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“Tech News in Washington, D.C. with Rob Pegoraro” (Two Think Minimum Podcast)

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Two Think Minimum Podcast Transcript
Episode 008: “Tech News in Washington, D.C. with Rob Pegoraro”
Recorded on April 10, 2018

Chris: Hello, and welcome back to TPI’s podcast, Two Think Minimum. I’m Chris McGurn, TPI’s Director of Communications. Each week on this podcast we facilitate a conversation between TPI fellows and special guests on some of the most pressing and important issues in tech policy and tech politics. Today, we have with us, Rob Pegoraro, who is a tech journalist of long standing in the DC area and has been covering technology and the intersection of technology and politics, for close to about 20 years now, if not longer. We’re happy to have him with us, given that he’s one of Washingtonian’s Tech Titans from 2015 to 2017. He would be the perfect guest to have in to talk about the evolution of tech in DC over the past 10 years because TPI is also celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Without further ado, I want to welcome in also Sarah Oh, TPI Research Fellow, and Scott Wallsten, TPI Senior Fellow and President, to have a conversation with Rob on all things tech and policy.

Chris: Rob, thanks for coming in.

Rob: Thanks for having me.

Chris: Scott and Sarah, feel free to jump in whenever you want. One question I want to get right off the bat is with all the talk this week about Mark Zuckerberg on the Hill and Facebook being dragged before the hearings in the House and the Senate

Rob: I thought he just came to DC for the cherry blossoms. He should have.

Scott: He usually does.

Chris: I ran into him at Potbelly’s for lunch actually. Rob, you’ve been covering this space for a long time. Where have you seen some of the big trends that jump in your mind? If someone says, “In the last 10 years of tech,” what jumps out at you?

Rob: “In the last 10 years of tech,” it used be there was just no connection [between tech firms and DC] at all. Then there was Microsoft in the 1990s and then after that, Google sort of learned that lesson a bit, and they’ve staffed up. Now they have a lot of office space around town. Facebook has gone in that same progression. The first Facebook office I met anybody at in DC was an upper floor in a town home around Dupont Circle that had been converted into offices and they moved to a slightly larger space I think around like 9th and F and 14th and F. I can only imagine how many people they have based in DC now and working in DC full time. I guess you don’t need to by the time you are in a Series A fundraising round, but after that, if you have anything that involves data, you should have somebody in DC.

Scott: It’s important that you have enough money to make an office with distressed wood.

Rob: Your office has got to show up in a profile somewhere in the Washingtonian. Now the question is, are these companies just trying to sort of make sure laws they don’t like don’t get passed? Are they trying to advocate for change? Like we mentioned, for Google, a lot of their time is they’d like to have their advertising business free to run as they wish. They’ve also advocated for measures to ensure that the government cannot like, go grab your email by asking nicely for it.

Scott: Since we started off by talking about Zuckerberg appearance, so Facebook does have a fairly big operation out here now as you’d expect given their size. What is that office doing now with respect to Zuckerberg? Their biggest job would have been to make sure he doesn’t appear at all [on the Hill], but that’s probably never an option in this case

Rob: If he does appear to make sure that they don’t have the picture of him raising his right hand. They are in a unique position because the other reason to have a DC office is just marketing and lead generation. Get people to use your platform, get people to show up on Twitter. You never know what promising presidential candidate will make Twitter his own unique platform in a way that no one has done before and hopefully no one ever well afterwards. That’s historically been part of their job as well. Like Google, they don’t need to sell a product to individual Senators and representatives to use their product like Facebook and Twitter will.

One thing I’d love to see is the workflow for somebody who works for Facebook differs if they’re based here, or in Brussels because the EU has a totally different privacy environment. They actually have meaningful regulation about privacy, so I might say it’s too much, but at least it exists. If you deal with the data of EU residents, then you’ve got to play by their rules.

Chris: Not only between DC and Brussels, but we sort of have this ongoing conversation in this office that the DC folks for these major companies are not always looked at it in the highest regard from headquarters back in CA. Originally, DC held off on tech and they didn’t really go after them and now, like you mentioned Microsoft and Google, they’re starting to realize that they do actually have to play this game as well. A lot of the people in the idealistic, ground zero of these companies really rub the wrong way. It’s interesting to see the dynamic between the DC office and the headquarters folks when they come into town.

Rob: I remember very much going to a tech policy event called the Tech Policy Summit in 2012 at a lovely resort in Napa. Great comments were made all around. At one point, one of these idealistic libertarian Silicon Valley-types saying, “We just want government to leave us alone.” It was me and the late great Steven Wild was like, “That’s not going to work with people whose industries you’re trying to disrupt, they’re not going to leave you alone and they’re really good at working the reps. If you want to make the change in the market you want to see happen and then you better get familiar with flights to the DC area from the Bay Area

Scott: Do you think they’re reaping some of the consequences of not paying sufficient attention or have steadily been getting better?

Scott: Facebook is hard to read because in some areas like I compare how they handle the traditional definition of information security. Are you the person who you’d be logging into the account, how can we make sure no one is a person? They’ve been pretty good at that. They’ve hired very good people. They have a good two-step verification system, they take steps to ensure that even if you’re on an old Android phone, they’re not going to just accept the name random login. But if you’re on a social network, Infosec can’t only be in terms of authentic authentication and then once you’re on, it’s all good. So the way they responded to what you would call “social-engineering-at-scale” has not been as astute or smart or appropriately cynical.

Rob: You’ve seen some of that in the recent testimony. Facebook repeats we were in an idealistic company. Yeah, you were, but you should be aware that bad people use the Internet too. Twitter’s done the same thing. When you look at how Twitter has responded to harassment on their platform, a lot of the systems they’ve done, I’ve seen this as a white dude using Twitter, you can write mean things about Gamergate. They talk endlessly. Gamergaters cannot shut up. For the uninitiated, this argument was like three years ago about how video game journalism was unfair, which weirdly enough got tied up with people who also thought like women and minorities should not have offer any value judgments about games at all. If you’re a woman or a minority and you talk about these issues, then you have a different experience and you have to think that if more people doing the basic architecture of these systems, realized what it was like to be swarmed by a bunch of people, they might design in a different way.

Scott: Do you think they had any response to the problem that was sufficient given the magnitude or where we talked about Facebook or Twitter, which was horrible failing today. Which one did you think the problem was worse?

Rob: In this case, Facebook, because we’re sort of used to people, being jerks or malicious on one platform for another for money to rip somebody off.  But whether it’d be part of a nation-state’s campaign is different – I hadn’t really thought about that sort of new situation.  From my experience that’s where Facebook’s initial response to Cambridge Analytica[1] is awful that they found out that first of all they designed a system where you could write an app and it could make a really big request for your data. It can scoop up your friends’ data. It was all based on, “We’ll kick bad actors off the platform.” That is a very brittle system and it’s going to fail. It did fail. When they found out all this, this guy Alexander Cogan posted this Personality Quiz app. Then he handed the data to a third party explicitly in violation of the rules. Did they name and shame him? Did they alert the users who got ripped off in this way? No, this was after they’d signed a 20-year settlement regime[2] with the Federal Trade Commission.

That’s where somebody in the DC office should have told somebody in the Bay Area office, you cannot just let this go. That’s where they should have taken action.

Scott: It’s conceivable they did and were ignored.

Rob: At this point they would’ve told us the fact that they should shook their fist at Cambridge Analytica and said, “you have to give us your words you’ll delete this data.” But really, I mean they didn’t have that many rules. You can’t say you’re posting for this reason and then you’re going to use your app for a totally different one.

That’s the point where I’ve had some fans of the current president say, “the Obama campaign did the same thing.” But it wasn’t explicitly in the Obama campaign. It wasn’t.  It wasn’t what “Sex in the City character are you?” and “oh, by the way, do you like President Obama?”

Scott: The campaigns do sophisticated data analysis. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was going to unveil their sophisticated system of analytics after she won the election and of course our point. Was that the fundamental difference that they had a misleading way of getting the data? Or is it that they used the data to target misleading information?

Rob: In the Facebook rules context, basic ethics, and even U.S. law, if you say you’re going to use data for a reason, and use it for another one, that can get you in trouble with the FTC, not quickly, but slowly.  If you posted an app, you can have a Trojan horse app that asks for all these personal details and then gets handed off to somebody who’s a marketing machine. I don’t know why they didn’t do more or maybe they sent really recuperative email to the Cambridge people and we just haven’t seen yet. Given the pace at which things had been leaking out on Facebook lately, I don’t think there was stuff that was going to make them look better, they would have brought that out already.

Chris: Do you think it was an issue that they really didn’t understand that there was an underlying problem that they just assume that people are volunteering photos and location and everything else? That was pretty much open market for everyone’s personal data and they just didn’t really care?

Rob: If you installed an app on an Android phone a few years ago, you would see this list of permissions when you installed it and it was yes or no. If you don’t like the settings, don’t install the app and you had to sort of make the snap decision right then, “do you trust this app to get all this information or not?” They realized that was a brittle system as well. Now on an Android app, it has to ask for permission when it wants to do something like turn on the camera or turn on the microphone or access to your location. You can decline that permission and the app may break if it’s written for an older version of Android and probably will. Certain app developers, Snapchat should really get on the ball with that.

The idea that you’re going to expect everyday people to look at this list of requests for access to your data and think, “let me Google this company, have any friends installed this?”  On Facebook system at the time, even back then on Android, you could see the apps of the developer in the same place or screen getting that sort of index of, is this a trustworthy application on Facebook? Now less so. The interface is not helpful.

Scott: One of the things I’m struggling with is trying to figure out, what is exactly is the harm, and if whether the issue is more just sort of a violation of trust as opposed to measurable harm. Or that this data was used to target misinformation. That’s a sort of a different kettle of fish, but a really big one.

Rob: On the one hand, if you find that somebody got information out of you under false pretenses, you may agree and say, “sure, I voted in an online poll, some blog, that’s fine.” But duplicity is not cool. It may not be illegal. It may or may not violate the rules of the social platform, but that is not how a company that wants to be around for the long-term, a developer that wants to be around for the long-term, should treat the customer. But then, if you then use that and use that to brand people’s prejudices, “disinformation,” I’m trying to use that word as it relates to Soviet propaganda, I’m a child of the eighties, and “fake news” has gotten ruined because President Trump uses that to describe “news-that-is-mean-to-me.”

Sarah: I also struggle with this as well because you said false pretenses and trust. These are fuzzy concepts because it’s hard for me to believe that they didn’t know that people could use this data wrongly. It’s a lot of data. It’s personal data. They’re scooping it up. Uber has all the data on where we go. YouTube has all my data of what I watch. That’s the gray area, the trust. But I don’t know about legislating rules for trust. How do you make Mark Zuckerberg more trustworthy with your data?

Scott: That’s a big question. What are the things that people have been discussing as remedies?

Rob: You would think self-defense against the inevitable data breach, data minimization is a good principle to abide by. Don’t get more information than you need. At least, this was the case, as of last weekend, Facebook’s guidance to app developers and people using Facebook login explicitly, said that “don’t ask for more data than you need” and “our research has shown people are more inclined to trust you if you don’t make this laundry list request.” But if you’re a startup, if you have all this data already, it just makes it easier for the inevitable pivot when your business model goes bust. You’ve got your customer list, you’ve got the data.

Sarah: But you’re feeding your AI algorithms with as much data as you can give it. We’re going to be talking about this for the next 10 years.

Scott: We’re talking about legitimate uses. If you’re a Cambridge Analytica, the data you need is, all of it.

Rob: I have to ask about Cambridge. I did check the page Facebook put up to see “was your data fed too their system?” I was thinking like back then, some of my cousins and friends on Facebook will click on anything. I really thought I would’ve gotten swept up. Did any of y’all get the notice?

Sarah: No.

Scott: No, maybe that’s good. If you assume the tool is working.

Rob: The tools should definitely say if that one app collected your information, but back then that the entire friend permissions API, it was all about not getting permission from your friends. Back then, your permission was, “I’m on Facebook so it’s okay if my friend can install the stupid app and collect whatever information I left public at the time.”

Scott: Part of the problem seems to be that, sharing data was the whole point of Facebook in the first place. Figuring out how to not-share data goes against their DNA.

Chris: Going back to that 10 years theme, ten years ago, it was still not Facebook and was used primarily by college students. The lonely college guys could see the cute girls and actually figure out where they lived and their phone numbers.

Scott: So it started off creepy?

Chris: My brother had the beta test of the college version of Facebook before it was unrolled in like 2006, 2007. Just the way it’s gone from that very simple connecting people, knowing where they are, to what it is today, it shows the unintended results. Now where it goes from here, is another question that no one really has the answer to.

Sarah: Part of the power of Facebook is its scale. It’s not the design. It’s the fact that so many eyeballs are watching it, that they can target advertisements that have impact. If Facebook was like Friendster, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s because of the scale.

Chris: I haven’t heard of Friendster in a while.

Rob: Was Friendster even still around ten years ago?

Scott: Maybe MySpace.

Rob: For Facebook, if we didn’t have something like it, we would have to invest something like it because it really is useful for me to stay in touch with people who are not in the same place as me, who are not necessarily going to be on email and not going to be on Twitter. It’s nice to see baby pictures from across the country or across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s really handy to be able to see, “oh, I’m in San Francisco who around this weekend?”

Scott: And the targeted advertising, ad targeting has real benefits.

Rob: Unsolicited, my mom says, “I like how the fact the ads get that I’m really into like, old English houses and gardening and whatnot.” Unsolicited praise for Facebook advertising. There you go.

Sarah: The recommendation engines – that’s all AI – Netflix is telling you what would you like to watch next. Amazon’s telling you, would you like this product? Probably.

Rob: Amazon, they’ve got to work on theirs.  Their retargeting isn’t as good. I did a column for USA Today I think two years ago.[3] Because I live in an older house I needed to buy a toilet seat. I thought, well, “What’s the price for that on Amazon?” So I do that, and two days later I was taking a screenshot of a story of mine and there was an ad for a toilet seat. I’m like, let me reload the page. I see toilet seat, toilet seat.  Amazon, I live in a small house. I replaced the toilet seat already. This is not a frequent purchase item. I’m not collecting these things, so I wrote a column on “how to turn off Amazon ad retargeting.”

Chris: That would be great to know for any husband and wife or spouse will teams that share a Facebook account. I have tried buying gifts and my wife will come in and be like, oh, you really think that that’s the right color on me.

Scott: Amazon seems to want to put everything on their Dash buttons. Maybe you haven’t heard the phrase in a while, but we talked about living in a gig economy and freelancers. That’s what I wanted to ask you. In principle, this economy should have moved in a way that’s really beneficial to you because you already knew how to work it and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but now they have more tools. But on the other hand, you also work in news. How do you see how these two trends worked out?

Rob: The special thing that there are two gig economies – a differentiated one where your product is distinct from someone else’s. Hopefully I will admit that some of my posts and stories are at least at replacement level, but I try to provide value above replacement level. But if you drive for a Lyft or Uber, you can get a five-star rating but doesn’t really give you an edge. I asked a driver at one point, if there are two drivers that are half a mile away from me, one of them I gave a five-star rating to the other one that you have a four-star rating. Does that factor into who gets to drive me to my next place? They were like, “No.” At the time, Uber didn’t even let you tip so that you were really alienated from the means of your own labor, I guess to phrase this as Marxist-like, as possible.

You have gig economy platforms where it’s not “you,” it’s just a service that will appear when you press a button on your phone, but that doesn’t really help you out later on. But if you’re an artist, if you do some kind of individual labor, you make something where it is actually “you,” the person, then you can do pretty well. There are lots of other ways the gig economy is not so great since it’s tax time. I’d like to note that the tax code is not super friendly. We’ll see what it is next year if I’m going to get the 20 percent break on my 1099 income personal tax, but probably be offset by the fact that since I’m living in Virginia I will not be able to get the estate tax and property tax. That all goes away, right? Well, that’s better than DC or New Jersey or California where my in-laws live.

Rob: Are you a net beneficiary of recent changes or because you’re in the news, does it outweigh problems in the news business?

Rob: I think it’s worked out okay for me. I came into this with a lot of unfair advantages. The number one thing that has helped me out as a freelancer is, if you want to get a good start in freelance journalism, write a technology column for a major American newspaper for 11 years as I did for the Washington Post, then leave when no one expects.  It’s a great big want ad, I didn’t realize it until it actually happened.

Chris: Who are the tech journalists that you look to? If you want to get to the bottom of the story or write something, do you have like a list of your top two or three names of people that you always go to?

Rob: There’s a handful. I’ll give you names and sites for instance. For tech policy for a long time I read Techdirt. This guy Mike Masnick runs it and covers issues like intellectual property and privacy and whatnot and he’s Bay Area-based and he actually gets how things happen and don’t happen around DC. It’s been way ahead of the game on a lot of issues and it doesn’t always write arguments that change people’s minds because people are stubborn around here. Ars Technica has a great site for general purpose tech coverage, but also really sharp on tech policy. They’ve got a great guy, Jon Brodkin who covers telecom policy and the FCC. I cannot hope to keep up with him. Sean Gallagher has some great information security coverage there. Brian Krebs, for The Post, is the dean of cybersecurity journalists. If you’re going to come to an opposite conclusion than he has on something you’d best have done your research.

Sarah: Do you see demand for tech journalism increasing, or is it about constant?

Rob: A year and a half ago we didn’t have Axios, the site founded by ex-Politico types. They’ve done a lot of really good hiring like Ina Fried in the Bay Area. Scott Rosenberg who has been writing about this stuff, I remember reading him in like Salon.com in the late nineties, he really knows his stuff.  They have my old Post colleague Kim Hart editing their tech coverage.

Scott: What do you think of Axios? I have mixed feelings because on one hand they have great people, like you said, and they get good stories. On the other hand, I don’t like the idea that news is moving to a three sentence format.

Rob: I like Twitter, so I like the three sentence format. There was a time when it was hard to read because the only faces of it were like Mike Allen and the Politico types. It could be sort of hard to read sometimes, like their first time ever seeing other people talking about them was when Mike Allen went to some event at Mar-a-Lago before the inauguration. He was tweeting out pictures of the food spread. Really?, this is kind of gross even by access journalism standards, but since then they’ve been doing a very good job of like trying to figure out what’s going on in this White House.

Chris: The bread and butter is the morning or afternoon newsletter. You can read all the three sentences tweets that you want, but if you want to really digest the news you need to either get their morning or afternoon ones. As you mentioned the tech newsletter, I’ve sent around a lot of their stuff to this office. Mike Allen I read his stuff just to keep on top of what’s going on here. It’s way too shattering trying to keep up with it on like a day to day basis.

Scott: Do you see it as a kind of change in the type of business model that’s likely to succeed now? Or is it just it’s own niche?

Rob: News business models do need work. That’s one big change that’s happened over the last 10 years because online ads, that industry – I don’t know if it’s their fault, but they’re not probably going to financial support. In some ways, online ads are outright harming newspapers. You see how often does the amount of crap that gets onto ad networks, like the forced redirect, where suddenly you’re looking at $100 gift card offer that is taking you off the page entirely. If you take them up on that at some point you get to a kind of multi-level marketing fraud. The ad industry doesn’t seem to be cleaning up its own act very well. Subscriptions have worked well for The Washington Post. The New York Times too. I would worry about smaller papers like The Denver Post that is currently getting throttled to death by a hedge fund in New York that seems to have no concept of how to run a newspaper, and why a newspaper would exist. I feel very bad for people that work there. For people who live in Denver, who deserve somebody who will tell them what’s going on.

Scott: That’s consistent with the research I’ve seen changes immediately for national and international news that their papers are struggling. Some papers was struggling with basically we’re doing fine. There’s plenty of information. There are new sources, but for state and local it’s decimated.

Rob: Having grown up in New Jersey and I’m living in Virginia now, I can tell you a lot of nonsense goes on at State House. You want to have somebody watching what’s going on there.

Chris: I have a subscription to your former employer [The Washington Post]. In order to get the best deal for the digital access, I get the Sunday paper broken up to Saturday and Sunday. I usually toss the dead tree version, just keep the bags because we have a dog and that way I can keep the subscription. so I’m not sure I get some value out of it. I get some great value out of it, and I think it’s just so that they can say that their physical circulation is a certain number.

Rob: You can make more money off print ads than as online, which is not how it’s supposed to be. For online ads, theoretically you can target people really precisely. It turns out Facebook and Google can online, they’re doing well at that. Newspapers can too, and a lot of it is the newspapers’ own fault. There were tons of missed opportunities. The San Jose Mercury News had the chance to buy Craigslist. There are so many steps that could’ve been taken. The Washington Post when I was there, we wasted like two, three years. Someone had the idea that the web is too hard and that we’re going to run our own online service. It was amazing that The Post only lost like $15,000,000. Horrible digital ink thing – if the quick pace of logging in on AOL bothered you, stressed you out too much, digital ink put you right at ease. People don’t want to be stupid. There was a market to inform people, but it’s just getting over that hump and finding other business models, whether it’s subscriptions, hosting events, some kinds of digital journalism, like podcasts, apparently you get really good CPM on those ads because people listen to them. People don’t hate them, and they haven’t been infected by horrible ad networks.

Scott: I wonder why that is. Do you think it’s because people have already self-selected into their interest?

Rob: I think it’s because of the way you record a podcast. Programmatic ad insertion is not as easy as it is on a page that is put together dynamically.

Chris: Anything else that you wanted to talk about while we’re here?

Rob: We can’t ignore how Washington has looked at the tech industry. For years, there was no expectation that DC could do anything really great. The attitude among tech policy types who were paying attention was, “let’s stop the horrible stuff.” Let’s stop the Communication Decency Act (CDA) from reducing the Internet to something only fit for children. Let’s stop the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) from totally breaking basic internet routing and architecture.

We’ve gotten to the point where some good bills can advance. The USA Freedom Act curtailed bulk surveillance by the government. On the other hand, I had too much fun writing a story for Yahoo for Groundhog Day, about how many years we’ve gone without reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which is a joke of a law that no one even tries to use. It’s the one that says if mail is stored for more than 180 days, then you can just subpoena it, you don’t have to get a warrant or anything. Fortunately all the major providers have seized on one circuit court ruling and said, “no, you really do need a warrant.” Even then where it’s obvious, the law’s a joke, no one pays attention year after year it goes unfixed.

Scott: Is that because of partisanship or are there other factors?

Rob: The SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] has proposed relaxing it because they won’t be able to go after crooks on Wall Street. But it’s silly – if something passes on a voice vote in the House, probably you should be able to advance that forward. But it’s just no one has really championed it. I certainly don’t expect anything to happen on that in this Congress.

Scott: It’s hard to expect much of anything to happen in this Congress.

Rob: They have the omnibus bill. Now we’re just going to try to not lose our elections.

Scott: It used to be the case when tech was only telecomm that the issues were hard fought but they weren’t necessarily partisan. Issues were fought along industry lines. The tragedy, it’s sort of all became much more partisan and that has sort of transferred into broader tech policy.

Rob: Net neutrality is weird because, I am not a both-sides guy. Some of it is overheated on both sides. Like the idea that Verizon, which I should note, owns Oath and therefore Yahoo Finance, is going to start censoring political speech so that their subscribers can’t see it – it’s not going to happen. There isn’t even a business model for that. On the other hand, the pro net-neutrality people are talking about regulating the Internet – is the Food and Drug Administration regulating my stomach? That’s not how this works.  We had this discussion around the time of Teddy Roosevelt. It’s okay to have government saying, “you know, you must have some standards in an industry.” Now comparing it to socialism or the way China runs its Internet, it’s ridiculous.

Scott: So basically, totally overwrought, no matter who you’re talking about.

Rob: Ajit Pai has done some good things with robocalls as FCC chair, but his crusade about restoring things to the way it were back then, and you know, this is unlocking the Internet and American innovation – I was covering the FCC in the late nineties and we had really strict regulation of DSL broadband and in his view of history, that just didn’t happen.

Scott: Except cable was not regulated in the same way.

Rob: Yes, for cable they never quite figured out what to do with it. Net neutrality – at this point, I feel like I’ve been covering it for so long. You could do at Oxford debate style. Tell me to advocate for it or against it or I could do a decent job of the way.

Scott: I first read about it in 2006 and it hasn’t gotten more interesting. But that brings up another topic which maybe isn’t interesting, but it really bothers me. What do you think about the way regulations and laws are titled these days? Like the Internet Freedom Act? Open Internet Order? Or, even go back to the PATRIOT Act. They’re titled to obscure debate.

Rob: Well, you know, SEO [search engine optimization] is a thing. I was reading about a data breaches the other day and there’s a discussion draft of phone bill and I can’t remember its name because it doesn’t have some snappy acronym.  The now departing former representative Blake Farenthold had a bill that would basically clarify that you were allowed to tinker with stuff, gadgets you own and devices. It was called the YODA Act.

Scott: So they did try, and didn’t do.

Rob: Yes, exactly.

Chris: Thank you for coming in. We’ll wrap up here. I feel like we just scratched the surface here. So, I’m going to, on behalf of Two Think Minimum, invite you back at some point. Thanks for coming by.

[1] https://techpolicyinstitute.org/press_release/join-tpi-for-facebook-and-cambridge-analytica-the-regulatory-and-policy-implications/

[2] https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/foia_requests/1302facebookcompliance.pdf

[3] https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/02/12/how-stop-seeing-your-amazon-searches-everywhere/97764058/