecommunications law firm, for 34 years. Mr. Schwartzman serves on the International Advisory Board of Southwestern Law School’s National Entertainment & Media Law Institute and on the Board of Directors of the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council and was the Board President of the Safe Energy Communications Council for many years.

Mr. Schwartzman’s work has been published in major legal and general journals, including Variety, The Nation, The Washington Post, COMM/ENT Law Journal, the Federal Communications Law Journal, and The ABA Journal. He has also been a frequent guest on television and radio programs. In recognition of his service as chief counsel in the public interest community’s challenge to the FCC’s June, 2003 media ownership deregulation decision, Scientific American honored Schwartzman as one of the nation’s 50 leaders in technology for 2004. Schwartzman was the 2002 Verizon Distinguished Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, the 2004 McGannon Lecturer on Communications Policy and Ethics at Fordham University in 2004, and the Distinguished Lecturer in Residence at the Southwestern University School of Law Summer Entertainment and Media Law Program at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge (2004).

In this episode we discussed:

  • possible scenarios regarding the AT&T/Time Warner merger.
  • what an FCC under an Ajit Pai Chairmanship might look like.
  • the possible future of net neutrality under a Donald Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

Resources

Andy's Schwartzman's 'The Daily Item' Newsletter (subscribe here)

Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center

The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump by G.B. Trudeau

NEWS ROUNDUP

A BuzzFeed analysis of news stories appearing on Facebook found fake news stories received more engagements during the final three months before the presidential election than news stories from the leading real news outlets. The difference was some 1.4 million combined likes, shares and comments. At a news conference in Germany, President Obama expressed concern about the spread of fake news saying Q“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not ... if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems".

On the Washington Post's The Intersect Blog, a fake news writer by the name of Paul Horner, who has written numerous fake news stories which have gone viral, expressed regret for the stories he wrote and said he thinks President-elect Trump won the election because of him.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  was initially dismissive, saying the week before last that the notion of fake news having impacted the election in any significant way is a "pretty crazy idea". Since then, Zuckerberg has announced initiatives to identify fake news, such as through user generated reports.

Meanwhile, a group of students participating in a hackathon at Princeton last week developed a Chrome plug-in that allows users to assess the veracity of news stories.

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Policymakers are increasingly concerned about the role that mobile apps play in distracted driving incidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that between January and June of this year, highway fatalities were up 10.4% to 17,775, compared to the same period in 2015. Neal Boudette reports in The New York Times on goals set during the Obama administration to eliminate highway fatalities by 2047.

--

SnapChat filed for an initial public offering last week. The IPO is expected to be valued at around $20 billion. It is the largest IPO since Facebook's in 2012.  Reuters has more.

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has submitted his resignation after a 50- year U.S. intelligence career. In October, Clapper's office formally concluded that Russia was behind cyberattacks intended to sway the U.S. presidential election, and that Rusian President Vladimir Putin has almost certainly approved them. Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee that submitting his resignation "felt pretty good." Greg Miller has the story at the Washington Post.

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A new Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure--Rule 41--which would give federal authorities sweeping powers to search devices, is set to go into effect on December 1st. Currently, federal judges can only authorize searches within their own jurisdictions. Once Rule 41 goes into effect, judges will have the authority to issue search warrants for computers located outside their jurisdictional boundaries, potentially allowing a single judge to issue searches of millions of computers.  Civil rights groups are concerned about the rule would intrude on innocents, particularly communities of color. Senator Ron Wyden has proposed legislation to scale back Rule 41, but it hasn't even gotten a committee hearing. On Thursday, Delaware Senator Chris Coons introduced legislation that would delay Rule 41's implementation. David Kravets covers this for Ars Technica.

--

Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right--super-conservative ideologues, many of whom promote white nationalism. The Southern Poverty Law Center had asked Twitter to remove about 100 accounts expressing white nationalist views for violation of Twitter's terms of service. Among the suspended accounts -- Richard Spencer, President of the National Policy Institute--an organization whose website says is "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of  people of European descent in the United States." Spencer said Twitter's deletion of his account was akin to a "digital execution". USA Today notes that Spencer has called for removing blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Jews from the United States. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also apologized last week for allowing an ad promoting a white supremacist group. Jessica Guynn has the story at USA Today.

--

Amar Toor at the Verge reported that China has threatened to cut iPhone sales if President-elect Trump follows through on his threat to declare China a currency manipulator and impose a 45% tariff on Chinese exports. China also threatened to limit automobile and other sales.

--

It appears that the Trans-Pacific Partnership--the trade deal that would have enhanced American ties with 11 countries, counterbalancing China's influence in the region--appears to have been defeated even before President-elect Trump has taken office. The deal simply doesn't have enough votes in Congress, and President-elect Trump has stated he would oppose the deal. Elise Labott and Nicole Gaouette reported this for CNN.

--

The GOP has successfully forced the FCC to cancel nearly its entire November open meeting agenda, which was supposed to take place last Thursday. Up for consideration were bulk data caps, the Mobility Fund, and a proposed rule on roaming obligations of mobile providers. One Freedom of Information Act request remained on the agenda. Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune had sent a letter to the FCC Tuesday warning against “complex, partisan, or otherwise controversial items.” Massachusetts Senator Markey blasted Thune's heavy-handed approach, with Thune responding that he was only referring to the most controversial items. Brendan Bordelon has the story in Morning Consult.

--

Finally, the hold on Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel's nomination has been lifted. Democrats Ron Wyden and Ed Markey had put a hold on the Commissioner's nomination following her rejection of the set-top box competition proposal. Rosenworcel will need to be confirmed before the end of the Commission in order to stay on. Some analysts are speculating that Rosenworcel might vote in favor of the set-top box rules currently on circulation.  Brendan Bordelon covers the story in Morning Consult.

Nov 15, 2016

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how traditional and social media platforms perpetuate stereotypes.
  • the role of the advertising industry in promoting accurate portrayals of underrepresented groups in the media

Resources:

Reality TV: Entertaining But No Laughing Matter (AAF, 2015)

American Advertising Federation (AAF)

American Advertising Federation's Mosaic Council

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

NEWS ROUNDUP

The tech sector and tech-related progressive thinks tanks are reeling following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. At Benton.org, Robbie McBeath discusses the totally changed political landscape in which Republicans will now control all three branches of government. South Dakota Senator John Thune is expected to continue to Chair the Senate Commerce Committee. Three Congressmen--Greg Walden, John Shimkus and Joe Barton are expected to pursue the House Energy and Commerce Chairmanship, with Walden being the favorite since House speaker Paul Ryan credits Walden, who served as Republican Congressional Committee Chair, with helping Republicans maintain control of Congress.

Anticipated legislative initiatives include rewriting the Communications Act and an effort to override the FCC’s net neutrality rules, as well as expanding mobile and internet access to rural areas and capping Lifeline expenditures to $1.5 billion.

President-elect Trump will of course nominate a new FCC Chair to replace Tom Wheeler who is expected to leave before the inauguration on January 20th.

Tech sector stocks declined following last week’s election, as investors anticipated a new administration that would be less friendly to tech than Obama. The tech sector opposed Trump vigorously during the campaign, contributing barely anything to his campaign, outside of PayPal founder Peter Thiel who contributed $1.25 million late in the election season.

Companies like Apple are concerned about what a new Trump administration will mean for encryption and the company’s resistance to law enforcement requests for access to iPhone data during criminal investigations. Almost all of the Valley is concerned about what the new administration will mean not just for things like net neutrality and science-based policymaking, but also the sector’s influence in Washington, which had grown exponentially during the Obama era.

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Facebook announced that it will no longer allow advertisers to exclude audiences based on their race and ethnicity for ads related to housing, credit or employment. The company will also require advertisers to pledge not to place any discriminatory ads on Facebook. The company had come under fire from civil rights activists, the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses, as well as several attorneys general after Pro Publica released a report showing how Facebook allowed advertisers selling real estate to exclude racial and ethnic groups. Two plaintiffs also sued Facebook under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Following the 2016 presidential election, Facebook executives are now evaluating the role the platform plays in the dissemination of fake news, and the extent to which misinformation on the social network led to the election of Donald Trump. One piece of fake news shared over 1 million times falsely claimed that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump.

Facebook has been under fire for bias in its newsfeed over the past year, and earlier this year was accused of suressing conservative news from its trending news results. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denies fake news on Facebook impacted the election in any way.  Mike Isaac has the story in the New York Times.

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John Wagner reported in the Washington Post on Hillary Clinton’s data driven campaign, one that was far more sophisticated than both Romney and Obama’s, but which ultimate failed. It appears that both the Democratic establishment and the complex algorithm they used known as Ada, completely missed opportunities to campaign in Rust Belt states like Michigan and Minnesota, which Clinton lost. Campaign managers will look at this as a case study for many years to come into both how biases are reflected in algorithms and the extent to which campaigns should continue to rely on alogrithms to determine which states they should campaign in.

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A group of hackers known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, widely believed to be affiliated with Russia, launched an attack on the servers of several NGOs, think tanks, universities, government agencies and other institutions on Wednesday, shortly after Trump claimed victory in Tuesday’s election. The hackers sent phishing emails to the targets containing malicious links and zip files. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at Motherboard has the story.

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Finally, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit blocked the FCC’s prison phone rate cap last week, granting a petition for stay by a company called Securus technologies. The rate caps were set at 13 cents to 31 cents per minute. The Court stated that these caps were significantly below what prison phone providers need to fulfill their contractual obligations to prisons. John Brodkin has the story in Ars Technica.

 

Oct 31, 2016

Nate Yohannes (linkedin.com/in/nateyohannesgovernmentaffairs) is Senior Advisor to the Chief Investment and Innovation Officer at the US Small Business Administration. He was appointed by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel as a Presidential Appointee in the Obama Administration.

As the Senior Advisor, Mr. Yohannes assists with managing the Small Business Investment Company, a $25 billion private equity/venture fund and the SBIR program, a $2.5 billion per year grant program to high growth domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.

Mr. Yohannes sits on President Obama’s Broadband Opportunity Council, a multi-agency team responsible for providing counsel to President Obama on how to advance the United States as the most broadband accessible country in the world. In addition, Yohannes held a leadership position and played a pivotal role with the first ever White House Demo Day.

Mr. Yohannes regularly works with staff at the White House’s Business Council, Domestic Policy Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Innovation Cohort and National Economic Council on issues that directly affect high growth small businesses across the country.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Mr. Yohannes was the Vice President – Associate General Counsel at the Money Management Institute (MMI). Earlier in his career he clerked for Chief Justice Paula Feroleto of the New York State Supreme Court. Mr. Yohannes received his JD from the University at Buffalo Law School and a BA from SUNY Geneseo and is a member of the New York State Bar.

 

In this episode, we discussed: 

  • government resources available to entrepreneurs looking to access capital.

Resources:

SBIC

SBIR

SBA Growth Accelerator Competition

U.S. Economic Development Administration

Audacity of Hope, Barack H. Obama

*A special thanks goes to the following contributors to this episode:

Elias Aseged, Accenture

Brittany Déjean, AbleThrive

Jessica Eggert, Medley

Sumayyah Emeh Edu, Sumayyah Emeh Edu Consulting

Chioke Mose-Telesford, Grand Circus

Jon Pincus, A Change is Coming

Courtney Seiter, Buffer

Terrell Sterling, Oracle

Michael Young, BLOC

 

THE NEWS

The FCC passed new privacy rules Thursday requiring internet service providers to obtain their subscribers’ permission before collecting and distributing their private information. Telecom industry giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon object to the new rules, saying they will harm the Internet ecosystem. Privacy advocates, though, applaud the rules. Critics of the rules say so-called edge providers like Netflix and other companies should also be restricted from freely sharing their users’ information without permission. But the FCC, of course, doesn’t have jurisdiction over internet companies like Netflix. Cecilia Kang has the story in The New York Times.

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Eric Lipton at The New York Times reported last week on AT&T’s lobbying influence within the beltway. Lipton reports that AT&T is Congress’ biggest donor, contributing a total of over $11 million to most members of Congress since 2015, which is 4 times that of Verizon. The company also has almost 100 registered lobbyists, not including non-profit organizations it contributes to. AT&T announced two weeks ago that it has agreed to purchase Time Warner for $85.4 billion. Time Warner’s properties include HBO and CNN.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren is leading progressive members of Congress who are pushing Hillary Clinton to crack down on large tech companies if Clinton becomes president. Warren says companies like Google, Amazon and Apple have too much market power. But according to the Center for Responsive Politics, tech companies have contributed some $39 million to the Clinton campaign, compared to just $787,000 for Trump. Shane Goldmacher has the story in Politico.

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A new Pew Report finds that a fair number of people loathe the political dialogue that happens among friends, family members and acquaintances on social media. Almost twice as many social media users reported being “worn out” by political discussions on Facebook, compared to those who like seeking lots of political content. The report also found a large percentage of people found political discourse on line to be angrier, less respectful and less civil than political conversations in public. You can find these and other findings at Pew.

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Finally, Alphabet, Inc.--the parent company of Google, is putting the brakes on further build out of its fiber network in places it’s not already committed. Google Access CEO Craig Barrett announced he is stepping down in a surprise blog post last week. Google Fiber will continue to be available in Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Kansas City in MO and KS; Nashville, TN; Provo, UT; Salt Lake City, UT; and North Carolina’s Triangle region. In addition, Comcast is suing the Nashville metro government, including the city’s mayor, in the U.S. District Court in Nashville. Comcast argues that Google, when it comes into Nashville, shouldn’t just be able to come in and reconfigure wires on utility poles without first waiting for incumbent providers to adjust the wires themselves. Sam Gustin at Motherboard and Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica have the story.

Oct 25, 2016

Dr. Tracy Weeks (@tracyweeks)  is the Executive Director for the State Educational Technology Director’s Association (SETDA). Prior to joining the team at SETDA, she served as the Chief Academic and Digital Learning Officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the first senior state leadership position of its kind in the nation. In that role, Dr. Weeks oversaw the areas of: K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, Career and Technical Education, Exceptional Children, and the North Carolina Virtual Public School. She also served as the state agency lead on the development of the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan.

From 2008-2014, Tracy led the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the second largest state-led virtual school in the nation, as the Chief Academic Officer and subsequently the Executive Director. She holds a bachelors degree in Secondary Math Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology with a Statistics minor and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from NC State University. She is a NC Teaching Fellow, NC Education Policy Fellow, and a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

In this episode we discussed:

  • the importance of high speed internet in schools.
  • challenges school districts are facing when it comes to providing high speed internet in classrooms.
  • how to use school broadband resources to enhance access to broadband outside of the classroom.
  • recommendations for ensuring schools have appropriate infrastructure to accommodate growing demand for broadband bandwidth.

Resources:

SETDA

Slack

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson

 

NEWS

A large scale DDOS attack affected a large number of important and widely used sites on Friday, causing users to lose access to sites like Spotify, SoundCloud, Twitter and Shopify. The way these attacks usually work is that a hacker will overwhelm a particular site with junk traffic. However, in between the URL you enter into your browser, and the site’s IP address, are what are known as DNS providers that route you to where you want to go. This time, the attack was made on one of those DNS providers--a company called Dyn--making the hack even worse and more widespread affecting many different sites instead of just a single one. In addition, the hack was executed by aggregating notoriously insecure Internet of Things devices, like home security cameras, into botnets. The White House says the Department of Homeland Security is looking into the breach. To make things even creepier, one security researcher told Techcrunch that the attack looks more like probing-- a deliberate attempt to test the defense capabilities of the sites. Darrell Etherington has the story in TechCrunch.

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AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable in an $85.4 billion deal. The deal comes amidst a wave of consolidation in the media industry, including Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUNiversal and Verizon’s acquisition of Huffington Post and proposed acquisition of Yahoo. AT&T also recently acquired DirectTV for $48.5 billion.

Time Warner’s media properties include HBO, CNN, TNT and TBS. Michael De La Merced has the story for The New York Times.

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A new study by Girls who Code and Accenture finds that, without significant intervention by educators, parents and policymakers, the proportion of computer scientists in the workforce who are women will decline from 24% to 22% by 2025. The proportion of women computer sciences has fallen from 37% in 1995.

The report is optimistic, however, and concludes that women could account for 39% of computer scientists by 2025 if appropriate measures are taken.

Jessica Guynn has the story in USA Today.

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A Russian hacker suspected of intruding into American targets has been arrested in Prague, but the authorities have not released the suspect’s name. But American officials familiar with the matter, but who asked for anonymity, told Ricky Lyman and Hana de Goeij at the New York Times that the suspect has not been linked to Russian intrusions into the Democratic National Committee. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration officially accused Russia of attempting to sway the U.S. elections by hacking into the DNC.

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There is a sex scandal at the FCC. Fred Campbell at Forbes reports that a female employee working in the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO), which works to increase opportunities for minorities and women working in the telecommunications sector, was subjected to her male co-workers watching porn in the office. When she complained to her boss, Thomas Reed, the employee’s complaint alleges that she was given lower quality assignments. An Inspector General’s report into the employee’s complaint conducted in 2012, which we’re just finding out about now, concluded that watching porn, and the agency’s subsequent response to it, violated various ethical and administrative rules. And Still, as Fred Cambpell at Forbes reports, the FCC did nothing outside of forcing the employee watching porn to resign. The FCC’s legal team even attempted to dismiss the employee’s case in federal court--a court that found that the employee had been subjected to discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult”. Fred Campbell has the story in Forbes.

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Finally, The Center for Responsive Politics reported last week that Silicon Valley-based tech companies are outspending Wall Street on lobbying activities in DC by more than 2 to 1. According to the Center, Silicon Valley spent $49 million on lobbyists last year compared to just $19.7 million for the five largest banks. Seleha Moshin has the story for Bloomberg.

Oct 18, 2016

Courtney R. Snowden (@DMGEOSnowden) is Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity for the District of Columbia. A sixth-generation Washingtonian born at Howard University Hospital, Courtney was raised in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of Ward 4, and now lives east of the river (EOTR) in Ward 7 with her young son, Malik.  The Washington Post has recognized Courtney for her keen understanding of the need to connect neighborhoods if the city is to thrive. She understands policy, is adept at building coalitions and is both smart and passionate about education reform.” 

Courtney is a graduate of DC Public Schools and received her B.A. in Political Science in 2000 from Beloit College. After graduating, Courtney returned home to the District to join the legislative staff of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on Capitol Hill.

Courtney has devoted her life to making Washington, DC, a better place for all its residents, corner to corner. She has a record of coalition building and bringing people from different backgrounds together from across the city.

As a principal at The Raben Group, a premiere progressive government relations firm, she advises the firm’s clients on a variety of public policy issues through direct lobbying, strategic planning, and coalition building. Her diverse client portfolio includes Google, the Committee for Education Funding, the National Urban League, and Graham Holdings.

An active leader in the city’s LGBT and African-American communities and a staunch public education advocate, Courtney served as the first female board chair of DC Black Pride in 2008, and was an active member of the DC GLBT Advisory Committee.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how the City of Washington has changed over time and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's economic development vision going forward.
  • how the Mayor's office is working with educators to prepare students who live in the District for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • efforts in the District to promote diversity and inclusion in the City's growing start-up sector.

Resources:

DC.gov - Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

NEWS ROUNDUP

The FCC has fined Comcast $2.3 million--the largest ever civil penalty on a cable operator for a practice called “negative option billing” where customers were charged for equipment and services they never requested. Comcast’s response to the fine? Sorry--we didn’t do anything wrong--it’s just that we had some isolated incidents where our customer service representatives were just kind of confusing. Richard Gonzalez has the story for NPR.

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The nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research is crediting  Facebook for registering thousands of new voters nationwide. Just in California, the 17-word reminder led to over 123,000 new voter registrations on the first day alone. While Facebook was unable to provide demographic data about the new registrations, Facebook’s users are generally seen as leaning female, young and Democratic. Niraj Chokshi has the story in The New York Times.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Media Justice and Color of Change reported last week that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter provided data access to a company called Geofeedia--a company sells a product that monitors social media activity, and which has been marketed to law enforcement officials looking for intel on protesters. The advocacy groups obtained emails of Geofeedia corresponding with law enforcement about the success the company has had monitoring recent protests in Ferguson and elsewhere. Facebook and Instagram have cut off Geofeedia’s access to its main public feeds. Twitter hasn’t cut off access, but the ACLU’s press release notes the social media network has taken steps to rein in Geofeedia.

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Finally, it looks like billionaire investor Peter Thiel has alienated himself from a major diversity and inclusion partner after he donated $1.25 million to Donald Trump, days after Trump was caught on tape making lewd comments about sexually assaulting women. Project Include co-Founder Ellen Pao, a leader in the tech diversity debate in Silicon Valley, wrote in a Medium post that she was cutting ties with the incubator Peter Thiel Founded--Y Combinator, saying Project Include and Y Combinator’s values are no longer aligned given Thiel’s continued affiliation with Y Combinator.

Oct 11, 2016

Chad Marlow (@ChadAaronMarlow) is Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where his focus is on privacy and technology. Mr. Marlow’s work on issues ranging from police body cameras, to government surveillance, to data privacy has been the subject of media coverage throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and South America. Mr. Marlow holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College. In 2007, City & State (New York) newspaper named Mr. Marlow to its “Rising Stars: 40 Under 40” list.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • surveillance tactics by police that disproportionately affect racial, ethnic and religious minorities.
  • how dispersed police departments coordinate with other jurisdictions in a way that collectively infringes privacy and civil rights.
  • what municipalities should do to ensure their surveillance practices are transparent and informed by local communities.

Resources:

American Civil Liberties Union

 

THE NEWS

Yahoo secretly scanned emails at the behest of the U.S. government, reports Joseph Menn at Reuters. Last year, Yahoo apparently built a secret program designed to scan all emails coming into Yahoo’s servers for keywords determined by the NSA or FBI. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly agreed to develop the software over objections by other Yahoo Senior Executives.

This news comes during a difficult month for Yahoo, and it all comes as Yahoo and Verizon have been negotiating what started out as a $4.8 billion acquistion of Yahoo by Verizon.  But late last month, Yahoo announced hackers accessed personal information in some 500 user accounts, causing Verizon to ask for a $1 billion discount on the purchase.


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David Sanger and Charlie Savage at the New York Times reported that the Obama administration -- namely, National Intelligence Director James Clapper -- has formally accused Russia of hacking into the servers of the Democratic National Committee and servers belonging to other influentials in order to influence the U.S. presidential elections. Clapper’s statement noted that only Russia’s QUOTE “senior most officials could have authorized these activities. Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta was hacked soon after the statement was released. It is not clear how the Obama administration will respond.

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A federal contractor by the name of Harold Thomas Martin, III who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton was arrested in August at his home in Glen Burnie, MD for stealing highly classified data and information -- according to information provided by U.S. officials just last week.  Booz Allen is also Edward Snowden’s former employer.

Officials are trying to figure out whether Martin played a role in posting online a cache of top secret NSA hacking tools. Ellen Nakashima has the full story for the Washington Post.

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Senate Commerce Committee Chair Republican John Thune joined a chorus of cable industry lobbyists and several civil rights groups last week by going after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, asking him to release the latest version of the set top box rules. The FCC delayed a vote on the new set-top box rules which would open up the set-top box market to more competition, giving consumers a choice between the set-top box they lease from their carrier, and a set-top box they can use to access the content they have already paid their provider for as well as content from so-called over-the-top providers such as YouTube and Netflix.

Chairman Wheeler has kept the current rule under wraps and cable industry advocates are challenging him to release a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the set-top box rules -- rules they are expected to oppose anyway. So it’s  basically like like “come on punk! Come on punk! I dare you to release the rules! I dare you!”

Schoolyard bully stuff.

Ali Breland has the story at the Hill.


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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also announced last week that the Commission will vote on new Internet Service Provider privacy rules at its next open meeting on October 27th. In a blog post, the Chairman wrote QUOTE “Under the proposed rules, an ISP would be required to notify consumers about what types of information they are collecting, specify how and for what purposes that information can be used and shared, and identify the types of entities with which the ISP shares the information.

In addition, ISPs would be required to obtain affirmative ‘opt-in’ consent before using or sharing sensitive information. Information that would be considered ‘sensitive’ includes geo-location information, children’s information, health information, financial information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications such as the text of emails. All other individually identifiable information would be considered non-sensitive, and the use and sharing of that information would be subject to opt-out consent.” END QUOTE

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Today, for the first time in 120 years, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a design patent case -- this one between Samsung and Apple. The lower court awarded Apple some $584 million back in December. Samsung wants to claw back about $400 million of that, saying it's excessive because it's based on Samsung's total profits, rather than the profits attributable to the 3 patents the court found Samsung to have violated (the rounded corners on the face of the smartphone, the metal rim around the phone, and the display grid).

Oct 4, 2016

Christine Haight Farley (@Prof_Farley) is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. She teaches courses on Intellectual Property Law, Trademark Law, International and Comparative Trademark Law, International Intellectual Property Law, Design Protection Law and Art Law. Professor Farley served as Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs from 2007 to 2011 and as Co-Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property from 2005 to 2009. She is the author of numerous articles on intellectual property law and a forthcoming casebook on international trademark law. Professor Farley has taught at law schools in France, India, Italy and Puerto Rico. She has given lectures on intellectual property law in more than twenty countries across every region of the world. Professor Farley frequently appears in the media as an IP expert and is regularly invited to speak at ABA, AIPLA and INTA conferences. She currently serves on an INTA Presidential Task Force on Brands and Innovation, and has recently been selected as a Fulbright Specialist for intellectual property law. Before teaching, Professor Farley was an associate specializing in intellectual property litigation with Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman in New York. She holds a B.A. (State University of New York at Binghamton), J.D. (State University of New York at Buffalo), LL.M. (Columbia University), and a J.S.D. (Columbia University).

In this episode, we discussed:

  • historical examples of offensive marks.
  • the First Amendment implications of The Lanham Act Section 2(a).
  • how U.S. trademark laws compare to international trademark laws in the context of offensive speech.

Resources:

American University Washington College of Law

Christine Haight Farley, Registering Offense: Morality and Public Order in the U.S. Trademark Act, in Protecting and Promoting Diversity With Intellectual Property Law (Irene Calboli & Srividhya Ragavan, eds., Cambridge U. Press 2015)

Lee v. Tam via Scotusblog

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs by Lauren Rivera

THE NEWS

FBI Director James Comey doesn't want anyone to think his agency is comprised of “weasels”--his words not mine. Comey appeared at a hearing before a House Judiciary Committee panel last week to explain why presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was never charged during the investigation into a private server she used as Secretary of State. Comey said the agency hasn’t uncovered any additional evidence that would necessitate re-opening the investigation. Matt Zapotosky has more at the Washington Post.

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John McKinnon at the Wall Street Journal reports The FCC has delayed a vote on proposed rules to overhaul the set-top box marketplace. FCC CommissionerRosenworcel, a Democrat, was the swing vote. The plan would require cable providers to make content available to set-top boxes that compete with the ones issued by cable companies. The proposed rules faced a firestorm of criticism from the cable industry and Hollywood who claimed, among other things, that the rules would exceed the Commission’s authority and violate copyright. The good news, as Harold Feld at Public Knowledge has noted, is that the proceeding is far from dead and still open for comment.

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Several consumer groups are crying foul about WhatsApp’s recent announcement that it would begin sharing user data with its parent company, Facebook. WhatsApp has long held itself out as a secure and encrypted messaging service. Groups including the Center for Digital Democracy and Demand Progress, along with 15 other groups, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission last week asking the agency to investigate. Grant Gross has the story at Computer World.

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Four Republican attorneys general from Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma,and Nevada filed lawsuits against the Obama administration for its plan to transfer oversight of the Internet’s domain systems from the U.S. to an international body. They’re alleging violations of the what they believe to be the U.S. property interest in the systems, that the transfer is a First Amendment violation, amd that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act. Ali Breland at The Hill has the full story.

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Finally, the FCC released an NPRM last week which would prohibit cable companies from bullying independent content producers with clauses in their contracts saying that programmers have to give the cable company the best deal and not allow anyone else to carry their content without permission from the cable company. These are known as most favored nation and alternative distribution method clauses. The cable industry is pushing back, but this is still an NPRM, not an official ruling, and thus it is still open for comment.

Aug 30, 2016

Jose A. Marquez-Leon (@LISTA1) is the National President, CEO, and Founder of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA). In this role he serves as lead advocate on state and federal issues related to the role of Latinos in the technology sector. He is also charged with coordinating organization-wide strategic planning for LISTA initiatives and is executive director of 15 LISTA TechLatino Councils nationwide.

Since LISTA’s inception the organization has developed programs to take the Latino community from the “schoolroom to the boardroom.” These programs are designed to introduce technology into classrooms, encourage information technology and science professions among young adults, facilitate technology-related professional development through certification training and job-matching programs, leverage online communications for continued collaboration, and recognize Latinos within the IT industry that are making a difference.

Jose has received several achievement awards including Politics 360 GameChangers Award, Hispanic Trends Magazine Technology Trendsetter 2007, National Hispanic Achievers Award, and the Greater NY Chamber of Commerce Advocate of the Year 2003, among others. In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission appointed Jose to serve on its Committee on Digital and Media Inclusion.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how to cultivate Latino developers.
  • diversity on Capitol Hill.

Resources:

THE NEWS

Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post reports on an FBI alert to states to secure their election systems.  The report didn’t name the states that were targeted, but the Post points to two reported instances of hacks into election systems in June and July in Illinois, which resulted in the state having to shut down voting registrations, and Arizona, where hackers obtained access to voting records. Some experts suspect Russia may be the culprit.

Evan Perez at CNN also reported that the FBI is investigating a series of cyberattacks against news organizations including the New York Times. Several US officials believe the attacks on reporters, as well as attacks on the Democratic National Committee, have been the work of the Russians.

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For the first time in its nearly a quarter century existence, Wired magazine--the tech sector’s leading trade and lifestyle publication -- has endorsed a presidential candidate. Editor-in-Chief Scott Dadich praised Hillary Clinton’s support for net neutrality, student loan forgiveness for entrepreneurs, easing entry for people abroad who are skilled at science, tech and engineering, and strengthening the Affordable Care Act. Dadich painted Donald Trump as someone who is more interested in generating attention for himself than leading the country.

Nick Gass reports in Politico that Hillary Clinton’s tech agenda closely aligns with Silicon Valley.

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Hillary Clinton’s praise from Wired was marred by a new FBI disclosure that revealed Clinton failed to turn over nearly 15,000 emails to the State Department. These emails will plague Clinton’s campaign until Election Day, because a federal judge has ordered the emails to be released to the public beginning in October. Steven Lee Myers has the story in The New York Times.

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The Cybersecurity firm Lookout and the University of Toronto have discovered three previously unknown security flaws in Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. The report states the flaws made it possible for foreign governments to tap into users’ phones and spy on them using spyware that targeted journalists and activists. Andrea Peterson at The Washington Post has the story.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy and Technology and 26 other organizations sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security last week opposing the agency’s proposal to use social media to review visa-waiver applications. The groups say the proposed rules would unfairly target Arab-Americans and Muslims. Ali Breland has the story in the Hill.

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Thirty-two tech and telecom companies including AT&T, Verizon, Google and Apple have formed a Robocall Strike Force to develop a self-regulatory approach to dealing with annoying calls from telemarketers, researchers and others. FCC Chairman Tom.Wheeler says the FCC receives 200,000 robocall complaints each year. The group’s plan for dealing with robocalls is due to the FCC on October 19th.

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Finally, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has set its deadline for the FCC to respond to petitions telecom companies filed asking the full court to review the court’s 3-judge panel decision to uphold the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The FCC’s response is due September 12th.

Aug 23, 2016

Nicole Reitz-Larsen (@reitzlarsen) is a secondary classroom teacher with 15+ years teaching experience. She has taught everything from AP/IB Computer Science, to German, Multimedia and Business related courses. She loves working with students and is passionate about equity in education and providing opportunities for all students to be successful.

She works with teachers nationwide on the CS10K.org site and with Code.org to promote the importance of computer science, assist districts in implementing computer science K-12 in schools to broaden participation of underrepresented students of color and females.

You can often find her facilitating Computer Science workshops nationwide, presenting at teacher conferences or meet ups because she loves working with educators to provide them with resources, and teaching strategies around equity and inquiry, while creating an environment that is inclusive of all students, as well as in the classroom which she calls home.

 

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the key challenges students face in the computer science classroom and best practices for helping them overcome them.
  • tools parents can use to help their kids learn computer science.

Resources:

Code.org

CS10K

Made with Code

Scratch

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

NEWS

Anonymous hackers some experts believe have Russian ties released a trove of tools the National Security Agency uses to exploit bugs on the Internet to conduct spying operations. For years, the NSA has resisted efforts by institutions to reveal the bugs it was exploiting so they could be fixed. Now, those bugs are on full display for all the world to see. Ellen Nakashima covers this story at the Washington Post and Andy Greenberg is covering it for Wired.
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Hackers believed to have Russian ties also got into billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations’ files last week, according to Julian Hattem at the Hill. Two thousand documents were released giving an inside look into how the powerful Democratic supporter and his Foundations operate.
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Google isn’t out of the woods yet regarding the way it scans emails to serve up ads. Google scans not just Gmail messages, but also anyone interacting with Gmail, from any domain. The plaintiffs sued Google in the Northern District of California alleging that the company’s email scanning practices violate wiretapping provisions of both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California’s own state privacy laws. Google argued the practice is within the ordinary course of business. But US District Judge Lucy Koh disagreed, ordering the case to move forward. Joe Mullin covers this for Ars Technica.
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It looks like internet service providers are going to have to start putting some of its users on blast for copyright infringement-even before they have been convicted of it. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled last week that Cox must pay $25 million to BMG Music for failing to notify users that they had infringed music copyrights by participating in illegal file sharing. BMG enlisted a 3rd party to monitor Cox’ users for infringement and when it found infringement, notified Cox. But Cox then prevented its users from receiving notifications. So the court ruled Cox now owes BMG a $25 million penalty. Brian Fung has that story at the Washington Post.

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Univision has won the bid for Gawker Media’s bankruptcy assets. Gawker announced last week it would be ceasing operations. The announcement was made after months of speculation about the fate of the company, following a devastating $140 million judgment against Gawker in favor of Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan sued Gawker for posting a video showing Hogan having sex with radio Bubba the Love Sponge’s wife. Keepin it classy, baby! Anyway, Univision’s bid for Gawker’s assets was $135 million, pending approval by the Bankruptcy Court. Lukas Alpert has the story in the Wall Street Journal.
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Finally, The DOJ and FTC are seeking comment on proposed rules to update the guidelines we use to license intellectual property. The comments are due September 26th.

Aug 16, 2016

Rachel Rodgers (@RachelRodgersEsq) is a business lawyer turned business coach, intellectual property strategist, and the creator of Small Business Bodyguard.

In 2013, she created the Small Business Bodyguard: Cover Your Bases, Cover Your Assets, Cover Your Ass. This game-changing legal resource has been called “fun and engaging” by New York Times bestselling author Chris Brogan and a “graduate-level course on how to build a strong foundation for your business” by CEO of OurDeal, Kyle Durand.

Rachel is known in the legal industry and beyond for being an innovator and master of productizing services and creating high-quality, high profit products. SBB and the other legal kits she has created have been transformative, generating half a million dollars in revenue in just two years and serving 1,700 small businesses around the country. And she achieved those results with almost no active marketing because she simply didn’t have the time (she literally launched SBB with a newborn in her arms).

When she’s not taking care of clients, she enjoys baking in the kitchen (barefoot, with rosé in hand), lifting weights, juicing (the green kind, not the steroid kind), reading to her toddlers, being a “dance mom” to her girls and going on new adventures with her family (her favorite destination being the South of France, of course!).

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Critical first steps every business owner should take to prevent legal headaches.
  • How to stop working "in your business" and start working "on it" to catapult your success.
  • How to establish strategic partnerships and alliances with other entrepreneurs.

Resources

The Rodgers Collective

Small Business Bodyguard

Slack

Helpscout

Mastermind Dinners by Jason Gaignard

The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

NEWS

Julia Love at Reuters reports that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton are pulling in Silicon Valley funding anywhere near what Mitt Romney and Barack Obama did in 2012. Trump has pulled in less than 6% of what Romney did and while Clinton has significantly outraised Trump in the Valley, she’s raised less than half of what Obama did there. The full story is at Reuters.com.
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Curt Woodward at the Boston Globe reports that, as financial firms and retail outlets have significantly tightened their fraud prevention tactics, criminals have now turned to hacking health care records. The health care records of 4.5 million people have been compromised this year, and while this is down from last year, the long term consequences are much more severe than those of financial data breaches.
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Security software maker Check Point has uncovered a huge security flaw in Android phones known as Quadrooter. The breach affects as many as a billion phones, including high-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy 7 and HTC 10. Ina Fried at Recode has more.
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Three House Democrats are calling for GOP leaders to investigate Donald Trump for encouraging Russia to hack into the 30,000 emails still missing from the private email server Hillary Clinton used when she served as Secretary of State. Congressmen Patrick Murphy from Florida, Andre Carson from Indiana and Eric Swalwell from California are all asking a House panel to investigate. Check out Haroun Demirjian’s (DE-MEER-JOHN'S_ full coverage in the Washington Post.
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Privacy advocates are getting worried about customers exchanging their privacy for lower-priced internet services. David Lazarus at the LA Times points to Comcast and AT&T who offer customers lower prices in exchange for tracking their online behavior. Advocates are worried the model is creating a society of privacy haves and have-nots in which privacy will only be available to people willing to pay for it.
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The federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled last week that entities that mimic government agencies must observe the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement for searches and seizures. The case involved a defendant who sent child pronography via his AOL account, which AOL then flagged and sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which it was required to do. A Department of Homeland Security special agent then obtained a tip through NCMEC’s system and then a search warrant to search the suspect’s home. The court found that NCMEC should never have opened the email without a warrant in the first place, since it was acting on the government’s behalf. Cyrus Farivar has more full coverage at Ars Technica.
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A federal judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a largely sealed ruling last week criticizing the FBI’s new gag order rules. Gag orders demand secrecy from companies regarding data requests the FBI makes to investigate national security cases. The new gag order rules require the FBI to review either on the “close of an investigation” or on the “three year anniversary of an investigation”, whether a gag order is still necessary. So this means the FBI could, theoretically at least, at the close of every single investigation, deem the gag orders to still be necessary, and keep them in place indefinitely. But these are just criticisms. The judge did not order a revamping of the rules. Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post has the story.
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Finally, Greenberg Traurig—the international law firm— will be lobbying on behalf of the Pokemon Company International, which has come under scrutiny after the release of its widely popular Pokémon Go game. The game has caused concern among lawmakers regarding distracted driving and the potential for pedophiles to exploit the game to harm children. For example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned sex offenders on parole from using Pokemon Go for fear they would put down lures to entice children to come to a particular location. Greenberg Traurig will work to counter that negative perception among federal lawmakers. Megan Wilson at the Hill has more.

 

Jul 5, 2016

Melissa A. Rasberry (@MelRasberry) is the senior technical assistance consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where she serves as the principal investigator for the CS10K Community, an online community of practice for computer science teachers sponsored by the National Science Foundation. She has created and facilitated over 35 virtual communities throughout her career, providing effective online professional learning experiences for educators. Dr. Rasberry began as a third grade teacher and a principal intern at two diverse elementary schools in Durham NC. Her professional interests span the teaching continuum—from recruitment and preparation to professional development and retention. 

In this episode, we discussed:

  • how to train computer science teachers with non-CS degrees.
  • how to inspire students who do not initially see the relevance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • how parents can prevent the "summer melt" and encourage their children to build on their STEM skills throughout the summer.

Resources:

CS10K Community

Code.org

Scratch

Evernote

You're a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living and Awesome Life by Jen Sincero (2013)

Jun 28, 2016

Viola Llewellyn (@VALlewellyn) is co-founder, President and CEO of Ovamba Solutions Inc.

Based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Ovamba matches global investors to qualified African Small and Medium Sized Enterprises who need short term funding. Ovamba is backed by Crowdcredit in Japan, Courtyard Capital in the UK, and GLI in Guernsey who themselves are backed by Blackrock Global, AXA Investment Managers, and Barclays Wealth.

Average size investments in businesses across Ovamba's portfolio is around $50,000, with as little as $3,000 all the way up to $500,000 invested. The success rate of the companies Ovamba works with is 98%, delivering between a 13 and 18 percent return on investment.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • the role of financial technology ("fintech") in helping Africa-based business access capital.
  • how to cultivate a mindset that will help you overcome obstacles in your career.

Resources:

Ovamba

African Business Angel Network (ABAN)

Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The Storytelling Book by Anthony Tasgal

Jun 21, 2016

Victor Yocco (@VictorYocco) is a User Experience researcher working for EY Intuitive out of Philadelphia. He has written several articles for the likes of A List Apart and Smashing Magazine and has recently written a book about user experience research called Design for the Mind: 7 Psychological Principals for Persuasive Design, which will be available this month. He earned both his undergraduate degree and PhD at Ohio State.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • The 7 key psychological principals for effective user interface design and how to apply them to websites focused on policy.
  • How organizations can reduce alcoholism in the workplace.

Resources:

victoryocco.com

Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principals for Persuasive Design by Victor Yocco (2016) COUPON CODE FOR 39% oFF THE COVER PRICE: SMAYOCCO

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (2011)

Jun 14, 2016

Congressman Bobby Scott and Ximena Hartsock

Hon. Bobby Scott
United States Congressman Representing Virginia's 3rd Congressional District
Ranking Member, Committee on Education and the Workforce


Ximena Hartsock (@ximenahartsock) is co-founder and President of Phone2Action. Phone2 Action’s digital grassroots platform makes it easy for your organization to attract and engage supporters. Social media, calling and email advocacy tools connect supporters to elected officials at every level, from city council to federal delegations, as well as to civic programs.

Ximena is an advocate at heart and has been involved in social advocacy campaigns since she was 11. Prior to co-founding Phone2ACtion, she managed membership and outreach for a national advocacy organization, where she ran hundreds of campaigns across the US. She has also held numerous leadership positions in Washington, DC, including spending time as a Principal, Assistant Superintendent and Agency Director. In 2009, she was appointed to the Executive Cabinet of then-DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. She earned her Doctorate in Policy Studies from the George Washington University and was born and raised in Santiago, Chile.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • The right mindset to adopt to overcome your limitations (real and perceived) to reach your fullest potential.
  • How to effectively incorporate mobile into your advocacy campaign.
  • How to combine advocacy and entrepreneurship in a way that is profitable but also keeps you connected to the communities you care about.

Resources:

Phone2Action

Phone2Action on Medium

Ninja University by Gary Shapiro

Schools that Learn by Peter Segne, et al.

The Fifth Discipline by Peter Segne

May 10, 2016

Sarah Morris (@sarmorris) is Senior policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute at New America, Sarah Morris leads the policy team's strategic efforts on issues related broadband access and adoption, online consumer protections, and preserving the open Internet. Her work on network neutrality has been widely quoted in a number of national publications, and she has appeared as an expert on radio and television outlets. She is a regular contributor for The Hill, and frequently writes for a variety of other national outlets.

Prior to joining New America, Ms. Morris was a Google Policy Fellow with the public interest law firm Media Access Project, where she assisted with research and drafting of FCC comments on a wide range of key communications issues. She earned a B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a J.D. and LL.M. in Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law from Nebraska Law, completing her thesis on privacy and security concerns related to Smart Grid technology. She currently serves on the Alumni Council for the LL.M. program.

 

In this episode, we discussed:

  • What internet service providers (ISPs) know about you and how that data can potentially be used against you.
  • How some ISPs attempt to buy and sell your data.
  • The FCC's legal authority to regulate privacy.
  • The specific types of data the FCC should seek to protect.

Resources:

Open Technology Institute at New America

The FCC's Role in Protecting Online Privacy: An Explainer (OTI)

Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family by Anne Marie Slaughter

May 3, 2016

Katja Schroeder (@schroek) is an Adjunct Professor at St.Francis College where she teaches International Marketing andSocial Media Marketing. She is the Managing Director of Bloom, atransmedia  startup agency within the Ruder Finn globalnetwork that helps companies thrive with integrated marketingcommunications campaigns across social channels and digitalscreens. Katja has developedaward-winning integrated communications and marketing programs forcompanies  of all sizes in North America, Europe and Asia.Katja holds a M.A. in Communications andBusiness Administration from the FU Berlin (Germany) and a M.A. inCommunications and Information Sciences from CELSA/Sorbonne, Paris(France).  She is a published author and frequently blogsabout entrepreneurship, digital media and  the way technologyinnovation enables sustainable development. She is on the Board ofthe St. Francis College's Center for Entrepreneurship.

In this episode we discussed

  • The one thing organizations do wrong when it comes to theircontent and social media marketing and how you can avoid it.
  • How to go from zero engagement to having an active and engagedsocial media following.
  • How to grow a POWERFUL social media presence, no matter howsmall your organization.

Resources

St. FrancisCollege Center for Entrepreneurship [Twitter]

Bloom PR

Hootsuite

Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover HugeTrends by Martin Lindstrom

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and ReneéMauborgne

Apr 19, 2016

Patrick Gusman (@Lancieux) is the Chief Operating Officer of Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY).

Prior to joining SBY, Patrick was the President and Managing Director of the Equal Footing Foundation, and Managing Director of Social Sector Innovations' Startup Middle School a pilot program that trains and develops a sustainable pipeline of early-stage masters of disruptive technologies from underrepresented backgrounds at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)2.

Prior to his work with the Equal Footing Foundation and Social Sector Innovations, he was the Executive Director of the TechNet Foundation, Inc. (ConvergeUS) and Chief innovation Officer at the National Urban League. At ConvergeUS he helped give birth to a series of social innovation including MyMilitaryLife. In his work at the National Urban League, Gusman managed strategic planning and was responsible for introducing a groundbreaking social media effort, www.iamempowered.com.

Gusman received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and a concentration in French from the University of Notre Dame. He serves on the board of the Kenya Village North Project.

In this episode we discussed:
  • the key misconceptions about youth homlessness.
  • primary reasons for youth homelessness in Washington, D.C.
  • how Sasha Bruce works with homeless youth and their families to help homeless youth get back on their feet.

Resources

Sasha Bruce Youthwork (Twitter|Facebook|Instagram|LinkedIn)

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Apr 12, 2016
Natalie Cofield (@ncofield) has carved a niche for herself as an entrepreneur, advocate, and speaker on all things business and diversity. Her work has spanned continents, communities and corporations and can currently be found impacting lives and bottom-lines at organizations in cities including Austin, New York, DC, LA, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and beyond. 
 
A converted management consultant, economic fellow, and economic development director she is the Immediate Past President of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, Founding President of the Austin Black Technology Council and Founder of Walker’s Legacy a national women in business collective. 
 
Natalie recently co-founded urban-co lab-- urban innovation focused co-working space and startup incubator designed for community change-makers and innovators looking to create solutions for urban problems throughout the nation.
 
A graduate of Howard and the Baruch School of Public Affairs in New York, her work has been featured in Forbes, BusinessInsider, Black Enterprise, Essence and Ebony among others.
 
In this episode we discussed:
  • How to persevere in your business, job and life even when all you want to do is quit.
  • How Natalie has achieved EPIC success by putting others first.
  • How Natalie maintains balance even while running two profitable companies.
Resources:
Walker's Legacy (Twitter)
Urban Co-Lab
Google for Business
Docusign
On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by A'leia Bundles
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

 

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