This Week in Tech Episode 916 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

Leo Laporte (00:00:00):
It's time for TWiTthis week in Tech with a big week at the Supreme Court. We're really glad Mike Masnick from Tech Dirt is here. Owen Thomas joins us from the San Francisco Examiner and from Mac Break Weekly. Alex Lindsay is in the house. We'll talk about Section two 30, the oral arguments, why the NSA probably should be governed a little bit more by the Supreme Court. A potential Apple Watch ban. They got, they got the hacker who hacked all those Twitter accounts, and then an iPhone that's sold for $63,000. All that and more. Coming up next on Twitter, podcasts you love

TWiT Intro (00:00:42):
From people you trust. This

Leo Laporte (00:00:45):
Is Twitch is twit.

This is twit this week in Tech. Episode 916 recorded Sunday, February 26th. 2023. Fetch happens this week. In Tech is brought to you by noom. Stay focused on what's important to you with noom weight's, psychology based approach, and check out noom s first ever book The Noom Mindset, a deep dive into the psychology of behavior change, available to buy now wherever books are sold. And of course, sign up for your trial at And by Worldwide technology with an innovative culture, thousands of IT engineers, application developers, unmatched labs and integration centers for testing and deploying technology at scale. WWT helps customers bridge the gap between strategy and execution. To learn more about wwt, visit buy Set your business up for success when you start today. Sign up with the promo code TWIT for a special offer that includes a four week trial free postage, and a free digital scale. Just go to, click the microphone at the top of the page, and enter the code twit and by ACI learning, if you love it pro, you'll love ACI Learning aci Learning offers, fully customizable training for your team in formats for all kinds of learners across audit, cybersecurity, and it from entry level training to putting people on the moon ACI Learning has you covered. Visit go dot aci to learn more.

It's time for twit. This week at Tech, the show we cover the weeks tech news. I have assembled. I have assembled extra. Jason, Jason Howell has assembled the best panel of journalists Money could buy. Well, since we don't pay them, it's <laugh>. Anyway. Mike Masnick is here. Tec Now that's pretty good. Hey, Mike. Hello. Good to see you. We had your colleague Kathy on, on Twig to talk about the Supreme Court, but you had some great takes too. I want to get your thoughts sure. About Section two 30 Gonzalez versus Google. We also have a wonderful friend, Owen Thomas, columnist for the Examiner. Now he's the Herb Cane of Tech in San Francisco.

Owen Thomas (00:03:18):
Oh, oh, stop. Go on, you

Leo Laporte (00:03:21):
<Laugh>. Also his personal blog. I hate to pu to publish it, to promote it because you haven't published anything there in seven years, but someday he will to the I,

Owen Thomas (00:03:32):
I keep threatening to, I keep

Leo Laporte (00:03:34):
Threatening you. You're busy now you're writing for a, a real place. So I understand. You

Owen Thomas (00:03:39):
Know, would, would, would Herb Kane have a daily blog? Probably. Actually,

Leo Laporte (00:03:42):
Actually, I wonder what Herb would do. That's a really interesting question. Yeah, he was the legendary San F Francisco Chronicle columnist. He was, he was the guy. This is back when really newspapers were just about display ads. They were the thing in between the display ads, and he was the guy, his column was right next to the Macy's ad every single day. And the whole point was to get you to look at the Macy's ad. I think also with us, Alex Lindsay, a regular back break week. We'd like to bring in people from our other shows from time to time. 0 9 0 Media is his business, his day job. After hours, it's Office Hi, Alex.

Alex Lindsay (00:04:21):
Hi. It's

Leo Laporte (00:04:21):
Good to be here. It's nice to see you on a Sunday.

Alex Lindsay (00:04:24):
I know, I know <laugh>, it's usually hard, but it's great to be

Leo Laporte (00:04:27):
Here. Let me start with the the bad news from the Supreme Court. They decided not to take the case. Wiki Media. The parent company Wikipedia, had sued the NSA over their upstream surveillance, as you probably know. I mean, this is a, this was a lawsuit from 2015 thanks to Edward Snowden and other revelations. We realized that the NSA wasn't getting into your Google and Facebook and Twitter account. They were just doing it upstream as it as it came out of those servers into the real world. And they were doing it basically for everyone. It was the suspicion list, that's the word they use, collection and searching of internet traffic on data transmission lines flowing into and out of the United States. They said, well, it's only mostly it was just foreign targets, except for anybody the foreign target was talking to in the us You were there too. But the justices said, no, it's protected because release of some information would damage US National Security. That seems sensible actually, Mike

Mike Masnick (00:05:33):
I'm gonna challenge that. <Laugh>. Okay, <laugh>. So it, it, it, it's actually, there, there are a bunch of issues with the program and the setup, and it goes beyond kind of what you just described a little bit, right? So they, they were tapping all communications basically as they left or came into the United States, which you, you said, and they were doing that directly through the backbone providers. So at and t, Verizon whoever else. The issue was not just foreign nationals communicating with Americans, it was that they were basically scanning through everything, and it was to from, and then it also included the much more scary about communication. So if you mentioned someone in an email that was on a target list, or if you mentioned a phone number or an email address, or possibly some other keyword that was on a list, then it would get collected.

And again, there's no warrant here. So you could be, as an American, having your communications collected. And then once it was collected, it would go into a larger database that then the FBI could search through without a warrant. And so there was all sorts of information that is not the type of thing that would normally be collected and certainly would raise Fourth Amendment issues in general. And yet because of the sort of funky way in which it was done and set up, and that it was collected outside the us through the backbone, and then sort of backed into this database that any, that the F b I could search, it sort of had this, you know, this one weird trick to get around the Fourth Amendment. And that's what the lawsuit was really trying to challenge. And you know, the court basically said, for national security reasons, we're not even gonna look into that. And that seems pretty questionable because if you can just get around the entire Fourth Amendment by saying national security interests and maybe some other sort of fancy footwork to say, well, this is happening outside the us, not inside the us, we're all good. The fact that it is collecting up, you know tons and tons of, you know, American information without a warrant and then allowing it to be searched by the F FBI does seem to me like a pretty big deal.

Leo Laporte (00:07:46):
The they in, they said this was permitted by the FSA Act our good friend the FSA

Mike Masnick (00:07:53):
Act. Yeah. So that, I mean, that's the other thing is that read the FSA Act and tell me where that's permitted. Yeah, <laugh> because it's, it's a, it's an interesting interpretation of the FSA act that, that the NSA has said allows them to do that. But that's never really been reviewed by a court. And that was the point of this entire case by, by Wikipedia represented by the A C O U, was the idea that, you know, let's see that, let, let's see the language. How do you justify from the language of the FSA Amendments Act that this, this would be allowed? And the courts basically said, we're not even gonna review that because the government is saying National Security Secrets.

Leo Laporte (00:08:29):
It was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit a couple of years ago appealed to the Supreme Court w who declined to give cert the A C L U lawyers argued that they should listen to the case saying, although this mass surveillance of Americans private communications raises grave constitutional questions, this lawfulness has yet to be considered by any ordinary court, civil or criminal in more than 20 years of operation. Yeah. It feels like that's exactly what the Supreme Court should be ruling on. Is this constitutional Yeah. Is there no mechanism for they them to do that kind of secretly, I mean, as the guess Congress does,

Alex Lindsay (00:09:10):
Right? I think that's the problem, is the Supreme Court doesn't really have a mechanism to do that, to, to do it, to, to manage top secret <laugh>, you know

Leo Laporte (00:09:17):
They're not set up for that

Alex Lindsay (00:09:18):
Processes. Yeah. And so, you know, that's all a matter of public record, I believe. And, and so that becomes, that's probably part, part of the pushback. And, you know in, in other shows, I'm very opinionated about, about the fact that, you know, phones and everything else should be protected. You know, our phone, you know, we shouldn't be just letting the, you know, if we have it locked off, we don't wanna hand it off. It's something that's very personal to us. I will say that, you know, we, I I I work all over the world and we're pretty things are pretty safe here, <laugh>, you know, we just wanna remember that like, as we start to unravel these, this guy get into, into things, as we start to wanna unravel these, a lot of the reasons they're safe is because of a lot of these information gathering.

We when you understand tactically how they work they become, they're very, very, very powerful in a way that, you know, we don't have, I work in countries where everybody has a fence around their house and gl broken glass and barbed wire across the top. And that's the other side. And I don't wanna be a fear mongerer, but there's a lot of people gunning for us, <laugh>, like, you know, we just wanna make sure that we're clear that asymmetrical threats are a real thing. And most of them get buried pretty quickly because of these information gathering tools. And so does it

Leo Laporte (00:10:22):
Come down, Alex, to whether you trust the NSA with that data? You know, they built, they call it Bumble hive. They built a data center famously in Utah, they can hold exabytes of data. And the thinking is that they're just storing all traffic,

Alex Lindsay (00:10:37):
I don't

Leo Laporte (00:10:37):
Think in, in Bumble Hive.

Alex Lindsay (00:10:40):
Yeah. I, I don't, I mean, I think that there's obviously some, some, some major issues that could occur. I mean, and, and I think that trust is a big piece of it. And I think that that, you know, I don't know if they've always been trustworthy in that area. You

Leo Laporte (00:10:50):
Gotta love the the fact that they, Bumble Hive has a webpage here it is, domestic surveillance directorate, defending our nation, securing the citizens. And right in front of Bumble Hive, there's a big sign, you know, kind of sign, you'd see in front of a church, welcome to the Utah Data Center. And then they have those little temporary letters they put up with your slogan of the week <laugh>. It says, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear

Alex Lindsay (00:11:18):

Leo Laporte (00:11:18):
Holy mackerel, holding it.

Alex Lindsay (00:11:21):
I don't think I put that there. Yeah. Yeah. So the

Leo Laporte (00:11:23):
Know if that's the exact motto of the NSA would like to pursue, didn't, but that tells you something. But I feel

Owen Thomas (00:11:28):
Like, I feel like Eric Schmidt said something to that effect. And you know, the irony there is that Eric Schmidt with his pants, his pants, the extramarital relationships and his and

Leo Laporte (00:11:41):
His, we closed the door on the bathroom. I got nothing to hide. But it's none of your business.

Alex Lindsay (00:11:48):
Yeah, I, and I, I do think that, I do think that we have to be very careful about this, but we also have to be very careful of, you know, they, they've, yeah. I think that probably the Supreme Court looked at it and said, well, it is outside the country. And the nsa, of course, was built a long time ago. And it is specifically designed to do what it's doing. Like it is not like we built something that kind of decided to move into this. You know, echelon was built to, to manage, to manage traffic for

Leo Laporte (00:12:10):
A long time, but for a long time, they denied the existence of Echelon. We only know

Alex Lindsay (00:12:13):
About that. But, but, but fsa,

Leo Laporte (00:12:14):
But GC HQ kind of admitted it. Whoops.

Alex Lindsay (00:12:17):
Yeah. So fsa, the, the FSA thing is, is new. It's 20 years old. Echelon is a lot older than that. You know, this, this

Leo Laporte (00:12:23):
Was that keyword word grabbing thing Mike was talking about, where it just looked, looks at

Alex Lindsay (00:12:26):
All traffic looks and

Leo Laporte (00:12:28):
Say the word bomb four times, and Beetlejuice appears.

Alex Lindsay (00:12:30):
Well, it's, it's more of, so when, the big thing about gathering all that data into the past is what it allows you to do is go forward and backwards. So, so basically what happens is someone does something bad, and I can just go backwards in time and look at who they were talking to in the past. So like, let's say someone, someone does a terrorist act, I can go back to before they were a terrorist, right. And see who they were talking to. Oh,

Leo Laporte (00:12:53):
I see the

Alex Lindsay (00:12:54):
Value of it, and I don't, I understand. I don't even see the information. But, but the thing is, is that, that, that has, is a, that is devastating <laugh>, you know, for, for you know, for terrorist organization, for us to be able to find you before you, even, before someone start, tell, told you to start, you know, having trade craft before you were trained in trade craft, you are still, you know, we know who you were around. And then you go forward and you, and what happens is you go backward, you find those people, and you go forward and you find everyone that they're connected to. And so it makes every terrorist act very, very difficult, you know, very hard to avoid what happens next, you know? And so the so I think that they, yes, it is, it is a fishable material. Like it is something that is, is, is pretty dangerous in that area. And it is also why people like me, like when I travel all over the world if I see someone that, that is remotely, like, I have to admit, if they are remotely interesting, like they say things that are a little, like on the edge of that, I don't talk to them anymore. <Laugh>. Like, I'm just like, I don't, I don't, I don't wanna be. How about, you know, how

Leo Laporte (00:13:52):
About this also from Thea's very interesting website. Our ultimate target 2 56 bit a e s, they have a super computer. This is, by the way, this is old data. They built a super computer in like two thousands, four aray. I'm sure they have much better technology, but they wanna crack a e s. So Mike is, so that's a, that is the defense, right? Hey, we need to do this. You gotta trust the nsa. We gotta protect you,

Mike Masnick (00:14:26):
<Laugh>. Yeah. But there are things like the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment and the laws that Congress has written that, that authorize what the NSA can and cannot do within the limits of the Fourth Amendment. And the issue here was not so much whether or not they're protecting us but whether or not this is legal, and whether or not this is constitutional, and that's something that the courts are su I

Leo Laporte (00:14:46):
Think it's, that's what the Supreme Court does, right? Here's more fun quotes from the Oak Ridge. Our classified NSA Oak Ridge facility made a stunning breakthrough that's leading us on a path toward building the first exa flop machine by 2018. Again, this is a little dated. Since the capability to break the AEs 2 56 bit encryption key with an action within an actionable time period may still be decades away. Our Utah facility is sized to store all encrypted and thereby suspicious data for safekeeping. So if you're sending any sending, if you're using signal, it's being stored there.

Owen Thomas (00:15:22):
So all encrypted data is suspicious. That's a, that's an interesting formulation. It's

Leo Laporte (00:15:26):
The same thing as if you've got nothing. If you're not you know, you get, have nothing to hide. You got nothing to fear.

Owen Thomas (00:15:32):
I, I, I would flip that around on the NSA and the intelligence community broadly. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. If there is,

Leo Laporte (00:15:40):
You know, yeah. Why are they hiding?

Owen Thomas (00:15:42):
You know, Alex, where we're, where I would push back on what you're saying is like, we have to take their word for all these threats that they're, you know, that they claim their systems are stopping. We don't have evidence because it is secret. Now, obviously, you know, you can't like, bust everything wide open and share your, your sources and, and methods because then, you know, then you wouldn't be able to stop anything anywhere, anytime. But I think that, you know, some level of accountability and, you know, and judicial review legislative review, accountability through through Congress and the courts is, you know, is needed here simply for public trust.

Mike Masnick (00:16:26):
And, and, and

Alex Lindsay (00:16:26):
I think that, I think that what, what you're looking at here is, is is really a, a essentially the intelligence version of a double Dutch sandwich. You know, like basically they have done what corporations do with taxes, where they said, well, it's not, it's, you know, it's outside the country, which is the way that the NSA has worked for a long time. I, you know, Congress can make it, can, can write new laws if they want to in this area. I think that it would be very difficult for the Supreme Court to dig into this in the way that they'd like to, well, you

Mike Masnick (00:16:52):
Know, we, we have, there's the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the P C L O B that was tasked with actually looking at this particular program, and they did, and they found problems with the program. And so, again, then what, you know, once you have this board that's found problems with the program, then you would hope that the courts could review it as well, and you would hope that Congress would review it. Now, this particular program, it's, it's the, you know, 7 0 2 program or whatever is, is set to sunset at the end of this year. And so that's going to be the next big debate because it, it has a six year time period, and every time that it is about to sunset last time in 2017, towards the end of the year, you're going to see all sorts of scare stories in the media about how if we let this program go away, people are going to die.

There's gonna be terrorist attacks and all sorts of stuff. And yet there has, you know what, for whatever you're saying about how this this system protects us, there has yet to be any evidence given by the, the government, by the NSA of how this particular program has actually stopped any kind of terrorist activity. They can, you know, you can make all these claims all you want, but they've yet to present any evidence of that. And so, I'm sure at the end of this year, we're gonna see the same thing. We're all these stories and all these people saying, oh, if we don't renew this program, people are going to die. And, and, you know, without the evidence to support that, it gets right back to what Owen was saying. You know, what, what are they hiding? If you actually have evidence of that, show it, show it to us. Show us how this program has actually protected us before we get Congress to renew it. And so, you know, I, it would be nice if, if Congress, and from my perspective, I think Congress shouldn't renew it, or if they do renew it, but you know this

Leo Laporte (00:18:28):
To be,

Mike Masnick (00:18:28):
To know, they, of course they will. Of course they will. But it should be greatly restricted from what it is now. And, and again, like the law, as if you read the law right now, it is not clear that it enables this, this is an interpretation by the NSA of how you know, how to interpret this law. Like make it explicit. If you want the NSA to do this, put that in the law so that people know, because this is the whole thing. Like, nobody knew about this program, despite the law being public, until Edwards Norton Snowden released all these documents that revealed how they were interpreting the law. And that that alone is a problem. You know, if, if you wanna say that this is a good program and an important program, fine, but, but be public about it.

Leo Laporte (00:19:08):
Isn't the theory though, that there's the congressional oversight and whatever it is, the gang of eight who, you know, are cleared to see this, it's their job as our representatives to look at this, and it protects both the security of the NSA and our privacy. Isn't that the theory?

Mike Masnick (00:19:24):
Yeah. But part of, part of the, the, the reality is also that, that the intelligence community has lied to the overseers, right? This is what, what, what Senator Wk has revealed a bunch of times. Yeah. Well, he'll, he'll ask questions, and as soon as you see Senator wn asking questions of the intelligence community, you know, they're lying about something because that, that's how it works. <Laugh>, you know? Right. He, he'll, he'll basically try, he's trying to trap them in, in the lie without, you know, without violating security clearance that, that, that he has. And so, you know, over and over again, he asked them, you know, please explain how this is happening, or what is happening here, or what are the, you know, to what extent are you doing this? And what comes out is that they're lying. They're, they are, maybe, you know, they wouldn't say lying, but they are using words in ways that nobody else defines those words in order to justify what it is that they're doing. And again, that, that gets to the problem. You know, if you want to do this, be public about it, explain exactly what you're doing, explain how it's justified, or how it's you know, authorized by the law, and, and then let's have a debate about it, then let's have a conversation about it. But that's not what we have,

Leo Laporte (00:20:33):
Maybe Right. To the members of the Gang of eight, Mike Turner, Jim Hemes, Mark Warner, Marco Rubio, Kevin McCarthy, Hakeem Jeffries, Chuck Schumer, and Mitch McConnell, and say, ask some tough questions. We, the people want this blank check to continue. When is the renewal up? This year?

Mike Masnick (00:20:53):
The end. The end of this year. Okay. I, I forget if it's like, you know, December 31st or whatever, but it's, it's towards the end of this year.

Leo Laporte (00:21:00):
Actually, interestingly the UK is looking at something called the online safety bill, which would basically, they don't admit it, but would ban end-to-end encryption? It would at least have to provide a backdoor. And the, the folks at Signal said this week that they, they'd walk away from the uk If that bill undermined end-to-end encryption governments, especially the five ayes all over the world, are trying to break down this door to encryption. I by the way, I owe an apology to the nsa, as wonderful as this site is, it is not their site. It'sa dot gov one info. I should have known better looking at the url. It is a parody site, but <laugh> in a way, the parody strikes home. So I just, I apologize, that is not the official nsa slogan, nor,

Alex Lindsay (00:21:52):
And I think that,

Leo Laporte (00:21:52):
Nor is it out front of the Utah Center, <laugh>

Mike Masnick (00:21:56):
Darn seem. Didn't seem strange, Travis. It

Leo Laporte (00:21:59):
A lot. I should have.

Alex Lindsay (00:22:00):
I should have really? You on the nose

Leo Laporte (00:22:01):
Used my head. Yeah. Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (00:22:03):
The yeah, I think that, you know, a lot of times people talk about security, where the encryption, when it comes to encryption, they talk about the fact that right now they have an HD signal that is all, like, it's, it's 1920 by 10 80 of all the information of people around them. And there's one pixel missing <laugh>,

Leo Laporte (00:22:18):
They don't like those dark pixels,

Alex Lindsay (00:22:20):
And they're like, I don't know what's going on in that dark pixel. And I want, I wanna have that opened up. And I, and I do think that we do have to be careful of I, as far as gathering it. As I said, I think that if the NSA is doing it overseas, I think that I think it's gonna be very hard to stop. I don't know whether I agree with it or not, but I think it's gonna be very hard to ever get anyone to rule on that. Because usually they bring up the, the cases that we can't see. Anyway, so, but when it comes to starting to break down our encryption, I think that that is a big deal. Like, like the, you know, what the, what the UK is trying to do of, of, we want to get rid of the encryption. It's one thing to collect it, where by the time they get into it, it probably will, you know, we'll be not doing that anymore, whatever it was. The but I think that ta taking apart the last little bit of us being able to, to keep our stuff encrypted if we choose to, I think is a big deal.

Leo Laporte (00:23:04):
The WhatsApp folks say they would refuse to lower security for any government, but unfortunately, I mean, as we've seen before if a government requires it, you really don't have the choice. You either leave the country or comply, right? You can't just, and you should leave the country. Yeah, you should leave. But I don't know. That's pretty draconian to it. Of course, the online protect safety bill is r as usual raise the paper tiger of protecting the children. But I think the people who want this are, are really much more about, let's see what's going on everywhere. 

Mike Masnick (00:23:41):
Yeah, there, there, there are a lot of problems with the online safety bill. It touches on a bunch of different things, and of course, it sort of keeps changing. So it's a little, it's,

Leo Laporte (00:23:48):
It's hard to know what they're gonna tell.

Mike Masnick (00:23:50):
Yeah. and so, you know, and, and so because of that, you'll have people say that it doesn't actually attack encryption. It sort of does so in an underhanded manner. And that, that's, that's the way most of the online safety bill actually works, is, is this kind of like vague language that which is effectively like, just don't do anything wrong and we won't bother you <laugh>. And if you do something that we consider wrong, then, then the government will come and and, and you know, bring the hammer down.

Alex Lindsay (00:24:19):
Well, and, and, and, and the challenge is always that, that the, the, the intelligence agencies are highly technical, highly focused, and know exactly what they want. And they're talking to legislators around the world, right. That have no idea what they're talking about. Yeah. You know, and

Leo Laporte (00:24:34):
They oring in terms, it's hard to say no. If you're saying, look, we just want to catch pedophiles. It's hard as an elected official to say, well, no, I'm, I'm not in favor of that. So that's why they use that, right? Consider the children. Yeah. It's imp this is what the home office, the British Home Office says. It's important that technology companies make every effort to ensure their platforms do not become a breeding ground for pedophiles. The online get this talk about meal math, the online safety build is not, I should do this in a British accent. The online safety bill does not represent a ban on end, end encryption govna, but makes it clear that technological changes should not be implemented in a way that diminishes public safety, especially the safety of children online. And of course, now, then they draw the line. Well, encryption does that, it diminishes the safety of children, but they say it's not a choice between privacy or child safety. We can, and we must have both. How? I don't know.

Alex Lindsay (00:25:31):
Without, without the encryption. It's hard. It's hard. It's hard. Again, we get back to that. I, I believe that as long as we have encryption and people who know what they're, you know, if you're doing something, you know, again, most of, most of the communication that I do when it's not in messages, is in signal knowing that it will be, you know, probably. Okay. And, and I'm not, I'm talking about like way it,

Leo Laporte (00:25:51):
For you're not

Alex Lindsay (00:25:52):
Alone for presentation. Samuel

Leo Laporte (00:25:54):
Bank Fried loves Signal <laugh>. A lot of people love Signal. Apparently members of the Congress love signal, Matt Gates loves Signal. A lot of people love Signal.

Alex Lindsay (00:26:04):

Leo Laporte (00:26:05):
Yeah. The problem is, and, and you know, the, the quote of they've got a high deaf screen, and this is true, technology has given law enforcement this incredible view into all of our lives, and they just don't like these little dark parts. I I mentioned this to you before. It comes from Phil Zimmerman, the guy who created pgp. And from the very beginning, people said to Phil, well, you're gonna allow people to encrypt stuff. Bad guys are gonna use it. And his answer always was, collateral damage. If you, you know, we gotta have privacy.

Alex Lindsay (00:26:36):
Politicians, that's a hard one because, you know, the next big terrorist, you know, like the, the secure,

Leo Laporte (00:26:40):
I know they don't want to get, can

Alex Lindsay (00:26:41):
Tell what these agency say. Here's the deal. I know here's a head that's going to sit on your desk. If anything goes like, you know, like, like literally they tell them this all the time. That of course, if something goes bad, if, if a thousand people die because of this, we're gonna blame you. It's your fault. Like, like, you know, like, we're gonna get up and we're gonna get em from, and we're gonna blame you. How do we balance

Leo Laporte (00:26:56):
That? Mike, do you have a suggestion

Alex Lindsay (00:26:58):
That's really hard for a politician? I

Leo Laporte (00:26:59):
Understand. We want safety.

Mike Masnick (00:27:02):
Yeah, but I think, I mean, I think you guys made the point already, which is that it's not a question of balancing, right? Encryption is, is part of protecting people and, and making them safe. The idea that law enforcement is having all sorts of difficulty because of encryption still is not proven. They just keep saying that. And yet, as, as you've said, they have more access to more information than ever before, the ability to, to go forward and back in time, as we were discussing earlier, the ability to get all sorts of access to information that was impossible before, the ability to solve all sorts of crimes that were impossible before, is there now. They have more power now than ever before. And more visibility into all this stuff than ever before. If there are a few small areas, even in the cases where people are using encryption, the reality is that almost everybody uses encryption trips up somehow, right?

There's all sorts of things. You know, if, if you're really doing bad, there are ways for law enforcement to, to get at the information they need to take you down. Almost always, that's the case. The idea that we need to break encryption for everybody else where it is keeping them safe, and where it is protecting them from malicious actors and hackers and, and, you know, foreign governments that are trying to do bad things. You know, it, it, the, the value that you get from the encryption is so much higher than whatever little like as yet unproven problems there are for law enforcement that I, I, I don't think that the conversation should be about balance, because, you know, we already have what, what we need. We have the tools to protect ourselves. And the law enforcement has more tools than ever before to stop bad

Leo Laporte (00:28:31):
Actors. It's interesting that Apple who has been selling privacy for some time and, and now is sort of starting to live up to its promise. They've offered this advanced data protection, which encrypts everything on iCloud. And I, as I understand it, fully encrypts it. There's no backdoor. They decided to back down on their csam scanning again, something that Nick, Mick and, you know, national Center for Missing and Exploited Children and, and advocates of that ilk wanted, and Apple was going to do until they heard the Huan cry. Is that a bellwether? Is the fact that Apple is, is, is gonna support good encryption. A bellwether

Alex Lindsay (00:29:14):
Apple is slowly tightening a privacy news <laugh>. Like they, if they do too much of it too quickly, people will not let them do it. And they just, every update is just a little tighter than it was before. And every update, you know, att t and all the other things that they're doing, all of those things are just little, they're just tightening screws very slowly to completely, to, to keep on trying to perfect us not being able, you know, not being tracked in, in any way, shape or form, which is really upsetting a lot. But

Leo Laporte (00:29:39):
They're gonna come aren't, aren't they gonna come up against governments saying, well, you can't

Alex Lindsay (00:29:43):
Do that eventually. Yeah. Well, but that did it all at one time. It would immediately, the thing is, is if you boil that frog very slowly, <laugh>, like, and you slowly tie it in and you build it so that, so many of those things, so many things that Apple's doing is they're kind of knocking all the pegs off behind them so that it's very hard to un unwrap back out. Like, so if someone said, well, we have to get access apple's a couple versions away from going, well, we

Leo Laporte (00:30:04):
Can't, can't help

Alex Lindsay (00:30:04):
You. Like, you know, like we can't, like, there's no way to, to build that back into the older versions and, you know, and so, so the thing is, is that I,

Leo Laporte (00:30:12):
I know that Apple would like

Alex Lindsay (00:30:12):
To have to pull it back.

Leo Laporte (00:30:14):
I know that Apple would like to be able to say, sorry you know, send us all the subpoenas you want. We don't have that information. But at some point, China, Russia, maybe the US England, they're gonna say, but we need that information.

Alex Lindsay (00:30:28):
Russia doesn't really matter anymore, but, but the Yeah, they can leave Russia, apple. Yeah. <laugh>, they don't need China's.

Leo Laporte (00:30:33):
Another matter,

Alex Lindsay (00:30:34):
Though, China, China's a big part, but you can, you know, most, most c most companies are diversifying from China out of the fear that they're gonna create trouble in Taiwan. And so, I mean, they can't do it right now, but, but they, you know, I think ev everybody's diversifying right now from China because they see it as the next, the next problem child.

Leo Laporte (00:30:49):
So Mike, do you think that maybe the tech industry is starting to come down on the right side on this, or,

Mike Masnick (00:30:57):
Well, I mean, it's, it's still a challenge. You know, I think everybody's sort of trying to explore and they are afraid of, of governments cracking down. You know, I think Apple, when, when they tried to do the, the CS a m scanning you know, that was definitely a step in the wrong direction. And luckily there was a very loud outcry. Yeah. And they realized to go in the other direction and now, you know, even take a, a much bigger step in the other direction, which was, was encrypting, encrypting the cloud backup data. And so, you know, I think Apple's definitely made some moves in the right direction. I think Google's made some moves in the right direction on, on encryption as well. But it's, it's still, it is, it is an ongoing challenge. And, and you know, as Alex said, if, if they go too fast, then that leads to more things like what Australia has done effectively trying to outlaw encryption mm-hmm. <Affirmative>

What the UK is trying to do to outlaw encryption. And there are some bills that are, you know, popping up here and there in the US and, and a little bit in the EU too, where they're sort of approaching this kind of thing where they're trying to get them to, to effectively outlaw or backdoor encryption, which is really the same thing. And, you know, I think the companies for the most part do seem to want to do the right thing. But, but it is, it is definitely walking the line and, and balancing how, how hard the different governments are gonna come down on that.

Leo Laporte (00:32:13):
There is a lesson though, from that apple C Sam thing. They listened when enough of us stood up and said, no, no, no, this is a bad idea when the EF f and, and others, you know, petitioned when, when, when, when everybody stood up, said, this is a bad idea. They did, and they finally backed down entirely, and they're not gonna do it. So, yeah. And

Alex Lindsay (00:32:32):
I think, I think that the CS a m I, I think, I think what Apple was trying to do is we're gonna keep turning up that they saw the CS a m what they were doing there was that, that we're gonna keep on tightening this up and people are gonna use c you know, they're gonna use they had had a strategy. You're, they're, they're gonna use this issue. So they thought that they could build a solution that would protect them, right? So as they keep on turning it, you can't use that against them. And so I think that that was their mentality when they did it. It just, it just didn't ring well very well.

Leo Laporte (00:33:00):
Yeah. And, and I guess my message is it works <laugh>. So if, if, if people like Mike keep rattling the cage and say, no, no, no, <laugh> you know, we, this is, there is no safe way to backdoor encryption, encryption protects all of us. That's good. We gotta all stand up and, and be counted on that.

Alex Lindsay (00:33:22):
I, I want agree with one example is, so, you know, we had this thing with tsa, you know, tsa, you have those little TSA locks, which are worthless. Now why are they worthless? Why are the TSA worth worthless? So the TSA locks, the, the, the keys in the TSA lock are one dimensional. You know, they're just outlines, they don't have any extra code to

Leo Laporte (00:33:37):
Yeah, there's only one.

Alex Lindsay (00:33:38):
No, no, no. There's like eight or nine. Oh, they're more

Leo Laporte (00:33:40):
Than nine of them. Okay.

Alex Lindsay (00:33:41):
But, but the thing is, is so to, to have a TSA lock. So what we did is we said, okay, we trust tsa. They're gonna, we're gonna put a lock in so their only TSA can get into our bags. Right? The problem was, is some dufus got interviewed by the Washington Post, or, or, or whatever, and they let him take a, they, they said, can we take a picture of the keys? And he's like, sure. They took a picture of the keys. Now it's completely like those locks became, cuz you can't go back and change them. I mean, they, you've sold millions and millions and millions of these locks. And so at this point because of that one article, and because someone just, you know, the, we left the back door open to, to the tsa and what they did with it was let someone take a picture of it, which now invalidated all those locks. You might as well just use zip ties at this point. Like, which is what we do. We use zip ties because

Leo Laporte (00:34:21):
Oh, interest, the locks are worthless.

Alex Lindsay (00:34:23):
Yeah. You

Leo Laporte (00:34:23):
Know, the walk and they're gonna cut the zip tie, but you don't care about that.

Alex Lindsay (00:34:26):
Well, they'll put the zip tie back. The, the, the secret to zip ties is that with a lock, you don't know whether they got into your case. If you put a, if you put an orange zip tie, TSA only owns clear zip ties, <laugh>. So let's put it back. You can look at all your bags. I'll, I'll, like, I do production, so we aren't, they supposed

Leo Laporte (00:34:40):
To put a little piece of paper in the thank thank

Alex Lindsay (00:34:42):
You citizen, but we make, but it helps us to know, I literally, because what happens, you look at one, we break

Leo Laporte (00:34:47):

Alex Lindsay (00:34:48):
One, that one though. Well, the, well the number one way we break equipment is TSA opens our bag and then packs it badly. Right? And so what we do is we we it off them coming off well, 20 bags coming off, and we'll see the two that they went through, pull 'em open, look at 'em, see if they broke anything. Yeah. And then that just allows us to air Correct. If we now have, don't have a monitor, that kinda thing.

Leo Laporte (00:35:06):
<Laugh> another tip, don't put ground coffee in your bags because apparently drug smugglers use that to hide the smell of the drugs. And Lisa likes to pack her coffee on our trips. And the last time we went somewhere, she said, can I, can you carry my coffee in your bag? It took me a while to get through TSA that day. <Laugh> <laugh>. And I'm not sure I'd wanna drink the coffee after they dug through it. But anyway, just a tip, just a little tip. Hey, we have a great panel here. I'm, this was one story, the NSA story but we, there was another big Supreme Court story. We're gonna get to that. Mike Masnick is here from Tector. It's always great to have you. That's Mike's on the left, on the right. We've got Alex Lindsay from Office, and oh nine oh Media. Somebody said finally some balance on this show. Alex, you, you, I guess passed for what is balanced on this show? <Laugh>, I guess. I guess

Alex Lindsay (00:36:02):
I don't know what that means cause no one's ever claimed that I was balanced <laugh>. So

Leo Laporte (00:36:05):
The imbalance. Michael? Yes, Alex, Lindsay, and all of course, my good friend Owen Thomas, who is now a columnist at the San Francisco Examiner. I'm gonna keep saying the herb cane of Silicon Valley until somebody stops me. You're it, you're the guy. I'll keep, I'll keep taking it. <Laugh>. I'll keep taking it. You're the guy. Hey, I wanna talk take a break for one of our sponsors and talk about something I've been using now for more than a year. Lisa and I both have, it's called Noom. I probably, like you saw a lot of ads a couple of years ago for Noom, this new weight management program. And I saw the ads and I thought, oh, that's interesting. That's interesting. Finally, one day I got tired of the yo-yo dieting I'd been doing. I said, let me try it. And Lisa, my, my wife to her credit said, I'll do it with you.

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Honest, it really, really works. N o and of course, sign up for your trial. You can see if it works for you. There's also a book they just published their first ever book, the Noom Mindset. The Noom Mindset, A deep dive into the Psychology of Behavior Change. If nothing else, get the book and read it, because I think it'll give you a better idea of what Noom is all about. Available to buy now, wherever books are sold, noom, we thank 'em so much for their support of this week in tech. So that wasn't the only thing the Supreme Court did this week. There were two other cases that some say, I don't know. Is it hyperbole Mike Masnick to say the fate of the internet rests in the hands of these nine justices? Well, potentially, it, it may depend

Mike Masnick (00:41:32):
On what, what they have to say in ruling about these cases. But

Leo Laporte (00:41:35):
Justice Kagan, when she, in the I listened to the oral arguments, which is great fun. Kathy Galles, your your contributor was there in the room. She's admitted to the Supreme Court. Justice Kagan at one point said, these are not the nine greatest experts on the internet. <Laugh> and I and the, and the Room La burst out in laughter, which I didn't, I don't think is very common in the in the chambers. But she was, and another justices felt the same way, admitted that this is a big decision. So there were, there were two of them, but this was Gonzalez versus Google. The family of a young woman who was killed in, you know, tragically killed in Paris in an ISIS terrorist attack. For some reason, the family decided to blame YouTube even though there was no direct causal connection.

And in particular the YouTube algorithms recommending ISIS videos, radicalizing people. And it really threatens section two 30 of the Communications Decency Act. This 26 words that some say saved the internet, made the internet that say that you're not responsible, whether it's a website or a a chat room or our Discord or our Mastodon instance. We're not responsible for the content people or YouTube post there. That is not something we're publishing. So we ha it gives us two rights. One, the right to leave it up, two, the right to take it down. We can't be sued for either. Right? Is that a fair, you've you have the best page on Tech Data <laugh>, somebody has directed you to this page on Section two 30 because you got it wrong and it's commonly wrong. In fact, I saw a mass on toot from you saying, would somebody please refer the New York Times to me before they write about Section two 30? Because they just get it wrong. Why? What is it that people get wrong? Why don't they understand this?

Mike Masnick (00:43:27):
There are so many things that they get that, that people get wrong about two 30. It's, it's hard to, to summarize them in a, in a short form. That's, that's one of the reasons I wrote that article that has all these different things. And, and what's funny is people get it you know, wrong based on, on what they want the law to be, often the exact opposite of what it is. You know, some people think that if you, if you moderate too much, that you lose your two 30 protections, for example, which, you know, the law is actually explicitly the opposite of that. So

Leo Laporte (00:43:55):
You can moderate

Mike Masnick (00:43:57):
Exactly. And it was, it was put in place because of a case that that said the opposite. That there was, you know, prodigy was this company that, that had moderated and lost you know, and, and what became liable for content on their forums because they had moderated. And two 30 was designed to protect that and, and fix that,

Leo Laporte (00:44:14):
That Ron Widen, by the way, second name time we've mentioned him <laugh> is the guy who wrote two 30 and he kind of felt like it was needed because of the c d a. Like he said, we, we gotta carve some, some safe harbor out for the internet so that people can publish so they can have forums, they can have communities.

Mike Masnick (00:44:32):
Yeah. And, and it's, you know, it, it is a really, it's a very simple law in, in concept, which is, you know, this idea, the, the real idea behind it is that you want to put the liability on the party who actually did the whatever is violating the law rather than the tools that they use. And, you know, if, if you think of it that way, then it becomes a pretty straightforward opinion.

Leo Laporte (00:44:54):
It makes sense,

Mike Masnick (00:44:55):
Yes. Right. 

Leo Laporte (00:44:57):
And you wrote it

Mike Masnick (00:44:59):
<Laugh>, but for whatever reason people have a lot of trouble with it. And they just really believe that, you know, especially in, in this case, you know, the real focus of of the Gonzalez case was whether or not the algorithm, the recommendation algorithm is protected by two 30 or not protected by two 30.

Leo Laporte (00:45:17):
That that was one. And I have to say, I came around a little bit, we had a bit of a debate. Jeff Jarvis spanked me on this week in Google, because <laugh>, I said, well, couldn't you, I mean, look, no one loves these algorithms. These algorithms are, are are there to make more money, to make more sticky content, to promote content that keeps people watching. And, and not, I'm not saying it's intentional, but inadvertently, as a result, they tend to push more extreme content, more and more extreme content cuz that keeps you engaged. So shouldn't they be liable for that?

Mike Masnick (00:45:48):
So there are a couple, a couple couple things on that one. One is, you know, whether or not they actually do push more extreme content is there's, there's less and less evidence of that. There were a couple reports from, from seven or eight years ago that suggested that there have been multiple studies in the last like three to four years that have actually suggested that's not true. That what the companies have discovered to some extent is that if you're just pushing people further and further down in an extremist rabbit hole, that's actually not good for business. It's your advertisers get kind of mad about it. Well, that's true,

Leo Laporte (00:46:17):
Uhhuh. Yeah. Look at,

Mike Masnick (00:46:18):
Look at Twitter. Get Yeah. Users get angry and, and start to, to go elsewhere. You know, there are all sorts of reasons why companies actually don't, you know, the, you know, there is this belief certainly that algorithms are only negative and and bad. You know, and the reality is that for the most part, the, you know, many algorithms are actually somewhat helpful. You know, I think, I think the internet would be a lot worse without many of these. Well,

Leo Laporte (00:46:41):
There was an amicus brief filed by Reddit moderators Yep. Who said, without algorithms we couldn't do our job. Not, you know, and this was the problem. And you know what's interesting? The justices actually seemed to get it. Even I was surprised. Brett Kavanaugh basically said, you know, this isn't for us to decide. This is for Congress to decide. Justice Clarence Thomas said, algorithms, you gotta have algorithms without algorithms. There's no internet. He, he likes those weird analogies. I think he talked about a pizza joint or something. But in any event, he got, he got it. I I was kind of impressed. It's, yeah, it's, I I mean it's, go ahead. It is an

Owen Thomas (00:47:21):
Interesting question that, that point that, you know, without algorithms you can't have the internet. Obviously we had the internet before algorithms when moderation was done manually, it does not scale

Leo Laporte (00:47:32):
Up. It just doesn't scale. We had Yahoo, right. Yahoo was done by humans. Yeah. But it was quickly superseded by Excite AltaVista and eventually Google who used algorithms.

Owen Thomas (00:47:41):
And it is an interesting question. It is an algorithm. Is it speech? Is it conduct, is it a product feature? And there is a case it has that I don't believe has made it up to the Supreme Court. It's being considered by a court in Georgia about Snapchat getting sued over a speed filter that showed how fast you were going when you posted a Snapchat. I

Leo Laporte (00:48:03):
Used that on the Shink scene in Japan to show how fast I was going. But unfortunately, people also use it while they're driving

Owen Thomas (00:48:10):
<Laugh>. Right. And, and the, the point by the made by the plaintiffs, I believe, was that this encouraged people to Right. You know, use their phone while driving recklessly. Yes. Right. And, you know is it snap ended up pulling the feature, making it kind of a, a moot point going forward. But that principle of, you know, is a, is the way that a, a site that happens to host speech by its users the way it operates? Is that itself speech by the publisher of the site? Is it tied into the speech of its users or is it, you know, or is it something be besides speech? I think that is a fair and interesting legal question. But I'm, I'm sure about, did Alex have thoughts there? Yeah,

Mike Masnick (00:48:54):
It, it's, I mean, it, it's, it's a tricky thing, but it gets back to this, this simple question of who, who is the one who is actually violating the law? And, and what is the, the, the law that's being violated and how is it being violated? So, you know, I, the, the, the Snap case in terms of the speed filter, I actually think there've been a couple different cases with that same sort of fact pattern. And I, I think the one that has gotten the most attention, which is snap v Lemon I think that was decided in incorrectly where they said that that Snap doesn't get two 30 protections. That case has then gone back and has, is currently in discovery about whether or not Snap is actually liable. This was one of the mistakes that the New York Times recently made in, in their reporting.

They said that the court said that Snap was liable, which has, has not actually been determined in, in a court yet. You know, so if you look at that case as an example, you know, what is it that Snap is actually doing, right? So they have, they have created this filter that tells you what your speed is. Is that encouraging? Speeding? You know, that's kind of an open question you could say, but even if it was, is that by itself violating the law is encouraging someone to speed by itself, violating the law. It's not so, you know, the idea that there's some sort of legal liability here beyond that doesn't really make sense. The person who is violating the law is the person who's actually speeding. And so, you know, putting the blame on the person who's actually speeding is the, the right thing to do. And all that two 30 does in, in these cases, you know, in this case they got around two 30, but, you know, is make sure that you're talking about putting the legal liability on the party who's actually taking the action, which violates the law.

Owen Thomas (00:50:35):
Right? But, but my product liability, you know, does not pro product liability law does not forbid you to manufacture a product that could be dangerous. It's, it's all a question of when you discover that the project is dangerous, who's at at fault?

Leo Laporte (00:50:49):
Well, here's a, a similar example. Who's responsible if a Tesla running full self-driving causes a fatality, is it the driver who used the full self-driving under your argument, Mike? It would be, but I think Tesla advertising full self-driving when it clearly doesn't work, might give them some liability too. Right,

Owen Thomas (00:51:11):
Right. What if you take advice from chat G P

Leo Laporte (00:51:13):
T? Yeah. Oh, there's your problem right there. The, the, the, the court in the Lemon versus Snap said, well, Snapchat made a product that was unsafe in effect

Alex Lindsay (00:51:28):
Which doesn't and

Leo Laporte (00:51:29):
Seem unreasonable to me. I

Alex Lindsay (00:51:30):

Owen Thomas (00:51:30):
Right. And you're, and, and you're free to make products that are unsafe. It's just you will be,

Leo Laporte (00:51:35):
You'll be liable for it. Liable. And clearly the kids who, you know, caused the fatal crash were the, you know, the main culprits.

Alex Lindsay (00:51:44):
But, and it's, it's, snap

Leo Laporte (00:51:46):
Does have a responsibility. I does, don't they not to make stuff that encourages bad behavior if you're, I don't know.

Alex Lindsay (00:51:51):
But I, but I think that it's, it's, it's one thing for you to build a tool that actually generates behavior, which is, which is what all tools do. I mean, you know, you, we oftentimes say when we're talking about measurement is that you don't measure what matters. What you measure matters, <laugh> it becomes something that's important. And if you look at, if you talk to YouTubers, for instance, they are, you know, they are obsessed with the algorithm, <laugh>, you know, like they are obsessed with what does the algorithm do with when people watch this a certain amount of time, how does it handle the right, the thumbnails? How does it do all these other things? So they, they behavior is definitely driven by those algorithms. And so the thing is, is that that's when you're generating those things, if it's generating bad behavior, that's one thing.

But then the other side of this is like, when people put things on TikTok that are dangerous you know, do you have a, I think part of this is, and this is where two 30 I think comes into a little bit more of a situation. It's, it when, when you're creating something as a company, you're still probably liable when you are allowing content to go onto your site that is driving people towards a behavior, you know, some kind of herd behavior that is damaging. Are you liable for that? Now I think that <laugh>, I, I think the idea of tampering with two 30 is terrifying. Like, like there's, I don't think that there's any version of this any way that you can unwrap two 30 in a way. And I feel so strongly about it that when someone on Twitter or somewhere else posts anything that's positive about like un dismantling or even tweaking two 30, I immediately make an intelligence decision about them <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (00:53:15):
Like, like, you know, like,

Alex Lindsay (00:53:17):
I disagree. It's not like I disagree with you. It is, I will never believe

Leo Laporte (00:53:21):
You. You're an

Alex Lindsay (00:53:22):
Idiot. Yeah. <laugh> on anything ever again. Like, like, you know, like it is the, the, you know, there's this, you know, I, a lot of times we, we, we think of risk as the chances of something going wrong multiplied by the consequences. Like that is the math of risk. Right? And the chances of something going wrong are medioc medium. The consequences are catastrophic. Yeah. You know, like, like, you know, like, and you're just talking about fiddling with something that we've built an entire, and whether it was perfect or not, it doesn't matter anymore. Well, actually that was

Leo Laporte (00:53:49):
Interesting. One of the judges, I think it was Kavanaugh, correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, did in effect say that that the consequences to the economy of changing two 30 Yeah. Could be dire.

Mike Masnick (00:54:02):
Yeah. That, that was Kavanaugh Kavanaugh, honestly. And I, and I wrote this, you know, I'm kind of hoping that he writes whatever the decision is out of this. And I, I would not consider myself generally speaking a Brett Kavanaugh fan but I was, you know, he, he's ruled on a couple cases that sort of touched on internet and free speech issues and really actually does seem to get that and to, to get the deeper nuances here. And that became clear in the oral arguments in, in both of the cases last week, that he really seems to recognize that, that getting this wrong will have massive, massive consequences for, for both speech and for sort of economic development and innovation. And so he, he's the one who seems most spooked by the, the possibility of getting this wrong. And I think that's, that is the right attitude to have.

Leo Laporte (00:54:51):
Yeah. Is it,

Owen Thomas (00:54:52):
But is it, is it, is it possible to narrow Section two 30? Ah, that's a good question. Without without overturning it, you know,

Mike Masnick (00:55:00):
Like, not, not that I've seen, like I, I, of course I am, I am open to the idea that that is possible. If somebody could show me a way to do that, and to date, nobody has shown me a way that doesn't really obliterate the entire law. E every sort of narrow change to two 30 that I've seen in reality obliterated the law. And, and, and Kathy Gillis, my colleague, wrote a piece a couple years ago I think that that effectively said that, which is that, you know, a any reform to two 30 really is a repeal to two 30. And, and this gets in somewhat into the weeds, but it, it's sort of how two 30 actually works and, and what the mechanism is. Because I think people sort of get confused by that. The reality is that Section two 30 is the sort of, you know procedural benefit that gets rid of frivolous cases very early on. And if you change that in any way, all you're really doing is asking people to have to go through long and expensive court processes in order to prove that they were right in the first place. And, and once you've sort of opened up the legal process and the expense of this reminds

Leo Laporte (00:56:05):
Me of, of fair use <laugh>,

Mike Masnick (00:56:08):
There, there, there are, there are fantastic similarities to sort of the fair use thing, because fair use

Leo Laporte (00:56:14):
Means you go to court,

Mike Masnick (00:56:16):
Right? I mean, that's the, the famous Larry Lessig line is fair use just means the right to hire a lawyer. Yeah. Right. Because that's, that's all it is. And you're going to have fight over it. And because of that, what happens, we really don't have fair use, we

Leo Laporte (00:56:26):
Don't have fear. It's chilling effect. Yeah. I am very careful about what we put on this podcast cuz YouTube will take it down, even though it's fair. I know it's fair use. Right. And if I ask them, they'd say, so certainly a lawyer would, doesn't matter. It's a chilling effect because I don't go to go to court to defend it.

Mike Masnick (00:56:42):
Right. So, so almost any reform, and I would say every reform that I've seen of two 30 really does that. It basically just means you're going to have to go through a very long and very expensive court process, which means many companies won't. They'll just back down. Oh. And it sort of gives, gives people a heckler's veto that would stop whatever it is those companies are doing. That's

Leo Laporte (00:57:02):
A really good, really good, good or bad. That's an excellent point, because just even slicing a sliver off means suddenly, well, now the court has to decide. So you, you really, by by, by not keeping it a an integral hole, the the hole is what protects you against Fri Lewis lawsuits. Any sliver. Does that make sense? Owen, that any sliver then now suddenly we have to adjudicate.

Owen Thomas (00:57:26):
Well, I think, you know, I I, I think that Mike does an excellent point. Mike does an excellent job of untangling like's So good, what is actually in section two 30. Yeah. You know, versus say the First Amendment. And, you know, they definitely are intertwined in that, you know, like your First Amendment right? To put something on your website or not is kind of, you know, is fundamental to understanding how Section two 30 plays out. But you know, I I I, I do wonder if if what we're a what we're after is the underlying speech or conduct and putting the, you know, putting the right responsibility, the right liability where it belongs we do have to look at these cases where it's, you know, is this really speech? Is this really, you know? Well,

Leo Laporte (00:58:17):
And, and I would say, and this is more about the Snap versus Lemon case. You don't wanna carte blanche to let companies create anything they want. And, you know, you do want some product liability. This, I mean, you don't wanna say Section two 30 extends so far that a company could do anything it wants, and if somebody does something stupid with it, it's their fault.

Alex Lindsay (00:58:38):
I think that, I think that the thing is, is that the company's doing something is one thing, their user's doing something. So I think that's the important piece, is when their user puts something on their site, then that protects the company from that when the company does something. And, and I've worked with a lot of these companies, <laugh>, and so they, they, they pay a lot of attention to liability because generally if you, this is a very different thing.

Leo Laporte (00:58:56):
Well, and that was the

Alex Lindsay (00:58:57):
Debate though, talking about claiming

Leo Laporte (00:58:59):
That was the debate court was did Google's algorithm was at the company doing something, right?

Alex Lindsay (00:59:04):
Yeah. And I, I think that, you know, it's, it, it, the company creating a product that affects many, many things and may inadvertently affects something that they're continuing to work on, I think is one thing. Them creating a contest that obviously drives people towards an unhealthy behavior is a different thing. And I think that the, I I do think that an algorithm that is generally working for most people and happen to do something which they haven't even proven yet which is probably, you know, something that is very hard to, to, to plan. And again, I think that, I think that two 30 is, is imperfect. I think that it probably could have been written better with hindsight. They were writing it. We have to remember that two 30 was written when they had no idea what was, what was going to happen. Like it was, and so now we've built it's, it is, but now it is a cornerstone, you know, or a, you know, of, of a giant building which forms the world's economy. And you're talking about like, well, that thing Chile a

Leo Laporte (00:59:57):
Little off here,

Alex Lindsay (00:59:57):
It should have been, why don't we just take this centerpiece this part out of it, and, and oh, if it, again, the consequences is, man, we don't get it. Right. It'll have the, like, the entire corner falls over <laugh>, you know, like, you know, it's like, it's like saying, it's like, like, yeah, I think we, I think we're gonna change and have the, the gas be something slightly different and all engines and all you know, all gas stations have to change if we do this or someone can pass a law that forces everybody to change everything across the United States. Now you're

Leo Laporte (01:00:25):
Talking Formula One, that's a different matter. No,

Alex Lindsay (01:00:27):
But I mean, but, but we're gonna change the formula of gas and we're gonna just say that that's gonna, you know, we'll just tweak it a little bit and see how it works. And, you know, it's a big economy that, that you're turn, you're, you're starting about turning it over. So I think that, I think it's so dangerous. Like it is, it's just, it's, it's again, what we call fissionable material. Like you could really cause so much damage.

Mike Masnick (01:00:45):
There. There was a quote I saw yesterday that section two 30 is the, the load-bearing wall of the internet. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> <laugh>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And, and absolutely. I think there's some, some truth to that. And, and just to, to, to make up an important point here, you know, when you start to talk about the difference between speech and conduct, which is where a lot of these discussions are going, and, and sort of where, where I think Owen was going with his comments and, and where, like the Julia Anguin, New York Times opinion piece last week was saying, oh, separate out you know, speech and conduct. You know, the problem is that every single plaintiff and every single plaintiff's lawyer know exactly what they'll do in that case. And that is they will declare everything to be conduct rather than speech. And then you're at that point that I was talking about where you have to litigate it, and once you have to litigate it, you've lost all of the value of Section two 30, even if the defendants in all of these cases are going to win. Just the fact that you've now set it up that you have to litigate the question of two 30 and then go to discovery, perhaps go to trial you know, all this stuff that is extremely expensive, that will force most companies to either change their practices or settle cases too early, even if they would've won in the long run, effectively wipes out the, the tremendous value and benefits of Section two 30

Leo Laporte (01:01:58):
Guis piece, which she probably did not write the headline for, but it, it definitely had a link bait headline, it's time to tear up, big techs Get out of Jail free card. Yeah. That's the kind of rhetoric that really does spark flames <laugh>.

Mike Masnick (01:02:15):
I, I, I, yeah, I, I wrote a response to this and and at first I, I actually had a whole paragraph where I said, you know, she probably didn't write the headline and, and I sort of, you know, ripped apart the headline, but then I was, as I was going through the article, she basically did say almost exactly that in the article. Oh, okay. And, and so I, I, I pulled that out. She might not have written the headline, but she got pretty close to it in, in the article. I think, you know, and, and I have tremendous respect for Julia Anguin. I think she's a wonderful investigative reporter. I think a lot of her reporting has been really, really important over the last decade in terms of exposing, you know, questionable activities by all of the big companies. And I think that that's, that's a really valuable thing.

But I do not think this was her best work. And in fact, I think it had, it had multiple factual errors, and then it really just did not understand what Section two 30 does. And, and her focus on, on how to what she claimed fix the law or take away the Get Outta Jail free card, which it is not a get out of jail free card, that this is a very important point. It is a put the liability on the actual party that did the wrong thing card and, and, you know, get the, the innocent tool provider away from having to, to deal with an expensive litigation you know, vexatious litigation card. You know, once you begin to understand those things, you know, her piece was, was very, very confused and, and misguided.

Leo Laporte (01:03:37):
There's a certain similarity between the first discussion we had about encryption, both enabling good things and bad things. And, and her arguments against Section two 30. She, she asserts that Section two 30, lets big tech kind of get away with stuff or, or defer responsibility for things they create. And I agree with you, Mike, it's a little hard to justify, but it is kind of that argument that there are benefits from two 30 and there perhaps are adverse effects to two 30. This is the way of the world. Nothing is yeah, 100% good or 100% bad, but we do have to decide what's important to us. And I think I would say encryption is important to us, to security and privacy. And two 30 I know is important to me. I wouldn't have a chat room, I wouldn't have a discord. I wouldn't have a forums, I wouldn't have a MA on if I were liable for everything. Anything somebody puts there or anything I take down from there. So, and in, in the balance, I think that's more important to preserve that discourse on the internet than it is that Facebook maybe can get away with, you know, redlining for some period of

Alex Lindsay (01:04:43):
Time. You know? And all I'd say is that, you know approximately 46,000 people die in cars every day. Every every year. Right. You know, in the United States, we don't ban cars. They are very useful. Yeah. they, they, no, just, just regular cars. People live in their lives. 46,000 people die. Right. Bad things happen because cars exist, you know, and, and it doesn't, you know, you're not gonna get to a point where we get that to zero.

Leo Laporte (01:05:05):
We do though, Alex regulate significantly regulate vehicles

Alex Lindsay (01:05:09):
For that reason. But the primary regu, and I will admit that the primary regulation of vehicles is lawsuits <laugh> like, you know, like liability is primary way that vehicles are, are, are regulated. But at the same time, what I would say is that there's nothing gonna, no, there, you're not gonna ever be perfect. You know, you're not gonna, so, you know, you're not gonna get no

Leo Laporte (01:05:26):
Laws is gonna Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (01:05:27):
Yeah. And, and what we try to do is not have laws cause more damage than they've caused Good. And it's unclear and it's just, you know, you're, we have something that is working fairly well right now very imperfect, but the, the consequences of changing this is so radical that it would be, I think it'd be reckless. And I think that it sounded like the Supreme Court was leaning them <laugh>.

Leo Laporte (01:05:51):
Yeah. Well, you never know, Mike, you made that point in your article that you can't tell from oral arguments what they're gonna do. But I was quite relieved, and I know I'm not alone, that they sounded like at least they acknowledged their, their limits, the difficulty of this and the potential hazards of it. They seemed yeah. They seemed pretty

Mike Masnick (01:06:08):
Clear. It, it, it certainly could have been much worse, but, but still, like the devil's very much in the details. They could do

Leo Laporte (01:06:13):
One little thing that would be disastrous. Right? It doesn't have Exactly.

Mike Masnick (01:06:16):
Yeah. Yeah. And, and that's the real fear at this point, which is that, you know, they could, they, like many people see as like, oh, well, a little tweak won't matter that much. And, and they don't quite understand, you know, how that would play out. Nobody understands exactly how that play will play out. Those of us who spend a lot of time looking at this can, can sort of game out where we think a lot of these things are going to go and, and how much damage they would do. But, you know, so the, the real fear at this point, they do recognize that it was definitely like, there was a sort of sigh of relief in, in listening to the oral arguments and, and seeing what they were saying, that they weren't leaning towards like a, a full scale, like two 30 doesn't apply at all. And in fact, like everybody sort of expected that, that Justice Thomas and Justice Alito in particular were probably the main reasons why this case was being heard. Cuz it was kind of a surprise. People didn't expect, it

Leo Laporte (01:07:05):
Wasn't a strong case

Mike Masnick (01:07:06):
To to, to take this case

Leo Laporte (01:07:07):
At all. It's a terrible case. Yeah.

Mike Masnick (01:07:09):
Yeah. And so, and yet they were also really skeptical of the plaintiff's argument. And so that was kind of eye-opening. The thinking

Leo Laporte (01:07:17):
Was that politically they wanted some excuse to overturn two 30. Right. And so they were casting around for any two 30 case they could, and they, and they, and they gave cert to this case even though it was fairly weak case. I mean, they're, the, the plaintiffs don't even assert that the people who killed their daughter, I'm sorry about that. Yeah. Had a, were watching YouTube videos. There's not, it's like,

Alex Lindsay (01:07:37):
There's no, and yeah, I think that the, the easiest way out to the Supreme Court is just declared that there's no standing <laugh>, just like we got

Leo Laporte (01:07:43):
Well, Kathy said that, Kathy said even at, they could even at this point say, oh, we, we made a mistake. We shouldn't have taken this case. Yes. Forget it. Yeah.

Mike Masnick (01:07:51):
They can, they can, it's, it's called dig. Right? It's I confidently dismissed for imply granted. I

Leo Laporte (01:07:58):
Love that. I

Mike Masnick (01:07:59):
Love that. We, we, we could dig the case, which is basically, we never shouldn't taken this in the, in the, yeah. And, and I mean, you know, which, which would honestly probably be the best result, but also like, kind of frustrating when you look at how much time everybody spent. Right. You know, there were, there were whatever, you know, 90 amicus briefs or whatever filed in this case. And every, including Kathy major law firm Yes. Which representing me. Right. So Yes. Right.

Leo Laporte (01:08:22):
Would it would it open the door for yet another two 30 case to come through if they digged it?

Mike Masnick (01:08:28):
Yes. Yes. And

Leo Laporte (01:08:29):
That's the problem. We wanna resolve this, we want firm affirmation of two 30.

Mike Masnick (01:08:35):
It, it would be, but, but the, the chances are of that happening in this case is actually pretty slim as well. Yeah. And you know, what is going to happen, almost certainly next term, and, and some people will say these are not actually two 30 cases, though I would argue they really are two 30 cases. Is that the, the Florida social media content moderation law and the Texas Content moderation law, like those were both supposed to be heard by the Supreme Court this term, and they sort of punted on it and asked the US government to weigh in, which was weird because it's unclear what the US government is gonna say that is going to influence the Supreme Court's decision on whether or not to hear these cases. But really it seemed like that was a way to say like, let's not deal with this until next term. And that's going to be an even bigger and more important series of cases, again, with the caveat, like that could change depending on what the Supreme Court decides in the Gonzalez case when it comes out in, in most likely June.

Leo Laporte (01:09:27):
All right. Does this make you Oh, and glad that you don't write about tech that much anymore,

Owen Thomas (01:09:30):
<Laugh>? No, it actually makes me think that you know, it's a great illustration of when, when this law was first written and passed in the nineties, you know, we were really thinking about a model of like internet service providers and like users posting on homepages or

Leo Laporte (01:09:47):
Users, right? This was CompuServe, right?

Owen Thomas (01:09:49):
Yeah. And, and it really did not embrace the, you know, the idea of like massive scale algorithmic recommendation. And even as this is being heard and potentially decided on like that set of facts, that generation of technology, we are moving forward to generative ai. And I'm really curious, like, who is the author of speech generated by a chatbot? Is it, you know, is it open AI for chat G P T? Is it the user who is feeding in prompts and therefore operating a program? And usually, you know, the operator of a program that produces output is thought of as the author of that, that output. News organizations are already talking about potentially suing Open AI for, you know, chat G P t incorporating their, their work. I mean, there, there's gonna be a whole bunch of, of issues that are coming up now that are not going to be addressed by whatever is decided in, in these cases. Yeah.

Mike Masnick (01:10:51):
Yeah. And, and that actually came up a little bit in the case. And, and Neil Gorsuch brought up the, the, the AI and the generative AI aspect to it and wondering whether or not the Gonzalez versus Google case actually, you know, how that impacted those discussions because certainly when, when that case was brought, we didn't have chat G P T and all of these things out there. And so now it, it is a really big question. And there was an article last week also on Lawfare by Matt Peralt claiming that Section two 30 doesn't protect Chad G P T output. And I'm not sure that, that, that article is correct.

Leo Laporte (01:11:24):
That's interesting.

Mike Masnick (01:11:25):
Yeah. And, and, and a lot of people read that and sort of were promoting it and saying, oh, okay, well this is settled. And I don't think I necessarily agree with his analysis. I think it, it is more of an open question that, you know, I I I think basically all the points that Owen brought up are unclear and, you know, is it based on the prompts and if it's based on the prompts, is that user generated content? Ah, I'm, I'm not sure we know that yet. And I think, I think it's a lot more fuzzy than, than, than we know right now. And I think it is going to be a big battle that, that the courts are going to have to deal with in the same way that they're dealing with the question of whether or not output from these things are copyrightable or whether or not the inputs to these, to, to the large language learning models or whatever are, are similarly copyrighted. Both, there are a lot of really big legal questions raised by the generative AI space, both for copyright and for two 30 and for a variety of other things. And there will be no shortage of stuff for, for you to be talking about Leo <laugh> over the next few

Leo Laporte (01:12:28):
Years. Matt Matt's contention is that in effect, large language models and chat G P T are information content providers so protected. Wow, that's a bit of a leap.

Mike Masnick (01:12:41):
Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm not sure his, I mean, it's, it's an interesting article. It's thought provoking and a lot of people were convinced by it. I am not sure that the courts will see it the same way. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:12:53):
Similarly, the copyright office says you can't co you can't copyright a mid journey drawing, nor can mid journey copyright a mid journey drawing And Go ahead, Owen. You

Mike Masnick (01:13:03):
Could go then you could, in theory, you could in theory copyright the prompt. The prompt if the prompt unique, if the prompt is creative enough Yeah, yeah. To, to, to register for copy. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it'll be very That's interesting. Sorry, I I didn't mean to cut off. We

Leo Laporte (01:13:16):
Live in Interesting. Oh,

Owen Thomas (01:13:17):
No, no, no. I, I I think there is absolutely going to be a product liability lawsuit over, over generative ai. Some answer that one of these chatbots gives is going to be acted on by someone, and then they are going to sue the,

Leo Laporte (01:13:32):
Well, I'll give you a case.

Owen Thomas (01:13:32):
The company that operates the bot, I'll

Leo Laporte (01:13:34):
Give you a case you could file right now. Mal script kits have used chat G P D to write malware and and use it. And if I were one of those people attacked by malware, I'd sue the script kitties and I'd sue open ai cuz they wrote it.

Mike Masnick (01:13:51):
I, yeah, I'm not sure the court would, would I mean, against the actual person who, who used the malware, they used it. Sure, sure. But, but it wrote, but, but the, the, the AI generator, I don't think you would win that case. I think you would lose,

Leo Laporte (01:14:06):
Well, I'm not gonna file it. So there <laugh>, let's take a break. I can't afford it. So that's why I'm gonna do another ad and maybe I can't after this ad. How about that? Okay. We have a quite a great panel, Alex. Lindsay, it's so nice to have you in a different venue, so to speak.

Alex Lindsay (01:14:21):
It's fun to be here. It's fun to talk about something other than just Max. I love Apple and I love Max, but it's fun to have No, a big, wider conversation.

Leo Laporte (01:14:27):
Exactly. Yeah. I feel the same way. Oh nine Oh media to hire him Office to get to know him. How about that? Yeah, that's right. Owen Thomas, the Herb Kae of Silicon Valley <laugh> columnist at The Examiner. I love your column sec. We're gonna talk about one of them. Hayes Valley is the center of AI in San Francisco. Okay. We're gonna, I'm gonna have to dig down on the, on that one. Oh, yes. Let's, let's dig in. Great to have you, Owen. And of course Mike Masnick, who it's always a privilege and we can get you on Ma Mike. I know you're a busy guy, but boy, what a, what a great week to have you and Kathy Gelson on two different shows. Cuz I feel like I'm much better informed on all this stuff than I would've been otherwise. I mean, you, you're really good. Really appreciate it. Oh, it's nice to hear. Yeah. Our show today brought to you by Worldwide Technology was the last trip Lisa and I took before Covid. It was March, 2020 <laugh> before shutdown began. We went out to Missouri to look at the advanced technology center, the WW t has, were you, you were there too, weren't you, Alex, did you come up with us? I was. I think you did. Yeah. It

Alex Lindsay (01:15:37):
Was great. Well, not only that, I, I, I I, I went there. I, we, we, we spoke. It was a fan. It's, it's, we

Leo Laporte (01:15:42):
Did a great

Alex Lindsay (01:15:43):
Panel. It's an amazing location. Yeah. Great panel. And, and really I was, I didn't know that WW t was there, meaning neither. And then I've ac I've actually had the opportunity to build projects with them. Oh, nice. You know, so actually do projects after that we got together and, and built some apps,

Leo Laporte (01:15:57):
<Laugh>. Oh, that's wonderful. Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (01:15:58):
So, and and they are just amazing to work with. Like, I just have to say that I was thoroughly, and now every time I think about something, I'm like, well, then we'll have ww t do this <laugh>, because it's just, it, it just, they, they provide, I mean, they're super organized, super high level. Brings me to the ground of like, I got a big idea. And then they just figure it all

Leo Laporte (01:16:17):
Out and they somewhat hide their light beneath a bushel. For instance, that app development, we never talk about that, but the, yeah, they do app development. That's pretty amazing. Yeah, we went, when we went to the out there Mary Jo Foley was there too. We saw the Advanced Technology Center. This was a, it's funny this, the history of WW t Oh, I should explain what they do. Probably before we go much further, they they, they partner with big companies for enterprise technology. So if you need storage, if you're going to the cloud, if you want hybrid cloud you know, if you want security, if you need apps done, they do so many things. As I said, I think they kind of hide their light under a bushel. They do so many things. But at the heart of ww t is this advanced technology center.

It's kind of amazing. One little building when they started 10 years ago, it's spread and spread. Now it's like multiple buildings, rack after rack, basically all half a billion dollars worth of equipment. All of the leading OEMs. All of the little emerging disruptors. And why did they do that? Well, initially did it because their engineers needed it so they could get to know the technologies, so they could spin up proofs of concepts so they could, you know, they could build projects for their clients. But then they had this brilliant insight. This is a couple of years ago. This is actually after we visited them, they decided to open it up to everybody. They virtualized it. And now anybody who's a member of the ATC platform, and by the way that's free, can access the labs remotely from anywhere in the world anytime of the day or night.

The Advanced technology center has hundreds of on demand and Schedulable Labs featuring solutions that include technologies representing the newest advances in every area of enterprise technology, cloud security, networking, primary and secondary storage, data analytics, ai, of course, DevOps ops, and so much more. Wwts engineers and partners use the ATC to spin up proofs of concept and pilots, which helps customers confidently select the best solutions. Cuts evaluation time from months to weeks. That's one of the things that makes WW t so special, so nimble. The thing I should really say about WW T is they're business people too. So yeah, they're technologists, but they understand that all this technology has to go hand in hand with your business strategy. It is not existing in a, in a vacuum. And, and so they're very good about understanding what your goals are and, and making it work. And you can do the same with the A T C test out products and solutions before you go to market.

It's more than just the labs you can do. There's technical articles, white papers, expert insights, demonstration videos and of course all the community stuff they do. Like that panel that Alex, Mary Jo and I did all those years ago we gotta go out there again. WW t makes this available to everybody. The ATC platform. It can be yours. All you have to do is go to It's free. Check out ww t's events and communities too for all sorts of ways. You can learn about technology trends. Hear about the latest research and insights from their experts. This is, this company's a partner. That's, that's their goal. They want to be your partner. They want to help you understand this, how it fits in with your strategy. Whatever your business needs, WWT can deliver scalable, tried and tested tailored solutions worldwide. Technology brings strategy and execution together to make that new world happen for you.

Learn more about ww t the Advanced Technology Center. Gain access to all the free resources. It's really simple. Just go to, create a free account on the ATC platform. We, it's time to go out there. I missed the fried ravioli And we thank t for all the support all this time. They've been a great partner with us Worldwide Technology. Okay, let's see. I think we did our Supreme Court. There were actually two cases. Did the second case not impact section two 30, Mike, that was kind of the impression I got on the, on the Wednesday case.

Mike Masnick (01:20:29):
Yeah. The, the second case, the, the fact pattern behind it was actually almost identical to the first case. But

Leo Laporte (01:20:34):
It was about Twitter, right?

Mike Masnick (01:20:36):
Twitter and, and another you know, terrorist attack that killed someone. There were actually, there have been sort of, you know, maybe half a dozen of these kinds of cases. It's just that these two were the ones that went to the Supreme Court

Leo Laporte (01:20:48):
Court. It does feel like Scalia not Scalia. He's been replaced <laugh>. Yes. That Clarence Thomas and Alioto Al <laugh>, I'm getting old in my old age. Alioto's Feto Mayor San Francisco. Milito had cherry picked a couple of cases Yeah. But maybe didn't do the best cherry picking.

Mike Masnick (01:21:10):
Yeah. And, and so the, the Tamana versus Twitter case technically did not cover Section two 30 because of the way that the Ninth Circuit ruled on it. So you know, that case was more direct on the question of whether or not you know, it was I forget what the, the terrorist act as the ATA sort of helping terrorists. Right. and so that was more direct on that. And so not directly on point related to two

Leo Laporte (01:21:39):
30, they were comparing Twitter to a bank that gives terrorists money. Yeah. the Twitter by, by putting ISIS tweets up, was in effect aiding and abetting terrorism. And I think that's a long way to go.

Mike Masnick (01:21:53):
Yeah. It's, it's an argument that is unlikely to, to succeed, but in some ways was kind of interesting because it sort of presented the world in which you don't have two 30 in which you have to go through that argument. And you have to, you know, it's kind of what I was talking about before where if you slice away two 30, then suddenly you have to go through these more detailed, much more expensive arguments in court about whether or not you know, who is liable for what, which part and why. And so that's really what we saw was like these crazy analogies that were happening and everybody debating back and forth, is it like a bank? Is it like something else? Which is what you would have to see in all of these other cases that, you know, really silly cases that that thankfully got dismissed because of section two 30. So the, the relationship to two 30 with the Tamana case is effectively like, here's what the unfortunate situation that the world would look like if we got rid of two 30, is we would be arguing about all of these things in every single case where something went wrong and someone tried to blame the internet for it.

Leo Laporte (01:22:52):
Yeah. Well, we'll see. It's gonna be what June maybe before we get these decisions.

Mike Masnick (01:22:59):
Almost, almost certainly June in theory, it, it could come anytime between now and dig into the decision. Right. <laugh>, they could. But, but chances are with like big cases like this where there's certainly going to be some debate and discussion in, in the chambers. It almost certainly will come out sometime in June. Okay,

Leo Laporte (01:23:20):
Well, we'll wait with baited breaths. And it could go, it could, regardless of what they said at the oral arguments, it could go badly for the internet. And yes. Then we'll see. Yes. So enjoy, enjoy your master on Discord discourse. Irc. Well, you got it, kids. Well, that's the irony of this. Everybody talks about big tech, but it, but it, but Big Tech could, could support these lawsuits. It's people like us, you and me, Mike. Yeah. That would just, well,

Mike Masnick (01:23:47):
That's, that's why, you know, the, the, the amicus brief that we submitted that, that Kathy wrote for us it wasn't just for me. We also had Chris Riley on it, and Chris runs a Macon instance tech for people in the sort of tech policy world. And we thought it was really important for the Supreme Court to be reminded that Section two 30, also prode protects whoever's running a Macon instance. Right. And so that was you know,

Leo Laporte (01:24:12):
Yeah. They, they somewhat wanna publish, punish big tech. Right. That's what the right really wants to do, is punish big tech and the left too. Yeah. Frankly,

Owen Thomas (01:24:20):
<Laugh>, there's I I, I forget which bill it was, but one Bill attempted to impose like moderation requirements based on the the size of a company measured by market cap. And of course 50 million meta, you know, in the, in, in the course of I think it was

Leo Laporte (01:24:36):
Twitter and Meta, I think it was 500 billion. 500 million. Yeah. Okay.

Owen Thomas (01:24:40):
500 billion. And I think their market cap actually fell right, right below it, whatever the threshold was. So it's like, you know, they were trying to go after Big tech and it ended up being medium tech instead

Alex Lindsay (01:24:51):
<Laugh>. Well, and, and it's like, it's, it's a good example when you're here in California, we have this thing AB five, which they aimed at Uber and Right. And Lyft missed them and, and just caused mass chaos. This this, like, my, my resistance to things like two 30 are definitely driven from AB five because it impacts my business a lot. We hire a lot of,

Leo Laporte (01:25:10):
Pretty much, we, a lot of our freelancers look at, we wouldn't have an, Ann had to quit his job because he was living in California. He couldn't work at Tech Republic cuz he couldn't be a freelancer cuz AB whatever.

Alex Lindsay (01:25:21):
And AB five was such a disaster. It is literally shaken my, my my belief in government regulation. It, it, it was just so bad. Like it was, yeah. And when I think about what could happen with two 30, I think of AB five, and it's so bad that they won't repeal it because they don't, no one wants to talk about it anymore. Right. Like, no one wants to, like, no one even wants to have it come up in the press because they, they screwed it up so badly. And, and so, but I think that what what happened was they missed the target. Just like we're talking here. They completely missed the targets and then just, but just hailed every, you know, like just, you know, just buckshot across the entire, every industry. You, it's just, it's a, a complete disaster.

Owen Thomas (01:25:58):
Then they started putting in all these, all these exemptions for right. Industries that had powerful lobbyists in Sacramento. Right. And you know, that's kind of a direction you can see if they, if

Alex Lindsay (01:26:09):
They start, we followed very carefully. And the company that I work in, we, we follow AB five to the letter. So do we have to, we have to. And you followed the letter, but I was talking to someone, like, I was talking to someone in Hollywood and they're like, oh, no one, no one pays attention to that. Everyone just ignores it. And I was like, why did they ignore it? I'm like, because it's a really bad idea. And we, and we make videos. Like, like, the thing is is that like, you know, you, you you, everyone, if

Leo Laporte (01:26:29):
They go after us, we're gonna, they

Alex Lindsay (01:26:30):
Go after us. We will bury them. You know, like you,

Leo Laporte (01:26:33):
Maybe I can ignore it then

Alex Lindsay (01:26:34):
With Aries, you know, and I, we, I wouldn't, but Oh, and you what I'm saying, like we're,

Leo Laporte (01:26:39):
You're kind of a freelancer these days. Do, do you have to pay attention to this? Does this hurt your business?

Owen Thomas (01:26:45):
It has, it has not come up there. There was a there was an issue with freelancers that I think got got resolved with, with either like an amendment to the, the law or like a different interpretation. There was a crazy situation where like, you know, if you were a videographer, it didn't apply Right. But if you were a photographer, it did. Right. Based on the number of works. And then like the question about like, is a photo shoot you know, one work or is like each individual photo and

Alex Lindsay (01:27:16):
Like, if you bring your computer, like there is some, we've had some, some folks that are like, if they bring their laptop, they're, they're no longer fitting under AB five. Like as long as they bring their laptop and their laptop, they do work on it. And it's just, it's just, and and this just shows you like government run, run a ride <laugh>. So it's,

Leo Laporte (01:27:32):
Yeah. Twitter speaking thereof just came in a couple hours ago yesterday we heard that 50 people were fired. Now according to Zoe Schiffer on Platformer confirmed by Alex Heath at the Verge, we learn who some of those people are, including the woman in charge of Twitter, blue Esther Crawford and most of the Twitter Blue team fired yesterday.

Mike Masnick (01:27:59):
Things are going well, <laugh>

Leo Laporte (01:28:02):

Alex Lindsay (01:28:03):
Going Twitter. Twitter blue

Owen Thomas (01:28:04):
Is like the, by the numbers, you know, this thing is never going to be a meaningful contributor to Twitter's

Leo Laporte (01:28:11):
Business with something like a hundred thousand people have signed up for this $8 a month plan. So, right.

Owen Thomas (01:28:16):
And the, the, the, the amount of like angst and, you know, agonizing that, you know, that's gone on over Twitter blue and the verification component of it and all that. And, you know, it's, it's just, it's not a meaningful contributor to the business. It's the bottom line.

Leo Laporte (01:28:33):
Well, and there's some speculation. The Verge is speculating that maybe this is the beginning of what some have expected of Elon just putting in his whole team. Him, you know a a loyal to Elon team running everything.

Mike Masnick (01:28:47):
Well, the, the thing is Esther Crawford, who was apparently laid off, was the one who famously slept on the fall, the floor of Twitter and had posted excitedly about it on Twitter about how, you know, if you really love your job, you sleep on the floor, whatever. And now people are pointing out, well, you know, how did that work out?

Leo Laporte (01:29:04):
<Laugh>, I loved you Elon, I loved you and you broke up with me. She she was the one, she was the one with the hashtag sleep where you work. Yeah. Which honestly, just take it for me. Not a good idea. Yeah.

Owen Thomas (01:29:20):
I, I have this other theory, and this is based on just a a long observation of Musk, which is that Esther Crawford was getting too much attention. She was Yeah. Prominently profiled. Yeah. And you don't like that, you know, Musk Musk wants to take credit for everything that happens at his companies. Right.

Leo Laporte (01:29:39):
Not only does he wanna be the number one person on Twitter like his most, one of his most recent tweets, why can't witchcraft defeat inflation <laugh> or, or something about something, something Einstein or <laugh> Sunday, the first day of the rest of your life. Or rewatching notice, by the way, how my for you section is completely filled with Elon rewatching stepbrothers. So good. Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. Elon, by the way, a lot of engagement on that 30.4 million people viewing it, hundred 60, 3000 people liking it, not as many as the first day of the rest of your life. That was 165,000. I

Owen Thomas (01:30:24):
Mean, if you were, if you were a Twitter engineer who wanted to have, you know, any kind of career at the company, wouldn't you write a script that just like inflates Elon Musk's tweet

Leo Laporte (01:30:32):

Mike Masnick (01:30:33):
Oh, that's, that's what they did.

Leo Laporte (01:30:34):
Apparently. That's what's happened.

Mike Masnick (01:30:36):
That's what they did. I, I think that's, that's been more or less confirmed. Yeah. Is that, you know, I mean, because he, he freaked out after the Super Bowl, right. Where Joe Biden's tweet got more attention than his did, and he clear, you know, so that that's clearly wrong. That's clearly a problem. Because how could that be? And therefore they, they wrote this, this script that effectively gave a boost to, to Elon's tweets. And he, you know, they, they, it sounds like they had to tweak it, but then he denied all of that. And the whole thing is just, but it's

Leo Laporte (01:31:04):
Happening again. So I guess my point, which is it did stop for a while and now it's, now he's back baby <laugh>. So Yeah, you're

Mike Masnick (01:31:12):
Right. Your mistake is logging into Twitter.

Leo Laporte (01:31:14):
Well, I don't, and I just thought this is for work purposes, <laugh>. Actually I'd like to go to Twitter just to see what the trending topics are. Sure. and not because it's so valuable, cuz usually it's just nonsense. But it's interesting, I guess.

Alex Lindsay (01:31:34):
Yeah. I have to admit, like, I, I think the problem is, is that I, I kind of got off of everything else. Like, I stopped really going to Facebook and I don't really, I I should go to LinkedIn more than I do and, and I don't do any of the other ones. And so Twitter's like my last bastion of where I'm at. So it, it gets into a little like, well, you know, like I'm, I'm, I'm here, you know, I I don't have any, you know, I don't have a lot tweet of other places you tweet. Yeah, I tweet. I, but I, but my tweets are, are, are mostly answer people's tweets. And I have funny things to say. I don't really have any strong need for it, but it is useful as an engine for when I need, wanna point people towards something. And so, so the and it's working fine. I mean, I have to admit, I am so aggressive with blocking and muting that my, my Twitter hasn't changed at all.

Leo Laporte (01:32:13):
<Laugh>. Yeah. Like,

Alex Lindsay (01:32:13):
Like it is like completely the same, but I mute like 200 words. I block, I don't know, someone just posts something. I go, yeah, I don't wanna hear from them anymore. Boom. You know, like, like, and, and I just block things all the time. And I, and, and I don't. And so what's happened is, is that I follow audio engineers and programmers and some press people and my friends and I have an awesome Twitter feed. Like I, when people say, oh, my Twitter feed is, I'm like, you're not pruning it. Like if your square feet is horrible, like I just, I just have this prune, which looks like a chainsaw. But you

Leo Laporte (01:32:41):
Don't ever go to the four uab I betcha. Because the four UAB is not who you're following,

Alex Lindsay (01:32:47):
But it, but it, it's greatly affected by it. And it, and it, and my four UAB is fine. You know, like, cause again, it doesn't show me Mo I have 200 muted words and doesn't show me a

Leo Laporte (01:32:54):
Lot of things. So that's,

Alex Lindsay (01:32:55):
So the thing is, is that the Mute, the mute works inside of that, and it's like, it's politics and other things like that. I just, I'm like, I don't need to, I don't, I don't look at Twitter for news. I look at it purely for enjoyment. And so if I'm not enjoying my feed, I look at who's making me not enjoy that feed, and I just look at the words that they're using and I go, mute that one, mute that one, mute that one. And I won't hear from them anymore. And so the thing is, is that, is that it's just, it's really, for me, it's really easy. And again, I I, you know, I I look at it like I, I don't have another platform right now that I, that I'm gonna go to that has any, that has any flow. And so, so I, I haven't left mostly because there's nothing, there's nowhere else to go. But, but I, but I would say that and again, just cause I don't use the Plat other platforms, but I've prune this one so effectively over a decade, you, as soon as I learned that mute words was a thing, I started getting aggressive. And I, it's like my favorite toy is to figure out how I'm gonna mute

Leo Laporte (01:33:46):
<Laugh> and I guess a whole spot for people. You're not Twitter blue, you're not giving him money, right? I

Alex Lindsay (01:33:50):
Am. Oh, you are Twitter blue. Oh, you're paying for it. Yeah. Cause otherwise it's, yeah, again, it's like, and I have to admit, I work in a lot of countries, I work in a lot of states. I look at everything from a very pragmatic, like when in, when, when I'm in this country, I just do the thing. And for me, Twitter's just the country that I'm in. Sure. You know, like, like, you know, like, I, I don't, again, I don't have another platform that I really use other than Discord. I mean, I'm on Discord and, you know, and I'm in things in my, you know, my own stuff, but I don't have another one to go to. And it is important for what I do <laugh>. So, so it is, and I, and I get, and I will admit I get at least eight two, I get at least two lattes worth of enjoyment out of it. <Laugh>, you know, so, so I, I, I do, I am I am Twitter blue, and I don't know if it makes any difference or not. But again, it was just kind of like, well, you know, sure

Leo Laporte (01:34:34):
It makes me ill to, would make me Ill to give Elon any money, but I guess if I visit Twitter, I'm just costing him money. So that's not so bad. I don't know, I don't, I don't, I don't

Alex Lindsay (01:34:42):
Tweet. I will, I don't think that tweet my $8.

Leo Laporte (01:34:45):
Yeah. Yeah. I just don't wanna support that kind of thing. I'm not gonna, I'm kind of the Go ahead.

Alex Lindsay (01:34:50):
I will say the other thing is, I just wanna say I have a very low opinion about many people <laugh>, that I make give money to. I No, that's true. Need it. Like, the thing is, is if we start talking about, well, I can't buy this because this company,

Leo Laporte (01:35:02):
Oh, admitted, I bought Hogwarts, like I bought whatever that Hogwarts scheme,

Alex Lindsay (01:35:05):
You know, but, but

Leo Laporte (01:35:06):
It's, I'm ashamed of it. I don't usually admit it in public

Alex Lindsay (01:35:10):
Like we used to. I mean, we used to think that, you know, lots of people were great and we find out more about 'em, and they're like, no, they're

Leo Laporte (01:35:14):
All so people are horrible. And so,

Alex Lindsay (01:35:16):
Yeah. So, so the thing is, is that, so I don't make my decisions about whether I'm gonna use that based on that, because it's

Leo Laporte (01:35:22):
Good point.

Alex Lindsay (01:35:23):
If you start going, if you start pulling on that ti, you know, on the, on that thread of I'm not gonna use do a business

Leo Laporte (01:35:28):
Because, but I'm not reading any more Dilberts, I'm sorry. That's it right there.

Alex Lindsay (01:35:31):
I more dilberts. Yeah. No more Dilberts for me. I'll never read Dilbert again. I don't know if I've ever actually read Dilbert. So I, it's really easy for me to promise.

Leo Laporte (01:35:38):
It's funny when you read it now, in light of, of all of this,

Alex Lindsay (01:35:42):
The filter makes it a little,

Leo Laporte (01:35:43):
You kind of now understand how, why it's the way it is. Sorry we keep interrupting you, please. Owen <laugh>. I'm sorry.

Owen Thomas (01:35:49):
Oh, no, I, I just wanted to say I, I'm the opposite of Alex and how I use Twitter. I actually use it as a news reader. I find it very helpful for following, for example, the war in Ukraine where, you know, sure I could go to Google News or you know, or CNN or any number of sources and get like news articles, but I really like following the Kyiv independence war correspondent Ilia p Morro. That's true. Yeah. And you know, like, and that's, he's still posting on Twitter and, you know, his, his updates are very, you know, very interesting, tactical informative. And there is still a lot of stuff on Twitter that is, is not elsewhere. Yeah. so I think, you know, I think we, we, we dismiss the value that's there at our Well,

Leo Laporte (01:36:36):
But that should also make you angrier at Elon, right? I mean, he's ruining this good thing.

Alex Lindsay (01:36:42):
Well, it was a good thing. I,

Owen Thomas (01:36:43):
He's also defending Scott Adams on it, so <laugh>

Leo Laporte (01:36:46):

Owen Thomas (01:36:46):
Course he is. Well, there you go.

Alex Lindsay (01:36:47):
Of course he's, and, and yeah, it's a really good thing. And, and I, I don't know if it could be re you know, one of the things you look at as these things get built up, and I don't, I don't know what you would replace it with, you know, as far as you know, what it does. And so I'm, I'm not, well,

Leo Laporte (01:36:59):
Mike and I like Mastodon a lot.

Mike Masnick (01:37:02):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I've found that Mastodon has almost entirely replaced Twitter for me. Yep. And you know, the, the other thing is I definitely for, you know, probably about a decade was, was relying on Twitter as my main source of news. And, and that has gone away. And now it is a combination of Macedon and I've gone back to using RSS readers and, and found

Leo Laporte (01:37:25):
That God bless 'em, they're still around.

Mike Masnick (01:37:26):
They're still around. And I, and as I've sort of gotten back into the habit of using RSS readers, which I used prior to, to sort of relying on Twitter, I've sort of realized like how much I missed it. And, and how much better are the experiences? What

Alex Lindsay (01:37:39):
RSS reader do you use?

Mike Masnick (01:37:41):
I'm, so now because I've gone back, I've sort of like re experimenting with ones. But the one I'm using right now is just mainly is, is Fresh rss, which is a very, very simple, lightweight RSS reader. And, and I found it to be really, really valuable. There are a couple other ones that people have recommended that this week I'm gonna start playing around with to see. But I found Fresh RSS as just, if you just want something very lightweight and straightforward I, I've been really happy with

Leo Laporte (01:38:08):
It. Those of us who do the news need something that we can do a beat check for one of a better word. Yep. Where we can daily go through and see what all the people are, what all the stories are. And I, that's how I prepare for all the shows. I select stories and, and all that. And there's, it's interesting cuz there was an RSS winner after Google Reader went away Yeah. Where people just said, oh, it's over. RSS is dead. But it's not, because there's all these little things like fresh r s s that are fresh r s has been around a, a while, but they're kind of, they're growing in the, in the, in the des in the abandoned lot that is the r s s, the universe. All of these weeds are growing. There's some, I use something called Sumi News, which is not self-hosted. It's, it's a, it's a page where you could follow stuff. And this really scratches my itch, but I also have net news wire and, you know, reader and all, all these others. I'm gonna have to try Fresh rss. You host it yourself?

Mike Masnick (01:39:09):
No, I'm using, there are a few hosted versions. Okay. So basically in order to test it out and I've been using for now I think about three weeks I found one of the hosted versions and I've just been using that. I think it's hosted in France. Oh. So

Leo Laporte (01:39:23):
There's one that I see a lot of people, you know, a lot of geeks using called Tiny, tiny rss, which is it's a docker similar container. It's similar, it's you host it yourself. Yep. I'm

Alex Lindsay (01:39:34):
Not, and I, and I actually admit, I, I want to create rss. That's why I've been looking at Feedly, which is cost money

Leo Laporte (01:39:39):
Feeds great though. Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (01:39:40):
But it's, it's kind of industrial version of, I'm gonna look at a bunch. What I wanna do is be able to look at a bunch of feeds coming in and then select the, select the articles that I think are interesting and then generate a new feed from that. Yeah. So that if people wanna follow that. And I've gonna kind

Leo Laporte (01:39:51):
Experimenting. Well, one of the things how to do that, that you would like about Macedon is any account can be an RSS feed. So if you say, I'm gonna follow Mike Masick. Let me, let me look him up real quickly. Oh, what's your, what's your handle?

Mike Masnick (01:40:04):
It's just M masnick

Leo Laporte (01:40:05):
M There you go. So I'm gonna look up Mike, I see him there, and now I can add RSS to the end of his feed. And I will have an RSS feed of actually, which is pretty good idea. I should do an RSS feed to Mike. Mike though. You gotta, you gotta, you gotta put the in your linkings there. I know, I know. We gotta know It's you, man.

Mike Masnick (01:40:27):
I know. There, there are a whole bunch of things that I need to do that I just, I haven't quite gotten to because we're, we're sort of debating we're, we'll probably set up our own,

Leo Laporte (01:40:35):
We're gonna do your own Yeah.

Mike Masnick (01:40:36):
Nest it on instance. But like, I, I've been sort of waiting because there are sort of these like various forks of Mastodon that are looking pretty interesting Yes. That I know people are working on. Yes. And it's like, do I wanna set this up? Un until that, that the, the, some of these projects are released and so I've been holding off and that includes like, you know, the Chloroma. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (01:40:56):
What does it take to build a, to

Mike Masnick (01:40:57):
Put together a Mastodon,

Leo Laporte (01:40:58):
A server? Well shouldn't say mast, first of all, let's not say Mastodon. Let's say fe averse. Right. And and let's say Activity Pub. Cuz really all you have to do is hook into Activity Pub and you can be part of this fe averse. So there are lots of clients and Pixel Fed is an Instagram that is based on activity pub. Maskin is just one instance of some, you know, like in writing some software that happens to hook into the Fed averse, but it's not the only way by any means. PLE is another one. What are you looking,

Mike Masnick (01:41:27):
Looking at? There's, there's one called Kalki, C A L C K E Y. And they have been upgrading it over the last couple months and they're so they had just released an upgraded version a couple weeks ago. And they're working on what is effectively sort of a pro level version of it as well with a bunch of other features. And I'm sort of holding out for something along those lines.

Leo Laporte (01:41:54):
It's a fork of Miske. <Laugh>.

Mike Masnick (01:41:56):
Yes. So, so Miske is is another activity pub compatible server, which has, has some nice features and, and very sort of clean ui. And it's, it's adding in a bunch of other, I think, really useful features that Mastodon is missing. But I'm sort of holding out, oh,

Leo Laporte (01:42:18):
Now I should, now I need to look at this. At this. Yeah. Yeah. I will look at this. We run Mastodon only cuz it three or three years ago in 2019, I I had always had something to do with status net identical new social. This is all kind of all the same thing. And we, we used to have the Twit Army IDE and stuff. So I, I was interested in Mastodon, set up a Mastodon server at TWIT Social using somebody called, which is hosted Mastodon very, very good. It was, I think it was five euros a month. I even, it was so little that I forgot I was even paying for it. I thought this is free. And then <laugh>, I realized, oh no, I've been paying for this all the time. It's through PayPal or something. And and then all of a sudden, something happened around October of last year,

Mike Masnick (01:43:07):

Leo Laporte (01:43:08):
Who we went from like 12 users to I think 7,000 active users suddenly cost me $350 a month. But it's well worth it. I just, I th and I'm gonna look at some of these other ones. This is really interesting. The problem is I'm lazy. And so I like a hosted solution, which Masto host is scratches that itch, but this looks really cool.

Mike Masnick (01:43:30):
Yeah. There, there are some, there are some really nice things that they're working on too, where they, they've sort of recognized some of the limitations of Macedon Yeah. As it is today. And, and my guess is that some of the hosting companies, I don't know about Master Host in particular, but some of the other, there are a few different companies that will host Macedon instances are going to start offering other KKI. Oh, nice. And some of

Leo Laporte (01:43:50):
The other holes. Look at, then you go, you go, you got a, you gotta do Kki Man or misk or something. <Laugh>. of course it, it that's the beauty of this is you can subscribe to an account on any of these and they can go into your Macon or whatever it is that you you use. It's pretty interesting. In fact, it's so interesting now, venture capital companies are starting to invest in mastered on stuff. There's a new, a lot of attention been paid to a new Mac app called oh, I forgot Mammoth, I think it's called. That's venture funded. And that's always when I get nervous is when I start seeing the money, the money coming in. Cuz you think, well, but the good news about the Fenni verse is no one can own it. So, right. Go ahead, let him invest. That's fine. <Laugh> let him invest. Although to his credit Eugene Roth Kohut's Ra Cohosts created Mastodon turned down a lot of investment. He says, no, no, we don't need that. We'll just have our Patreon and keep going. You talk, can

Owen Thomas (01:44:54):
I go ahead. Can I blow your mind and tell you what what I was using as a, an RSS reader two decades ago?

Leo Laporte (01:45:00):
Yes. Let's talk about it. Yes.

Owen Thomas (01:45:02):
Live Journal. Live journal. Let you add r s s feeds. And you could just read the, you know, whatever article you wanted alongside your friend's post. And it was such a great feature. 

Leo Laporte (01:45:15):
And that in a way that was also kind of more like micro blogging because you could write short little posts. It was more like a traditional blog sometimes, right. Or, or link roll kind of a thing. Right. So you could write a three pair, you could write a Twitter style post on that.

Owen Thomas (01:45:32):
And I mean, live Journal actually, the technology behind Live Journal helped inspire Facebook. I mean, it was a very foundational company, actually. Right. unfortunately sold off to a Russian company Right. Called Soup. And I forget, I I think it's been passed around now. But yeah, a, a shadow of its former self, but a lot of great ideas there that, that I think actually anticipated the Fed averse, because you could take Live Journal, it was open source code, you could basically clone Live Journal, set up another site. Right. They had no, no problem with that. Right.

Leo Laporte (01:46:05):
Well, remember browsers used to do RSS feeds. <Laugh>, you could, you could open an RSS feed in a browser and read it. So times have times have changed chatroom, oh, I wanna do AI real quickly and then we'll do some other interesting stories. But we, we do wanna talk about ai. This was something they covered on Tech News weekly on Thursday, there's a science fiction magazine called Clark's World not named after Arthur C. Clarke, I thought it was. But in fact, Neil Clarke, it's founder and editor has written a blog post saying, I gotta turn down story submissions because you guys knock it off. All of a sudden they are submitting ai written science fiction stories cuz you know, I guess he pays his tweet submissions are currently closed. It shouldn't be hard to guess why. Just look at the graph. <Laugh>. This is, this is the number of people we've had to ban by months. In prior months it was plagiarism, now it's machine generated submissions and it's gone through the roof. I'm in curious how he knows it's chat. G p t maybe it's just not, it's so crappily written. But then isn't a lot of sci-fi <laugh> pulp sci-fi kind of not so well written? Mm.

Mike Masnick (01:47:30):
I mean, I'm, I'm, I'm sympathetic to to, to the issue of having to wade through all of that. But there is a part of me that's just like, if chat g p t wrote a really good sci-fi story, why not? Is is that so bad?

Alex Lindsay (01:47:41):
Yeah. Irony of a sci-fi play blocking sci-fi <laugh> articles, like the articles are being written by the machine and the sci-fi thing doesn't take the articles that are written by the thing that a thing perfect

Leo Laporte (01:47:54):
Sci-Fi. Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (01:47:55):
Yeah. It seems like a, it seems the problem is, is just the level of production that is ca it's capable of, you know, so that if you're paying, the problem is if a person's typing, there's a certain amount of effort that is required for that. If you, if you could generate a 20 page book by just continuing to push a button, you end up with, you know, that's what these people are doing, right? Yeah. They're just, they're just generating whole books and, and maybe you pay for, but if you had this kind of opened, like, I'm just gonna pay as we put this all in, it really, you know, ruins it for everyone. <Laugh> when, when you, because what'll happen is you'll say, well, we'll just start paying a penny instead of 12 cents a word or whatever for everything because it's not worth as much. Or we won't pay anything. And, and now all the people that we're writing things and doing things get, and this is the whole issue with chat, G P t

Owen Thomas (01:48:38):
<Laugh>. Yeah. And, and Amazon has kindle books where chat G p t is listed as an author or, or co-author. So people are just

Alex Lindsay (01:48:45):
Spanning and

Owen Thomas (01:48:46):
That's when they listed Kindle Sore.

Alex Lindsay (01:48:47):
Yeah. When I, I know people who have put books into Amazon that are not, they, they did all the images in Mid Journey, all of the things, all the text in in chat G B T and how would, you know, unless there's too many fingers, right? You know, like, like, you know, like, so Well that's

Leo Laporte (01:49:01):
Without never show hands. That's the first

Alex Lindsay (01:49:02):
Rule. <Laugh>, if you never correct, if you never have fingers, you can general or glasses, you, you can generally do. So they're not, they're not declaring it, they're not running press releases, they're just putting it on Amazon. Well, and,

Leo Laporte (01:49:13):
And as Benji Edwards points out in ours, Technica, there are multiple YouTube videos. Here's a few that he found how to make money with chat. G p t writing eBooks, $800 a day. How to use chat G P T to make children's story books at five minutes and sell on K D P. How to make passive income with chat G P T and Mid Journey $23,000 a month. This gotta be a gold rush going on. This is,

Alex Lindsay (01:49:38):
I don't know if you can really do that, but, and

Owen Thomas (01:49:39):
It's, yeah. And it, and it's not just this one sci-fi journal by the way, that a lot of literary journals are also complaining about the wave of, of submissions. And so you have like these, these automated processes against.

Alex Lindsay (01:49:53):
Right. I'm gonna tell you though, sometimes chat GD does a better, I mean, it does a better job. It does a better job than I do. Like, one of the reasons I have chat gp, I, you know, I subscribe to that as well as Twitter as well

Leo Laporte (01:50:03):
As Mid Journey as well as mid Journey. Right. You spend a lot of money on this,

Alex Lindsay (01:50:06):
Described all these things. Yeah. I don't know. It's like 60 for $48 a month. So anyway, so the but the thing

Leo Laporte (01:50:13):
About would only cost you $7 a month. I just don't <laugh>.

Alex Lindsay (01:50:17):
The you

Leo Laporte (01:50:18):
Could do us and the detector Patreon for,

Alex Lindsay (01:50:20):
I'm in club Twitter, but I think Id get I think we

Leo Laporte (01:50:23):
Get it for free. We give it to you. I get it for free.

Alex Lindsay (01:50:24):
Yeah. So, so the so the I pay for it otherwise. So the, but the thing is, is that with Tay Bt what I really find interesting is I love asking it to write a description of something I already know. And I'll go write this and it will write this super concise, really well written right thing, and there's three or four things that are wrong. And I go in and I go fix those things. But it's actually a better description than what I would've done. The English structure is actually that chat. G p t does the, the, the, the shrunken white pass, so to speak, is much better in Oh yeah. In chat G P T than most people who write. Oh yeah. And so, you know, so that, like, it does what I would call a shrunk a a shrunken white pass, you know, active verbs. Well, so that's what it makes it sound authoritative is that it has, it's using proper English as opposed to research English. Research English is lots of passive verbs. Right. Lots of run on sentences, lots of other things. And so, so it actually reads better than, than a lot of those things. And again, I it's wrong almost every time somewhere. Like it's never, it's never like, oh, that's the right answer. Like, it's

Leo Laporte (01:51:25):
Not optimized for fact factual. Right.

Alex Lindsay (01:51:27):
No, it's, and, but, so, and again, but I, it, it doesn't make it not useful. I know people who are programming that use it all day, like they go write this, you know, write me in after this, this, well,

Leo Laporte (01:51:36):
Github's co-pilots based on chat G B T and is quite effective.

Alex Lindsay (01:51:39):
And, and, and they, and the chat G p t went down and I know there was like a division that at some big company that just stopped <laugh> because they were, because they've gotten so sad. It's such a lynchpin. Well, it's just that it's, they, they're 10 times more effective.

Leo Laporte (01:51:53):
No, coders have always pasted code. This

Alex Lindsay (01:51:55):
Is, yeah. They've always, and this is just way better than pasting code because you don't have to figure out how this cut and paste fits in with this cut and paste. Right. You just go let it and it's not, and it's able to write. The interesting thing is it's able to write native code so you're not writing monkey code, you know? Right. Native react Native and React and, right, right. You know, and, and all those monkey code things that are barely, that is why we're, everything's so unstable. And so, so anyway, so the so, but chat, you PT can just write what you were going to write, but natively, and then you have to go, you need an expert though to fix it. That's the big thing is that, you know, and with stories,

Leo Laporte (01:52:26):
That's where CNET kind of got in a little trouble because even though they had an editor checking all the articles they were writing for personal finance with n ai still mistakes slipped through and people were a little unhappy, frankly. 

Owen Thomas (01:52:44):
Yeah. I don't, I I don't know how carefully CNET was was

Leo Laporte (01:52:48):

Owen Thomas (01:52:48):
We were, because, because I mean, you know, there, there was one about, you know, the annual percentage yield on a savings account that just didn't pass. Careful. Should have caught that.

Leo Laporte (01:53:00):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had Connie go yamo on when that story broke editor in chief at cnet. And you know, she said, well, this, these are stories nobody wants to write. These are the dumb stories that, you know, you'd have an intern write, you have an editor check 'em and it makes sense for a machine to write it cuz it's, it's kind of wrote Anyway. I don't have a problem with them using a machine to insert stock prices in articles. That's fine. That's been going on for years. You probably could write most finance stories in sports stories kind of in unautomated fashion.

Owen Thomas (01:53:34):
But, but I remember I remember a journalist tweeting, a journalist friend of mine tweeting some years ago about a story she was getting ready to write and how she needed a drink to write it. And it was like Exactly. Yeah. Imagine, imagine how your readers feel when, when they read that story. Like, you know, it's like, if we, if we think so little of these stories, why are we doing, why are we actually,

Leo Laporte (01:53:55):
I'll tell you why, because it's good link bait for a search engines. That's why it gets search results. And then we get affiliate links. I know I was told,

Owen Thomas (01:54:04):
Which are, which are not going to exist if, you know, if Wells true the chatbot, you know, AI model takes off. Like, you're, you're not going to click through to anything

Leo Laporte (01:54:13):
Anymore. You won't have to. They're almost,

Owen Thomas (01:54:14):
They're almost digging their own grave.

Leo Laporte (01:54:16):
It's interesting, isn't it? Yeah. you know what? We should start having our copy written by chat G P T I want to, I want to,

Alex Lindsay (01:54:25):
We had, and we have

Leo Laporte (01:54:26):
Humans, right? Our ads, but I think there's no reason for that.

Alex Lindsay (01:54:29):
I, I think that you're gonna end up, you know, like we, we were talking about some of the places that a lot of this is gonna go and you're gonna see like for instance, I think with, when you think speech to text and, and a lot of those other things, <laugh>, I think you're gonna end up with like, for instance, all the, all the city council meetings or whatever. We'll just get converted the text Right. Will then be summarized by chat G P T and then put back into text to speech <laugh>. And so you can just listen to the summary of like, you know, any one of these anytime you want. Well, and who

Leo Laporte (01:54:56):
Needs a local, that's not

Alex Lindsay (01:54:57):
Even technology to be hard.

Leo Laporte (01:54:58):
A local reporter. Nobody, nobody likes doing that on the newspaper. Do the city council meeting. So we just have chat. G p t do it.

Alex Lindsay (01:55:04):
Well again, I, I think that you need, what we have to do, especially as Americans, is always stay ahead of it. You have to like, thinking that you're gonna be able to take a college, you know, get a, get a degree and it's all gonna work out is probably, that's fading away pretty quickly.

Leo Laporte (01:55:19):
That went away 20 years ago, dude. <Laugh>. Yeah,

Alex Lindsay (01:55:22):
So I've never had one, so I don't know. So I don't,

Leo Laporte (01:55:24):
Neither everybody I went to school with in the seventies was pre-med or pre-law. I hope they're enjoying their law careers 40 years in,

Alex Lindsay (01:55:32):
I, I don't have a high school degree.

Leo Laporte (01:55:34):
I majored in Chinese, so

Alex Lindsay (01:55:35):
I don't, I don't, you know, so, so I don't, I don't know, you know, the but the didn't, you

Leo Laporte (01:55:39):
Didn't finish high school.

Alex Lindsay (01:55:41):
It's complicated. It's complicated. I, I I I made a strong calculation on how many credits I needed and then took study halls, 11 study halls. <Laugh> Jesus in my last term, like, I was like, I'm not gonna do any more work than I have to. I'm just

Leo Laporte (01:55:54):

Alex Lindsay (01:55:54):
Sit there. Well, and what's funny is I didn't just sit there, I tried to set all the physics records. The, the reason I did it was so that I had plenty of time. I was like, I'm gonna set all of 'em. I didn't set all of 'em. I said one anyway. Did

Leo Laporte (01:56:04):
You get a job after this? Or what did you do? Were you thinking about a job? 

Alex Lindsay (01:56:09):
Not really. I, I, I got outta high school and I started working at electronics company building mainframes. Cause I had a skill that, that when you're 18 and then you can solder you become really interesting.

Leo Laporte (01:56:17):
You're golden. That's all you

Alex Lindsay (01:56:18):
Need when you learn to solder when you're 10 <laugh>, you know, you're, you're, you're, you're able to wield the and then I, I started building mainframes and then I I then went back to college. I had, I was able to go to college because I went to community college. So I had college transcripts. And so you, I just transferred from the community college to Penn State. You

Leo Laporte (01:56:38):
Played, you gamed it. That's all. You gamed it. Yeah. I kind of feel bad. I sent my son to a fancy private school in high school in fancy college cu where he took a degree in broadcast journalism and now he's making Cubana sandwiches with Guy Fieri. So, I don't know. I,

Alex Lindsay (01:56:54):
My, my, my wife has a master's from Harvard and so she evens that out. And the only way we get like we were able to get an apartment in San Francisco is because of her. Like, they look, went to have

Leo Laporte (01:57:03):
It. Yeah. This is same way. We bought a house. Lisa had good credit. <Laugh>, she's buying the house. Not me. Not me. Let me take a little break here with a wonderful panel. I hate to keep you on the hook for a couple more ads. This one is not written by ai. It's and I can talk blue streak about We've been doing it since 2012. I've been doing ads for and we've been using It is the way, if you've got a small business, if you're doing mailing of any kind, especially if you've got an eBay or an Etsy business, or anywhere where you're doing mailing, you need for all your mailing and shipping. It lets you print your own postage and shipping labels. Labels. You don't need fancy equipment. You don't need a postage meter. You just need your computer and, and an internet connection.

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You'll get that digital scale for free. You'll get free postage, no long-term commitments, no contracts, Click the microphone at the top of the page. Don't forget to use the code. Twit though says cuz that's how they know you heard it here. Stamps.Com. We love them. Thank you stamps for all your support. We appreciate it. Hayes Valley. Huh? I'm gonna move to Hayes Valley. The herb Cane <laugh> of the internet. Owen Thomas <laugh> has a new article in the San Francisco examiner. The, this, apparently the Hayes Valley in San Francisco is now the place I know downtown. You tell me cuz I haven't been downtown in a while. Downtown I'm told is a little bit of a ghost town.

Owen Thomas (02:01:19):
I think that's overstated, like south of market. Definitely like especially central south of market and which

Leo Laporte (02:01:25):
Used, used to be the up and coming area, right?

Owen Thomas (02:01:29):
Oh yeah. And that's where, that's where like you wanted to be if you had a startup. Yeah. You know, you wanted to be walking distance park to Yeah, exactly. Like go,

Leo Laporte (02:01:39):
That's where Twitter was born. Go go me to on the swings on south part at South.

Owen Thomas (02:01:43):
Exactly. Yeah. And you know, you know, it's where actually a lot of VCs set up set up offices as they kind of migrated north from Sandhill Road. But you don't, you don't want to go to you know, you don't wanna go to Summa anymore if you're trying to like run into a vc. It's definitely seems to be Hayes Valley where the the action has centered. And this is, you know, it's a fun neighborhood. It's relatively new in the city. You know, there used to be a freeway there and they tore it down. Oh

Leo Laporte (02:02:17):
Yeah. Oh yeah. See? Yeah. That's funny.

Owen Thomas (02:02:20):
Yeah. So you had a lot of urban renewal there. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So you've got like newer, newer businesses and a nice vibe. It's relatively convenient, pretty central. So, you know, there, there's lots of reasons why it makes sense. 

Leo Laporte (02:02:33):
This was, this was houses the most terrifying area in town cuz the Embarcadero freeway loomed above you and it made shade everywhere no matter what the day was like. Yeah. It was like a cavern. It was the worst. Plus there, you know, trucks and cars going over your head and nothing. Yeah. Nothing good happened there. Then the earthquake hit in 1989, the freeways damaged and they, and they had the good sense to tear it down and it opened up. Yeah. This was all this area.

Owen Thomas (02:02:59):
Yeah. This was a, in, in this case it was a central freeway, but it was the same, same thing. Same reason why. Yep. Yeah. Same reason why the the freeways came down. You know, the why his valley, you know, it seems to be something where there just comes kind of is some consensus that like people want to get together in person. Why not pick this neighborhood? And you know, people are migrating.

Leo Laporte (02:03:22):

Owen Thomas (02:03:22):
Taken, settling

Leo Laporte (02:03:22):
There for Soma a little bit, I think. Right? It's now the new place to be. I remember I used to take that fell street exit cuz I lived up in the Hate Ashbury. And when they tore it down, I was like, well, how do I get home? <Laugh>, I can't <laugh>. That was my off ramp gone forever. So you start off, I'd spotted my target. I, he was wearing a light gray North face puffer jacket wrapped around a CrossFit t torso with a conspicuously, large wristwatch peeking out, engaged in rap conversation with a younger man across a small table at La Lingerie on Haze <laugh> here. It was Adventure capitalist in search of the next big thing.

Owen Thomas (02:04:05):
It, it seems to be the place. And one thing is that you can actually sit down there like Blue Bottle, which is very famous in Hayes Valley. Got it. Got it Started as a kiosk there. It's still just a kiosk. Like you can't, there's nowhere to really sit there. Same thing with ritual. Like you can get coffee there, but then you have to take it out outside and Patricia's green. So there's just, you know, lines of little tables perfect for having like a one-on-one conversation between a founder and a, I

Leo Laporte (02:04:30):
Remember Kevin Rose

Owen Thomas (02:04:31):

Leo Laporte (02:04:32):
Saying, I think he was a Blue Bottle guy. There was a rivalry between Ritual

Mike Masnick (02:04:36):
And, and Blue Pile <laugh>.

Owen Thomas (02:04:39):
Actually I remember the, the Blue bottle at at fifth and Mission when I worked at the Chronicle, Uhhuh <affirmative>, which is across the street there, that got a lot of, you know, like start of founder conversations. And

Alex Lindsay (02:04:53):
That one was great because it was hidden, like it's right behind that, that old building. It's, it's kind of like this little alleyway that, that is if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know it was there kind of thing.

Owen Thomas (02:05:02):
Tucked away. Yeah, absolutely. When I, when I worked in the financial district, actually there was a blue bottle that went from closed you know, during the pandemic, like many places to open and like, we could always just like waltz in there and get a coffee in like 30 seconds to like packed with meetings. So I think San Francisco generally is back to an extent. People really don't credit God. And you know, the interesting thing is like, it's not the same old scene that there was at say the, you know, the creamery, which has which is closed down in in Soma. It's a new scene that people are building around a new technology.

Mike Masnick (02:05:43):
We call it Cerebral Valley cuz there's a lot of AI going on.

Owen Thomas (02:05:46):
I I can't take credit for that. I talked to Amber Yang, who's a venture capitalist who kind of popularized that term. She said she got it from a friend of hers, Bohan Lou who just made it an an offhand remark. And people have, people have gravitated to it. You know, I joke that a lot of times these things are like trying to make fetch happen. But in this case, fetch seems to be happening. Unlike Mean Girls,

Mike Masnick (02:06:11):
What's Fetch?

Owen Thomas (02:06:13):
Oh, have you watched Mean Girls? No, there's this scene where like, there's this one oh, come on Leo. You've gotta watch Mean Girls.

Mike Masnick (02:06:20):
Oh, I'm so bad. Okay. There's a, there's

Owen Thomas (02:06:22):
A musical, actually, you should come down to San

Mike Masnick (02:06:25):
Francisco and see Mean Girls a musical. Okay. <laugh>. And they're singing Mean Girls would singing. So,

Owen Thomas (02:06:30):
So it's a famous famous movie written by Tina Fey about like, the culture of high school girls. And there's this one girl who just keeps saying things are so fetch. Oh my God. Like short

Mike Masnick (02:06:42):
First. So fetch fetching.

Owen Thomas (02:06:44):
Yeah. And well, not really clear. And finally this other girl, the kind of the leader of the Mean Girls Pack snaps at her and says, Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen. <Laugh>. It's not going

Mike Masnick (02:06:54):
To happen. I always wonder there's somebody's trying, which is now a meme. Is it? Yeah. Is it? So, yeah, you can, if you do it, do a meme search for Stop Trying to make fetch happen. You'll you'll find it.

Owen Thomas (02:07:06):
Yeah. So I think, you know, I think it's, it's, you know, like my instinctive reaction was, okay, come on Hayes Valley, stop trying to make AI happen. But like, there's going to be a 200% summit held held at the end of March. There's a data plus AI summit actually happening in Moscone Center later the summer there. There seems to be like this summer of ai, you know, movement happening. And part of it is just like San Francisco is a really friendly, if you are a nerdy geek who likes to talk about, you know, generative prompt engineering for hours at a time or like obscure mathematical models, you know, if you're like, if you're a really good time at a party, San Francisco is the place for you.

Leo Laporte (02:07:50):
This is good. I'm looking at all these I went to know your, all the fetch happen, <laugh> memes, Google stop, stop trying to make plus happen. It's not gonna happen. Stop trying to make Internet Explorer happen. It's not gonna happen. It didn't happen. In fact, they killed it. Stop trying to make Bing my default browser <laugh>. It's not gonna happen. <Laugh>. wow. This is good. This is good. I like it. And

Owen Thomas (02:08:14):
Then it's that's, that's Regina George. Regina George is the ultimate mean girl.

Leo Laporte (02:08:18):
Stop trying to make fetch happen. It's not going to happen. A little doggy.

Owen Thomas (02:08:22):
That's my dog. My dog does not fetch.

Leo Laporte (02:08:24):
No, no. Fetching not gonna happen. That's cute. <Laugh>. let's talk about Spotify. I have to say a little Shain Freud on your article, Mike, he was gonna say that I was like, Mike was gonna enjoy Freud on this one. Spotify's podcast colonization flops. What happened, Mike?

Mike Masnick (02:08:50):
Well, I, I mean, Spotify really tried to, to take over the, the podcast market and lock it up behind you know, not necessarily behind its paywall because they were offering podcasts for free.

Leo Laporte (02:09:02):
But Rogan was exclusive behind the paywall, or no, some

Leo Laporte (02:09:06):
Didn't have to be because as long as it was exclusive they could sell ads. In fact, Rogan's ads I'm told were a million dollars so they could make enough money on Rogan just on the free stuff.

Mike Masnick (02:09:18):
Yeah, I think, I think all the podcast stuff was available for free. But it, it, in in my mind, they weren't podcasts anymore. The whole idea of podcasts is That's exactly right. You could, they were open, they were MP3 and rss and you could listen to them on whatever player you wanted. And what Spotify was doing was putting them exclusive. So there were a whole bunch that they, you know, paid off. Big name podcasters, obviously Joe Rogan was the biggest, but a bunch of others as well. And they bought a bunch of podcast studios including Gimlet famously, and then also what was it? 

Leo Laporte (02:09:52):
The Ringer. They bought The Ringer. The Ringer. They spent a lot of money on that one. I was so jealous.

Mike Masnick (02:09:57):
Yeah, 250 million on it. And so, you know, but the idea was then that you could only listen to those on Spotify. And that they also did that with the Obamas. The Obamas had a deal with Spotify where you could only listen to the different podcasts that they were doing through Spotify. And I kept arguing like, stop calling those podcasts. It's a proprietary audio format. It's is not a podcast anymore. And they were really just trying and, and you know, the economics of why they were trying to do it was pretty clear because they have to pay for music and, and music every time it's played, they have to pay more for it. Whereas a podcast they could pay upfront and, and then not have to pay for every play. And so the economics were there, but I was very concerned that that was sort of killing off the, the great open nature of, of the podcast ecosystem built on open protocols that anyone could, you know, mix and match and find the player that you wanted and do all of these things. And so I, I was particularly concerned about Spotify because they were big and powerful and had lots of money. There were a couple other players who were sort of trying to come into the space and do the same sort of thing.

Leo Laporte (02:10:58):
Iheart my former employer of Amazon with Audible. Yes. I'll tell you what I had to stop using what was it? I think it was Amazon music because it kept half the time instead of music, it was, it was podcasts, <laugh>. And it's like, no, no, I'm listening to music, Amazon music. But they kept Snapchat. But you gotta listen to this ad free podcast. Ad free podcast. Yeah. And by the way, can I say there's collateral damage? Cuz not only did Spotify buy those podcast companies and, and good for them, you know sure. Call her Daddy got 60 million for her podcast. Good for her. I'm glad they wouldn't give us any money, but that's okay. That's fine. I'm not jealous about that. But what was bad was they bought the two companies that we use for analytics that our advertisers told us we have to use charitable and pod sites.

They bought both of them and they turned Really? Yeah, they turned off Chartable. I didn't know that. So we couldn't use Chartable anymore. We could still use pod sites, but I think it's just a matter of time before they turn that off. And there's only one reason why they would do this. And this is the only reason that pod sites is still I think Open is to kill the ad market for everybody else. Because advertisers want these analytics. They can go to Spotify. Spotify knows cuz you're using the app Exactly. When you listen to how much you listen, which ads you heard, how many people they know your name, address, phone number, credit card, they know everything. And an advertiser, they, they eat that stuff up. So the only way we could compete was with these little and we did it very in a very private focused way with pod size.

We still do where the sponsor will put a, a bu a a pixel on their site and we will send pod sites our, our download IP addresses. They hold them, they don't give 'em the advertiser. The advertiser sends the A address IP addresses that their pixel tracking pixel shows, pod sites, matches 'em and says to the advertiser, 43% of the people who heard your ad ended up on your website. Those metrics, at least it's the minimum that frankly these days we can offer an advertiser and hope to get an ad buy. But now that Spotify owns it, I don't know how much longer that's gonna go. It's charter. We we're using charitable and, and they pulled the plug abruptly by the way we had it, it cost us some deals. So I think they're really gunning for open podcasting.

Mike Masnick (02:13:24):
Yeah, well they they were, but it sounds like they're sort of recognizing

Leo Laporte (02:13:29):
<Laugh>. Whoops, <laugh>, it didn't work out so good. Daniel exit, in hindsight, I got a little carried away and Overinvested <laugh> half a billion I think. Right?

Mike Masnick (02:13:41):
More than that. More than that. Wow. And then, you know, and, and I believe that a bunch of sort of top executives that, that were running this, the podcasting part of Spotify have all been rushing to the doors sort of seeing where, where it's going. So, you know, it's not dead there. There's still,

Leo Laporte (02:13:57):
The Obama's moved to Audible, right?

Mike Masnick (02:13:59):
The Obama's moved. That was pretty early on where they moved and there were some issues there. And it, you know, it feels like what whatever was left of Gimlet is basically disintegrated. Yeah. and, and a couple of the people that they had that were sort of leading the charge for podcasts are, are basically gone. And, and then in the earnings call Daniel was basically saying like, yeah, maybe we made some mistakes. Maybe we'll, we'll sort of, you know, pull back on on the podcasting space. And so as

Leo Laporte (02:14:27):
You said, though, they didn't have much choice because they were getting squeezed by the record labels that business was, was, you know, at at, at any moment. The their labels could hold a plug on that.

Mike Masnick (02:14:38):
Yeah. And so like, again, like all of the incentives for everybody, right? The people who sold out, certainly it, it made sense, but the end result was sort of bad for, for Yeah. The public, the people who

Leo Laporte (02:14:49):
Didn't sell out like us <laugh> not so good. And, and you know, I I directly attribute that there are other causes as well, but the podcast advertising has called Fallen Off a Cliff. NPR said they've lost $300 million in advertising. They're laying off,

Mike Masnick (02:15:06):
And I think they were staff, they were saying that the podcasting space itself, that that advertising actually, the, the total amount of advertising and podcasts went down and, and fewer podcasts launched in 2022. 80 percenter. 21. Yep. Yeah.

Alex Lindsay (02:15:20):
Well, and, and one of the things I think that, I was talking to someone about this that deals with advertising and they said one of the behaviors that they were kind of tracking and not sure if it was really making a difference or not, was the fact that obviously in covid, a lot less people have are Dr. Were driving. So of course that took a huge hit because they just didn't have the same of the time that they used for it wasn't there anymore. And that the fact that a lot of them haven't, the the thing that they're looking at right now is a lot of them haven't gone back to the office, so they're still not driving.

Leo Laporte (02:15:50):
Yeah. But I can tell you

Alex Lindsay (02:15:52):
Tomorrow, my correlation between

Leo Laporte (02:15:53):
Our own information is that the numbers have come back dramatically since Covid.

Alex Lindsay (02:15:57):
So they're Right. And so, but, but overall that, that's the calculation they were looking at, they came back, but did they come back to where they were pre Covid is I

Leo Laporte (02:16:04):
Guess the question? Yeah, ours did. Yeah. Oh, they have.

Alex Lindsay (02:16:06):

Leo Laporte (02:16:06):
That's great. But and I don't think that that's unusual because what's happened also in the last few years, according to Edison, is the number of Americans, and I guess it's true globally, but they have Americans numbers who listen to podcasts has increased dramatically. So the awareness of podcasting, and that's maybe something Spotify did do as a favor.

Alex Lindsay (02:16:27):
And, and, and I and I also wonder how much all the, the audio books on audio and now news and there's other

Leo Laporte (02:16:32):
Content. Yeah, there's so much. So

Alex Lindsay (02:16:34):
I listen to, I mean, I'm listening to content all the time. Yeah. Like, I don't read, really read content. I listen to content and, and I, but I noticed that that cuts into every, everything else. If I'm listening to Foreign Affairs or The Economist or, or whatever the news over air audio or whatever. I'm listening to all of those things. And then I do then listen to some podcasts and then I read books and or listen to books. And so I think people are the, the behaviors there, I think the problem really is, is that it's just getting spread out to almost everything.

Owen Thomas (02:17:03):
I I do have another theory, which is that you know, as connected TV grows in usage and that's, you know, that's everything from Disney Plus to Netflix with ads to the, you know, the new Fast Channels, Pluto Tubi, all of those there's just a lot more options for advertisers and it's video. It's more at attractive, arguably than audio only ads. And, you know, I feel like podcasts are just getting squeezed

Leo Laporte (02:17:31):
By. We're definitely getting squeezed. I don't, I, and I don't know why, but yeah, I mean, YouTubers are getting a lot of those views too, right? Yeah, I think, you know, there's always the flavor of the month and we were only the flavor of the month for about three seconds <laugh>. And

Owen Thomas (02:17:46):
Then, so if, if, if I recall alphabet's latest earnings, YouTube YouTube's growth was kind of

Leo Laporte (02:17:51):
Yeah, it was, it was flat or

Owen Thomas (02:17:52):
Down. Yeah. Yeah, it was flat. And and that's because there's a lot more competition for, you know, basically targetable addressable online video ad inventory isn't

Leo Laporte (02:18:04):
Streaming suffering though. I mean, I mean, it seems like a, a lot of media's suffering maybe cuz of a glut of content.

Owen Thomas (02:18:11):
Well, I think the, the issue with streaming is more that companies were like massively overinvesting. And that's kind of like what Spotify did with the podcast. And they were overinvesting because they thought Wall Street wanted growth over, you know, over every, over profitability really, you know, subscriber account over anything else. Like Wall Street wanted to know that you were spending a ton on content and that your subscribers were growing and they didn't really care about anything else. And then suddenly, you know, wall Street started caring about profitability again. So

Mike Masnick (02:18:44):
It, it was, it was a land grab, right. It was, you know, try and get in everybody with the idea that, that later on down the road, you'll, you'll right. Be able to own the

Leo Laporte (02:18:53):
Market someday. Well,

Alex Lindsay (02:18:54):
And, and, and I think, I think that the other thing is, is that you did have to get in because there was a certain level of saturation. I know that I still haven't subscribed to Paramount, because I got to a point where I was like, I can't subscribe to any more of these. Like, I just, I'm, I'm on, I have Netflix and Apple and Amazon and, and H B O and I kind, and Disney, and I was like, okay, I've got so much content right now along with YouTube and YouTube TV that I'm done. And so anything that came after that, that's why I think they had to rush in, is because anything that came after that, and there's a whole lot of people that you know, don't want to buy anymore. <Laugh>, like, if that's it,

Leo Laporte (02:19:27):
Youtube's getting into podcasting, right? They've been slowly building their podcast tools. They now have a create button that lets you actually use YouTube to create a podcast post it. I don't know if they have to be video,

Owen Thomas (02:19:41):
Which is, I, you know what, what's weird about that is like so many podcasts you know, present, company included, like post on YouTube and Right. Distribute as an audio

Mike Masnick (02:19:52):
Podcast, Al already do. I mean, a bunch of the podcasts that I listen to I know are also YouTube videos. So I I wasn't entirely clear on what YouTube is doing.

Leo Laporte (02:19:59):
It's just easier to do it. I think that's all. It's just recognizing the behavior and in, in our case, we create it outside of YouTube and then we put it on YouTube. They want you to create it. They want it to be exclusive ultimately. Right.

Mike Masnick (02:20:12):
But, but is it, but the, the question, and again, like this was not clear to me from that story, is is is it going to actually be a podcast or is it going to be proprietary to YouTube? Again,

Leo Laporte (02:20:22):
It's not a real podcast. So it's like Spotify, it's another, if you

Alex Lindsay (02:20:26):
Create, you can upload it.

Mike Masnick (02:20:27):
If you create a podcast through this YouTube thing, can people listen to it outside of the YouTube ecosystem? Or are they forced

Leo Laporte (02:20:35):
To with Well, it's probably not an Rs they're not,

Alex Lindsay (02:20:37):
They're not forcing you to be. You could download it and, and then put out I'm, but I don't think that you wouldn't be able to, it's not gonna be an RSS feed, but what would,

Mike Masnick (02:20:45):
That's the, that's what

Leo Laporte (02:20:46):
Makes it a podcast, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. But look at the push. Here's, if you go to, I mean, this is this is a big push for YouTube. They, you know what? They wanna own all content <laugh>, right?

Alex Lindsay (02:21:00):
<Laugh> that's, well, I mean, you know, obviously regular people who are watching content that is, that they are listening to every week or every month or whatever is, is compelling for anybody that sells media. And so I think that that definitely makes sense. I think the problem is, is when you make all this stuff easy and they, you know, YouTube's been doing this for a long time, like you said, go live and now you can go live. The problem really is, is that, is that most people don't know how to do that very well. And I think one of the problems with podcasts, and this isn't a problem here because twit pays a lot of attention to quality and everything else. But a lot of podcasts to me are unlistenable on a variety of levels. Both in the, the content, the organization of that content and the quality of the audio <laugh>. And so most people don't do most

Leo Laporte (02:21:37):
Of the well and that awesome.

Alex Lindsay (02:21:38):
Making it easier to hit the button than that hurts us. Make make it,

Leo Laporte (02:21:41):
That hurts us too because people make judgments about podcasts based on what they've heard you know the, all the celebrity podcasts that for a while we're gonna transform podcasting. The celebrities got bored or got a movie deal and those went so, and it's all hurt us because here we've been for 19 or whatever it is, years since 2015. Yeah. 18 years doing this. And we haven't changed at all, by the way, <laugh>, maybe that's our mistake. We haven't changed at all. But people have made judgements about, and I think our effectiveness for advertisers hasn't changed and our audience size has, has gone up. But that doesn't, didn't relate. It doesn't really help,

Mike Masnick (02:22:21):
Unfortunately. Just, just wait until chat. G p t starts

Leo Laporte (02:22:24):
Creating context. <Laugh>. Oh, great. Actually one of our listeners in our IRC has submitted a chat, G p t written ad <laugh> for That's quite good actually. Sound of a busy office with printers worrying and phones ringing in the background. Are you tired of waiting in long lines at the post office just to buy stamps? This is exactly, it's, it's, I feel bad for our co We have a, we have a personal rights copy. Yeah. <laugh>. Now all they have to do is make up a podcast, do some voicing and prophet, there there is, there is generative AI voice. Oh, I know. So you can, you can use that too. I, I'm in trouble. <Laugh>. Well, I did not have a chat. G p t write this next ad we're gonna quickly mention our sponsor and then wrap things up. We have a few more big stories, but I do want to talk about ACI learning.

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Speaker 6 (02:29:03):
Previously on Twitter this weekend, Google

Leo Laporte (02:29:06):
Attorney Kathy Gillis was actually in the courtroom yesterday during oral arguments. The Supreme Court case, Google versus Gonzalez, the future of the internet hangs in the balance.

Speaker 7 (02:29:17):
We were expecting a very hostile audience that was holding onto a lot of the myths. It's about two 30. We ended up getting a bench that was surprisingly informed and seemed to get it, and seemed to understand what was at stake.

Leo Laporte (02:29:33):
Tech News weekly. Mark Gurman from Bloomberg

Speaker 8 (02:29:37):
Talks all about Apple's progress, the progress that they're making with glucose tracking, with the Apple Watch. It

Speaker 9 (02:29:43):
Uses a technology called optical spectroscopy, as well as a new chip technology called Silicon Photonics. It's using lights and lasers that shoot light into what is known as interstitial fluid, right? And it's able to then reflect back to sensors beneath the watch. And what's reflecting is the concentration of glucose within that fluid

Leo Laporte (02:30:06):
All about Android.

Speaker 10 (02:30:08):
Our good friends at Huawei actually are working on a working on a new wearable. And while we working

Leo Laporte (02:30:15):
On a wearable,

Speaker 10 (02:30:16):
A Huawei working on a wearable they're called Watch Buds. And it's a smart watch with earbuds that dock inside the watch itself.

Speaker 6 (02:30:25):
If you missed twit this week, you missed a lot.

Leo Laporte (02:30:29):
Yeah. Some really interesting. This has been a good week for tech news. A lot of interesting stuff happening, and we covered it all on twit. Few more stories before we wrap things up with our wonderful panel. Mike Masnick is here from He's on mass on social. M Masick. Yay. M A S N I C K. You could follow him with his RSS feed. What is it? What do you do slash rss? Something like that after the end, I forget. I forget. You could Google it. You, you could Or bing it. Bing it. You ask Chad g p t. It'll know. Also with us, Owen Thomas. Great to see the herb cane of Silicon Valley columnist at the San Francisco Examiner <laugh>. So nice to see you from your house instead of the boring old protocol offices. I liked it. It was a,

Owen Thomas (02:31:18):
It was, was a nice perch downtown, but yeah, back in North Beach.

Leo Laporte (02:31:22):
Yeah. Are you, are you North Beach? I love North Beach. Used to live there. Do you ever Oh, yeah. Love. Do you ever go to Mario's Bohemian cigar store for a focaccia sandwich and a latte?

Owen Thomas (02:31:34):
That's a, that's on the other side of Washington Square. You know, it's a's kind

Leo Laporte (02:31:38):
Of gold cross lo and square. Come

Owen Thomas (02:31:40):
On. I'm kind of a, I'm kind of a Freddy Sandwiches kind.

Leo Laporte (02:31:43):
Oh, okay. But you're on the side of the good focaccia over there. That's the best f right next to the church, there's a,

Owen Thomas (02:31:50):
Oh, Lauria Bakery Lauria.

Leo Laporte (02:31:51):
Oh my

Owen Thomas (02:31:52):
God. But you have to like, they, they start baking it like five in the morning, and they're sold out by 11.

Leo Laporte (02:31:58):
There's a long line out the door, and if you don't get there before noon, forget it. And then they wrap it in brown paper with Twine. I bet they still do.

Owen Thomas (02:32:06):
It's so, oh, yeah, yeah. It's

Leo Laporte (02:32:07):

Owen Thomas (02:32:08):
Oh, the guy just like, trolls it and like Yeah. It's, it's suddenly wrapped. Yeah. It's

Leo Laporte (02:32:12):
Amazing. It's so cool. Oh, I'm jealous. I love, I used to, I love living in North Beach. It's the Italian old Italian district of San Francisco and from beautiful downtown Marin. It's Alex Lindsay office

Alex Lindsay (02:32:27):
We're in downtown Marin. I guess there's

Leo Laporte (02:32:29):
Marin City. There is no downtown Marin. I'd make a joke. Exactly. It's like South Detroit. There's no such thing. Exactly. It's just it's a concept, not a geographic location. We, this was an old story you may remember a few years ago. Remember that Twitter hack where the kid got on and asked for Bitcoin, said, if you send me Bitcoin, I'll double it. I'll send it back. Doubled. He, he hacked Joe Biden's account in Barack Obama's account and lots of famous people probably didn't make a lot of money. Kim Kardashian, bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Kanye West. And you knew it was fake cuz Kanye isn't talking about Bitcoin. Anyway, <laugh> he got caught just a kid. He's 20 years old at the time. He is now being held in a Spain, but a Spanish court has, he's British. I don't know what he's doing in Spain, but a Spanish court has said, yep, he can be remanded to the US extradited for trial there. So they got him. I like to do stories where they get these guys, because

Alex Lindsay (02:33:40):
The long arm of the cyber

Leo Laporte (02:33:42):
<Laugh>, it's slow, but it, it eventually, yeah, I don't, I doubt it was a dumb hack. I doubt he made any money on it. But anyway

Alex Lindsay (02:33:51):
I don't care whether he makes money or not. I just think that you, you have to, I mean, like, if you're, if you're out there causing mischief, it should be

Leo Laporte (02:33:58):
Adjudicated. So encryption did not protect him. No. Whatever it was, whatever. Exactly.

Alex Lindsay (02:34:04):
Whatever you doing didn't

Leo Laporte (02:34:04):
Work. Yeah. You know what happens, and I've talked to many people in the law enforcement, in the Secret Service. A lot of these guys boast, they go into chat rooms. They go, Hey, I did that. Because if you do that and you don't boast, does anybody know? You know, <laugh> who you are?

Alex Lindsay (02:34:20):
No. You gotta tell, but why do it? If you can't post, why do it? Why do it if you can't tell your friends? That's the whole did the thing. Yeah, exactly.

Leo Laporte (02:34:25):
So they always incriminate themselves in the long run. Maybe not the ransomware gangs. Apple has reputedly secured every single three nanometer chip that T S M C can make for the iPhone 15 and perhaps the M three chip and upcoming MacBooks later this year or early next year. Now, that might sound like good news. It's certainly bad news for everybody else, but I should mention that even though the yields are good on these three nanometer, the N three process they're only making about 45,000 wa wafers a month. So you do the math, that is not enough for all the iPhones they'll sell. It's not enough for all the iPhones they'd sell in a month. What is that? 45,000 times 12? You know, it's five or 6 million. It's

Alex Lindsay (02:35:18):
Not, it may be, it may be enough to sell for the, for the max, the top the line iPads. Yeah. Or the, the max or the iPads or, or, you know, something like that. But that's, and, and again, that's usually where it starts. But, and it doesn't sound like, I mean, they may wait another year for the iPhones themselves to do this, whereas the, they can get it started with the, the larger devices. Well talk about this advantage

Leo Laporte (02:35:38):
Though on Mac Break, I'm sure on on Tuesday. I mean, yeah, it's good news for Apple. They can, they can sew up that production bad news for everybody else. This was a little bit annoying. There is currently a lawsuit by the filmmakers who made such wonderful movies as the Hitman's wife's bodyguard. London has fallen and Hellboy these film companies were suing internet provider, R C N, because they're not doing enough to stop subscribers from piloting on their network work. Now, now R C N, which denied most of the allegations, try to get the case dismissed. Now they're going after Redditors people who anonymously posted on Reddit talking about piracy, not committing it, just talking about it. Some Reddit users specifically mentioned R C n. Others refer to ISPs in more general terms, which could be, could be RS R C N, we don't know. The filmmakers want to know who these people are. So they have obtained a subpoena. It's compelling Reddit to tell the movie makers who, Ben 1, 2 5, 1 25 squatting, CRO Grift Dog, 21 Aroma aromatic botanist, Chiara fan, Comy Pack dot. Samantha. I like Pie 96 and Matt 33. 24 R <laugh>.

Wow. I can't believe, I can't believe the court went along with this. Reddit, of course is gonna fight it, but

Mike Masnick (02:37:36):
I think Reddit did turn over one.

Leo Laporte (02:37:38):
They, ben, user name Ben, 1 25, 1 25 got handed over. 

Mike Masnick (02:37:44):
I mean, it's, it's, all of these cases are a little bit sketchy for, for a variety of reasons. But you know what they're looking for, I believe what from what it, from what details are revealed is that, you know, they, they claim that these people are saying on Reddit that RCN was, was not killing their account. So therefore they see it as evidence in, in their case. But it feels like a stretch. And you're dragging in these random people, and as soon as you know, you receive a subpoena that's serious and they got a lawyer up, and that's, that's, you know, really very aggressive.

Leo Laporte (02:38:21):
Si. But you know what? The Hitman's wife's bodyguards, friends and family gotta get that money. So, okay, <laugh>. Okay. I don't know what's gonna happen with this. Earlier this week, actually, it was LA early last week, the White House decided not to block the ITCs ban on the Apple Watch.

Mike Masnick (02:38:46):

Leo Laporte (02:38:48):
A live core, which makes and, and a great product, by the way, the Cartia device, which allows you to do you know, a kind of a little a a e kg with your thumbs. They claimed that Apple stole that and put it in the Apple Watch. They're suing the I TC ruled in, even though, okay, now this is what's really weird. The Patent and Trademark Office said, yeah, that patent sucks. And they threw it out. Nevertheless, the International Trade Commission ruled that Apple infringed on this non-existent patent. And they're potentially gonna block imports of Apple watches. Yeah. White House decline to get involved.

Mike Masnick (02:39:29):
This, this one is, is kind of crazy because, because of the, the whole patent and trademark office. And, and there was some really interesting timing on all of this, which is that you have these dual processes and this could get into the weeds, and so I'm, I'm not gonna go too, too deep on it, where the ITTC process and which is the International Trade Commission, and then the p a, the Patent and Trademark Appeals Board process are two totally separate processes, which actually allow well, and, and the end of regular core process, it allows patent holders to go through multiple routes. And the ITTC was supposed to rule first on these things, but then delayed its ruling until af after the Patent and Trademark Office or patent and Trademark Appeals Board came out and said, all of these patents are invalid. We never should have granted them in the first place. The patents are terrible. Like get rid of them. And the ittc, which you know, technically is its own independent organization and doesn't have to listen to that, then came out two weeks later and said, well, apple violates these patents. And, and therefore, and the only, the only remedy that the, the ITTC has, they can't do fines, but they can block import, they

Leo Laporte (02:40:40):
Can say, you can't bring it into the country.

Mike Masnick (02:40:41):
Yeah. You can't bring it into the country. Paul

Leo Laporte (02:40:43):

Mike Masnick (02:40:44):
Yeah. So Apple ran to, to the White House, which had had protected them. A decade ago.

Leo Laporte (02:40:49):
Obama protected them. There was an iPad block. Right,

Mike Masnick (02:40:53):
Right. With, with Samsung, it was a very similar sort of situation. And Obama rejected the ITCs recommendation and allowed the import to continue. And so Apple, I think, was very much hoping, and, and I think for good reason, they had a pretty strong argument. And that the P T A had said, these patents are not valid. So the whole thing is a joke. And yet for whatever reason, the Biden administration decided not to go against the ITC rule. Was

Leo Laporte (02:41:18):
There a chance in hell that the Apple Watch would be blocked?

Mike Masnick (02:41:23):
It, it, it absolutely could be. The, the, the more likely thing is that Apple is going to cough up a huge sum of money to a live COR and, and or

Alex Lindsay (02:41:31):
Apple will buy a live cor and bury them

Mike Masnick (02:41:33):
<Laugh>. Right, right.

Alex Lindsay (02:41:34):
Like that, that, that's kind of the let they

Leo Laporte (02:41:37):
Have to be careful here. Because actually, although Apple, you know, brought in, you know, a whole bunch of, I think 500 testimonials saying, you Apple Watch saved my life. A live course saved some lives too. A live COR was a big breakthrough in AFib.

Alex Lindsay (02:41:53):
Some, I mean, like, it, it is, it had a breakthrough. But the thing is, is that number one, the patents didn't, didn't hold up. They didn't hold up.

Yeah. Is the problem really is, is there's a big difference between having to buy something different to have on to, to, to measure what your, your situation is and having it on your watch. You know, and the, the, I think the public value of having it on your watch is pretty high. So the idea of, I think that Apple's making is number one, is the patent isn't, I mean, the, the, this, this, this case is nuts. <Laugh> Yes. Like the idea that, that the patent isn't valid. And you know, the idea of blocking it when it actually is making a measurable difference in, you know, a lifesaving at a, at a level that's at least a hundred if not a thousand times, what a Live Corp can do is, is just a kooky, I mean, it's just, this is the government run awry <laugh> like this, just like, you know, yeah. This is, this is bureaucrats doing bureaucrat things like not, not thinking about anything else. You know, it's just, it's nutty. Can

Leo Laporte (02:42:51):
You Well,

Owen Thomas (02:42:51):
I, I, go ahead. I would put it on in a Live corp too. Like they are clearly pushing this angle as as hard as they can under

Alex Lindsay (02:42:59):
Presumably. Cause they don't have a business model with that. With Apple going down the path that's going a live core is dead. Right? Like, that's the problem, right? Is it like, if Apple puts all the health stuff into your, into your watch and e even if you're, even if it's not, you know, you're, they're toast. They're toast. That's the problem. Right?

Leo Laporte (02:43:14):
Well, maybe what you should do is buy a sealed iPhone and hold it for 20 some years or whatever, cuz you can make some money. That's what Karen Green did. She bought the original iPhone in 2007 and never opened it.

Owen Thomas (02:43:33):

Leo Laporte (02:43:34):
The sealed iPhone in a box just sold for $63,356 to some cracked collector, I

Owen Thomas (02:43:47):
Guess, you know, and that's, that's amazing foresight because like the iPhone, the original iPhone, the first generation iPhone was not a big seller. And it was kind of seen as a novelty, like a kind of, it was, it was a tack on to Apple's very large successful iPod business. Right. I mean it even used the, the 30 pin iPod connector, basically. Right. An iPod. We

Leo Laporte (02:44:11):
Forget that. Don't, you know, didn't have cut and paste, didn't have apps. Yeah. and yet it was a revolution. Alex, you and I were doing Mac Break Weekly. Remember Scott Bourne made a, wanted to make us all obsess excited. Yeah. We all went, we all went down. Scott and I,

Alex Lindsay (02:44:23):
Scott and I especially, we were definitely on the, we

Leo Laporte (02:44:26):
Had, there was a sprinkled, there was a picture of him in the San Francisco Chronicle as the first guy to come up with the Apple store. He was holding up his iPhone like this with that original iPhone. Scott, if you'd only put it away,

Alex Lindsay (02:44:38):
<Laugh> exactly. In front

Mike Masnick (02:44:39):
Of Barn. Has, has anyone found out why this iPhone was never opened?

Leo Laporte (02:44:45):
No. Unknown. Maybe Karen got two. Maybe it was a corporate buy. No, no. We don't know

Mike Masnick (02:44:53):
Because that's, that's the part that forgot about that. I'm, I'm wondering about it cuz like, you know, it was, it was not a cheap item. No. It, for most people

Leo Laporte (02:45:00):
It was four, 500 bucks, 600 bucks. I can't

Mike Masnick (02:45:02):
Remember. And you know, I've certainly, there are certain, definitely I have purchased gadgets and left them in the packaging <laugh>,

Leo Laporte (02:45:08):
You know, well, I'm gonna leave 'em all in the packaging from now on. Yeah.

Mike Masnick (02:45:11):
But, but this, this, I'm surprised.

Leo Laporte (02:45:13):
Yeah. For saying, and there was finally, there was a great picture. There's a site for Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs's birthday would've been this week. And there's a, the Steve Jobs archives, which for a long time didn't really have much in there. It's being, I think it's being run by I think Lorraine put up money and some other fans, maybe Tim Cook. And they also gave a lot of their a lot of their you know, stuff that they had to the archive, Steve Jobs And now they're starting to release stuff, which is nice. The, the latest thing for his birthday was a picture of Steve, let me see if I can find it. Walking he was walking in New Orleans and noticed in an Apple store, or no, it was a Best Buy somewhere. They didn't have Apple stores. Right. Noticed a, somebody playing with a Macintosh. I don't know where this is on the site. I can't find it. Maybe they just released it to the, to the press.

Let me see if I can find this picture. But he, he was you know, at the, at the time the Mac had just come out. There it is. He was probably not sure whether it was gonna be a huge success. Delisa had kind of been a flop. His frankly, job was on the line, believe it or not. In fact, he did lose his job shortly after this. But there he is, staring through a window at a young woman playing with a Macintosh for the first time in 1984. Steve Jobs 28 years old at the time, would've been his 68th birthday on February 24th. Happy birthday Steve. And that is the end of that. Mike, thank you so much for spending a couple of three hours with us. We really appreciate it. Sure. it is the best place to go to read about. I don't know how you don't have a heart attack to be honest, <laugh>, because everything I, you may, it makes me mad just to read Tech Dirt. You have to write this. I mean, how just you're, you're you. How do you do it? How do you stay calm?

Mike Masnick (02:47:37):
I do have a blood pressure monitor off to the side. Yeah.

Leo Laporte (02:47:40):
<Laugh>, I mean, there's, there's so much just stupidity out there. And, and this is the place to, to read articles about stupidity, right?

Mike Masnick (02:47:53):
Yeah. But, but, but, but we have, we have a, a sort of weird optimism beneath all of this.

Leo Laporte (02:47:57):
I know, I know, I know. The

Mike Masnick (02:47:59):
Reason, the reason we're calling it out is because we think people can be better. And we think that innovation and the internet can be better. And therefore we, we, we are, we are angry at the things that hold that back, but we are optimistic about where we get to in the end.

Leo Laporte (02:48:15):
I like that. You also have a podcast which everybody should subscribe to. You can get all of And I, I do really wanna encourage people to support Tector. We talk about our own club all the time. But you know, if you only had seven bucks to spend, spend it on Tech Tec Dirt. Lisa's gonna kill me. But honestly, you guys are, you guys are doing God's work now. If you have 15 bucks, spend it on both of us. Okay, there we go. <Laugh>. But supporting Tec Dirt really is worthwhile because you are literally doing the most important work on the internet right now. I think it's super important and I'm so glad. We always are thrilled when you can join us. Thank you, Mike. I appreciate it.

Mike Masnick (02:48:58):
Thanks for having me. It's always, always fun.

Leo Laporte (02:49:00):
Best thing I can do for you, Owen Thomas is keep calling you the herb cane of Silicon Valley. Owen as you remember, the

Owen Thomas (02:49:07):
Second most important writer on

Leo Laporte (02:49:09):
The internet, <laugh>, second most important writer on the internet, as you may remember, was it Protocol. Protocol fell apart. Now a columnist for the Examiner. And you know what? I love your stuff. I am gonna start reading this. I'm gonna add you to my r s s. How about that? Great, great kind of columns about the real world in San Francisco and stuff. I haven't read The Examiner in a long time since the kind of the the newspaper wars knocked it out. But I'm glad to see it's doing it. It's doing it.

Owen Thomas (02:49:42):
I I, I remember in, in the nineties when I first got to town, I was, I was more of an examiner kid and that Me too.

Leo Laporte (02:49:48):
It was the afternoon a

Owen Thomas (02:49:50):
Lot of people. Yeah. Yeah. And it was, it was also the, the city, you know, paper, right? They still capitalize the Sea in City, which I love

Leo Laporte (02:49:58):

Owen Thomas (02:50:00):
As in there's only San Francisco. There are no other

Leo Laporte (02:50:03):
Cities. And Owens got, when

Owen Thomas (02:50:04):
You talk about the city,

Leo Laporte (02:50:06):
Yeah. This is it. And Owen's got the stories about San Francisco. And I think well worth I'm telling you, this is really, we need a Herb cane in San Francisco. You could be our new Herb Cane. He was the great columnist who dominated San Francisco newspapers for decades at the, at the Chronicle, then the Examiner, then back at the Chronicle. That's a, I think this is gonna be an opportunity for you. Oh, there's other Owens. Don't look at that. Other Owen. Look at Owen Thomas. I should have searched for Owen and Thomas. Thank you Owen. Really appreciate it. His website will someday be resurrected much like that. F is behind him. Di That's the place to go at Owen Thomas on the Twitter. Mr. Alex Lindsay, you'll be back on Tuesday. We will talk about so much stuff. Lots of news in the Apple world. Oh nine if you wanna hire him for your next streaming event. But everybody should go to Office because it's a great place to hang for free and learn about all sorts of stuff. Mindfulness today, which is kind of, kind of cool. Content creation strategies and processes. I think this is from yesterday. Yeah. Oh, that was yesterday. The

Owen Thomas (02:51:20):
Ed f for Educators.

Leo Laporte (02:51:21):
Yeah, exactly. So, oh, okay. Sony FFR seven MIDI programming, other World Computings. Larry O'Connor. Oh yeah, there it is. Saturday's Show. Yeah. Yeah. Lots of stuff on here. And it's, it's open to all, you can look at their stuff on YouTube, but you can also join the Zoom conversation, ask questions and so forth. Just go to Office for more information. Thank you, Alex.

Owen Thomas (02:51:45):
Thank you.

Leo Laporte (02:51:46):
We do twit every Sunday afternoon right after. Ask the Tech guys. I think it's a really good Sunday lineup. Now Mike and I start in the morning with Ask the Tech guys then about two o'clock Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern, 2200 utc. We gather together with the best minds and technology to talk about the week's tech news on this week in Tech. You can watch us do it live from two to five Pacific Time. That would be five to 8:00 PM Eastern Time, 2200 utc. The live streams at live dot twit tv. Actually, that's an aggregate of all the different live streams. So you can pick your favorite audio or video live stream. If you're watching Live chat with us, That's open to all. You can also chat in our Discord. If you are a member of Club Twit, again, seven bucks a month, it's a great deal.

You get ad-free versions of all the shows you get to participate in the Discord and all the special events that an puts together. Or you got some new events. Samal Salmon coming up. Stacy's Book Club Inside Twit with Victor. Alex Wilhelm will be doing an Ask Me Anything. And Sean Power is from Floss Weekly for a fireside chat all coming up. Aunt Pruitt is our community manager, puts together some fun stuff for members and members only. There's also members only shows like Hands On Macintosh with Micah, Paul t's Hands on Windows, the Un Entitle Lennox Show with Jonathan Bennett, Stacy's book Club, the GIZ Fizz with Dick t Barto. There's lots of reasons to be in the club, but the number one reason to join the club, it really keeps us on the air, keeps the lights on, keeps the team employed. And increasingly as as podcast advertising dwindles, it's gonna be the club that keeps us going.

So if you can afford it, if you, if you've already donated Detector, you've already bought a subscription to the Examiner, then you can <laugh> then the seven bucks left. Join Club twit, go to twit. Thank you very much in advance for your support. That just about does it. You can get a show also after the fact that the website,, you can also subscribe on your favorite podcast player. There's a YouTube channel. Lots of ways to watch Twit, but please do watch it every week cuz we love having you here. I thank you for joining me. And as I have said for the last 15 years, I'll say it one more time, another twit is in the can


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