Thursday, November 17, 2016

Electronic Frontier Foundation holds important Live Discussion on digital rights in a Trump administration

Electronic Frontier Foundation held a Live Discussion today, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, on the Election’s Effect on Digital Rights,link. It was conducted by International Director Danny O’Brien and activism director Rainey Reitman, in San Francisco.

EFF has a check list of problems tech companies need to fix, “before it’s too late”, here

The biggest concern expressed in the discussion was that tech companies have built up a “honeypot” of personal data that a Trump administration could coerce from companies, or even try to force tech workers to mine with spyware.

O'Brien also expressed an abstract concern, with no details, about the likely loss of network neutrality, which I discussed on my Net Neutrality blog on Nov. 11.  Note the concern over the possibility of providers charging publishers to access their networks, which gets discussed there in comments with respect to porn (on a Washington Post article).  There is concern over conflicts of interest in ownership arrangements and mergers between tech companies and content or media providers, as well as effective government-sanctioned monopoly in some cities. Libertarians see more competition as the alternative to net neutrality.  Consumers and some small businesses do benefit from "legitimate" access speed premium for-pay services sometimes.  

I did submit two questions, but the panel did not take up the fake news issue or censorship or downstream liability.  The discussion did mention the threats by Trump (and even Clinton) last December to shut down some parts of the Internet to cut off ISIS recruiting.  But there is a general sense that a lot of people are willing to give up freedom over “Russian roulette” theories of existential threats to safety.


But EFF issued a white paper on censorship by social media companies today (see Book Reviews blog). 

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