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Tech on the Rocks
42 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat: The Passage to Universal Broadband
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fact that broadband is essential for full participation in our society and economy. With school, work, and now vaccination registrations all taking place online, the need for universal broadband has never been greater. In late December, Congress passed a bipartisan emergency broadband benefit that provides $50-$75 a month to low-income households and unemployed Americans to help close the digital divide. This is a great start, but these benefits are only temporary. What happens after the pandemic is over? Is there a path for consensus in Congress to permanently close the digital divide? And what would that look like? On this episode, Gigi chats with Bruce Mehlman, who served as the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy in the George W. Bush administration. Tune in for their perspectives on all these questions and much more on Episode 13 of Tech on the Rocks!
57 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
Live Podcast Special: Broadband for America NOW - A Conversation With Mignon Clyburn & Jonathan Sallet
On this special live episode of Tech on the Rocks, Gigi sits down with former FCC Acting Chair and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn as well as Benton Senior Fellow and Former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet to discuss the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society's new report: Broadband for America Now. The report, authored by Sallet, lays out a bold vision for delivering robust broadband to all Americans, regardless of geography and socio-economic status. Clyburn and Sallet provide their perspectives on the pandemic’s impact on Americans' use of broadband, how a new congress and FCC can work with local governments to help ensure every American is connected, and much more on this second special live episode of Tech on the Rocks!
60 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
Live Podcast Special: Contract Tracing in a COVID Surge - Operational or Aspirational?
On this first-ever special live episode of Tech on the Rocks, Gigi chats with Jeff Stover, Executive Advisor to the Commissioner of the Virginia Dept. of Health, and Laura Moy, Associate Director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, the three engage in an important discussion on the obvious benefits and underlying privacy concerns regarding contact tracing applications. What should we know about these government-sponsored apps? How can they help get our latest COVID-19 surge under control? What should we watch for when it comes to our digital security? Hear their perspectives on these questions and many more on this live episode of Tech on the Rocks! As always, we’d like to offer a special thanks to the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society for sponsoring Tech on the Rocks!
24 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
Rage Against the Machines: Is our Election Technology Safe and Secure? (Part II)
With the most consequential election in a generation just days away, we continue to ask ourselves: are state and local governments ready for this? With recent cyber intrusions from adversaries such as Russia and Iran, a historic surge in early voting, and fears about post-election disinformation on social media, there’s a lot to be concerned about. While this election will be a monumental task for local officials, Verified Voting’s Interim Co-Director and political scientist Mark Lindeman tells us that there are ways to ensure that every vote is counted fairly. Tune in for a follow up to last week’s episode on the security of our election machinery to hear Mark and Gigi discuss what keeps election experts up at night, and what we can do to help ensure our voices are heard in this episode of Tech on the Rocks!
34 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
Rage Against the Machines: Is our Election Technology Safe and Secure? (Part I)
The 2020 election is less than two weeks away. One of the biggest questions that remain unanswered is whether or not our U.S. election infrastructure is prepared for any potential cyberattacks from hackers, both foreign and domestic. In part 1 of our two-part episode: Rage Against the Machines: Is our Election Technology Safe and Secure? Gigi chats with computer scientist and law professor Matt Blaze to assess the biggest challenges and threats to state and county election systems. While Matt relayed some of his biggest concerns, he also pointed to some potential bright sides unique to holding a general election during a major health crisis. Tune in for Matt’s perspectives on this critical topic, in this episode of Tech on the Rocks!
37 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 8: Back to School Without Broadband: The Digital Divide and the Fall Semester
The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in the United States, and despite President Trump’s push for schools to open “100%," many, if not most school districts are moving to either an all-virtual or hybrid learning model to start off the school year. Even though schools closed last March, millions of American children are still without the robust broadband connectivity and devices they need to do their school work. Pressure by the FCC on the broadband industry to fill this void has not moved the needle enough and Congress has not yet passed legislation that would provide broadband to those who cannot afford it. This has left the job of filling the “education gap” to states and cities. On this episode, Gigi talks with Jeff Sural, Broadband Infrastructure Office Director for the North Carolina Department of Information Technology and Leon Wilson, Chief Digital Innovation & Chief Information Officer for the Cleveland Foundation, about the obstacles to universal broadband access and what states and cities are doing to ensure that all of their residents are connected as the school year approaches. Hear their perspectives and much more on Episode 8 of Tech on the Rocks!
36 minutes | Aug 10, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 7: Content Moderation & Section 230: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All
On Episode 7 of Tech on the Rocks, Gigi chats with two guests working on the front lines of the content moderation and Section 230 debate. Dr. Jessica Ashooh, the Director of Policy for Reddit and Sherwin Siy, the Senior Public Policy Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation, both discuss their companies’ content moderation policies and how current legislation will affect their platforms. Gigi questions whether the current efforts by some in Congress and the Trump administration to tinker with Section 230 protections would hurt smaller platforms like Reddit and Wikipedia. Does Section 230 need to be modernized? Does “one size fit all” when it comes to these crucial protections? Tune in for perspectives on these questions and much more on this episode of Tech on the Rocks!
42 minutes | Jul 15, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 6: Connectivity in the Time of COVID: Will Congress Ever Close the Digital Divide?
On this episode, Gigi speaks with former Clinton Administration aide and FCC official David Goodfriend about the possibility of another stimulus bill and what one might include as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Gigi explains the importance of including broadband provisions in any new bill, which could mirror the House passed HEROES Act. David examines the political path to a new bill and what might be off the table in the coming legislative battle. Tune in for their perspectives on all this and much more in Episode 6 of G&T: Tech on the Rocks!
32 minutes | Jul 5, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 5 - Tip of the Iceberg: How Law Enforcement Surveils Protestors & Communities of Color
On Episode 5 of G&T: Tech on the Rocks, Gigi Sohn talks to Color of Change Campaign Advisor Brandi Collins-Dexter about the history of surveillance of civil rights protestors and communities of color, how sophisticated technologies have made spying ubiquitous and what protestors can do to protect themselves. They also discuss Color of Change's efforts to get Facebook to moderate hate speech and how to ensure that tech companies incorporate civil rights principles in every aspect of their businesses.
37 minutes | Jun 22, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 4 - Did the Pandemic End the Techlash? Trump Answers My Question
On this episode, Gigi speaks with Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia to address one central question: Did the COVID-19 pandemic kill the "Techlash?" Coincidentally, just hours after sitting down with Siva, President Trump appeared to answer that question. Along the way, Gigi and Siva discuss the future of big tech, the recent Twitter-Trump flare-up, Facebook's new "content review board" and much more!
45 minutes | May 21, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 3 - Online Learning in the Age of COVID-19: What's it Like on the Ground?
On this episode, Gigi takes a look at what it's like to be a student or a K-12 teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two veteran educators join Gigi to chat about the transition to online learning, the challenge of connecting millions of students to online tools, and what school might look like in the fall. Find out what educators on the ground feel about these unprecedented academic circumstances on this episode of G&T: Tech on the Rocks!
29 minutes | Apr 29, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 2 - Local Broadband Needs in the Age of COVID-19
On this episode, Gigi chats with Francella Ochillo, the Executive Director of Next Century Cities to discuss the importance of universal broadband access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gigi and Francella discuss what cities and small communities across the United States are doing to connect residents who lack quality internet access and the policies that should be considered at every level of government.
25 minutes | Mar 31, 2020
Tech on the Rocks Episode 1 - 10 Years After the National Broadband Plan: A Look Back and Forward
Gigi sits down with Blair Levin, the former Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and the architect behind the National Broadband Plan, to discuss the successes and shortcomings of the project. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband access in the United States is more important than ever. Gigi and Blair share their first-hand perspectives of the importance of good policy to ensure internet connectivity in the entire U.S. during this inaugural episode of G&T: Tech on the Rocks.
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