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WashingTECH Tech Policy Podcast with Joe Miller

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

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