Tech Policy Leaders features the best minds in tech law & policy keeping you informed about the latest trends in privacy, free speech, and media law & policy throughout the world.
Should police get Ring footage whenever they want?; Would a TikTok ban alienate Gen Z & suburban moms? – Tech Law & Policy this Week
Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week.
Alfred Ng over at Politico reports that the police can obtain Ring camera footage without your permission. All they need is a warrant. But don’t worry – they will be nice. They will call you instead of knocking on your door. If you don’t give them the footage, Ring will also contact you. If you still don’t give them the footage, well, I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to find out what happens after that!
And getting a warrant is the least intrusive way to gain access. San Francisco recently passed an ordinance allowing police access to live Ring camera footage.
Should the U.S. ban TikTok in the U.S.? The younger you are, the more likely you are to say, “No.” But lawmakers across the aisle want the app banned, citing security and propaganda concerns about the fact that its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, and China has way more control over its corporations than the U.S.
But in yet another deadlock in Washington, the Biden administration hasn’t acted, the Commerce Department hasn’t acted, and neither has Congress. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) has engaged nine agencies in an investigation, but it has taken years to get that completed.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans want to be the ones to anger GenZ and suburban moms. And a ton of TikTok accounts are run by politicians.
There’s been discussion about Oracle handling all U.S. TikTok data in the U.S. But engineers in Beijing will still have access.
House Republicans are lining up in support of Elon Musk, as Cat Zakrzewski reports in the Washington Post.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan released an 18-page report attacking the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the platform, calling it a “harassment campaign” against Elon Musk.. The FTC began re-investigating Twitter last year, before Musk acquired Twitter, about a possible breach of its 2011 consent decree to improve privacy practices.
The privacy loophole in your doorbell
Police were investigating his neighbor. A judge gave officers access to all his security-camera footage, including inside his home.
As Washington wavers on TikTok, Beijing exerts control
TikTok’s link to China has sparked fears over propaganda and privacy. It’s also exposed America’s failure to safeguard the web.
House Republicans defend Musk from FTC’s ‘harassment campaign’
The FTC's Twitter probe has earned the ire of House Republicans, who argue the agency is trying to thwart Musk’s absolutist vision of free speech on Twitter.
Biden Seeks $100 Million Boost for Justice’s Antitrust Muscle
President Joe Biden is asking for a $100 million increase in the fiscal year 2024 budget for the Justice Department’s antitrust division, underscoring his focus on enforcing against companies’ anticompetitive conduct.
CFPB and NLRB Announce Information Sharing Agreement to Protect American Consumers and Workers from Illegal Practices | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today signed an information sharing agreement, creating a formal partnership between the two agencies to better protect American families and to address practices that harm workers in the “gig economy” and other labor markets.
Warren Urges DOJ Review of Thoma Bravo Rental Software Unit
A group of Democratic senators is urging the US Justice Department to scrutinize whether Thoma Bravo LLC’s rental software company RealP
Sean Davis: The Rise of Online Scammers – How to Keep Your Money Safe
The internet can be a minefield of financial scams, but you don't have to navigate it alone. Arm yourself with knowledge and stay protected from online fraud.
Sean Davis is a privacy lawyer based in Washington, D.C. and Senior Analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Previously, he was with Engine.org, the small business advocate, where he served as Policy Manager. Prior to that Sean was with Wikimedia Foundation and Public Knowledge. He earned his JD from George Washington University School of Law and his Bachelor’s in English from Mount St. Mary’s.
Staff, the P.N.O. and Nguyen, S.T. (2023) New FTC data show consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to scams in 2022, Federal Trade Commission. Available at: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2023/02/new-ftc-data-show-consumers-reported-losing-nearly-88-billion-scams-2022 (Accessed: March 6, 2023).
Republican lawmakers move bill to ban TikTok; the White House releases a new blueprint to prevent online harassment and abuse – Tech law & Policy This Week
Characterizing the popular TikTok app as a modern-day “Trojan Horse” because its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Michal McCaul, aa Texas Republican, introduced the “Deterring America's Foreign Adversaries Act, which would ban TikTok in the United States. Democrats oppose the bill, saying it would go too far in abridging the Freedom of Speech. The American Civil Liberties Union is also pushing back against the bill. Federal courts have previously held that blocking TikTok would violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which limits the president’s ability to block informational and personal communications.
In the coming weeks, TikTok is expected to release a new feature that notifies kids when they have been using the app over a specified period of time, after which kids can decide if they want to stay logged in. For kids under 13, they’ll need a password from mom and dad to keep using TikTok after the allotted time has passed. Critics of these measures say they are meaningless since kids can still claim to be adults when they set up TikTok accounts.
A new initiative from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has a new app called ‘Take it Down’ that helps kids confidentially remove nude images of themselves that exist online, shared when they were minors. The app is available for download at https://takeitdown.ncmec.org/. It doesn’t work with TikTok yet. However, it does work with Facebook, Instagram, OnlyFans, and PornHub.
The White House last week released what it is calling a New Initial Blueprint to address online harassment and abuse. The Executive Summary, prepared by a Task Force the Biden Harris Administration established last year, includes provisions for preventing online harassment and abuse, supporting victims, conducting research, and holding platforms accountable.
And as prosecutors in states in which abortion has become illegal continue to push for more access to reproductive health data from women seeking abortions, some lawmakers are seeking privacy legislation more suited for our post-Roe v. Wade world. One bill, introduced by Democratic Representative Sara Jacobs from California – the SAFER Health Act – would require patients to provide consent to permit healthcare providers to share data about abortions or miscarriages, even if the data are being sought via court order.
And democratic senators Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren also introduced a bill – the Upholding Protections for Health and Online Location Data (UPHOLD) Privacy Act - that would also restrict access to patient location data. The new bill comes amid a decision by Walgreens –America’s second-largest pharmacy chain – to stop selling abortion prescriptions throughout the United States, even where abortion remains legal. The decision dealt a blow to abortion rights activists.
The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a $7.5 million settlement to mental health app BetterHealth for sharing patients’ data with marketers even after telling the patients Betterhealth would protect the data.
The FTC has also commenced looking into how landlords may use algorithms to screen tenants.
In other news …
The Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Homeland Security issued a report showing federal law enforcement officials with Immigrations & Customs Enforcement, as well as other federal agencies, didn’t follow established protocols for using cell-site simulators – or Stingrays – to pursue subjects.
Police in the Commonwealth of Virginia are back to using facial recognition software – but the data collection is limited to certain circumstances, which don’t include scanning faces in real-time.
Algorithms are starting to decide which employees to lay off.
And Google has released its civil rights review.
Meredith Broussard: Is it Okay to be AI?
In this episode of the Tech Policy Leaders podcast, Meredith Broussard discusses her new book ‘More Than a Glitch,’ which takes a critical look at algorithms and the people who create them.
Data journalist Meredith Broussard is an associate professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, research director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology, and the author of several books, including “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World” and “More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech.” Her academic research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting and ethical AI, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She appeared in the 2020 documentary Coded Bias, an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival that was nominated for an Emmy Award and an NAACP Image Award.
(2022) More Than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. Available at: https://bookshop.org/p/books/more-than-a-glitch-confronting-race-gender-and-ability-bias-in-tech-meredith-broussard/18634652?ean=9780262047654 (Accessed: February 27, 2023).
Jan. 6th goon gets just 38 months for threatening AOC with assassination on Twitter, assaulting officers; US DoD exposed highly sensitive data for full 2 weeks; – Tech Law & Policy this Week
Hey everybody, I’m Joe Miller and here’s what’s going on in the world of tech law & policy this week.
Somehow, a U.S. government server running on Microsoft’s Azure government cloud was unsecured, exposing U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) data, including sensitive personnel information. Security researcher Anurag Sen discovered the breach last week, and the Department of Defense patched it up after spilling data for 2 weeks. USSOCOM told TechCrunch that no data breach occurred.
Thirty-eight months – that’s all Garret Miller got for assaulting officers and tweeting a threat at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying “assassinate AOC” during the January 6th 2021 Capitol Riot. Miller, a 36-year-old from Texas, was sentenced to 38 months for assaulting officers and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting at her the words “assassinate AOC,” and running around with rope and grappling hooks.
Vice reports that ICE’s $22 million contract with LexisNexis gives the agency unfettered, warrantless access to millions of data points. LexisNexis also links public records between agencies, including the Secret Service. 80 civil society and immigration advocacy groups have urged the Department of Homeland Security not to renew LexisNexis' contract when it expires on February 28th.
Thirty-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried may be safe living at home with his parents, while he’s out on bail, but the charges against him following the implosion of the FTX crypto currency exchange he founded are piling up. Federal prosecutors allege Mr. Bankman-Fried used “straw donors” to evade campaign contribution limits, hundreds of times, using money from FTX customer accounts.
Stat reports that machine learning models to predict stroke risk are mediocre – not much better than simpler algorithms – and they're even worse at predicting risk for Black men and women compared to White patients. Researchers proposed connecting electronic health records with local community data.
The Markup reports that Kroger, the supermarket chain that includes Harris Teeter, reports your data to countless brands including General Mills. We’re talking 2,000 variables about you times the billions of other transactions from customers just like you over the years.. They’re collecting facial recognition data, they get your household data every time you enter your phone number
at the cash register, they’re tracking your online shopping cart and making all sorts of predictions about you, when all you were trying to do was buy a bag of mandarin oranges. And the Markup says the problem will get worse if Kroger & Albertson’s $24.6 billion merger goes through.
The Wall Street Journal reported that federal law enforcement arrested Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson for misleading potential investors, misreporting audience numbers and who the other investors were.
The Verge reports that video game maker Valve has cracked down on cheaters, banning 40,000 users for accessing a cheat “honeypot” in Dota 2.
And a science fiction magazine had to cut off submissions after being bombarded with AI-generated content
To go deeper, you can find links to all of these stories in the show notes. Stay safe, stay informed, have a great week. Ciao.
Sensitive US military emails spill online
A security researcher told TechCrunch that a government server was exposing military emails to the internet because no password was set.
Capitol rioter who tweeted threat to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sentenced to 38 months in prison | CNN Politics
A Texas man was sentenced to more than three years in prison Wednesday for assaulting police officers during the US Capitol riot and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter shortly after the attack.
Immigration Advocates Ur
ChatGPT: GPT-3, Law, & the Nature of Existence
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot written in natural language processing (NLP) technology that can interact with its users on a variety of different topics and respond in meaningful ways. AI-driven tools are emerging as powerful new tools in the legal industry, especially when it comes to streamlining mundane tasks, assisting with research and enhancing customer service functions. In this episode, I interviewed ChatGPT and input its responses into a text to speech generator. We took a dive into the ethics of AI, the limitations of its capabilities, and some of the philosophical questions about the nature of how it “thinks,” using the use of AI in the legal profession as a case study.
ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a chatbot developed by Open AI and launched in November 2022. In January, Microsoft announced a $10 billion investment in Open AI, which includes ChatGPT as well as DALL-E, another Open AI generative AI platform that creates artwork based on user queries.
Obviously, ChatGPT is text-based so I put the answers it gave me into a text-to-speech reader. I used a platform called Speechify, which gave me a 3-day free trial to do this, so thank you Speechify. And I think this particular voice is based on Sir David Attenborough’s, which made it kind of fun. I hope you enjoy it too. And thank you David Attenborough! How do I get you on the show? I guess this will have to suffice.
Stay safe and informed with this show
What an awesome podcast to get reliable information about how to stay safe online. The show will inspire you and help you realize that you have more power than you think. I love the thought provoking conversations. Great energy! Five stars!
An excellent podcast!
This podcast provides in-depth and entertaining interviews and information on important tech policy issues.
Well produced, insightful and informative.