#223: Law Enforcement as a Political Weapon

April 16, 2018

President Donald Trump has been vocal to criticize those he deems political opponents. However, these criticisms often extend to threats of legal action, particularly against the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post and Amazon. Trump has set aside decades of precedent and involved himself directly in a number of enforcement actions, often in ways that would benefit him or his political allies. How lawful is this kind of intervention? And how can the rest of the government resist inappropriate political meddling? Justin Florence, Legal Director for Protect Democracy, and TechFreedom President Berin Szóka join the show to discuss. For more, see their joint op-ed in the Seattle Times, and Protect Democracy’s filing in the antitrust case against the AT&T/Time Warner merger.

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#222: Bring in the Nerds: Reviving the Office of Technology Assessment

April 9, 2018

In recent decades, Congress has struggled to enact laws that keep up with the breakneck pace technological innovation. This pace shows no signs of slowing, and with major implications for healthcare, transportation, privacy and other key social and economic issues, it’s more important than ever for Congress to be properly informed on tech issues. We’re joined by the R Street Institute’s Zach Graves and Kevin Kosar, who argue in their recent paper “Bring in the Nerds,” that reviving the Office of Technology Assessment — an expert advisory agency that gave guidance to Congress in shaping tech policy until it was shuttered in 1995 — could help bridge this gap.

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#221: Swarm’s Rogue Satellites

April 3, 2018

Earlier this month, IEE Spectrum broke the story that Silicon Valley startup Swarm Technologies had launched several experimental satellites through the commercial arm of India’s space agency, despite being denied authorization by the FCC. The case illustrates the complexity of the licensing process for satellites, both in the US and internationally. Space lawyer Jim Dunstan joins the show to discuss the ramifications of this launch, and how the process could be improved. For more, see part 1, part 2, and part 3 of our series on space law with Jim.

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#220: FDA, Free Speech and E-Cigarettes

March 26, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration’s 2016 Deeming Rule classified e-cigarettes and other vaping materials as tobacco products and imposed strict regulations on what vaping entrepreneurs can say to their customers, even though advocates say these technologies can reduce the harm from smoking and help some smokers quit entirely. In response, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF)  is taking FDA officials to court on behalf of small business owners on the grounds that the rules violate free speech and were enacted unconstitutionally. Joining us is Thomas Berry, Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation who is leading this legal effort.

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#219: Women in Tech

March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting the stories of several incredibly talented women in tech policy. They discuss what brought them to tech policy, and what drives them on this career path. Featured in this episode are: Gigi Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Mozilla Policy Fellow; Michelle Richardson, Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology's Freedom, Security, and Technology Project; Dr. Betsy Cooper, executive director of the Berkley Center for Long-Term Cyber Security; Cathy Gellis, lawyer with a focus on Internet issues; Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the ACLU; Carrie Wade, Director of Harm Reduction Policy and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute; and Tiffany Li, resident fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project.

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#218: How Should Congress Address Online Sex Trafficking?

February 26, 2018

Tomorrow the House of Representatives will vote on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). However, the bill to be voted on includes an amendment that merges it with the drastically different Senate counterpart bill. What the bill gets right, and what does it get wrong? How is Congress likely to resolve the conflicts between the two version? And most importantly, how will this legislation affect victims of sex trafficking? Eric Goldman, professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, and Berin Szóka, President of Techfreedom join Ashkhen to discuss.

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#217: What is Cybersecurity, and How Can it Affect the Winter Olympics?

February 15, 2018

The world in 2018 is interconnected. Cybersecurity threats are widespread — even at the 2018 Winter Olympics. As we recorded this episode in January, our guest warned us of potential cybersecurity attacks. And just last week organizers in Pyeongchang confirmed that a cyberattack crippled important IT systems, bringing down display monitors, Wi-Fi and the Olympics website just ahead of the opening ceremony. Government, private and corporate data is constantly under attack from bad actors like this. That’s where cybersecurity comes in. In this episode we are joined by Dr. Betsy Cooper, the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Dr. Cooper breaks down “cybersecurity”: defining and assessing it, the risks it carries, and the future of cybersecurity.

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#216: The Nunes Memo and FISA Explained

February 7, 2018

The controversial memo prepared by Rep. Nunes (R-CA) hasn’t left the newscycle since its release on February 2. Berin recorded this special episode from the Bay Area and is joined by Jennifer Granick, the “NBA All-Star of surveillance law,” and the Surveillance and Cybersecurity Counsel at the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Jennifer breaks down FISA, the authority that allowed collection of the information used in the memo, and the intricacies of the infamous memo.

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#215: The Net Neutrality CRA: Yay or Nay?

February 7, 2018

The effort to overturn FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order already has 50 Senators signed onto the Congressional Review Act - a vehicle chosen by Senate Democrats in attempt to bring back Obara-era net neutrality regulations. To break down what a CRA is and the prospects of its passage we have invited the leading experts in the field: Gigi Sohn - a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, a Mozilla Fellow, Counselor to the Former FCC Chairman Wheeler and Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom.

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#214: Information Intermediaries in a Nutshell

January 29, 2018

Recently Facebook has unveiled multiple planned changes to its newsfeed. Now we will see more content from our friends and fewer posts from news sites and businesses. They also hand checking the credibility of news organizations by users and the wider Facebook community. This has likely been done in response to the harsh criticism of the information dissemination that happened before the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook and other platforms that host third party content are often called “information intermediaries.” In this episode, we dig into the current challenges they face in the modern social media era and are joined by Tiffany Li, Resident Fellow at Yale Law, who leads the the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information.

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