In a crisis you learn who your friends are — America’s tech industry

The last few weeks have shaken our world to its core. We’ve become sequestered in our homes and “socially distant” from everyone else. Businesses and schools have closed. Workers have set up offices in spare bedrooms. Coming weeks will see most non-essential social activities cease entirely.

These hardships have upended daily routines and require us to adjust to a new normal, however long or temporary it may be. But as disruptive as coronavirus has been, we still have some semblance of normalcy — all thanks to the internet.

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Sacrificing internet privacy in the fight against child exploitation won’t make children safe

Chicago Tribune

There’s no question about it: We need to keep our kids safe online. This sentiment undergirds a new bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham’s, R-South Carolina, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-New York, which Graham says would tackle child exploitation. But it would actually do the exact opposite.

The EARN IT Act: Sen. Graham & Sen. Blumenthal’s Anti-Security Bill That Will Backfire

Although billed as a tool needed to fight online child exploitation, the EARN IT Act is chock full of unintended consequences that will actually make it harder to fight child exploitation. And as a backdoor to encryption, it’ll leave Americans’ digital security vulnerable to attack.

If passed, the EARN IT Act would:

  1. Make it easier for bad actors to attack and disclose Americans’ digital lives;
  2. Drive child predators underground and out of law enforcement’s reach;
  3. Undercut efforts to detect and combat child exploitation online;
  4. Stifle legal speech online; and
  5. Entrench large online services and make it harder for new competitors

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DC’s Transportation Department Abused Its Authority by Arbitrarily Capping Electric Scooters & Hurting Consumers

Not long ago, the District of Columbia was heralded as a leader in micromobility — a catch-all phrase for small, docked or dockless transportation options like bikes and scooters that consumers often rent using their phones.

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Everything is more expensive under the PRO Act

Medium

California’s AB 5, a law that took effect on Jan 1 of this year, heavily restricts workers who want to be contractors rather than full employees. The impact of AB 5 was to disenfranchise workers around the state who lost paying work and an honest income. Self-employed Californians were unnecessarily restricted to empower outdated and unaccountable unions. The backlash was huge.

Two Simple Facts that Lay Waste to the Antitrust Case Against Google

Medium

State attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) are trying desperately to validate their hunch that Google is engaging in anti-competitive practices. Like a car mechanic searching for a non-serious problem he can charge you for fixing, these law enforcement agencies now have to justify their rhetoric in starting a major crusade against one of America’s world-leading tech firms.

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Dallas should embrace scooters and reject arbitrary regulations

Smart Cities Dive

Getting from point A to point B in Dallas used to be simple enough — you could drive, take public transportation, walk, bike or use a ride-sharing app. 

But as Dallas gets bigger, getting around is increasingly difficult. Since 2010, Dallas’ population grew by more than 12% and the city’s public transit system isn’t keeping up.​ Walkable areas of Dallas comprise a meek 0.1% of the metro area, so almost all trips in the area require residents to own or hail a car.

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Section 230 Doesn’t Just Protect the Internet — Newspapers, and TV Stations Rely On It Too

Medium

Section 230 is based on the vital principle of conduit immunity — a principle relied on from cable news to bookshops to social media.

The law that powers the internet, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (1996), is constantly mischaracterized. To some, it’s the law that makes online platforms like Yelp, GoFundme, and Change.org possible. To others it’s reason bad content exists online.

Firstly, Section 230 guarantees that services that host are not liable for content posted by others, bar some exemptions. Section 230 also enables platforms to remove or otherwise moderate objectionable content without assuming liability.

Why Are Major Politicians Spreading Misinformation About Section 230?

Both political parties might find it useful to attack Section 230, but it’s not clear either understands it — or even wants to.

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“Section 230 should be revoked,” Joe Biden told the New York Times in an interview published this morning.

This is not the first time the crucial internet law has come under attack by the Democratic presidential front-runner. Back in November, Biden alluded to the law, saying “I, for one, think we should be considering taking away [Facebook’s] exemption that they cannot be sued for knowingly engaged in promoting something that’s not true” (we’ll explain why this is incorrect later).

For a good explanation of what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is, click here.

Biden’s not alone: Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the law could be repealed, and fought the inclusion of Section 230-style language in USMCA.

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Jeopardizing Core U.S. Values: Tristan Harris’s Misguided Regulatory Proposal for the Technology Industry

Medium

Sometimes we believe things so intensely that we lose sight of reality. And sometimes we are so certain of our infallibility that we ignore evidence that contradicts our beliefs. Social scientists call this phenomena confirmation bias.

And so it is with Tristan Harris. Testifying before Congress this week, Harris laid out his belief that technology businesses are “leading [us] toward civil war,” “market collapse,” and “near permanent civil disorder.”

Convinced of this belief, Harris used his stage to push proposals that would increase government control over online platforms at the expense of free speech, innovation, and consumer choice.

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