EFF's How to Fix the Internet

By Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Description

How To Fix the Internet is a podcast mini-series from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that examines potential solutions to six ills facing the modern digital landscape. Over the course of 6 episodes, we’ll consider how current tech policy isn’t working well for users and invite experts to join us in imagining a better future. Hosted by EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn and our Director of Strategy Danny O’Brien, How to Fix the Internet digs into the gritty technical details and the case law surrounding these digital rights topics, while charting a course toward how we can better defend the rights of users.

Episode Date
Control Over Users, Competitors, and Critics | 004
51:40

Cory Doctorow joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they discuss how large, established tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook can block interoperability in order to squelch competition and control their users, and how we can fix this by taking away big companies' legal right to block new tools that connect to their platforms – tools that would let users control their digital lives.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • How the power to leave a platform is one of the most fundamental checks users have on abusive practices by tech companies—and how tech companies have made it harder for their users to leave their services while still participating in our increasingly digital society;
  • How the lack of interoperability in modern tech platforms is often a set of technical choices that are backed by a legal infrastructure for enforcement, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This means that attempting to overcome interoperability barriers can come with legal risks as well as financial risks, making it especially unlikely for new entrants to attempt interoperating with existing technology;
  • How online platforms block interoperability in order to silence their critics, which can have real free speech implications;
  • The “kill zone” that exists around existing tech products, where investors will not back tech startups challenging existing tech monopolies, and even startups that can get a foothold may find themselves bought out by companies like Facebook and Google;
  • How we can fix it: The role of “competitive compatibility,” also known as “adversarial interoperability”  in reviving stagnant tech marketplaces;
  • How we can fix it by amending or interpreting the DMCA, CFAA and contract law to support interoperability rather than threaten it.
  • How we can fix it by supporting the role of free and open source communities as champions of interoperability and offering alternatives to existing technical giants.

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently ATTACK SURFACERADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, a book about earning a living in the Internet age, and HOMELAND, a YA sequel to LITTLE BROTHER. His latest book is POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER, a picture book for young readers.

Cory maintains a daily blog at Pluralistic.net. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles. You can find Cory on Twitter at @doctorow.

Please subscribe to How to Fix the Internet via RSSStitcherTuneInApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or your podcast player of choice. You can also find the Mp3 of this episode on the Internet Archive.  If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org.

A transcript of the episode, as well as legal resources – including links to important cases, books, and briefs discussed in the podcast – is available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/podcast-episode-control-over-users-competitors-and-critics.

 

Audio editing for this episode by Stuga Studios: https://www.stugastudios.com.

Music by Nat Keefe: https://natkeefe.com/

Nov 24, 2020
Closing a Loophole in the 4th Amendment | 003
36:21

Jumana Musa joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they discuss how the third-party doctrine is undermining our Fourth Amendment right to privacy when we use digital services, and how recent court victories are a hopeful sign that we may reclaim these privacy rights in the future.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • How the third-party doctrine is a judge-created legal doctrine that impacts your business records held by companies, including metadata such as what websites you visit, who you talk to, your location information, and much more;
  • The Jones case, a vital Supreme Court case that found that law enforcement can’t use continuous location tracking with a GPS device without a warrant;
  • The Carpenter case, which found that the police must get a warrant before accessing cell site location information from a cell phone company over time;
  • How law enforcement uses geofence warrants to scoop up the location data collected by companies from every device that happens to be in a geographic area during a specific period of time in the past;
  • How getting the Fourth Amendment right is especially important because it is part of combatting racism: communities of color are more frequently surveilled and targeted by law enforcement, and thus slipshod legal standards for accessing data has a disproportionate impact on communities of color;
  • Why even a warrant may not be an adequate legal standard sometimes, and that there are circumstances in which accessing business records should require a “super warrant” – meaning law enforcement could only access the data for investigating a limited number of crimes, and only if the data would be important for the crime. 

Jumana Musa is a human rights attorney and racial justice activist. She is currently the Director of the Fourth Amendment Center at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As director, Ms. Musa oversees NACDL's initiative to build a new, more durable Fourth Amendment legal doctrine for the digital age. The Fourth Amendment Center educates the defense bar on privacy challenges in the digital age, provides a dynamic toolkit of resources to help lawyers identify opportunities to challenge government surveillance, and establishes a tactical litigation support network to assist in key cases. Ms. Musa previously served as NACDL's Sr. Privacy and National Security Counsel.

Prior to joining NACDL, Ms. Musa served as a policy consultant for the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a coalition of over 60 groups across the southwest that address militarization and brutality by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in border communities. Previously, she served as Deputy Director for the Rights Working Group, a national coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, and immigrant rights advocates where she coordinated the “Face the Truth” campaign against racial profiling. She was also the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International USA, where she addressed the domestic and international impact of U.S. counterterrorism efforts on human rights. She was one of the first human rights attorneys allowed to travel to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and served as Amnesty International's legal observer at military commission proceedings on the base. You can find Jumana on Twitter at @musajumana.

Please subscribe to How to Fix the Internet via RSSStitcherTuneInApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or your podcast player of choice. You can also find this episode on the Internet Archive. If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org.

A transcript of the episode, as well as legal resources – including links to important cases, books, and briefs discussed in the podcast – is available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/podcast-episode-fixing-digital-loophole-fourth-amendment.

Audio editing for this episode by Stuga Studios: https://www.stugastudios.com.

Music by Nat Keefe: https://natkeefe.com/

Nov 17, 2020
Why Does My Internet Suck | 002
43:43

Gigi Sohn joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they discuss broadband access in the United States – or the lack thereof. Gigi explains the choices American policymakers and tech companies made to create a country where there are millions of Americans who lack access to reliable broadband, and what steps we need to take to fix the problem now.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How does the FCC define broadband Internet and why that definition makes no sense in 2020;
  • How many other countries adopted policies that either incentivized competition among Internet providers or invested in government infrastructure for Internet services, while the United States did neither, leading to a much of the country having only one or two Internet service providers, high costs, and poor quality Internet service;
  • Why companies like AT&T and Verizon aren’t investing in fiber;
  • How the FCC uses a law about telephone regulation to assert authority over regulating broadband access, and how the 1996 Telecommunication Act granted the FCC permission to forbear – or not apply – certain parts of that law;
  • How 19 states in the U.S. have bans or limitations on municipal broadband, and why repealing those bans is key to increasing broadband access
  • How Internet access is connected to issues of equity, upward mobility, and job accessibility, as well as related issues of racial justice, citizen journalism and police accountability;
  • Specific suggestions and reforms, including emergency subsidies and a major investment in infrastructure, that could help turn this situation around.

Gigi is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate.  She is one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. From 2013-2016, Gigi was Counselor to the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. She advised the Chairman on a wide range of Internet, telecommunications and media issues, representing him and the FCC in a variety of public forums around the country as well as serving as the primary liaison between the Chairman’s office and outside stakeholders. From 2001-2013, Gigi served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading telecommunications, media and technology policy advocacy organization. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm. You can find Gigi on her own podcast, Tech on the Rocks, or you can find her on Twitter at @GigiBSohn.

A transcript of the episode, as well as legal resources – including links to important cases, books, and briefs discussed in the podcast – is available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/podcast-episode-why-does-my-internet-suck

Please subscribe to How to Fix the Internet using your podcast player of choice. If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org.

Audio editing for this episode by Stuga Studios: https://www.stugastudios.com.

Music by Nat Keefe: https://natkeefe.com/

Nov 06, 2020
The Secret Court Approving Secret Surveillance | 001
01:15:09

In the inaugural episode of EFF's "How to Fix the Internet" podcast, the Cato Institute’s specialist in surveillance legal policy, Julian Sanchez, joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they delve into the problems with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISC or the FISA Court. Sanchez explains how the FISA Court signs off on surveillance of huge swaths of our digital lives, and how the format and structure of the FISA Court is inherently flawed.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

  • How the FISA Court impacts your digital privacy
  • The makeup of the FISA Court and how judges are chosen
  • How almost all of the key decisions about the legality of America's mass Internet spying projects have been made by the FISC
  • How the current system promotes ideological hegemony within the FISA court
  • How the FISC’s endless-secrecy-by-default system insulates it from the ecosystem of jurisprudence that could act as a guardrail against poor decisions as well as accountability for them
  • How the FISC’s remit has ballooned from approving individual surveillance orders to signing off on broad programmatic types of surveillance
  • Why we need a stronger amicus role in the FISC, and especially a bigger role for technical experts to advise the court
  • Specific reforms that could be enacted to address these systemic issues and ensure a more fair review of surveillance systems

Julian is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and studies issues at the intersection of technology, privacy, and civil liberties, with a particular focus on national security and intelligence surveillance. Before joining Cato, Julian served as the Washington editor for the technology news site Ars Technica, where he covered surveillance, intellectual property, and telecom policy. He has also worked as a writer for The Economist’s blog Democracy in America and as an editor for Reason magazine, where he remains a contributing editor. Sanchez has written on privacy and technology for a wide array of national publications, ranging from the National Review to The Nation, and is a founding editor of the policy blog Just Security. He studied philosophy and political science at New York University. Find him on Twitter at @Normative.

A transcript of the episode, as well as legal resources – including links to important cases, books, and briefs discussed in the podcast – is available at https://eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/secret-court-approving-secret-surveillance.

Please subscribe to How to Fix the Internet using your podcast player of choice. If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org.

Audio editing for this episode by Stuga Studios: https://www.stugastudios.com.

Music by Nat Keefe: https://natkeefe.com/

Nov 06, 2020