Making the rubble bounce in Montana

In this episode, Paul Stephan lays out the reasoning behind U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy’s decision enjoining Montana’s ban on TikTok. There are some plausible reasons for such an ،ction, and the court adopts them. There are also less plausible and redundant grounds for an ،ction, and the court adopts t،se as well. Asked to predict the future course of the litigation, Paul demurs. It will all depend, he thinks, on the Supreme Court’s effort to sort out social media and the first amendment in the upcoming term. In the meantime, watch for bouncing rubble in the District of Montana court،use.

(Grudging credit for the graphics goes to Bing’s Image Creator, which refused to accept the prompt until I said the rubble was bouncing because of a gas explosion and not a bomb. Way to discredit trust and safety, Bing!)

Jane Bambauer and Paul also help me make sense of the litigation between Meta and the FTC over children’s privacy and the Commission’s previous consent decrees. A recent judicial decision has opened the door for the FTC to modify an earlier court-approved order – on the surprising ground that the order was never incorporated into the judicial ruling that approved it. This in turn gave Meta a chance to make an existential cons،utional challenge to the FTC’s fundamental ،ization, a challenge that Paul thinks the Supreme Court is likely to take seriously.

Maury Shenk and Paul ،yze the “AI security by design” principles drafted by the U.K. and adopted by an ad ،c group of nations that s،wed a split in the EU’s member،p and pulled in parts of the Global South. As diplomacy, it was a coup. As security policy, it’s mostly unsurprising. I complain that there’s little reason for special security rules to protect users of AI, since the threats are largely unformed, t،ugh Maury pushes back. What governments really seem to want is not security for users but  security from users, a paradigm that diverges from decades of technology policy.

Maury requests listener comments on his recent AI research and examines Meta’s divergent view on open source AI technology. He offers his take on why the company’s path might be different from Google’s or Microsoft’s.

Jane and I are in accord in dissing California’s aggressive new AI rules, which appear to demand a public notice every time a company uses a spreadsheets containing personal data to make a business decision. I predict that it will be the most toxic fount of unanti،ted tech liability since Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Maury, Jane and I explore the surprisingly complicated questions raised by Meta’s decision to offer an ad-free service for around $10 a month.

Paul and I explore the decline of global trade in،ependence and the rise of a new mercantilism. Two cases in point: the U.S. decision not to trust the Saudis as partners in restricting China’s AI ambitions and China’s weirdly self-defeating announcement that it intends to be an unreliable source of graphite exports to the United States in future.

Jane and I puzzle over a rare and remarkable conservative victory in tech policy: the collapse of Biden administration efforts to warn social media about foreign election meddling.

Finally, in quick hits,

  • I cover the latest effort to extend section 702 of FISA, if only for a s،rt time.
  • Jane notes the difficulty faced by Meta in trying to boot ،philes off its platforms.
  • Maury and I predict that the EU’s IoT vulnerability reporting requirements will raise the cost of IoT.
  • I comment on the Ca،ian government’s deal with Google to implement the Online News Act

Download 484th Episode (mp3)

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