When government-run broadband networks in Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC sought to expand beyond their cities’ boundaries, they ran into state restrictions. The cities asked the FCC to intervene, but can a federal regulator overturn state laws on broadband? The agency thought so, but the Court disagreed. This month, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s 2015 order preempting state laws and dictating how municipalities make decisions with regard to government-run broadband networks. What does this mean for the future of state broadband policy? Should critics of the FCC be encouraged by the Court’s rebuke. Evan and Berin discuss. For more, see our blog post.
When we talk about Uber and ride-sharing on this show, it's usually about regulatory battles. Today, we’re not talking about restricting or banning Uber — quite the opposite. Far from banning these platforms, some local governments are looking to subsidize ride-sharing. As cities like Washington, DC struggle with public transit, is subsidizing Uber a good alternative? Or, is this simply more intrusion by government in otherwise well-functioning markets? Jared Meyer, research fellow at the Manhattan Institute, joins the show to discuss.
What happens when the FBI wants to spy on journalists? This summer, The Intercept obtained classified rules revealing a largely unrestrained procedure for obtaining journalists’ call information using national security letters. Cora Currier, the reporter who broke the story for The Intercept, joins the show to discuss. What impact does FBI spying have on journalism? Is there a chilling effect on free speech? What reforms could strike a proper balance between civil liberties and law enforcement needs?
The Federal Election Commission has long taken a light-touch approach to regulating online speech. But two recent cases involving livestreaming and filming political debate resulted in split, 3-3 votes along party lines. Is digital free speech in danger? FEC Commissioner Lee Goodman joins the show to discuss. Listen to part 1 of our series on digital free speech here.
This summer, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Most of the fallout focused on the stock market and value of the pound, but what does “Brexit” mean for technology? Is the UK now less attractive to startups? Will Frankfurt be the new London? How will Brexit impact negotiations over cross-border data flows and the so-called “Privacy Shield” agreement? What does it mean for surveillance policy. Will Rinehart, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy at the American Action Forum, joins the show. For more, see his blog post.
Cars these days often come with mobile data connections and entertainment systems. But as we move toward autonomous vehicles and car-to-car communications, the “Internet of Cars” will be much more sophisticated and technical. While self-driving cars pose many benefits, they also raise concerns over cybersecurity and privacy. What are the risks, and how can manufacturers and regulators strike a balance that protects consumers without stifling innovation? Beau Woods, Deputy Director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council, joins the show to discuss.
Most people are familiar with Wikipedia, but there's a lot more to "open data" than the convenience of checking how tall your favorite Olympic athlete is. Open databases can play a key role in supporting research and innovation, but they also raise questions about intellectual property and fair compensation for creators. How are databases like Wikidata regulated in Europe, and how does that approach differ from the U.S.? Julia Schuetze, a Euromasters student and tech strategist at Wikimedia Germany joins the show.
Is Verizon moving away from broadband and fiber deployment? Earlier this month, the company filed an ex parte with the FCC indicating support for price regulation on business broadband. Bruce Mehlman, Co-Chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance, argued in a recent article that the telecom giant’s ex parte represents a significant departure from its past positions. Why the sudden change? Is price regulation making capital investment less attractive? What can the FCC do to encourage new infrastructure? Bruce and Evan discuss.
Is the FDA putting e-cigs and vapor products out of business? Yesterday, the FDA’s “Deeming Rules” took effect. The rules will force e-cig manufacturers to undergo an expensive and time-consuming approval process unless their products were on the market — or very similar to products on the market — prior to the “predicate date” of February 15, 2007, long before modern e-cigs were introduced. If e-cigs are helping people quit harmful tobacco cigarettes, why is the FDA doing this? How will this impact the industry? Evan is joined by Lori Sanders and Caroline Kitchens of the R Street Institute. For more, check out their event on harm reduction.
What’s next in the litigation over Title II and the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules? In June, the FCC scored a victory when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld its Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband as a common carrier service. While the agency won the first round, TechFreedom and tech entrepreneurs are hoping to overturn the ruling through appeal. Last Friday, they filed a motion for the D.C. Circuit to re-hear the case. If that fails, is it the end of the line? Or, will the Supreme Court have the final say? Evan and Berin discuss.