Last Week in Tech Policy #50: Open Innovation in the Federal Government

(By Connor Boe, Colorado Law 3L)

Federal agencies have been feeling the pressure to use fewer resources while at the same time creating better outputs for the public good. Traditionally, public services were created and implemented by government experts hired to solve a specific subset of civic problems. Some have argued that this method of solving problems has become too outdated, too bureaucratic, and too politically driven to effectively solve some public issues. People expect their government to do more with less and create innovative solutions to complex problems. How can government actors create effective solutions in the face of competing interests?

Many agencies have turned to a trend in that has its roots in the private sector known as Open Innovation. Federal agencies in the last decade or so have begun to experiment with new forms of problem solving like prize challenges, citizen science, crowdsourcing, and entrepreneurial methodologies. This new trend has had a profound impact on the way government functions and how the public perceives the work that agencies produce.

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Season 4 Episode 3: Kathleen Abernathy

Student attorney Andrew Manley speaks with former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, currently of Wilkinson Barker Knauer.  Topics include expanding broadband access to rural communities, the challenges that come with being a small telecom provider, and international cooperation in the areas of spectrum and satellites.

Commissioner Abernathy spoke on the Institutional Side of Information Policy Panel at the 2017 Digitial Broadband Migration conference hosted by the Silicon Flatirons Center.

Music of the show is provided by Gino and the Goons:

Opening theme: Troubles

Sign off music: On My Way

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

Season 4 Episode 2: Mike Gallagher

Student attorney Andrew Manley speaks with Mike Gallagher of the Entertainment Software Association.  Topics include challenges facing the video game industry as technology and delivery mechanisms evolve, and how the industry is adapting to handle those challenges.

Mike spoke on the Understanding Core Regulatory Goals in Context Panel at the 2017 Digitial Broadband Migration conference hosted by the Silicon Flatirons Center; you can watch the panel here.

Music of the show is provided by Gino and the Goons:

Opening theme: Troubles

Sign off music: On My Way

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

Last Week in Tech Policy #49: Preemption of Local Authority for Wireless Siting

(By Irena Stevens, PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program)

With the goal of promoting the deployment of next-generation wireless facilities, the FCC will vote on April 20th  to continue a rulemaking proposal to preempt local authority in the Right-of-Way (ROW). Wireless carriers are increasingly seeing utility poles in the ROW as an opportunity to expedite and diminish the cost of siting small cells, and say that local governments are creating unnecessary delays and charging excessive fees for pole attachments.

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Season 4, Episode 1: Matt Larsen

 

Student attorney Andrew Manley kicks off Season 4 of the TLPC Podcast with a conversation with Matt Larsen, owner and CEO of Vistabeam. Topics include increasing access to broadband in rural areas, and the changing nature of the Internet itself. Matt spoke on the Changing Technological Landscape Panel at the 2017 Digitial Broadband Migration conference hosted by the Silicon Flatirons Center; you can watch the panel here.

Music of the show is provided by Gino and the Goons:

Opening theme: Troubles

Sign off music: On My Way

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

Last Week in Tech Policy #48: Playpen and Government Hacking

(by Sergey Frolov, University of Colorado Computer Science Ph.D candidate)

In the U.S., it is illegal to produce, distribute, and possess child pornography. Playpen is a now-defunct child pornography website. The FBI managed to trace the site’s operators, then obtained a warrant and seized the web server on which the site ran.

However, instead of shutting the server down immediately, the FBI continued to operate Playpen for an additional 13 days. During that time, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI sent malware to visitors to the site in order to identify and prosecute them for possession of child pornography.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #47: W3C and EME—Is DRM Being Inserted in Your Web Browser?

(By Lucas Ewing, Colorado Law 2L)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization whose goal is to set standards for the World Wide Web. Due to W3C’s highly technical subject matter, internal discussions rarely broach the public discourse, but recently, open internet advocates and some W3C members have expressed concern over plans to endorse Encrypted Media Extensions (EMEs).

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TLPC Files Reply Comment in 911 Apps Proceeding

After the release of the Federal Communications Commission’s public notice seeking comment on 911 applications, student attorney Eilif Vanderkolk filed a reply comment addressing the issues of locational data, interface design, and cybersecurity in 911 smartphone applications. These issues were previously raised by TLPC in the whitepaper published by the Clinic last fall, and remain important during the NG911 transition .

 

TLPC Facilitates Makerspace Webinar for Librarians

On February 28th, student attorneys Andi Wilt and Sean Doran and TLPC Director Blake Reid delivered a webinar on best practices for public library makerspaces hosted by the Colorado State Library Association.

The webinar focused on addressing problems and concerns that arise when a public space like a library provides access to 3D printing technology. 3D printers present challenges to libraries stemming from objects that may infringe intellectual property rights or raise other concerns under library policies.

The best way for libraries and other public makerspaces to mitigate against these risks may be to set up a positive agenda, training, and programming for the use of the space. For example, libraries should provide education and training of design technologies that work with 3D printers. Programs like Tinkercad are now free and easy to use, and many of them offer free training programs. Webinar attendees contributed a variety of helpful best practices that have worked in libraries across the country.

The webinar was recorded and archived by the CSLA and can be viewed anytime along with links to various resources and best practice ideas.

Last Week in Tech Policy: #46 Is Taxing Robots Really the Answer?

(by Ben Epel, Colorado Law 2L)

The world is facing a new problem when it comes to innovation: automation and robots increasingly have been replacing individual workers. Robots have moved out of the factories and will soon be coming to a fast food restaurant near you; in 2016, McDonald’s former CEO Ed Rensi said that it is cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who makes $15 an hour bagging French fries. As robots become cheaper and the need for higher wages increases, what will happen to displaced employees?

What would Bill Gates do? A robot tax. Private companies would be taxed whenever the company replaces an individual with a robot. Gates claims that the government should implement this tax to slow down the rate of automation in the United States.  Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy: #46 Is Taxing Robots Really the Answer?”