Tech Law Policy Blog

Tracking the Most Important Developments and Research in Tech Law & Policy

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Friday Links: The Disintegrating Global Internet


The BBC writes about the disintegration of the global internet. China has been, shall we say, customizing its internet for decades with the great firewall, but more nations are taking an active role in policing what its citizens can find online. Furthermore, expansive regulations, in supposedly more open countries, like the GDPR and Australia’s new law punishing platforms and their executives for...

Friday Links: The Right to a Well-Calibrated Machine Decision?


An excellent forthcoming paper by Aziz Huq breaks down the various weaknesses in the increasingly common demand for a “right to a human decision.” Huq analyzes the many arguments in favor of obligatory human decision-making processes and concludes by suggesting that we’d be better off working toward a higher standard of machine decisions. Within the paper, Huq does an excellent job dissecting the...

Friday Links: China and Tech Giants


European Council President Daniel Tusk compares US tech giants to China. They’re both big and powerful. The tech giants are private corporations doing the things private corporations do. China is a large, powerful, autocratic regime doing the things you might expect out of a large, powerful, autocratic regime. What’s the point again? You may have heard that Facebook banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex...

Friday Links: Sludge and Ordeals


Last month, US lawmakers proposed an Algorithmic Accountability Act. The first rule of tech policy: Regulate harms, not technology. The former is hard, the latter is impossible.  The AAA purports to attempt to regulate algorithms for “accuracy, fairness, bias, discrimination, privacy and security.” Good luck with that. Sounds like a rather blunderbuss attempt at regulation, to put it mildly...

Friday Links 4/26/19 Mental Masturbation and Trolley Problems


There appears to be some academic buzz about the new paper by Samantha Godwin on the Ethics and Public Health of Driverless Vehicle Collision Programming. I believe this is the most overdone and impractical area of tech policy today. As MIT professor Rodney Brooks said in a blog post a couple of years ago: Here’s a question to ask yourself. How many times when you have been driving have you had...

Friday Links 4/19/19, Bad Bots and Bad Laws


Well, it’s not exactly Skynet, but that doesn’t mean that robots aren’t already taking over. Bad bots now constitute 37.9% of all web traffic. And that number, as you might imagine, is accelerating. Hard cases make bad law, as they say.  Daphne Keller of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society on why Australia’s response to the Christchurch massacre does not create the right incentives...

Why I’m Doing This


A year ago, I was listening to a Sam Harris podcast with Sean Carroll, a physicist from MIT. Sean Carroll told a story that resonated with me, and it served as the inspiration for starting this site.  He recalled a moment when he was having dinner with one of his mentors in graduate school. At the dinner, his mentor made a comment along the lines of, “I assume that everyone here is working...

Friday Links 4/12/19


I’m going to have to start posting these links more than once a week if I want to keep up with all the bad EU tech regulations coming out. Here’s Mike Masnick of TechDirt providing a blow-by-blow of the new EU terrorist regulation. This new law requires all sites, anywhere in the world, regardless of how small or lacking in resources, to take down all objectionable content within one hour or face...

Friday Links 4/5/19


Perhaps the smartest thinker on tech policy issues right now is a non-politician, non-regulator, and a non-lawyer. Here’s Ben Thompson’s missive this week on Mark Zuckerberg’s op-ed in the Washington Post and how it relates to the EU’s new copyright directive. I truly could not have said it better myself. Here’s the original op-ed from Zuckerberg, for context. From a PR perspective, Zuckerberg is...

Friday Links 3/29/19


The big news in tech policy this week: The European Union signed off on its proposed “link tax” and revised copyright regime. In essence, if the law goes into effect, any company with more than 50 employees or €10 million in annual revenue would have to negotiate a license with a content provider before providing any links to copyrighted content. Given that the nature of internet linking is very...

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