The FCC welcomed Comments on how to interpret what an Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems(ATDS) is under the TCPA, which targets telephone solicitations that rely upon equipment that have the capacity to store or produce numbers using a random or sequential number generator, and to dial those numbers without human intervention. This comes after the ACC International v. FCC ruling where the FCC’s interpretation of an ATDS in its’ 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order was held as overly broad. That interpretation encompassed all technology with both the present and theoretical capacity as an ATDS, which meant smartphones would be viewed as an ATDS. Will the FCC revert back to a broader interpretation or will the narrower approach prevail? Today we welcome Charlie Kennedy, Adjunct Fellow for TechFreedom, and Jim Dunstan, General Counsel for TechFreedom, to discuss which interpretation of an ATDS is best for both consumers and businesses. For more info, see TechFreedom’s statement on the issue, and the comments we filed with the FCC.
Since Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, both his supporters and opponents have argued aggressively over his fitness for the role. But where does Kavanaugh stand on digital privacy, telecom regulation and other critical tech issues? Ash and Berin dig into Kavanaugh’s previous decisions to try to evaluate what we can expect if he is confirmed.
According to a recent survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are fewer independent contractors working in the US now than there were in 2005. Does this mean that the end of the sharing economy is near? Jared Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, joins the show to discuss the serious flaws in the survey’s methodology that led to a serious under-counting of independent contractors. For more, see his article in Reason, and his testimony before the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
According to leaked documents in January, a senior official from the National Security Council in the White House had suggested to build a national 5G network and have it under state control for national security reasons. Reaction from Trump appointed Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai was very strong, he stated that “any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction” from winning the global 5G race. There haven’t been any new developments on this issue until June. Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager tweeted out that US needs to have one 5G network, his reasoning suggested this is needed for US to have “best cell service.” Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom is joining Ashkhen to share his strong opinion on the issue. You can read Berin’s blog on “TrumpNet” here.
This episode is a preview of the Internet Governance Forum USA 2018. IGF USA will take place on July 27, 2018 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies located at 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036. Ashkhen is joined by Shane Tews, President of Logan Circle Strategies, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Steve DelBianco, President and CEO of NetChoice. To find out more visit the Forum’s website and Wiki. You can register for IGF here.
The Federal Communications Commission has put forward an NPRM to reexamine the so-called “KidVid” requirements, which put obligations on broadcasters for a very specific amount and place for children’s educational and informational broadcasting. Is KidVid is a classic example of a well-intentioned policy gone awry and resulting in less quality children's programming on TV, the exact opposite of the law’s intent? We are joined by the Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to discuss current laws and regulations in this area and their policy implications.
Since the Federal Trade Commission began bringing data security enforcement actions in 2002, no court had ruled on the substantive merits of the FTC’s approach. A panel of three Eleventh Circuit judges decisively rejected the FTC’s use of broad, vague consent decrees, in the LabMD v Federal Trade Commission ruling that the Commission may only bar specific practices, and cannot require a company “to overhaul and replace its data-security program to meet an indeterminable standard of reasonableness.” We are joined by TechFreedom’s President Berin Szóka and Legal Fellow Graham Owens. They explain why this case is so crucial, what’s next for the FTC and what policy changes can be on the horizon.
The FBI has been a vocal critic of the spread of encryption, often citing the nearly 8,000 devices connected to crimes that were inaccessible to law enforcement last year as evidence that increased device security represents a major threat to law enforcement. But a recent Washington Post article revealed that this number was seriously inflated due to “programming error,” with the real value estimated at around 1,200. Robyn Greene, the policy counsel and government affairs lead for the Open Technology Institute joins the show to discuss what this mistake means for the future of encryption policy. For more, see this letter led by OTI and signed by TechFreedom calling on the Inspector General to investigate the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the error, as well as Greene’s other work.
While sharing economy business models have revolutionized transportation in many ways, the aviation industry has been a notable exception, thanks to outdated regulations that stifle such behavior. However, the Aviation Empowerment Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, attempts to change that by updating and clarifying FAA rules that have held back innovation. To discuss what this bill means for the future of aviation, we’re joined by Chris Koopman, Senior Director of Strategy and Research for the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. See the full text of the bill here, and some of Koopman’s past work on flightsharing here.
In recent hearings, congressional Republicans have accused social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube of stifling conservative content. Some, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, have called for a “Fairness Doctrine” for the Internet. Cruz reasoned that “in order to be protected by Section 230, companies like Facebook should be ‘neutral public forums.’ But would this policy approach, which failed to encourage ideological diversity in broadcasting, work any better when applied to the Internet? How might this undermine important protections that have allowed free speech to flourish online? TechFreedom President Berin Szóka and General Counsel Jim Dunstan join the show to discuss. For more, see Szóka's oral and written testimonies before the House Judiciary Committee on the subject.