Tech News Weekly Episode 237 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show. 

Mikah Sargent (00:00:00):
Coming up on Tech News Weekly, I, Mikah Sargent three, count them, three interviews planned for you. First, we talk with the lawyer and the law knowledgeable Denise Howell about the Texas SCOTUS ruling. The Supreme court has put applause on everything to do with that Texas social media law. So we talk about that and we get a nice refresher on how the court systems in the United States actually work, which I very much needed. Then's Rene Ritchie joins us to talk about WWDC Apple's worldwide developers conference, what you can expect, what you shouldn't expect and everything in between before we round things out with a really interesting conversation with Tim Bray a technologist and a, a well known developer who joins us to talk about an open letter sent to us lawmakers regarding FinTech policy and in particular, how lawmakers should be handling crypto in the US. Then I round things out with a brief story of the week about Facebook slash Meta's, COO Sheryl Sandberg, stepping down, stay tuned. You don't wanna miss this show

... (00:01:23):
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT.

Mikah Sargent (00:01:43):
This is Tech News Weekly episode 237 recorded Thursday, June 2nd, 2022. This episode of Tech News Weekly is brought to you by ni Reva. Traditional audio conferencing systems can entail lots of components. Installation can take days and well, you might not get the mic coverage you need. That's complex expensive, but NA Reva audio is easy to install and manage no technicians required and you get true full room coverage. That's economical. Learn and by express VPN going online without express VPN, it's like using your smartphone without a protective case. It takes one accidental drop on concrete to make you wish you had protected yourself, secure your online data today by visiting express today, and get an extra three months free on a one year package. And by it pro TV, finally, you can enjoy getting an it education with it, pro TV, visit it for an additional 30% off all consumer subscriptions for the lifetime of your active subscription.

Mikah Sargent (00:02:57):
When you use code T N w 30 checkout, hello, and welcome to Tech News Weekly. The show where we, in this case, I talk to and about the people making and breaking the tech news, Jason Howell is on vacation today. And so you have the well, you gotta deal with me today. <Laugh> as, as I talk to some great guests and we're kicking things off with kind of a breaking news story, at least for this week we have had some movement in that Supreme court ruling regarding Texas' social media law. Joining us today is a familiar face and a very learned individual when it comes to law and tech. It is Denise Howell. Welcome back, Denise.

Denise Howell (00:03:50):
Hi Mikah. It's so good to see you.

Mikah Sargent (00:03:52):
It is excellent to see you too. And so glad we got to get you on the show today to talk about this. So I think it would be best if we start things off by sort of rewinding history a little bit, and talking about this Texas social media law, where did it come from? What's it about before we get into the Supreme court's ruling?

Denise Howell (00:04:14):
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And, and rewinding even further or taking it out, you know, perspective wise even further, Texas is not alone in wanting to enact a law similar to this what the law does. So that we know what we're talking about. Oh, I'm so sorry. I meant to silence the phone. There it goes. What the law does is give the state the authority or the purported authority to tell social media companies that they can't moderate their content. It also the Texas one threw in an interesting twist in that it also didn't want email providers to be able to filter spam, which <laugh>, I think we all know how we feel about that one, but <laugh> the more authority issue of whether or not social media providers are overstepping their bounds in deciding how to moderate their content is really what's at the crux of this law.

Denise Howell (00:05:21):
There was another one in Florida earlier this year, very similar, and also the states of Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan are considering similar laws. So we're, we're not just looking at a loan, isolated case in Texas. We're looking at sort of a movement. And the basis of the movement is this sense that social media companies are infringing people's free speech which is a very interesting concept in its own, right? Because at the way, our free speech laws work the way the first amendment works in the United States is private entities really can't under the law do anything that impacts the first amendment in their decisions to moderate or decide E editorially what's gonna be on their site. Only the government can, the first amendment actually says the government shall make no law. Congress shall make no law that that impacts people's speech or limits people's free speech.

Denise Howell (00:06:26):
So that's where this all sort of sits is despite the fact that the first amendment works a little differently than you would think this Texas state law thinks it does Texas and these various other states have decided we're gonna enact these sweeping laws that require social media companies who are doing business with the residents of our states not to take down in the Texas laws case. It was take down items on the basis of their viewpoint, which as you can imagine is a big sweeping open to interpretation kind of bit of language. There, there are some limitations on it. If things were illegal there's some very narrow exceptions laid out in the law that give sites the ability to take down things that would otherwise be illegal, basically. But other than that, if something is inaccurate, if something involves hate speech, which in itself isn't illegal hate speech plus, and a threat of actual harm is so, so there's a bunch of things that sites are doing to make their platforms more, the place they want to provide for users, more the environment they wanna provide for users.

Denise Howell (00:07:47):
And these laws would say, Nope, you have to treat content much more neutrally. It doesn't matter if you think it's inaccurate. It doesn't matter if you think it's offensive. It doesn't matter if you it's against your guidelines for user interactions, if it's if you're moderating on the basis of someone's viewpoint says this Texas law, you can't do it. So that's what the Texas legislature and the enacted and the governor Abbot there signed into law. So since that happened this also followed a similar procedural path in Florida earlier this year, when it enacted a similar law someone filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutional constitutionality of the law, the someone in this case, being a trade association of tech companies with tech tech company members. So there in both states, there were lawsuits pending that said, Hey, these laws are unconstitutional.

Denise Howell (00:08:56):
They should be repealed. And what we saw the Supreme court do this this week on the 31st was intervene because the way our procedurally the way our system works is basically three tiers, oftentimes at the state. And definitely at the federal level, you've got a trial court where a lawsuit is filed, and then you've got this intermediate level of appellate courts in the federal system. They're called circuit courts and different circuit courts look after different parts of the country. And then above them all is the us Supreme court. So the way that you, the us Supreme court generally takes cases it doesn't take every case it's asked to take, and it didn't take this case. Importantly, all it did was it was asked to it someday may well take this case, but that's not what happened here. What happened here is the intermediate appellate court got involved.

Denise Howell (00:10:01):
That would be the fifth circuit that looks after Texas. It got involved when the trial court there took a look at this. There were motions filed in the case that was moving on toward trial. Wouldn't have been a jury trial that all that's at stake here are legal issues of constitutionality of the law. So juries don't get involved in that kind of thing. That's strictly up to the judge to decide. So the plaintiffs, in this case, the trade association of tech companies, expedited things a bit by this case will still go to trial, but they moved in early and said, Hey we would like you to issue trial court, a preliminary injunction which is basically a stay of the law. The law w went, would've gone into effect, but I, I believe it did actually go into effect briefly mm-hmm <affirmative>, but the trial court said, hold your horses here.

Denise Howell (00:11:03):
We're gonna take a look at this. The standard on granting a preliminary injunction is really, really high. So what the trial court had to be shown was that the plaintiffs had a likelihood of success on the merits. That means when they get to trial, the trial court has to assess everything and see are they likely to win and hear the trial court said, yeah, they're likely to win. They're likely to win on all these constitutional challenges. And there's a second part that has to be in place too, in order for the trial court to do what it did. And that is if we don't grant this injunction, now, what happens is there irreparable harm by this law going into effect? So that's where the trial court had to get into the constitutional analysis and decide if we go ahead and say that Texas can control the social media platforms in this way and control their private company decision making.

Denise Howell (00:12:00):
What does that mean? Well, what the trial court found was that means it improperly impairs the first amendment rights of those companies which a lot of people don't know that private companies, although they have lesser first amendment rights than individuals, they do have free speech rights. And there are cases on the books, several Supreme court cases that talk about how editorial decisions by a private entity are protected under the first amendment amendment. So that's what the trial court did. It put an injunction in place, the fifth circuit, then its intermediate appellate level got involved and, and was asked to decide, should this injunction be in place or should the law take effect while this case goes on to trial? And then these constitutional issues are decided there, the fifth circuit seemed a little confused. <Laugh> the fifth circuit, the fifth circuit issued a very short order.

Denise Howell (00:13:04):
But at the hearing on this matter, a lot of the justices were taught there. It's a three, sorry, they're judges at that level, not justices Uhhuh. And there's a three judge panel that makes that decision. And a lot of the dialogue there tip to tipped their hand, that the way that they're considering social media platforms is as common carriers like your phone company like a network on television. So when you're a common carrier, you have various responsibilities to be content neutral. And again, networks on television don't even really fall into that category that a, a, a televis, a telephone company is about the best example you can give networks on television, obviously, exercise, editorial control. But when you place a phone call, nobody nobody's gonna be listening in and going, Hey, I see that you're plotting to Rob a bank or whatever, and we're gonna immediately terminate your call and terminate your account.

Denise Howell (00:14:17):
And, you know, unless you're being monitored by the government, that doesn't happen. So a, a lot of the fifth circuit judges seemed to be confused as to the actual nature, the legal status nature of social media platforms. And that's how they got to their decision. One must assume that the law should go into effect while this constitutional challenge is pending. So what that means is cases typically take months, if not, you know, a year or two to get to trial. And that would mean that for that period of time this law would go into effect and social media platforms would have to scramble to comply. So here's what the Supreme court did this week. The fifth circuit's decision was challenged to the Supreme court and the Supreme court justice who looks over the fifth circuit's decisions is justice Alito mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Denise Howell (00:15:24):
And what justice Alito decided to do is the challenge was, did the fifth circuit do the right thing here? The, the Supreme court was not asked to decide anything constitutional on the merits of this case. All it was asked to decide is, should this law go into effect or not? The trial court said, yes, we should stay this law. It granted a motion for injunction said, it should be enjoined. Then we'll get to the constitutional issues at trial. And if people wanna appeal that up the chain, they can do it. Then fifth circuit said, Nope, let's go ahead. Let it go into effect. Supreme court decided in something called the shadow docket, which sounds very clandestine and, and cloak and dag dagger. But all it really means is they don't have to lay out the basis for their decision. All they have to do is say, yeah, we agree.

Denise Howell (00:16:18):
No, we don't agree. This is a procedural, a procedural issue. And I, I think, you know, in most instances, what you would expect the court to do is take a pretty hands off approach to the circuit court's decisions that are presented up to it. But this was a little unusual. It was unusual in, in two ways or maybe several ways. First Alito didn't make the decision on his own, which he has authorized to do. Instead he referred the outcome, should this fifth circuit undoing of the injunction stand. He referred that to the whole Supreme court to decide. So they get to have, you know, every justice way in on that issue. And they did and the majority of the court went ahead and decided, Hey, you know what? The trial court here has some discretion to make this decision of law on its own. There may be a time, again, this is all just reading between the lines, because on the shadow docket, the court doesn't issue an actual opinion. They just decide should the fifth circuit's decision stand or not. And here they decided, no, it should not. What should stand is the trial court's injunction? That means the law is on hold until there's a trial and a final determination of the constitutionality. So, so

Mikah Sargent (00:17:48):
Does that mean that we could see if you had a prediction of when we could see this this trial go through, at what point? I mean, is that something that we'll be looking at later this year? Is that something where we're kind of seeing how other states are responding to this and then moving forward? What are your thoughts on kind of the future of this now that it's on hold?

Denise Howell (00:18:11):
So it's on hold per the Supreme court. There was a dissent. So we know that certain justices, including justice Alito, would've liked to see this law go into effect while the trial court case is still pending. So they, they actually wrote a dissent that was justice, Alito, justice, Thomas, and justice Gorsuch all thought, yeah, let's go ahead and let this go into law. And they explained why they thought that would be a good idea. And they were much more charitable to the fifth circuit's reasoning, which is a little questionable. So they're, they're kind of tipping their hand. I, I believe if if this eventually comes up to the Supreme court, how, how they would be inclined to rule on the constitutionality of the law itself justice Kagan. Interestingly also wanted to see the law go into effect, but she didn't join the dissent, which means she doesn't agree with the reasoning of the dissent, but she agrees with the outcome.

Denise Howell (00:19:17):
She, for whatever reason, nobody's asked her, and she's not saying, <laugh> saying she, she would like to see it go into effect too. But the rest of the court which is chief justice, Roberts, justice, Kavanaugh, and justice Barrett tellingly on the conservative side, all voted to go ahead and let this injunction stay in place. So back to your question, how long, you know, are we looking at it being in place? I'm pretty sure given what's happened here, it'll be in place until a final decision comes. Now what's a final decision. The trial court will make a decision at the trial. How long will it get to trial several months, possibly a year, possibly more. I mean, it depends. I would think that they would wanna expedite this. I would think that because these are primarily questions of law that don't require a whole lot of evidence to determine that it could be expedited.

Denise Howell (00:20:23):
There wouldn't be that much discovery, but again, who knows, someone may want to lay out a whole bunch of real world scenarios of things that have happened with respect to moderation and present those to the court. So we'll just have to wait and see how long it takes the trial court to get around to its decision. But then once we have a decision on the merits from the trial court, which we're pretty sure is going to be that the law is unconstitutional because of the way that they have ruled on the injunction, which had a really high standard of deciding whether the plaintiffs were likely to succeed. Then we'll see it go up to the fifth circuit. We we're pretty sure we know what the fifth circuit will do. <Laugh> since they kind of tipped their hand in undoing the injunction, and then it would go up to the Supreme court, but I'm pretty sure that a stay will stay in place until we get a final decision from the highest court. The Supreme court doesn't have to take this. It doesn't have to take any case that it's presented with, but this seems like an important enough issue with enough controversy in enough jurisdictions in the country that it probably would take this case.

Mikah Sargent (00:21:44):
Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. Well, Denise, how I wanna thank you so much for spending some time out of your day to join us here and explain this particularly, I think it was a great moment where you talked about how those court systems work. And I was taken all the way back to, I think, sixth grade where I learned that it's been so long that, you know, I, I have not remembered from that point kind of how those those court systems work from the ground up. And so that was very helpful. You've done an excellent job explaining everything today, and I wanna thank you. If folks wanna follow you online and check out all the great work that you do, where should they go to do so

Denise Howell (00:22:20):
I'm Dal on Twitter and my website is Denise, and everything you need to know about me is there.

Mikah Sargent (00:22:30):
Awesome. Thank you, Denise. We appreciate it.

Denise Howell (00:22:32):
Thank you so much, Mikah. Have a great week.

Mikah Sargent (00:22:34):
You as well. All right, folks, up next, we're gonna get a preview of Apple's upcoming, worldwide developers conference. What announcements should we expect before we answer that though? I do wanna take a quick break to tell you about ne Reva who are bringing you this episode of tech news, weekly, complicated and costly. That has been the state of audio conferencing for larger spaces for a really long time. Choosing a traditional system might entail difficult design software and selecting from a dizzying array of separate mics, speakers, DSPs, and more installation usually requires outside technicians, and it's often highly invasive and expensive. It could take your room offline for days. The industry was definitely primed for the same type of leap in technology that had transformed and simplified other sectors. NA Reva made that leap when they created revolutionary microphone missed technology with this patented technology one or two integrated microphone and speaker bars fill a room with thousands of virtual microphones.

Mikah Sargent (00:23:44):
There are no dead zones and everyone can be heard everywhere in the room meeting and class participants can simply talk and move naturally in the space and still be heard by remote participants. And thanks to continuous auto calibration, your rooms are instantly and always ready with optimized audio, no outside technician required NA Reva also simplified installation. It's a 30 minute DIY job. That means big savings on time and cost compared to traditional systems. They simplified management as well. NA Reva console gives it the power to monitor, manage, and adjust their systems from anywhere. No need for it to go from room to room. So ask yourself if you want to go with the costly and complicated traditional system or make the leap to simple and economical Neva, learn That's N U R E V Thank you, Neva for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. Let's head into our next segment, joining us to talk about WWDC, which is right around the corner is our very own Rene Ritchie. Hello, Rene,

Rene Ritchie (00:24:51):
Mikah, it's always so good to see you.

Mikah Sargent (00:24:54):
It's always good to see you too, in that beautifully lit room of yours that I'm convinced is in the middle of a giant studio somewhere that you have purchased. And there's like a hundred camera people running around and, and there's a, there's a Foley crew and, and I don't what's going on.

Rene Ritchie (00:25:11):
Would I wear a little bit where Alex Lindsay

Mikah Sargent (00:25:13):
<Laugh> in any case, so happy to have you here to talk about WWDC. So this is Apple's worldwide developers conference. This is the time of the year when apple reveals a bunch of information for developers, first of all, but occasionally consumers, secondarily, and it's a multi-day event that has lots of opportunities for folks to chat with people from apple and learn about new features or ask about existing features. I wanna kick things off with the most important question that I know people will have. Can we, and by the way, I'm, I'm sort of getting sad saying this because I love the software, but can we expect any hardware at WWDC? Do you think,

Rene Ritchie (00:26:00):
See, I thought you were gonna ask me about serenity Caldwell recap videos. Cause I know that's a real highlight for the both of

Mikah Sargent (00:26:04):
Us every year. Indeed.

Rene Ritchie (00:26:07):
Yeah. I think, you know, WC, as you said, is it is the guaranteed software events. The year that we get all the updates to iPhones, iPads, maxed apple TVs, even AirPods. Now AirPods are getting software updates for the last couple years, but apple does use it. If there is, for example, something that wasn't ready for a March event, if there was no March event, like in 2017 where we ended up getting IMAX iMac pro new MacBook pros, MacBook home pod, it was like the iPad pro. It was like, it was a Bonanza of hardware that year, but that's really an exception. Sometimes you get a new MacBook pro. Sometimes you get several times now we've gotten a preview for the Mac pro. So that would be my best guess if we see anything that is atoms and not bits, I think it'll be a preview for the last of the apple Silicon Mac transitions. And that is the, the biggest and baddest of them, all the Mac pro.

Mikah Sargent (00:26:56):
Awesome. Let's talk about bits because I am super pumped. It was just on Mac break weekly that you pointed out that people frankly, should be more excited about the software, because this is a way to make what's old or what's, you know, in my case, not all that old new again, and I am pumped, let's start with specifically iOS the software that runs on the iPhone. Do we know of any rumors, first of all, or anything that we can definitely count on that will be announced at WWDC regarding iOS?

Rene Ritchie (00:27:35):
Yeah, I mean, they've thrown us some curve balls over the last couple years, especially I think as they focus down a little bit more on work for home and remote communication, we got like share, play and FaceTime conference calls and even FaceTime on Android. And I think this year they're leaning more into that sort of thing into communications. So some of the rumors are around iMessage and making iMessage more social. I don't know what that means in an apple context from the company that gave us ping and, you know apple music connect. I really, really don't know. But you know, if, if there's anything that can be used, I know a lot of people are increasingly frustrated by Instagram, for example, because it's not the photo sharing app that a lot of us signed up for to follow our friends. Now it's like trying to be TikTok in a lot of ways. So if apple could do something about just making, sharing and collaborating in community a little bit more in iMessage, think that would make a lot of people happy.

Mikah Sargent (00:28:23):
That would certainly make me happy for sure. I would love to see sort of like a, like a path app, but built by apple and it's just essentially messages. But, but for, oh my God, I would follow all that

Rene Ritchie (00:28:35):
Plus with golden bubbles.

Mikah Sargent (00:28:36):
<Laugh> <laugh> indeed. Okay. Let's move on to iPad OS. This is the operating system for the iPad. It is technically iOS, but apple has started to split those two as more features come to the iPad for that larger screen factor.

Rene Ritchie (00:28:55):
Yeah. And this one is making me a little nervous. I'm not afraid to admit that I cause one of the biggest rumors is that they're gonna put full on multi windowing, like multis size, multi windowing on the iPad. And I worry because at a certain point, like it just makes more sense to me to make a touchscreen Mac. Like if people really, really wanna Mac, I don't think they should be going around ripping iPads out of the mainstream people's hands. Just like tell apple what you wanna see in a better Mac. But there is this thought that the iPad has to evolve and nerds often have the biggest pulpits, the biggest sticks, the loudest voices. So I, I hope that apple can find a way to empower iPad users without disempowering, the mainstream who finally found a computer that was like simple and approachable enough for them.

Mikah Sargent (00:29:37):
I agree. I agree. Moving on to watch OS and TV OS, these are the operating systems for the apple watch and for the apple TV, respectively, anything we should expect from these two devices.

Rene Ritchie (00:29:53):
So I don't have any expectations from TV OS because it it's been like, it's interesting, like apple keeps pushing it forward, but it's still like it's so many years and so many versions on. And if I'm watching a great show on there, Mikah, I still have no way to tell you without breaking out my iPhone. I can't press a button and say, share this, pick a contact and have it go to Mikah. I can't go in there and say like recommend this. I, it's still hard to like even recommend apps on, on apple TV. So I hope that apple decides to flesh that part of it out a little, if they are doing this big communications push just final, even the home pod can handle messaging and not the apple TV. So like I wish that they would, they would sort of catch up in that, in that sense.

Mikah Sargent (00:30:29):
I agree with that as well. Yeah. It would be nice to have some more collaborative options there. Moving on then Mac OS the operating system for the Mac, especially now that many max out in the wild are running those M one chips. What are we expecting from Mac O S I think this is the one I've heard the fewest rumors about.

Rene Ritchie (00:30:54):
Yeah, it got a big, big redesign in 2020 the same year that they announced apple Silicon. And we're waiting to see of course again, the last apple Silicon Mac, but I think they're gonna just continue down the path of refinement in a lot of ways they've done very incremental because like multi windowing on the iPad is in some ways friendlier that it is on the Mac now. And it's nowhere nearly as good as it is on windows like the titular windows. So anything that they can do to just further refine the Mac experience when you start to become that mature and operating system, it's more about smoothing things out. And I know it's popular to say like apple needs a snow leopard moment, even though like snow leopard was a hundred percent marketing. Steve just didn't wanna have two things to say on stage, we decided on nothing <laugh> would be better than, than, than saying a couple things. But I think it would behoove them to sort of, they've had so many monumental platform changes from swift to APF S the apple filing system to apple Silicon to just really rethink the way that everything works and to make it not like it doesn't crash a lot, but there's still a lot of things that are super frustrating across the OS and sort of smoothing those things out would make a lot of Mac users very happy.

Mikah Sargent (00:31:55):
Yes. and then round things out, just any other tidbits that we should sort of be aware of, or that you've heard about rumor wise, at least when it comes to WWDC C

Rene Ritchie (00:32:10):
I think a lot of people are still super curious when, and if we'll hear anything about the mixed reality headset that apple has been working on. And while I don't, I think that will probably the announcement of the actual headset will probably be down the road. Maybe September, maybe March apple has been really pushing AR kit. They introduced Alex Lindsey's favorite feature, which was the, the capturing with photogrammetry and a lot of the reality kit stuff last year. So if apple starts going into full blown, real reality OS, even if they don't mention that name, but if they just start adding much, much richer, much better tools around the AR VR, Mr. Like MX experience, I think that would be not only a hint and a half of what's coming down, but just a really good way to get all the engines revving before it does come down.

Mikah Sargent (00:32:50):
Got it. Rene, thank you for that succinct preview of WWDC. Of course, folks you can tune in on Monday as Leo Laport and I discuss WWDC as it's going on in that that commentary style, but lots of folks will be covering the event both there and afterward. And so you can stay posted for those, if folks want to follow you online and check out all the great work you are doing Rene, where should they go to do that?

Rene Ritchie (00:33:24):
I'm Ritchie, or right here every Tuesday with Leo, Andy, Alex, and friends on Mac quickly.

Mikah Sargent (00:33:31):
Excellent. Thanks Rene.

Rene Ritchie (00:33:33):
Thanks, Mikah.

Mikah Sargent (00:33:35):
All right, up next, we have technologists joining together to advocate for responsible FinTech policy. We actually are going to talk to one of the we the undersigned, but first I do wanna take a quick break to tell you about goodness. I love him. It's express V P N express VPN N is sponsoring this week's episode, going online without express VPN. It's kinda like using your smartphone without a protective case on your smartphone. Most of the time, you'll probably be fine, but all it takes is one accidental drop onto concrete to make you wish you had protected yourself. So let's ask why does a person need a VPN? Well, every time you connect to an unencrypted network, cafes, hotels, airports, those places might have those kinds of networks. Your online data isn't secure. Any hacker on the same network can gain access to your personal data, no passwords, financial details, all sorts of information.

Mikah Sargent (00:34:39):
And it doesn't take much technical knowledge to hack someone, just some cheap hardware. Your data is valuable. Of course it is. Hackers can make up to a thousand dollars per person by selling personal information on the dark web. So they're gonna hack and they're gonna sell it. So why should you use express VPN in particular? Well, express VPN has some great technologies involved. First, the encrypted tunnel. It creates a secure encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet. So hackers can't steal your sensitive data. It's super secure. It'd take a hacker with a super computer more than a billion years to get past express VPNs encryption. It's very easy to use. I can tell you that for a fact I can in mere moments, just tap a button and express VPN starts on my iOS devices. You fire up the app, you tap or click on the button and you are protected, and it works on all devices on your phones, on your laptops, on your tablets.

Mikah Sargent (00:35:41):
You can even set it up to work with your smart TV. That's one of those really insidious devices in your home that loves to share your personal information. You can hear me getting kind of frustrated about it because those devices do that. And you might not even know what's going on. So protect yourself with express VPN on all of those devices. I love express VPN. I have it on everything. I use it regularly, and I regularly forget it's on because it does not slow down my connection when I am using it. It's so simple to use on those different devices. And I, man, I love it. And I gotta tell you too, you know, there was a lot of question about express VPN and in comparison to other VPNs, you know, which ones are secure, which ones aren't I dug into the privacy policy for express VPN.

Mikah Sargent (00:36:35):
I dug into the third party audits of express VPN. Did the research express VPN, Ugh. It is a beautiful system for protecting yourself online. I trusted wholeheartedly, and you can too secure your online data today by visiting express that's E ex P R E S S N w. And you can get an extra three months free that's express, and w thank you, express VPN for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly. All right. It is time for our next conversation. This time with one of the technologists who signed a new letter, advocating for responsible policies surrounding financial technology and in particular the, the ever crypto at this point joining us to chat about this is Time Bray. Welcome to the show, Tim

Time Bray (00:37:40):
Cody, can you hear me?

Mikah Sargent (00:37:41):
Yes, I can. You sound great. And I am so happy to have you here to kick things off. I would love it if you could kind of talk about the, the, the, sort of the, the setup of this letter, where, you know, what all of you as technologists kind of saw happening and sort of a story of what made you gather together and write this letter to lawmakers saying, Hey, we need to be keeping an eye on this, and then we'll get into the nitty gritty details of the letter itself and kind of what you're advocating for.

Time Bray (00:38:14):
Well, I think there's a, a general feeling among senior technologists that crypto is, is, is going bad. It, it, it, you know, it, it, the technology is unfit for purpose in most cases, and it's become really a CSPI of Grif and theft and Ponzi, and a huge proportion of the activity in there is about fleeing rubs. And yet it seems to be regularly trumpeted by various smart looking people as the future of everything mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so if you go follow the dialogues around the internet on Twitter, on blogs and so on, you have this repeated pattern of senior technologists saying, Ooh, and eventually we decided that you know, we should say something to people who aren't technologists to people who actually are in a position to make rules and do things about this. And, and thus this letter was organized. And I know I just got an email outta the blue saying, here's this letter, here's some other people who are signing it, would you like to, and I was delighted to, so that's how it happened.

Mikah Sargent (00:39:11):
Excellent. Yes. I have to say as an aside, I'm glad that there are folks out there who are looking at this because as a technology journalist, you know, watching this stuff happen all the time and seeing all of these stories of people who are getting fleed as you is the term that you use. I, I like that. I mean, in this, in this case, it is good to know that because I think for us, it can sometimes be the situation where you, where I go, okay, I know that I, this is not something that I never wanna be a part of or, or, you know, partake, participate in, but there's a difference between those of us with technology knowledge making that choice for ourselves and someone outside of this who is looking at this, getting dollar signs in their eyes in some cases, or I guess, Bitcoin signs in their eyes in some cases, and making that choice to, to partake. So it's good that there's more to this. So then let's get into the letter because this was sent to, as you said, lawmakers, who can actually make a difference in terms of policy regarding financial technology, FinTech for short. And I'm curious, kind of what or rather for our listeners, what is it specifically that you have written to these to these lawmakers? What is it that you are advocating for in terms of making a difference for FinTech policy?

Time Bray (00:40:37):
Well, well, sure. In the developed world, we've got a pretty mature set of rules and regulations where if you're going to sell a stock or a bond or something like that, there are a bunch of rules. You have to follow about transparency and being clear about what the risks are and the kinds of things you're allowed to say and not allowed to say, and the system isn't perfect. And, you know, for example, Elon Musk gets in trouble all the time for saying things but you know, it's not terrible. And, and in fact, you know, in most cases, if somebody says, Hey, this stock looks pretty good. You can go and buy some of it, and you're probably not gonna get fleed. And most companies can offer debt in the form of bonds and is very transparent what the risk structure is. And, and you can, you know, make that part of your investment.

Time Bray (00:41:18):
And that's just fine. If you look at right now at crypto, there are all sorts of people making extravagant claims for things you can buy into that are guaranteed to go up and pay 20% a week and, and all this stuff. And we think that these are investments and debt offerings, and so on, in, in much the same way as stocks and bonds are and should be subject to similar regulation. And one of the things that makes, that makes that hard is that the crypto advocates run around saying, well, this is the future of, of finance and the internet and everything. And if you don't understand that, you're just not smart enough and you're stuck in the past. And we're saying, well, no, not really. It's it's technology. All right, but it's not particularly good technology. And the way it's being used should be regulated in the same way that ordinary financial instruments are, which doesn't seem to me that complicated and or controversial thing to say.

Mikah Sargent (00:42:06):
Yeah. one of the things that you mention in, or one of the things that the group mentions in the letter is the involvement of of, of folks who speak to lawmakers called lobbyists for those who might not know, and their job of course, is to sort of make it so the lawmakers will influence policy in way that in ways that affect them. Is there a large lobbying effort among cryptocurrency companies and, and cryptocurrency services is, have, have you noticed, or has the, the group of people noticed that you're seeing a lot of lobbyists from that sector?

Time Bray (00:42:49):
I, I'm not a, you know, sufficiently savvy political insider to say, is this a big deal lobbying effort? I mean, it's certainly, non-zero, you know, big name organizations like Andreas and Horowitz, maybe the most famous VC firm in the world, Coinbase. And, and, and so on are certainly have been in there arguing for you know that crypto is great and people should just get out of the way you know, which obviously I, and a lot of other people disagree with, is this a major lobbying effort by Washington standards? I don't know, but it's sufficiently good enough that we've got this multimillion dollar C pool, all cesspool of Ponzi schemes and so on bubbling away and so far you know, legislators have been pretty well and different to that. And so to the extent that there has been any lobbying at all, it's been working pretty well. And, and I think they need to stop being indifferent.

Mikah Sargent (00:43:40):
One of the things that the letter talks about is that and this is, I'm just gonna quote by its very designed blockchain technology specifically, so called public blockchains are poorly suited for just about every purpose currently touted as a present or potential source of public benefit. And you, the, the letter goes on to say that after more than 13 years of development and has severe limitations in design flaws, that preclude almost all applications that deal with public customer data and regulated financial transactions and are not an improvement on existing non blockchain solutions. So this letter kind of talks about how it is being touted as this holy grail solution, but it is none of the things that it actually provides for are any better than the, the options that we have. Now, I am curious from your perspective is it a future where the blockchain and web three and all of this other stuff that is currently a, a cesspool of funny money, is there a future where all of that gets to exist next to what we have now? Or are we looking for a future where the web three, the, the blockchain and all of that kind of stuff is, is sort of pulled out of the financial sector is not a part of that going forward, which one kind of is, is the group advocating for,

Time Bray (00:45:07):
Well, to answer that you have to have to address the question, what is blockchain actually good for? You know, what, what problem is it better at solving than anything else we have? And, and, and that's where it should be used. And if you look hard, it's really hard to find any such problems. I mean, the classical one that Bitcoin claimed to be was a currency. And unfortunately it's implementation only allows like eight or nine transactions a second globally, which is obviously ridiculous. Ridiculously inadequate, Ethereum is faster, but still not fast enough. And for, you know, a decade now we've been hearing promises that they're gonna fix that any day now. And well, they haven't. And you know, the amount of energy wastage that goes in is just hideous, particularly in the face of ensuing climate change. And then, you know, it's also got a technical characteristic, which is that one of the big attractions of a blockchain is something that's been written to.

Time Bray (00:45:53):
It can't be unwritten it's, it's, imutable irreversible well that's okay. Except for it, arguably as it stands breaks the GDPR reg legislation in Europe. So at the moment, you know, when I first saw blockchain, I thought, oh, that's cool. What a clever thing, but it's been a lot of years and nobody's really found a sweet spot where a blockchain underlies the killer app. So I don't really see a very large role for, for, for crypto in the technology ecosystem of the future. Maybe somebody will come up with something, but I kind of think if they were going to, they would've by now. So I'm pretty dubious

Mikah Sargent (00:46:30):
<Laugh>. Yes. well, I have to say I am right there with you. Tim, I wanna thank you so much for taking a bit out of your day to talk to us here about this letter people can head to to read the letter themselves. And of course we're keeping an eye on all things crypto and web three going forward. But if folks want to follow you online and check out all the great work that you are doing, what is a great place or a couple of places where they should go to check it out?

Time Bray (00:47:02):
Well, I'm Time Brayt. I M B R a Y on Twitter. And I'm, I, I I'm, I have a blog that does pretty well and you just go to and you'll find it. So, yeah.

Mikah Sargent (00:47:14):
Excellent. Thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate it.

Time Bray (00:47:17):
Thank's been fun.

Mikah Sargent (00:47:19):
All right. Up next. It's my story of the week. Facebook slash metas, COO Cheryl Sandberg is stepping down, but first we'll take a quick, so I can tell you about it. Pro TV, who are bringing you this episode of Tech News Weekly, it pro TV. There are lots of it training platforms you could go to, but the question is, do they have the most up to date content? You can get the best possible it training and certifications with it. Pro TV, get training and certified on your own schedule with their virtual labs and practice tests. You'll always be supported and prepared for your exams. You can binge episodes in 20 to 30 minute increments, and they have more than 5,800 hours of it training. That is always up to date with the most current content, which is important, of course, in this fast paced world.

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Mikah Sargent (00:50:00):
It pro TV build or expand your it career and enjoy the journey. Thanks so much to it. Pro TV for sponsoring this week's episode of Tech News Weekly, all right. Back from the break. And it's time to talk about meta also known as Facebook Facebook's COO and Meta's COO, which of course is the parent company for Facebook is Cheryl Sandberg, or I should say is currently Cheryl Sandberg. Cheryl Sandberg has announced that she is stepping down from this role. Cheryl Sandberg joined Facebook way back in 2008 and joined as the person right under CEO, mark Zuckerberg. If you're curious, who will be taking over Javier Ove, the company's chief growth officer C G O I guess I dunno if they work on like produce, is that the idea there growing corn anyway, chief growth officer is gonna take over as COO in the fall, but until then Cheryl is kind of working to, I should say, Sandberg is working to get her direct reports reassigned and do all of that kind of stuff, but we'll continue to be on the board of directors.

Mikah Sargent (00:51:17):
Thank you. Chicken head 21 in the chat, who said that was corny. Indeed. It was <laugh>. So this is an interesting thing because 2008 Facebook of course, was, was still, you know, on its way to being a company that was going to take over the world as it kind of has at this point with as many users as it has, but at the time it was still a site where you shared your relationship status and posted your favorite. I can remember going in and putting in my just taking hours of time putting in my favorite music albums and, you know adding these, just just so, and in, in, you know, you got them lined up exactly as you want them and adding my favorite songs, my favorite artists, my favorite foods, all that kind of stuff. And at that point, it really was this place for folks to kind of share personal stuff.

Mikah Sargent (00:52:18):
It was a place where you shared photos of things happening in your life, and then those things kind of existed on the platform. And, and, you know, people could come and comment on them over time. Facebook became more of a place for people to share news and misinformation and is what it is today. But, but Sandberg is well known as a person who helped make the company, the profitable company that it is today. The, the, the money that the company earns today is in part due to Sandberg's own work. And of course the work of her team in creating Facebook. So Sandberg was the one who helped to make advertising. The huge thing that it is today. It is why at the hearing in front of Congress mark Zuckerberg had to repeat several times that the company makes money by being able to let advertisers target specific groups of people on its platform.

Mikah Sargent (00:53:33):
They kept asking, why is, why do you give Facebook away for free? Why do you give Facebook away for free? Why can people use it for free? And Zuckerberg had to keep saying congressmen, we sell ads, we sell ads that is due a large part in, in the success that it's had to Sheryl Sandberg. So it is an interesting thing. There's a huge, huge, huge Facebook post that Sandberg put together kind of talking about her decision to step down. And apparently according to mark Zuckerberg himself, the company is planning to do a reorg internally that will take place as Cheryl steps out of the company. So I don't know what this means for, you know, the future of meta the future of Facebook. But it does seem that the, the company is kind of trying to look at a way to pull and isolate the parts of the company where it's earning money through through the, the ads that it sells and, and that kind of thing from its future, which is meta and the creator marketplace that's going to exist there.

Mikah Sargent (00:54:51):
And also a restructuring in place given how the company has been accused of being responsible for having a spread of, of misinformation, having a spread of the different material that has existed on the platform and having a role in some way in affecting elections in years past. And it's faced antitrust lawsuits, it's gotta pay money related to the, or I think it was just sued. I think maybe it was even Zuckerberg who was sued for collecting user information or allowing service on the Facebook social media site to collect user information. There's kind of lots of stuff going on there. And it does seem like a as the company works to try and rearrange things that is kind of in part to address some of those concerns. She also Sandberg has written a book that was way back in 2013 and as the CNBC article notes in 2015 her husband died at expectedly and later released a new book kind of talking about grief.

Mikah Sargent (00:56:19):
So it's unclear where Sandberg is going next in particular, but lots of people have kind of said she's taking some time to be with her money, as they say just looking at different options to ex to be able to use the, the money that she's made working at Facebook for as long as she has and making Facebook into what it is today. So I wanted to get that out there that if, if you hadn't heard, which would be kind of wild <laugh> Cheryl Sandberg's leaving Facebook as the COO leaving meta as the COO after many years. And depending on how you see things, she's either very, very successful or very unsuccessful because the company is huge and does make a lot of money, but some would argue that the company's harm companies harm outweighs the success of its tad.

Mikah Sargent (00:57:23):
So anyway, that's something to keep in mind. Folks, this brings us to the end of this episode of Tech News Weekly, which publishes every slash TNW. That's where you can go to subscribe to the show in audio and video formats. If you'd like to get all of our shows ad free, we've got a way for you to do that. It's called club twit for seven bucks a month. You get every single twit show with no ads. You get access to the exclusive twit plus bonus feed that has extra content. You won't find anywhere else and access to the members, only discord server. That's a place where you can go to chat with your fellow club, TWI members, but also those of us here at twit we're there, we're hanging out. We love to chat. Well today, the, I will say the Tech News Weekly channel was pretty quiet.

Mikah Sargent (00:58:07):
So, you know, step it up, club Twitters and any case tweet seven bucks a month is where you go to sign up for that. And we'd love it. If you joined us there. We also heard that some folks wanted to just subscribe to specific shows to support them directly, and we heard you. And we do have a way for you to do that. If you have, and use apple podcasts, you can look for tech news, weekly and apple podcasts. Find the audio version of the feed. You'll see a button that says subscribe for 2 99, when you subscribe for 2 99 then it will allow you to get an ad free version of the audio feed. So thank you to those of you who do that. We've got quite a few people who've signed up for that version. If you'd like to tweet at me, follow me online, et cetera, cetera, you can find me at mic Sergeant on many, a social media network or head two

Mikah Sargent (00:59:05):
That's ch I HOA, where I've got links to the places I'm most active online. Check me out on Saturdays for the tech guy radio show heard around the world with Leo Laport, where we take questions live on air from folks who are having trouble with their tech and try to answer them and help them out with that. And on Tuesdays for iOS today, the show I record with Rosemary orchard, where we talk all things, iOS, tvOS, watch OS home PS, et cetera. This next week's show is gonna be awesome because apple will have just announced the new version of iOS. So we're gonna happily be talking about that on iOS today. Thanks. Of course, to our technical director and editor, John Ashley Burke in the studio who makes sure that everything is running and rolling as it should be and that our guests sound as good as they possibly can. And to anyone else who's helping out there. Oh, to our continuity team as well. Ashley, Debbie, Sebastian for making sure that the ants are good to go and our sponsors are happy. Thank you team Tech News Weekly, and thank you out there for listening. We will see you. Both of us, both of us being Jason and myself will see you next week until then. Goodbye.

Jason Howell (01:00:28):
Don't miss all about Android. Every week. We talk about the latest news hardware apps, and now all the developer goodness, happening in the Android ecosystem. I'm Jason Howell also joined by Ron Richards, Florence ion, and our newest co-host on the panel when to Dow who brings her developer chops, really great stuff. We also invite people from all over the Android ecosystem to talk about this mobile platform. We love so much. Join us every Tuesday, all about Android on

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