This Week in Tech Episode 942 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 twit this week in Tech. Great show for you. We've got two Noobs and a classic. The classic ran Woo from the Cyber Rebellion Pack, but also Jason Kler. He is co-founder at 4 0 4 Media, formerly editor in chief of Motherboard and Eric Geller, senior cybersecurity reporter, another brand new publication called The Messenger. We're going to talk about Silicon Valley. Why are all these billionaires buying up land in the deserted Solano County about an hour east of us? What are they up to? Why? You should probably erase your phone before you try to take it across the border. And why are all those mushrooms showing up in my Instagram ads? That and a whole lot more. Coming up next on Twit
This is TWiT (00:00:46):
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Leo Laporte (00:00:58):
This is twit this week in Tech. Episode 942 recorded Sunday, August 27th, 2023 Dark Brandon's Twitch. This episode of this Week in Tech is brought to you by Collide. Collide is a device trust solution for companies with Okta Collide ensures if a device isn't trusted and secure, it can't log into your cloud apps. Visit collide.com/twit to book an on-demand demo today and by ACI learning it Skills are outdated in about 18 months. Launch or advance your career today with quality, affordable, entertaining training individuals. Use the code TWIT 30 for 30% off a standard or premium individual IT pro firstname.lastname@example.org slash twit. It is time for TWI this week at Tech the show. We cover the week's tech news. We're going to have some fun today. First of all, let me introduce the one, the only Brianna Woo, executive director of Rebellion Pac, former candidate for Congress in the Massachusetts sixth. Was it the sixth? I've forgotten the district. Eighth. Eighth. Well,
Brianna Wu (00:02:14):
We're so much better in that sixth district game. Developer is good.
Leo Laporte (00:02:18):
She is the eighth. Eighth is great. Eight is great. Eight is good. Sixth sucks.
Brianna Wu (00:02:25):
Not as good.
Leo Laporte (00:02:27):
My view. Great to see you, Brianna. Are those Frank's illustrations over your shoulder behind you there?
Brianna Wu (00:02:33):
No, those are posters from Capcom c p s two games. I'm obsessed with Dark Stalkers. The very first one, which was kind of a street fighter type game, the era and it's gorgeous artwork.
Leo Laporte (00:02:46):
Also, let me show you this, A Speed runner mine. This is Parasite Eve. What is it?
Brianna Wu (00:02:51):
That poster right there. That is the original Parasite Eve from Japan that cost me an obscene amount of money
Leo Laporte (00:02:56):
And I don't even know what it is. And that just shows you, you, I'll tell you later. What game is it?
Brianna Wu (00:03:03):
It's a really early Squares soft Rrp G. It's one of the things that made me want to go into game development. It's cinematic and gorgeous. Oh cool. It's just an amazing game.
Leo Laporte (00:03:11):
Very cool. You're also Speed runner and we will talk about Gate three because apparently you have been playing that game.
Brianna Wu (00:03:22):
Love that game. Big fan of bears.
Leo Laporte (00:03:25):
I don't know anything about bears because I still am stuck in the mothership, but I think I've killed everybody, so me and my companions are heading out and that's when I stopped because I thought I won't make it to the show on time if I don't stop right now. Hey, we got a couple of nubs with us. I'm thrilled to welcome Eric Geller. He's a senior cybersecurity reporter at the Messenger. Hi Eric.
Eric Geller (00:03:51):
Hi. Thanks for having me on the show.
Leo Laporte (00:03:52):
Joining us from Washington DC Tell me about the messenger.
Eric Geller (00:03:57):
Well, we're a relatively new news website covering the waterfront, all things news, health, business tech, and I'm on our science and tech team, as you said, the cybersecurity reporter. So covering all things digital security.
Leo Laporte (00:04:11):
Nice. Your source for unbiased news was this created in response to the biased news the world is full with?
Eric Geller (00:04:26):
Well, what I like to tell people is I'm working with a great group of journalists and one thing that they set out to do from the very beginning is basically grab people from all over the news business. I like to say the best of the best and then there's also me. It's a great team of time.
Leo Laporte (00:04:42):
Very humble of you. Very nice. Yeah, thank you. Your stuff
Brianna Wu (00:04:45):
Is great. You need to be less humble. Okay,
Eric Geller (00:04:47):
Well that worked. So thank you. Appreciate
Leo Laporte (00:04:49):
That. So good to have you and also new to the show and I'm thrilled to have him with a new publication. Jason Keebler is here. Hi Jason.
Jason Koebler (00:05:01):
Hey, how are you? Thrilled to be here. I just realized I've been looking at the wrong webcam for the last 20 minutes behind the scenes. I'm
Leo Laporte (00:05:07):
Over here. Over here.
Jason Koebler (00:05:09):
Yeah, no, I see.
Leo Laporte (00:05:10):
Jason Koebler (00:05:11):
Here, check this out. Check this out.
Leo Laporte (00:05:15):
I was looking at the wrong one. There you go. It's a much better one. Oh, I like that shot. So much better. Yeah,
Jason Koebler (00:05:20):
I know. I was wondering. I was like, my eyes were not looking at the camera and I was like, I don't understand what's happening, but
Leo Laporte (00:05:27):
Well, it looks good.
Jason Koebler (00:05:28):
I've been felt by basic technology,
Leo Laporte (00:05:32):
The name I do certainly. Because Jason for a long time was editor-in-chief at Motherboard, which was the vice publication for cybersecurity and technology. We quoted it all the time and then Vice kind of pulled the plug.
Jason Koebler (00:05:52):
Well, we kind of proactively left, which is to say motherboard still exists. There's some, yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:05:59):
Didn't they say it's journalists are still
Jason Koebler (00:06:00):
Leo Laporte (00:06:02):
They did say they were shutting it down, didn't they?
Jason Koebler (00:06:04):
No, they're not shutting down motherboard. But the company was bankrupt is coming out of bankruptcy. It's pretty messy. But in any case, new publication called 4 0 4 media.co. The joke I've been saying is the M was a hundred thousand dollars because the domain name did cost a hundred thousand dollars for.com. Yikes. Yikes. Yeah. So we're going to be covering hacking, privacy, surveillance, consumer rights, and all sorts of weird internet stuff.
Leo Laporte (00:06:36):
This is the superstars of motherboard. It's kind of like United artists. When Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford got together and said, we don't need the studios anymore. We're going to do our own thing. But you weren't Jason, a little chasin by the fact that mother mines went bankrupt. That didn't concern you a little bit.
Jason Koebler (00:06:59):
It did concern me a lot, a bit. That's why I left. But
Leo Laporte (00:07:03):
Yeah, but then you started another publication?
Jason Koebler (00:07:06):
I started another publication, but I think Well, yeah, it's a hard business. We'll see.
Leo Laporte (00:07:12):
Writers got, right?
Jason Koebler (00:07:13):
We're begging readers for money and it's a different model.
Leo Laporte (00:07:17):
I joined by Emmanuel Berg, Samantha Cole, Joseph Cox, all stalwarts at the motherboard and I'm loving it already. Four oh four.co and you have a podcast and you have a subscription. So like the Patreon kind of style subscription. Yes.
Jason Koebler (00:07:40):
Yeah, exactly. So we're asking for reader support, check out the website and hopefully you'll like it. We think that the work is worth paying for, but we're also doing a lot of stuff that's not going to be behind a paywall. So really just hoping to make something that we wanted to see in the world, which is a reader supported tech publication. I mean, we were inspired by sites like Defector and Hellgate in New York City. And I think, not that there were a lot of strings at Vice, we did have a lot of freedom, but I think we just really want to talk about how technology impacts people and the personalities behind technology that are changing different power structures, et cetera.
Leo Laporte (00:08:25):
This is the team. This is the A team for investigative journalism in the tech space. I think we're all looking for new financial models in new media especially. And I include websites as new media, which I probably shouldn't since we've been around for several decades now. Even Podcasting's 20 years old. But it's hard to find a way. It's not the newspaper biz anymore. So I love this. Maybe you
Brianna Wu (00:08:55):
Could follow the Twitch model and just start some drama with other publications
Leo Laporte (00:09:00):
Every single day
Brianna Wu (00:09:01):
And then just make some clicks out of it.
Jason Koebler (00:09:04):
Well, I was told by my colleagues to come on this show and beef with everyone. That's it.
Leo Laporte (00:09:08):
They're smart. Getting ready.
Brianna Wu (00:09:10):
I'm doing have a lot of problems with
Leo Laporte (00:09:11):
You actually already you're fighting with Instagram. You couldn't pick a better first opponent. Instagram throttles 4 0 4 media's investigation into drug ads on Instagram.
Jason Koebler (00:09:24):
I mean, I've been getting ads for meth for months. What? Just clicking through my stories on Instagram. All
Leo Laporte (00:09:30):
I get is Ed medicine. You get meth,
Jason Koebler (00:09:33):
I get meth, I get hacked credit cards, I get hacking services. I got a job ad for massage services that were paid in cash
Leo Laporte (00:09:44):
Jason Koebler (00:09:46):
That's the vibe. And they're really easy to find on Instagram. I've shown this to Instagram several times. All of the ads are going directly to Telegram, like telegram chat groups where it's one click from Instagram to Would you like to buy a pound of weeded? Would you like to buy meth shrooms?
Leo Laporte (00:10:07):
What do the ads on Instagram say? They don't say that.
Jason Koebler (00:10:12):
Some of them do. Some of them do, which I don't know if you have the article up, but I do. A lot of them just have wads of stacks of cash, like people in ski masks standing in front of an A t m. But as you'll see here, this is psilocybin that's directly on Instagram. Oh my
Leo Laporte (00:10:31):
God. Is this because the ads are sold on Instagram? They are on Facebook and many, many other sites in an automated fashion. It's like a vending machine. There's no human.
Jason Koebler (00:10:42):
I mean, they nominally have a review process, but something about the review process is broken. I'm
Leo Laporte (00:10:47):
Sure there's so many, there's hundreds of thousands of ads a day. They just can't. Right. I mean it looks like, oh, they must be selling mushrooms. Okay.
Brianna Wu (00:10:57):
I don't know. They put such a kibosh on political ads. It's incredible.
Leo Laporte (00:11:03):
They do stuff those don't they. Isn't that funny? Yeah, they can really do that. They really do.
Brianna Wu (00:11:07):
No, I wanted to say, yeah, I was talking to a famous person, there's a right-wing commentator. This week we were talking back channel about how disturbed we were with some of the extremism, and this person was telling me about how they have nothing but in their Instagram feeds posts about how to construct pipe bumps for domestic terrorism and stuff like that constantly in their feeds. So it's just absolutely amazing to me. The stuff we get zonked for and the stuff that just makes it through the N L P filters.
Leo Laporte (00:11:48):
The excuse given, well actually this comes from an interview subject from the Integrity Institute, is that the harm isn't on the platform. It's a link to Instagram. And so it's hard to police these. Although I'm looking at the video that you email@example.com and it looks like there's some harm here. Just off the top of my head, it looks like they're showing you how to, this is a coding solution. I mean,
Jason Koebler (00:12:19):
Yeah, and the thing is, I'm not offended by this stuff. It's like I was purposefully reinforcing the algorithm. Once I started seeing them, I started clicking on 'em because I was like, wow, why is this on here? But like I said in that follow-up, our article about this problem was caught right away because it used the word meth. It used the word drugs and it was prevented from,
Leo Laporte (00:12:43):
They stopped the article, they didn't stop the ads.
Jason Koebler (00:12:47):
And you have sex workers on Instagram, you have marginalized people, you have all these sorts of people who have their platforms and they're reach limited all the time for these pretty inscrutable rules sometimes. And then you have Instagram taking money to inject ads for coding. And I got a lot of ads for guns even. And they're taking money for this and they're not doing a great job of stopping it. I mean, I don't want to direct your listeners to go see where to find this, but Meta has an ad library and you can see thousands and thousands of these ads. If you search for a telegram link, like a telegram link shortener, and I've shown this to Facebook time and time again, and they say, okay, well we delete it when we find it. And I say, okay, well I can find it over and over and over again. No problem.
Brianna Wu (00:13:40):
Have you tried actually ordering it and seeing if it's actually that stuff? Because it seems to me there would be very little incentive. It
Leo Laporte (00:13:47):
Might be a scam.
Brianna Wu (00:13:48):
Leo Laporte (00:13:49):
Which is even worse. Who are you going to write to? I'm not even going to get my shrooms.
Jason Koebler (00:13:54):
Exactly. Exactly. So some of it is definitely a scam. Some of the stuff you can tell, this is someone trying to heart naive person from their money, but there are other ones where there's a lot of videos of the product and then there's photos of the receipt and they're willing to FaceTime with you to show you that they're walking to the post office to mail you your drugs, stuff like that. And I've spent enough time in these groups to think that some of them are real. And by real, I mean they're actually selling drugs. And then I also talked to an academic who sort of traced the online drug trade from the dark web to telegram. So obviously there's still dark web markets where this stuff is getting sold, but a lot of the most popular vendors on the dark web have moved to Telegram because then they're able to have a one-to-one relationship with their customers. And so I'm pretty sure that a lot of this stuff is real legit, not a scam, but I did not buy any of it because that's illegal. And we're a new publication, so
Leo Laporte (00:15:06):
Probably best not to go to jail in your first week. I want
Jason Koebler (00:15:08):
To last more than a week. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (00:15:10):
Do you even
Jason Koebler (00:15:10):
Have a lawyer on staff? Jason? We have a lawyer. Yeah, we did.
Leo Laporte (00:15:15):
How did you fund this? Did you go out and get VC or investors or is this all self-funded?
Jason Koebler (00:15:21):
This is all, I mean, you might think it makes us sound a little less serious, but we each put in $1,000. And I think that's one of the big reasons why we did this is because the tools to actually set up a site, this are much more accessible. Now we're using this product called Ghost, which is open source love ghost. Yeah, yeah. It's really good. They've been easy. It's a blocking
Leo Laporte (00:15:44):
Jason Koebler (00:15:46):
Really fast, lightweight site. And then, yeah, it's a subscription model. So from day one, we had revenue coming in. We obviously have savings so that we're able to do this, but we didn't take VC money because we didn't want to get on a hamster wheel where
Leo Laporte (00:16:03):
Jason Koebler (00:16:04):
They want returns right away, that sort of thing. We want to sort of do this in our own terms and see if we can make
Leo Laporte (00:16:09):
It work. Is the server behind you right there or,
Jason Koebler (00:16:13):
Yeah, it's that bicycle. So if
Leo Laporte (00:16:15):
I just enough You have to keep pad, you keep paddling? Yeah. Yeah.
Jason Koebler (00:16:19):
That's a filing cabinet. That's where I keep on my important files, which actually it's where my Nintendo switch is to
Leo Laporte (00:16:26):
Be totally honest. Oh, that's good. I should put mine in a filing cabinet then it would look like you're doing something.
Jason Koebler (00:16:33):
Brianna Wu (00:16:34):
It's got to make you feel like you're at such a disadvantage though. I mean, not to go to Elon right away, but you look at what he did with Twitter and he gets it and And all his VC buddies tilt the alco towards
Leo Laporte (00:16:47):
All. When you say gets it, by the way, I want to make it clear. You mean he bought it? Yeah, he bought, not that he gets, it
Brianna Wu (00:16:54):
Was 44 billion on this and just tilts the alco to all this stuff that he and his right wing buddies want to do this all in podcast.
Leo Laporte (00:17:02):
You're still there though, sax? You're still there, Brianna, you tweet all the time. I'm filled.
Brianna Wu (00:17:07):
I'm filled ashamed about it, but no, it's like, and you see them doing it and they tilt the playbook towards they want what they want to talk about and they're just going journalists, do
Leo Laporte (00:17:17):
You stay there because you feel like, and I know this is legit, people say this, if I don't stay there, it is going to go completely bonkers. So we need to defend ourselves on this
Brianna Wu (00:17:28):
To a certain extent. To be really honest, all my favorite group chats are there, so that's the main reason.
Leo Laporte (00:17:33):
No, that's true still. And that's part of the problem is if you guys don't leave, then there's a reason to go there. I know
Brianna Wu (00:17:42):
I'm a terrible person. I'm a terrible person.
Leo Laporte (00:17:45):
No, you're not. I am not berating you. You're judging a little, but it's fair. A little judgey, I think. Yeah, but can I just say that my wife is still using it regularly and we still use it as a company because we use all we have to promote on all the platforms. Anybody with a company has to promote everywhere.
Jason Koebler (00:18:05):
That's been the big thing for me is I had not been tweeting or really using social media much at all over the last few months, which was very nice for my mental health. But then you launch something like this, you go out on a limb and you launch something and it's like, well, my audience is on Twitter. The audience that I have so far is on Twitter, and I've been working to build an audience on threads and on Mastodon, et cetera, but really have gone into a posting mode that I have not a sort of Twitter brain mode that I haven't been in for a few years because it is a kind of noxious place. But
Leo Laporte (00:18:45):
Eric, so far so good.
Jason Koebler (00:18:47):
Everyone's been really nice. You
Leo Laporte (00:18:48):
Said to use your blue sky profile, you preferring Bluesky looks just like Twitter, but it's of course, it's Jack's Open Twitter,
Eric Geller (00:18:59):
Jack Dorsey. Yeah. Yeah, Jack, I mean I'm definitely still on Twitter. I definitely still use it a lot. I've seen that it still has some of that juice that it used to have does, although certainly less of it, but I think that diversity in this marketplace is valuable. Also, another thing I'll point out is I was talking to somebody about the kind of misinformation problem on social media, and one of the things they said was if we had more of these platforms that were sort of more equal in terms of stature as opposed to just Twitter and Facebook and everybody else, there would be more incentive for companies like Instagram to clean up the platform, to get rid of misinformation, to get rid of drug markets because they would actually be worried about losing market share to other sites. So I'm trying to be bit more conscious about using these other platforms as well. Not as anything against Elon personally, but just I think there's value in having multiple healthy communities.
Jason Koebler (00:19:51):
I think that's really smart, but I also have this theory that Elon, by sort of saying, I am basically not going to do content moderation. I'm not going to do it in the same way that Twitter used to do it. I feel like that almost gives Zuckerberg the permission to be much more lax on Facebook and much more lax on Instagram. And I don't have any data to back that up, but it just feels to me Facebook has gone through waves where it's taken content moderation super seriously, and over the last few months it feels like it hasn't. And I feel like part of that reason might just be because Elon's barely doing it on Twitter. What are you going to do? What are you going to do and leave Instagram? I mean a lot of people do, but a lot of people are kind of used to just start seeing junk on the internet all the time on every platform they go to. And so maybe there's some less incentive to have a very strong content moderation
Brianna Wu (00:20:55):
Team. So it's not just your feeling on this. Washington Post had a fantastic piece that came out just a couple of days ago by Sarah Ellison talking about how Elon basically set the way for not doing anything about disinformation on these platforms, and the rest of big tech is following the way, which is very much evidenced by your Instagram ads. So it is not just your feeling, this is an objective reality. It's happening.
Eric Geller (00:21:20):
And just to bring in the Washington DC element, there's a big fight right now in the courts about how much the government can be talking to these companies about election disinformation, about c Ovid 19 disinformation. The White House was for a little while actually legally prevented from having certain conversations with the tech companies. That ruling has been paused, but it's going to give these companies cover to do less of this if there are groups taking them to court for even talking to the government about taking stuff down. And
Leo Laporte (00:21:51):
I've been seeing,
Brianna Wu (00:21:51):
I find this, oh, go ahead.
Leo Laporte (00:21:53):
Go ahead Brianna. No, no,
Brianna Wu (00:21:54):
No. I was just going to say I find this really frustrating because do you really think Twitter or Facebook or in the best positioned to go out there and determine which accounts are ISIS propaganda or run for recruitment out there? Of course, it's our Naec agencies and I find no issue whatsoever with them going and compiling data and just handing it over to a Twitter or a Facebook saying, look, we have the resources to look into this stuff. This is our determination. Do with it. You will if you're serious about these problems though, but this is what we think. This is what we are finding. I think that's utterly legitimate for our government to do, and I think this practice is really bad news for our national security,
Leo Laporte (00:22:40):
So I always love this. One way to kind of keep your finger on the pulse of this is to watch ads on tv. And I remember last year in the Super Bowl, there were a lot of ads about Jesus getting us, and I was really interested who's paying for those ads? Maybe you've seen these ads
Speaker 6 (00:22:58):
Lately. I served in the Army for 27 years. Today I'm retired and living on a pension. Instead of lowering our costs and tackling inflation, Congress is going after American technology. This misguided agenda will threaten the technology we use every day, and it could cost public pension plans over $100 billion. Seniors like me will pay a heavy price, tell Congress to leave our technology alone.
Leo Laporte (00:23:27):
How many of these have you seen lately and who do you think's paying for that? I know, but I'll see a few guys know that's a Facebook ad. Well,
Jason Koebler (00:23:36):
It clearly the American Edge project,
Leo Laporte (00:23:38):
It's the American Edge project. The people who bring you all the good stuff in life from Silicon Valley, they are lobbying really hard to keep Congress out of their pie, out of the trough. This is Sarah Ellison and Naomi Nick's article you were talking about following Elon Musk's lead. Big tech is surrendering to this information, and I think you're right. I think it's partly because it's easier to do so, but also partly because the government kind of seems to be encouraging that they take a hands-off policy that's coming by the way from the American that says, oh, stop censoring conservative voices.
Jason Koebler (00:24:21):
Well, so much of the content moderation, the reason these platforms do content moderation is because they're worried that advertisers don't want to be next to disinformation. They don't want to be next to drugs and they don't want to be next to sex,
Leo Laporte (00:24:33):
Et cetera. But you know what? Chie and Chong gummies alternative do not mind being everywhere on Twitter. I cannot get away from the Chie and Sean gummies. Apparently they don't care. But most, you're right, most advertisers want to be in a quality environment,
Jason Koebler (00:24:51):
But where's the quality environment now? And so I think that that's like since Elon isn't doing it,
Leo Laporte (00:24:57):
No one has to. Obviously a lot
Jason Koebler (00:24:58):
Of advertisers have pulled away, but they're not going to pull away from Facebook and Instagram because those are very high. They're very effective places to advertise.
Brianna Wu (00:25:10):
I think this is, I can't say the word I really want to say, so I think it's horse duty. I think I would say it's the idea that Facebook and Twitter and all these companies are not actually publishers. I find it fairly laughable and I understand it is kind of easy to fall back to a profit motive argument on this. It's bad for advertisers as bad for the bottom line. Fair enough. But I'm old enough to remember an age where I think politics was better because there was some editorial judgment placed with what we saw and what we were talking about. It is not to say we didn't miss a lot of really important stories or the biases that exist in those newsrooms didn't have really serious policy effects. Look at the AIDS crisis. This is a really good example of that just not being covered for a long time the way it needed to be, but I just don't, I think if you have a media environment where the best argument they have is it's about the profit motive and not about what makes us just our civic virtue, forget Republican or Democrat, but just what is good for civil society.
I just don't think we can operate it that way.
Leo Laporte (00:26:24):
I think you might be a little bit over optimistic, maybe a little nostalgic, maybe a little, yeah, because I mean, I just finished just such a good book, Robert Caro's book about Robert Moses, the guy who paved New York City with parkways. And one of the reasons Moses could operate for 40 years as an unelected official with a massive budget in the face of political opposition is because the New York Times loved him and would not write a negative thing about not one, in fact, to his death wouldn't even panned this book called it venomous because it criticized this guy. And so I think that we have, I agree with you. I mean, I always thought, well, I trusted Walter Cronkite, the New York Times, a paper of record and all that, but maybe it's not a perfect unblemished
Brianna Wu (00:27:19):
Discussion. Well, my argument is not that it's perfect. I pointed out the AIDS crisis as an example with the guy really wrong. I'm saying that there was some editorial judgment. Aren't
Leo Laporte (00:27:29):
We better off having a lot? I'm going to play a little bit of devil's advocate, but aren't we a little bit better off having everybody have a voice and trusting this is something that seems to be lacking in all these conversations, trusting people to judge what's good and what's not, what's good content and what's not to make an appropriate decision based on all the information instead of something editorially selected for them.
Brianna Wu (00:27:55):
I think it's a fantasy. That's a
Leo Laporte (00:27:56):
Brianna Wu (00:27:56):
Too. It's a fantasy because I mean, look, we've seen this. We see it every single day in the algo. Most people are going to believe stuff that it is what they already agree with. The stories that you most need to read sometimes in say, wall Street Journal, this is a paper I subscribe to. It has a point of view I generally don't agree with, but as well researched it is foundationally
Leo Laporte (00:28:20):
Accurate. I just took it out of my R S Ss feed because I started to see, of course everybody knows the editorial section, the opinion stuff, that's
Brianna Wu (00:28:28):
Leo Laporte (00:28:29):
Garbage. But everybody always told me, oh no, but they have good reporters. You could trustworthy reporters, you can trust the news. But I'm seeing more and more of a big anti-big tech slant from the Wall Street Journal, constant anti Google, so forth. And I think that they are just as biased in the news division at this point.
Brianna Wu (00:28:47):
I would need to see that. I think
Leo Laporte (00:28:49):
I only saw it. I had the r s s feed and it was article after article after article pretty somebody took it out of my r s s feed.
Brianna Wu (00:28:56):
But look at Joan Stern, Christopher Mimms
Leo Laporte (00:28:59):
Agree, got good
Brianna Wu (00:29:00):
People. Sarah Needleman, one of the best reporters in the entire business. In my estimation.
Leo Laporte (00:29:06):
Somebody in the Discord is saying the social contract is broken. And maybe that's really part of it. And honestly, the reason this is important is we've got a presidential election coming up in just a little over a year, and we've got AI coming on strong and disinformation machines are ramping up, and it's going to be pretty soon that you won't be able to trust a thing you read. And maybe the best thing is to say, well, it's the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, but I'm even questioning stuff I'm reading in those papers.
Brianna Wu (00:29:39):
Yeah, I think it's really hard coming back to, I obviously support that. I
Leo Laporte (00:29:44):
Think we need to read four oh four.co.
Jason Koebler (00:29:47):
I was going to say, and
Leo Laporte (00:29:48):
We need to read the messenger and maybe this is the best hope is these small independents that don't seem to have as much of an ax to grind. Maybe this is the future, and I love seeing people like you, Jason, going out and saying, we're going to start our own thing. It's going to be four of us and it's going to be shoestring, but we're going to give you the good reporting you're used to without an ax to grind. I think that's very exciting.
Jason Koebler (00:30:18):
Exciting. Yeah. I mean, we're excited about it. And then also it's like the numbers can be scary. It's like we need thousands of people to subscribe to us in order to make ends meet and to have a life. But then you start thinking about how many people are out there and you just need a tiny fraction of the people who read us to support us in order for that to work. And one of the things that I saw at Vice, which I am not going to ramble about this too long, is that there's astronomical overhead in the news business right now. It's like Vice had an office that they just announced they're leaving in Prime Williamsburg in Brooklyn. That office is millions and millions and millions of dollars, something like 40 or 50 offices all over the world, paying consultants all of the time to come in and reassess what the business strategy should be, changing tactics all the time.
And I think that when you have this astronomical overhead, it makes it really hard for the journalism. Not that we had this in mind the whole time, but as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, we sort of saw the financials and VA owed millions and millions and millions of dollars to a variety of companies. And it's impossible for the journalists to outwork that, I think. And if you start with something very small that doesn't need millions of dollars to succeed, you can still do really impactful work and you can make it financially sustainable because you don't have this insane overhead, and I mentioned Ghost earlier, but one of the reasons we're able to do it is because it has Stripe built in, which is a payment processor. It's like we don't need to hire an IT team like Ghost is just rock solid. There's just all the barriers to entry to make a website. I mean, you know, you started a podcast over 20 years ago, they don't exist anymore. And so there's a lot of benefits to being in a big newsroom or being at a big media company, but me and my co-founders have done this for over 10 years. We know how to do the journalism and now there are enough services and pieces of software and open source tools out there that we can do all of the logistics and backend business stuff pretty easily and pretty inexpensively.
Brianna Wu (00:32:46):
Yeah, I think would've two concerns about that. The first is look at someone I've done with a fair number of times, paramor net, right? If there's not a pipeline for people to come out of college and become professional journalists and everything is these smaller blogs, maybe it's okay for a while, but I think in five, 10 years, I think there's going to be a real lack of institutional knowledge that's going to really affect the talent that's coming next. I think the other problem is we've seen this, I really love cars. For instance, we had a bunch of people from Gel Lotnik and a bunch of the other car periodicals go and start a website called the Utopia, right? Great site. But what they have to do to get the money they need to continue is write the silly stories people like me are going to pay for. They're not doing the nuts and bolts journalism that really informs the car market or even performs a watchdog role. It's more like, look at this guy that LSS swapped this crazy engine into a Miata, right? I'm going to click that. So I think there's certainly a model for some journalists to survive of what you're talking about, but I think it's going to leave the country weaker overall in my estimation,
Eric Geller (00:34:10):
Owen, particularly because it's hard for small news organizations to have the funds to pay interns. I mean, there's a lot of a discourse in the news business about the need to pay interns so that you can have a more diverse candidate pool so that you can foster journalists from different backgrounds. That's difficult to do if you are paying your operations but don't have a lot left over. And so legacy media organizations have a lot of money in the budget, and if they can put some of it toward paying interns to get them their foot in the door, that is one thing that for better or worse, legacy organizations can generally find money if people at the top want to do it. Now, that's a separate question, but to be a C N N, to be a New York Times means that if you decide that you want to pay your interns, that's no problem for you.
If you're a smaller organization, no matter how great your journalism is, you could want to pay your interns the same as a senior reporter, but you just don't probably have the money for that in most cases. And so it means that there's fewer places for a young person to go when they're getting into this industry. I would however say to Leo's point about trusting certain news organizations and not trusting others, I think the new model for being a savvy news consumer is trusting specific reporters, particularly because there is so much churn in the industry. Right's a good point. So if you say, I know this person and I trust them and I'll follow them wherever they go, then you know that this person is not suddenly going to become untrustworthy no matter where they are. They're going to still do the journalism that you respect them for. And so that can be a shorthand for you to still get high quality journalism without having to figure out if this entire company has a slant that you agree or disagree with.
Leo Laporte (00:35:53):
Excellent point. Yeah. In fact, that's kind of what you were doing, Brianna, because when I did Wall Street Journal and I don't trust 'em anymore, you mentioned four names of people you do trust and I do trust them as well. And so I think that's exactly how we should do it, Eric. I think that's really smart. And unfortunately until recently, big media did not want big bylines. That's expensive. So it's going to be up to us as individuals to find those names and find those voices. And sometimes it might not be the Washington Post of the New York Times, it might be a CK or a Ghost blog.
Jason Koebler (00:36:26):
I do think,
Yeah, I think Brianna's point about sort of the inside jokes of a site like Utopian is a really good one though because a lot of the most popular cks are incredibly niche and they're hyper specific, and if you're not interested in that topic, you're unlikely to subscribe to it obviously. And I think that that is a big concern. If you have all of these hyper-specific media outlets writing to a couple thousand people, how does a story break through? You might see something every now and then crop through to the mainstream and affect policy, et cetera, but you also then have people who are getting their news from just a variety of subsets about niche things and then aren't able to follow some of the bigger through lines that connect all of these niche topics.
Leo Laporte (00:37:24):
Well, certainly there's no lack of media. There's no lack of content that goes in places to go people to read sources of information. If somebody wants to know, well, a good example, Jason, is this Instagram ad story, has anybody picked it up yet or is it just you?
Jason Koebler (00:37:46):
I mean, we've been aggregated a handful of times.
Leo Laporte (00:37:50):
So if a story, if it's an important story, I think people are going to pick it up. And in a way that's the market of ideas, the marketplace of ideas. If it's niche and nobody's interested, then the people who are most interested, we'll know it and the rest of us will just b blindly go on our way without knowing it. I think these inside things is voice, and I think voice is really important. That's the other side of having following a person. You also follow their voice and you want to hear their voice and know their voice. Go ahead. I'm sorry,
Eric Geller (00:38:20):
Eric. No, that's fine. This is part of what made Twitter so valuable when it was in Itay Day, is that if you are a one person shop as a journalist and you've got your sub stack and you break some news in a pre-Twitter era, it's very unlikely that that will ever make it to the editors at the New York Times. But if I have five followers and I tweet out this link and two of them retweet it, there you go. There's a good chance that that will make its way up the chain of journalism through a social media website until somebody at the New York Times says, Hey, we should dig into this too. And in a world where there aren't, isn't that critical mass on one site? I don't know that that's going to happen as frequently,
Leo Laporte (00:38:57):
But Twitter's dying.
Eric Geller (00:39:00):
Yes. Where do we don't
Leo Laporte (00:39:01):
Do that? Don't think Twitter can.
Eric Geller (00:39:03):
Well, that's an existential question, frankly, for some smaller news organizations.
Leo Laporte (00:39:08):
It's a good argument though for why we need something like that. Not necessarily the place you read those articles, but the place you keep your finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. What are people talking about? And I think that's absolutely how I use Twitter, and I bet most people who read Twitter maybe don't post Twitter. That's what it was most valuable for. If you'd heard somebody died, you'd say, oh, you'd go right to Twitter now. It's very fragmented.
Brianna Wu (00:39:35):
One of the things we're really working on for this election cycle is the Democratic Party is looking at the sinking ratings for C N N and M S N B C. And traditionally this has been where at least half of the money for a campaign has been spent. There'll be over a billion dollars spent on this presidential election in 2024, probably more like 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 billion, and at least half of that is going to go to television ads. The Democrat party is looking at the ratings for cable news and for local news is realizing, holy crap, people are not tuning into this anymore. How can we get our message out? And that's why they're finally investing in the project I'm doing, which is this streamer project taking people like Destiny and vs. And Young Turks and Majority Airport more seriously as news organizations that millions of people watch that they need to go get their message out. On my friend Taylor Lorenz, she very famously has been, she's been shouting this from the Hill for the last decade about how younger people do not read news. They do pay attention to influencers, and if you're interested in getting a story out there, you've got to be talking to influencers and the future,
Leo Laporte (00:40:57):
Oh God, I hate that word, influencers.
Brianna Wu (00:40:59):
I know that the reality,
Leo Laporte (00:41:01):
I hope she's wrong on that one.
Brianna Wu (00:41:04):
It's objectively right, and studies have proven it. So
Leo Laporte (00:41:07):
Think about where
Brianna Wu (00:41:08):
Politics is going as a
Leo Laporte (00:41:09):
Whole, but remember 2016 where Donald Trump and Brad Parscale particularly won an election, arguably in 2016, didn't win the popular vote, but won the election through a strategy on Facebook of a hundred dollars ad buys. That was a very interesting point of view, and that wasn't influencers, but that was highly targeted small ad buys that were very, very effective. I mean, it was
Brianna Wu (00:41:38):
Effective through stolen information.
Leo Laporte (00:41:41):
I don't think it turns out that Cambridge Analytica thing was maybe a little overblown. They didn't have to steal information. All they had to do was say, Facebook, I want high school educated, middle-aged guys living in Appalachia, and I'm going to show 'em this ad, and it's targeted, highly targeted. It's going to do very well with them. No one else is going to see. Nobody in the city is going to see that ad. Those people are going to get different ad that really worked. So I think that that's very old school. The idea of we're going to spend a billion dollars on C b s or in the case of statewide campaigns on our local radio station. By the way, I used to work in radio every two years, big windfall with political ads because, but that's going to go away. I don't think radio's getting those ads anymore because that's not how you reach people anymore because they aren't mass.
Brianna Wu (00:42:34):
Well, they've lied about the metrics for so long,
Leo Laporte (00:42:37):
And Jeff Jarvis says this, mass media is a very modern invention. It's only a hundred so years old, and we're going away from that whole idea of everybody's watching Walter Cronkite at night or Johnny Carson that's long gone. It's a much more fragmented market, so they're finding new ways to reach those people. I don't know if that Facebook strategy would work in 2024. It
Brianna Wu (00:43:01):
Wouldn't. The salient of those ads is diminishing,
Leo Laporte (00:43:05):
But there'll be a new way. There'll be a new way. I think I celebrate the diversity of voices. I think that's a good thing, and it means, I think
Brianna Wu (00:43:16):
You may feel that way. You run a small media company.
Leo Laporte (00:43:20):
Yeah, maybe. Yeah, maybe. I don't think mass media is a good thing. I really don't. Yeah, I mean, look, we have 700,000 uniques a month. Tiny fraction. It's bigger than a local newspaper, but it's bigger than most technology magazines, but it's a fraction of the traditional mainstream media. I'm very happy with that number. And by the way, advertisers have moved off of podcasting. They've moved on to much more programmatic stuff, so that's why we have a club. We have to do what you're doing, Jason, and actually the messenger's doing it too. Reach out to our audience and get them to fund what we do. But I think that's a good thing. I don't see that as a bad thing at all. Why is that bad, Brianna? Why do we want mass media?
Brianna Wu (00:44:14):
It's not that it's necessarily bad that Neil Stevenson wrote about this in the Diamond Age, where the Diamond Age is a story about what happens after the snow crash world, and they're trying to figure out how to make society work again, and the Victorians one of the lessons they take because it's not necessarily good for society for everybody to read a different newspaper every single day because it's hard to find a consensus on what people believe everyone's leaving in their own reality, and it's hard to set a national group of priorities.
Leo Laporte (00:44:46):
Yeah, we're kind of seeing that, aren't we? Yeah, today, yeah. Yeah,
Brianna Wu (00:44:50):
So I think it's good and it's bad. I think if you are an L G B T person, I think it's good that media exists to get out the stories about your rights that you care
Leo Laporte (00:45:01):
About. What if that mass consensus was really just a case of propaganda being susceptible, propaganda, and that we all kind of bought into the same story. It was told so convincingly drummed into our head by mainstream media that we believed it. That doesn't mean it's the best way to go. I agree. It's hard for a politician to know where to spend their ad dollars, but I don't care about that. That is not on my agenda. The only problem is this now puts the burden on the consumer, the reader, the listener, to find those voices they trust and to go out and look around instead of just saying, well, I'm going to go to channel four, and that's, there's
Jason Koebler (00:45:44):
Definitely a discoverability issue. I mean, the reason I'm doing this show, one is because I want to talk to you, but I also,
Leo Laporte (00:45:52):
No, no, I know why you're here.
Jason Koebler (00:45:54):
I want to talk to your audience and it's discoverability. I mean, Eric brought this up earlier, but it's like Twitter was a spot where at least it's like people on the left, people on the right, people in the center were all on the same platform, just basically doing battle all day every day. And it wasn't always that the best ideas won, but you could be certain that if you did something noteworthy, it would rise to the top of Twitter, as in it would become a conversation, it would get an audience. Now, I think that the most number of followers anyone has on Blue Sky is like 200 K or something like that, two or 300,000, and it's like, that's fine. Blue Sky is fine, Mastodon is fine, threads is fine. But when people are splitting their time across all of these things, discoverability becomes an issue and it becomes an issue.
For someone like me, where am I going to have my own persona on 15 different social media networks, and am I going to put myself, is it going to be unique on each of them? Am I going to put my heart and soul into growing an audience on Blue Sky and Mastodon and Twitter and on the website and TikTok and Instagram and a podcast? That's what I've been doing the last week. I've been posting to all of these things and it's been fun, but I don't know how long I can keep that up in an authentic way. You have to start automating some of those things
Leo Laporte (00:47:25):
Where it's like,
Jason Koebler (00:47:26):
Oh, the same.
Leo Laporte (00:47:26):
It was certainly a lot easier when it was just Twitter for sure. I think we can agree though. There isn't going to be a new Twitter that's over, right?
Brianna Wu (00:47:35):
Yeah, I think you're right.
Leo Laporte (00:47:38):
So I mean, discovery abilities are a huge problem in podcasting. I mean this, we do deal with this all the time. Twitter didn't help much. We're audio, so search doesn't work very well. You can tweet honestly, it's tough for podcasts, but does the cream not rise or is that a silly Pollyanna issue?
Brianna Wu (00:48:04):
Let's look at something I care about a lot. When I ran for Office Cybersecurity, right? I used both of y'all's reporting all the time when I was out there talking to people or trying to fundraise or trying to raise issues to
Leo Laporte (00:48:16):
People. I'm talking about Eric and Jason. I wasn't in that group. Yeah, okay.
Brianna Wu (00:48:20):
A hundred percent. And
Leo Laporte (00:48:22):
You ever listen to that Leo Laport podcast? What?
Brianna Wu (00:48:25):
Leo Laporte (00:48:26):
I'm just kidding.
Brianna Wu (00:48:27):
I'm teasing you. My point is this is a segment of, it's very, very important for national security, right? Obviously. And it's already so hard for those stories to break through and get people to take them seriously. I can think of very few naec issues that people care about less than cybersecurity. So I don't think it helps the situation when it's more fragmented when you've got the best reporters that are out there working for smaller publications and they're just praying that the New York Times is going to cover something and then Cable News will cover it, and there'll be some angle enough that Twitter and Facebook and Blue Sky and Mastodon, all these other things will somehow grab that story and get people to understand it. Let's just be honest here. The thing that Twitter and the Twitter like products are good at is snaring on people. It's good at making you the worst version of yourself, just a flaming anger all day long. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (00:49:26):
There would've been no gamer, gee, without Twitter. I mean, we talk about the good things, but nobody would've, that wouldn't have taken, gotten any momentum at all.
Brianna Wu (00:49:35):
It's turning all of us into the worst versions of ourselves, and I really agree with the fear that we just cannot manage a presence on this many sites at once. I'll cop to it. I just copy the same good tweets I do on Twitter and post them over to Mastodon in Blue sky where the conversation's a lot friendlier. I just don't have the bandwidth.
Leo Laporte (00:49:54):
Honestly, the real problem is Masten on especially is not a promotional place. It is a place where you have conversations, and if you're trying to promote a product, maston's not the place to do it. If you want to have a conversation with people, it's a great place to do it, and I kind of prefer that for my social network. But yeah, our marketing department may not be happy on meson. In fact, I'm pretty sure they're not. I think in the long run, it's a net positive because, and maybe this is very old fashioned, as I said, Pollyanna-ish, but I just think the more voices the better. It makes a lot more noise, but at least everybody has a voice, and it's not somebody in an office building in Midtown Manhattan making a decision for all of us about what's important. That doesn't seem like a very good way to do it either.
Eric Geller (00:50:58):
I think you need a balance of the ability for anybody to get into the conversation and the ability of people who have demonstrated critical thinking skills to have some informal moderating role in that conversation. So you need some ability for people who have degrees in very complex subjects to be able to not just say, well, that's wrong, but then to get that debunking picked up and taken seriously and amplified as opposed to the guy who doesn't have the degree and is just lying saying, this is totally true. Just trust me. And then that gets amplified. A system that can't distinguish between those two types of people, even if it's in an informal way. I'm not saying that there should be some Twitter run service of you get to be trusted. You don't, but informally, there's got to be some way for expertise to play a role in circulation.
Leo Laporte (00:51:49):
Well, we used to value degrees and things, but we live in a world now, a media environment now where expertise is denigrated. I mean, I hear people talking about medical elites. Oh yeah, you mean somebody went to med school and studied this stuff? Those medical elites, yeah, I'm not going to listen to them, but that's the world we live in now is people don't like expertise. They're actively avoiding expertise. So I think there's good signals. If you were looking for expertise, there's signals. You can, I mean, for what it's worth, you can trust academic credentials, publishing and peer reviewed magazines, things like that. Experience. Somebody's been doing something for 23 years, probably knows a little bit about it, but we've got a much bigger problem where people chew expertise and say, I just saw a poll actually on this where the majority of people would prefer somebody who doesn't have any expertise. They prefer common sense to expertise by a large margin. Lemme see if I can find that. That's the world we live in now, and that's part of the reason we have a problem.
Brianna Wu (00:53:07):
I think that ties really well into the Elon Musk. We think about the New Yorker this week.
Leo Laporte (00:53:14):
Lets talk, let's take a break, and then we will absolutely talk about it. I really wish I could find this poll where people, it was like 57% said no, I'd rather common sense than experts.
Jason Koebler (00:53:29):
Oh my goodness. Do your own research, right?
Leo Laporte (00:53:33):
Yeah, yeah. Do your own research. That's the code for doing your own research. Alright, let's take a little break and then, yeah, we'll talk about this because I don't want to make this the dystopian podcast, but we're also in a world where if you've got billions of dollars, you might have some advantages. You might even be able to decide who wins a war, but actually that's always been that way, hasn't it? Look at William Randolph first egging us onto the Spanish American War with yellow journalism, but before we do that, let's talk about our sponsor. Nice people, and they shouldn't have to listen to this. Our show is brought to you today, by the way. Great. I am so happy to have this panel. Brianna Wu from Rebellion Pack, Jason Keebler, I'm sorry, I said it. Keebler Kler, Keebler Keebler,
Jason Koebler (00:54:32):
Any and all of the
Leo Laporte (00:54:33):
Above. It's OE Keer, editor in chief at 4 0 4 Media, brand new. I mean literally less than a week old, right?
Jason Koebler (00:54:41):
Yeah. Six, five
Leo Laporte (00:54:42):
Days old. Five days old. It's no Born Baby four oh four media.co and from another relatively new publication started in May, the Messenger senior cybersecurity reporter, Eric Geller. Great to have all three of you. I can't. This is a perfect group to talk about this. This episode of this Week at Tech is brought to you by Collide. We're talking about a lot about authentication, logging in, and a lot of people use Okta as a way of single sign on or two factor authentication. But there's one more step, one little extra step you might want to add to your Okta authentication, and that's collide. Collide is a device trust device. Listen to this device. Trust solution for companies with Okta Collide ensures if a device isn't trusted and secure, it can't log into your cloud apps. If you work in security or IT and your company's using Okta.
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K O L I D e coli.com/twi. For companies that use Okta, you got to have collide. Lemme thank them so much for their support of this week in tech. You support us too, by the way, when you use that address. So please do collide.com/twit. Ronan Pharaoh, who's the last target was Harvey Weinstein. Ronan's pieces in the New Yorker really took, made the Me Too movement take off. He has aimed his canon. Now he's talking about Elon Musk, the story Elon Musk's shadow Rule. How the US government came to rely on the tech billionaire and now is struggling to reign him in Pharaoh points out in the article that it's historically John d Rockefeller Jr. Supported the League of Nations. There's been a long history of billionaires getting involved to mention William Randolph Hearst using his newspapers to start to foment the Spanish American War during World War I.
JP Morgan lent vast sums to the Allied powers, so this is not new, but it's a little scary. He says, Musk took advantage of a vacuum created by government pulling out of for instance, the space race and Musk moving in and creating dominance. SpaceX has launched more satellites than every other country. Every other commercial entity combined by a factor of 10 times more satellites than China, they just put four more people up on the space station. We used to use Russia to supply the Space Station. Now we're using SpaceX, and the problem is that the Ukraine Army also uses SpaceX for their frontline battle communications. It costs, according to Ron and Pharaoh, $400 million a year initially. I remember Elon says, I'll give it to you for free, and then Elon calls the defense department and says, Hey, this is killing me here. You got to pay up. The threat being that he would disconnect frontline forces from their comms and effectively end the war. And so the Department of Defense is handling Elon with kid gloves.
Brianna Wu (01:00:02):
I think the issue that this raises is it's far more disturbing than just not having an invoice paid. Elon obviously during the Obama administration, Russia illegally annexed Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, and now the current war going on is a continuation of that where Vladimir Putin is trying to take over the rest of Ukraine. So what happens is those telecommunications are geo-fenced, so soon as they cross that border, Ukrainians cross the border into their own territory. Elon Musk has decided they're not going to have frontline communication, meaning battlefield commanders cannot order strikes or pass intelligence back and forth. We've had network-centric warfare of the last 20 years, which really puts that kind of total intelligence environment like our warfare is based around that. Where are the targets? Where do we send cruise missiles? Where do we attack? Where do we send drones to? And Elon Musk is really in this position because we have chosen to not basically defund NASA to not play a role in putting this telecommunications equipment into space ourselves where this billionaire gets to decide who wins and loses this war. He
Leo Laporte (01:01:21):
Literally could throw the war to Russia
Brianna Wu (01:01:24):
Just by That's exactly
Leo Laporte (01:01:25):
By turning off SpaceX for Ukrainian forces.
Brianna Wu (01:01:28):
That's exactly correct. In ways even more troubling, and Farah points this out in the piece is there are very valid concerns about Musk's relationship with Putin. I personally found his talking points on the Crimea really disturbing because they're word for word repeating Russian propaganda straight from the Kremlin.
Leo Laporte (01:01:49):
Yeah. In this article, they quote Musk talking to a defense department official. Well, I had this great conversation with Putin says Musk. Yeah, apparently Musk says he, I don't know if it's true because Musk is a blowhard, but apparently talks to Putin every week. That doesn't seem like a good thing.
Brianna Wu (01:02:12):
There's a throughput through all of this where America's government decides to under invests a certain industry, whether it's electric cars or telecommunications equipment or space infrastructure, all of these things, Musk moves into the space and creates a company that kind of creates a near monopoly. Right. This is a pattern. This is exactly why we've had to move to electric car companies using the Tesla standard. And that's exactly right. Up in recent months.
Leo Laporte (01:02:41):
That's exactly right. Elon has built all the infrastructure nationwide for charging. Audi has tried with Electrify America and failed miserably. Yes. So what happens? Car companies say, yeah, we're going to start using the next the Tesla standard because that's the only charging network out there,
Brianna Wu (01:03:00):
So it's bad enough when a billionaire can decide our electric fund that's free market or some version of the free market. Well, there's a whole nother discussion, but if you're talking about national security concerns, I've got a real big problem with Elon Musk being the veto over if Ukraine can take back their own country
Leo Laporte (01:03:19):
Or not. And remember, Musk has other incentives besides the good welfare of the Ukrainian people or of America, for instance. Half of all Teslas are made in China in Shanghai. That's correct. Pharaoh says, when Musk went to China, he was treated like a visiting celebrity with flattery and feasts. He met with senior officials, including China's foreign minister, posed for photos, the awkwardly smiling formal photos that are more typical of world leaders. Now, partly this is because of a vacuum created by American politics believing for the free market as opposed to government investment, but partly it's because of Elon's, I guess you could say business acumen moving into those arenas. I mean, you can't fault him for building a very, very successful business in the absence of government investment, but at this point there is
Brianna Wu (01:04:19):
Good reason. Yeah, go
Leo Laporte (01:04:21):
Ahead. At this point, he's got us over a barrel and his motives again may not just be what's best for America or what's best even for Ukraine. What's best for this
Jason Koebler (01:04:32):
Is why I have such a problem when people say, oh, just ignore Elon. It doesn't matter what he does, you can't. He's critical infrastructure. I mean, this article shows that he's been building. He is America's access to space and he has internet that he can turn on and off on a whim, and it's not, I mean, there's a point in this article where it's not like you're dealing with Northrop Grumman or one of these massive companies that have been working with the US government for decades and decades and have probably more standard ways of doing things. It's like there's the one guy, there's Elon. You call him up and you kiss his feet and beg him to keep the internet on and hope he's having a good day, I guess, and
Leo Laporte (01:05:16):
That's a really scary, that's part of it too. Position to be. He's very mercurial. He seems to lie a lot. We don't really know what his motives are. It doesn't even seem to be making money. I mean, he threw 44 billion away pretty easily. Yeah, Ronan Farrell does not have an answer in this article. It's just here's what it is, and it's easy to blame. I mean, I blame the F C C for letting SpaceX put 42,000 satellites in low earth orbit. I mean, I think that in hindsight was a bad idea. I celebrated it at the time. I thought, oh, this is great. He's going to provide low cost internet to every corner of the globe. Well, not exactly.
Brianna Wu (01:06:04):
Yeah. There's a lot of reason just even getting into the capabilities of starlink and their particular flavor of internet, which is a whole nother discussion. There's every single reason to be very suspicious of Elon Musk's loyalties and his judgment. I am not someone who is aggressive on drug policy, but Pharaoh points out a lot of, in
Leo Laporte (01:06:31):
2018, the times reported that members of the Tesla board had grown concerned about Musk's use of the prescription sleep aid Ambien, which can cause hallucinations. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year. He uses ketamine common depression treatment party drug. Elon has not admitted it, but I've talked to people who have done ketamine with Elon and he doesn't have to admit it. It's a known fact. He said, from what I've seen with friends, ketamine taken occasionally is better than SSRIs. Maybe true, but it also can cause a kind of erratic behavior. Pharaoh interviewed a leading Ketamine researcher, gosh darn it, another expert who said A little bit of ketamine has a similar effect to alcohol, can cause disinhibition where you do and say things you otherwise would not sounds familiar at higher doses. It has another effect which is disassociation. You feel it detached from your body and surroundings. You could feel grandiose and like you have special powers or special talents. People do impulsive things. They could do inadvisable things at work. The impact depends on the kind of work for a librarian. There's less risk if you're a evil genius billionaire. Well, big problems. No, he actually said if you're an airline pilot, but still similar.
I don't know. This is another example where there's no answer to this. It's just the world as we know it.
Brianna Wu (01:08:08):
I think there's a very clear answer. I mean, first of all, if you're talking about telecommunications infrastructure in, I don't care if we save a few dollars with having space access, send up a rocket or not. If you're talking about national security, we need the capability to put that up ourselves. As far as oversight in who gets to put all kinds of satellite satellites in an orbit, we need a better process for that. SpaceX should not have a total monopoly in putting that infrastructure into space. I think the Pentagon and our national security apparatus needs to have a piece of that pie itself. And the good news is we are investing in that infrastructure, but this is going to be a long, long-term infrastructure play to make sure that we are not so reliant on someone that's undermining our own national security interests.
Eric Geller (01:08:59):
Eric, there are ways for the government to kind of use regulatory tools. And I'm sorry for bringing up regulatory tools on a podcast,
Leo Laporte (01:09:06):
I think have to No, I think we have to.
Eric Geller (01:09:10):
The infrastructure bill had a ton of money for things like electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and one of the things that the government said was, if you want this money, you have to promise that the charging infrastructure that you build will be interoperable so that I can bring any car and I can charge it's a Tesla charger. That's great. If I have a non Tesla car, I still have to be able to charge there. And so Texas, I think it was recently, which is going to get the largest share of this particular pot of money, agreed basically to sort of capitulated almost to the White House and said, yes, give us the money. We agree that we will make these companies add interoperability into the charging infrastructure because we desperately want this money. We want to be a place where you can drive your Tesla or you can drive your other EV and plug it in at any stop along the road.
So that's one way for the government to kind of use, again, the power of the purse to say, we are the titan in the room. We are the funding source behind everything. I thought it was interesting. We were talking earlier about how Elon Musk built SpaceX and Tesla in a void of government investment. Well, government investment is the reason that those companies exist point at the current stature, governor sub subsidies. They're the primary customer for a lot of these things in addition, of course, to early stage grant funding. So the government does still have some power. The question of course, is whether the people in power want to use the power,
Leo Laporte (01:10:30):
Right, or throw their dollars towards a private industry. And I guess really that's the real issue is there's been this ideological move towards privatization, and that's the real problem. Once it's private industry, you don't really control it. I guess you might if they need continued funding. It's interesting, your interpretation of the Texas story varies a little bit from Reuters interpretation. Reuters says exclusive Tesla wins as Texas requires state backed charging stations to include its plug. So it's both. It's C, C, S and N, but I guess it was just going to be c c s. And then the Texas legislator said, we really ought to have Tesla's an nax connector as well in effect. That made Nax the new national standard. And then Ford, gm, Rivian many other car makers said, okay, we're going to make sure our future vehicles also are N A C S, which means at least according to Sam Bull, Sam, our car guy, the end of c c s charging in the next five to 10 years. And by the way, the stock market also believed there was a win for Tesla because their stock went up that day 1.2%. Oh my gosh. It was a win. It was a big win.
Alright, all right. What else? Let's change the subject. How about this? More billionaires at work For the longest time, since 2017, we are about an hour away, about 60 miles west of county called Solano County. It's one of the nine Bay Area counties, but it's primarily agriculture. It's beautiful rolling hills, kind of arid. There's one two lane freeway that leads there, nothing else. But for some reason since 2017, somebody, oh, there is one thing there. Travis Air Force Base. Since 2017, somebody's been buying up land all around Travis Air Force base, and when I first became aware of this story, there was some concern that this might be a nation state like China surrounding Travis Air Force base with their own property so they could surveil it or whatever. Turns out, no, it wasn't China. In fact, it was a company called Flannery Associates spent $800 million to buy tens of thousands of acres. And who is Flannery Associates? It's Mike Moritz, VC funder, Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. Mark Andreessen, the guy who created Netscape now of course has his own venture fund, Chris Dixon. It's the Collison brothers who started Stripe. They're buying up this deserted land to make a special city.
Their plan, the investment is in theory to create a beautiful city in the North Bay area. Lemme see if I can find the description here of this city where people live beautifully. Thousands of residents, tens of thousands of residents with clean energy, public transportation, dense, urban life in the middle of bum, nothing, nowhere. I guess you could build a highway to it from San Francisco. I mean there's certainly a housing crunch in San Francisco. Rene Powell jobs, Steve Jobs widow is also an investor. Nate Friedman, Daniel Gross, $800 million. Some of this land, at first they were buying it cheap, but then word got around with the farmers, Hey, somebody's buying up the land, and they were spending as much as 10 to 20 times the normal value for this land. One problem, it's zoned for agricultural, not residential, and that could be a problem. It's not easy to change the zoning. So they're, their plan is to have a state initiative. It's very easy in California to get something on the ballot just takes a few tens of thousands of signatures on the petition. So they wanted Solano County residents to say, yes, we want to build the city of the future here in Solano County.
Jason Koebler (01:14:57):
I want to know the name San Francisco too.
Leo Laporte (01:15:00):
What are we calling? Oh, I bet there's some good clever utopian name for it.
Brianna Wu (01:15:07):
It's literally identical to the Disney original plan for Epcot Center. It's just like all the Silicon Valley rich people are making it. I'm so torn on this because I cannot say I'm a huge fan of many of the people involved with
Leo Laporte (01:15:23):
This, but I want to live there, don't you? Well,
Brianna Wu (01:15:27):
At the same time, if you're looking at the congenital problems with housing in San Francisco and just generally in California, there is attendance. I think that more aggressive building of houses and residential areas and all that thing is obviously the answer. One of the things I've learned is the luxury housing of today is the bargain housing of tomorrow.
Leo Laporte (01:15:52):
They want to build a walkable city. They don't want to just build a commuter development. They want to build the next Paris. Somebody in our chat room says it should be San Francisco two electric Boogaloo. I think that's a good name for it. Oh my
Jason Koebler (01:16:09):
Goodness. I guess this is what Mark Andreessen, he said, it's time to build. I guess it's time to build an entirely new city. I was really happy to see that this is taking place on land and not
Leo Laporte (01:16:22):
Jason Koebler (01:16:22):
Not a seasteading. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It feels a little more
Leo Laporte (01:16:26):
Real. Peter Thiel wanted to do the seasteading, but I think we've learned since that those abandoned oil rig platforms are not the best place to create a new country. Yeah, I don't know if he made this, it wouldn't be Disney, right? I don't want to live in the Disney, what is the Florida city that Disney built? Welcome
Jason Koebler (01:16:50):
Leo Laporte (01:16:52):
Yeah, I don't want to live there, but I dunno if it's a Silicon Valley North kind of a might be kind of cool. I don't know if this is ever going to happen.
Jason Koebler (01:17:06):
I have to think that the zoning is not going to be much of an issue. These people have so much money. They have so much power, have so much influence.
Leo Laporte (01:17:13):
Celebration. That's the name of it. Celebration Florida. No, no, they'll get that through. You're right. Because all you have to, it's easy with the initiative process, and
Jason Koebler (01:17:21):
I just want
Eric Geller (01:17:21):
To know if the internet service will be provided by starlink. I think that a really interesting opportunity to link these stories
Leo Laporte (01:17:27):
Together. I don't see Elon's name on the list, but I wouldn't be surprised
Brianna Wu (01:17:34):
Though. He might be a little cash strapped at the moment. We'll have to see. He
Leo Laporte (01:17:38):
Is not, well, I guess he is right, because all of those hundreds of billions of dollars are in stock in SpaceX Tesla stock, so he can't just sell it. Don't
Brianna Wu (01:17:48):
Feel like that whole agreement that he wasn't going to sell more Tesla stock for a while, they were not very happy with
Leo Laporte (01:17:53):
That. I don't feel like he's saving money for diapers or anything. I mean, he's got some, by the way, he says he sold all his houses and he's living in a double wide in Boca, Chica, Texas, the same people who said, oh yeah, we've been doing ketamine with him. Say they did it as his giant mansion in la. So it may not be in his name, but he's still got a house or two.
Brianna Wu (01:18:16):
Jason Koebler (01:18:17):
Very famously he didn't have a house for a long time, which is something he talked about all the time, how he was crashing on his fellow
Leo Laporte (01:18:24):
Billionaires couch. I dunno if I buy that. I think that was more because he didn't want people to know his assassination coordinates.
Jason Koebler (01:18:32):
Brianna Wu (01:18:33):
I think it's a story he tells himself about how hard he works when he's really just sitting there screwing around on Twitter all day,
Leo Laporte (01:18:39):
Taking ketamine and tweeting. Yeah.
Brianna Wu (01:18:42):
Yeah, that's what I think.
Leo Laporte (01:18:45):
It's fine. I don't mind if you want to do that, that's fine. Just please don't cut off the satellites of Ukraine. That's all. That's all.
Brianna Wu (01:18:53):
That's not good. That's
Leo Laporte (01:18:54):
All I'm asking.
Brianna Wu (01:18:55):
Oh my goodness. That's all I'm asking. I don't know. I'm really torn on this one that it's a good project. It's just the worst people involved with doing it and it's going to have all these libertarian overtones with it. So I don't know
Jason Koebler (01:19:12):
The same. It's like I saw this and I was like, oh, secret plan, secret, evil, billionaire, plan to buy up land and build a new city. And then I was like, well, as far as evil billionaire plans go, it's not that bad. I mean, I'm just like, okay, there's no
Leo Laporte (01:19:28):
Moon breaker. Go for it. It's not Dr. No, it's not. This
Brianna Wu (01:19:32):
Is more quantum of solace rights, that level buy up all the land. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:19:37):
I mean, bill Gates is the largest landowner in America, but that's because he buys farmland. He's investing in agriculture. Oh my goodness. I don't think this is agriculture.
Brianna Wu (01:19:48):
It's so interesting with climate change. I mean there are real concerns about California and the infrastructure that y'all have for water, electricity and just all that stuff. So it does make me feel a little better that they're willing to invest in a whole city there 20, 30, 50, a hundred years from now. That's encouraging.
Leo Laporte (01:20:09):
This is what bothers me, actually, I've been thinking about it, is there is in Silicon Valley, this notion of we know how to do things, we can do it better, just get out of our way. Let us, and I think ultimately this is the foundation for get rid of government. Larry Page, remember he said this at one of his Google IO speeches is, oh, this government keeps getting our way. I just want an island where we can do what we want. That's this philosophy is we're technologists. We solve problems. We understand we're engineers. We don't let politics mess with our heads. Just let us take over. Remember when Covid hit Apple and Google said, oh, we got this, and they created the software to notify you when you've been exposed and everybody with an Android phone and an iPhone supposedly had this software, and if everybody used it, then you would always know if you were exposed. How did that work out? That was Silicon Valley's solution to the Covid crisis.
Brianna Wu (01:21:17):
Leo Laporte (01:21:20):
Jason Koebler (01:21:20):
Mean I think you're right. It definitely reeks of Silicon Valley, solutionism and Silicon Valley. Let's not have a government when a lot of the solutions to homelessness, a lot of the solutions to housing crisis start and end that we need to tax more and use that money to reinvest in these communities. And I mean
Leo Laporte (01:21:44):
Remember Mark Andreesen, I think it was Mark Andreesen who said, oh, don't worry, because there's going to be so much surplus production when AI and technology take over that everybody to have a basic income and you can just enjoy life that no one will ever have to work. I mean, he truly thought this was the future.
Brianna Wu (01:22:06):
Yeah. I also think it could be, I'll give you a really good example. There's one of my very best friends who was a best friend, a man of my wedding. He was an engineer in Silicon Valley with all the wildfires in California. He was near a bunch of them breathing a bunch of the smoke and then had a stroke, right? Went through partial paralysis for quite a few years. So you think about, and Leo, I'm not trying to be down on interstate. I love California. I enjoy going there. I do worry a lot about your future with climate change. I think that's a real fear.
Leo Laporte (01:22:39):
It's not just us. It's not just us. Look at percent, hundred percent. Look
Brianna Wu (01:22:44):
At Washington, look at
Leo Laporte (01:22:46):
British Columbia, look at Yellow Knife. I mean we are in a world of hurt and it's going to hit everybody and maybe Massachusetts will be spared, but that's okay because we're all moving there from our blighted environments.
Brianna Wu (01:23:00):
I don't think we'll be spared, but I think that you look at some of the issues with say, water supply in California, it's a real concern. Well, that's a
Leo Laporte (01:23:08):
Legitimate issue. I can see this is an arid state acting in like we're a tropical paradise a
Brianna Wu (01:23:14):
Hundred percent. So if you're thinking, I'm so torn between feeling optimistic about them doing this and then going, I really wonder how much Mark Andreessen has really factors in air quality for this plan for a city.
Leo Laporte (01:23:31):
Well, this is the problem with a planned anything, right? Yeah. You can plan all you want. You're going to miss something planned. Economies don't work. Planned ecosystems don't work. Nature has a way of thwarting us all. We're going to take a quick break and then I want to talk about, Jason's going to explain to me what apple's up to with this one, we'll be back in just a second. But first a word from our sponsor. You probably see their name all over the studio. They sponsor the studio. They are a C I learning. And I think when you see that, there it is. You see right there, you say, well, who the heck is a C i learning? Well, you know the name IT Pro for a decade. IT Pro has been bringing you great entertaining, informative IT training. They've partnered with a C I Learning and now it's just the best a juggernaut in IT training bingeable short form content.
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Learn more about ACI learning's, premium training options, the best training out there in audit IT cybersecurity readiness. Again, the website is go ACI learning.com/twit. And don't forget the TWIT 30 coupon for 30% off. That's standard of premium individual IT pro membership. Go dot aci learning.com/twit. Take advantage of this. Go dot aci learning.com/twit. So I saw this headline, Jason, and I thought I scratched my head. Apple, which has fought tooth and nails across the country against right to repair laws is endorsing California's right to repair legislation, as you say, after spending millions fighting it. Alright, is there a loophole in the law? What's going on?
Jason Koebler (01:28:01):
So there's actually not a loophole in the law. And after I published this, everyone was like, okay, what's the angle here? What's the catch? Why is Apple doing this? And to know why Apple's doing this, you need to know a little bit about the right to repair movement. This all stems out of a Massachusetts law in 2012 for auto right to repair after that law happened, the auto industry was basically like we're just going to comply with the Massachusetts law in the entire country. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:28:32):
That's why state laws can really make a difference.
Jason Koebler (01:28:35):
Massachusetts is great.
Leo Laporte (01:28:36):
California is great too. Okay, I just want to say, okay, go ahead.
Jason Koebler (01:28:40):
So earlier this year, a law passed in New York that was really watered down. You could drive a truck through the loopholes
Leo Laporte (01:28:47):
In New York. The industry got a lot of concessions in that New York bill,
Jason Koebler (01:28:51):
But then a stronger law passed in Minnesota and then California. I like
Leo Laporte (01:28:56):
How you said, are you from Minnesota? You said it just like you're from in Minnesota.
Jason Koebler (01:29:01):
Eh? Minnesota? No, I'm from Maryland. Oh, well it's never even been. You said it so perfectly. And so this California law passed the California Senate, I think 37 to zero. It was Unanim unanimously passed the Senate. And Apple has been taking these sort of incremental steps over the last few years to provide repair parts and to essentially comply with most parts of the California law. And what I think is happening here is this is Apple saying, okay, this law feels inevitable. We already have to comply with the one in Minnesota. Let's back this one in our home state. We're not going to be able to fight this legislation in all of the dozens of states that are pushing these laws through or at least advancing it. Kind of like that quarter game at the arcade where all of the quarters are getting pushed toward the ledge.
It's like we're about to see this thing where all the quarters fall off and you get 30 or 40 different laws in 30 or 40 different states. And that would be a nightmare, not just for Apple, but for all electronics manufacturers where they have to comply with different sets of laws in different states. And so what I think is happening here is this is Apple saying this is the law. We're happy to comply with it. We've been dragged kicking and screaming to this point, but maybe if we endorse this law, the other states will say, okay, we'll try to pass the exact identical language in our state. And that's kind of where it will stop. That is my theory at least.
Brianna Wu (01:30:45):
I have a less cynical take on this, which is if you look at since Apple started to really get in the mess for their right to repair third party repair infrastructure stuff, if you look generally speaking at the technology they've been putting into products like the iPhone with touch ID or secure enclave and all of that, I think they could tell that this is where the industry was going and they started to kind of bake into their parts cybersecurity. I mean not a hundred percent mitigation, but at least ways to make sure this is a valid part that you're putting in here. Can we really think through hardware wise what would look like if you put something in the middle to detect the signal? They've kind of had enough time now to really think about their products and to kind of figure out how a third party repair person being in this, how to make everything still more secure there. Right? Because this is inevitable, as you said. Also really important to remember. They still control the parts. The parts supply a hundred percent top to bottom no matter who repairs it, which is a huge operational control on this. So I, this is a pattern you see over and over with Apple, they've get a goal in mind and they start moving their product line towards it and then five years later you're suddenly rushing towards it. So that's kind of my read on
Leo Laporte (01:32:13):
It. There's also the EU and more and more Apple is kind of being beat down by the eu. I think they've kind of acknowledged they're going to have to put type C connectors in their iPhones this year. And I think that at this point it's really encouraging that governments are actually having some influence on these big tech companies. And yeah, this is good for Apple, it's good for consumers the way Apple does right to repair, it's ridiculous. You may remember Micah Sargent ordering the special kit that included thousands of dollars worth of equipment that comes in giant pelican cases. They sent the kit, but they didn't send the part. He was going to put the battery into his iPhone. He waited, he waited. The part came the day after we had to send the kit back or get charged 1500 bucks for the kit. So as the kit is being sent back, the FedEx guy knocks on the door and says, here's your battery, sir. It didn't work out that well. And I really felt like at the time Apple is, this is very grudging compliance that Apple's saying, all right, if you want to repair it, see what you're going to need. But I'm glad.
Jason Koebler (01:33:27):
Well, Brianna brings up a really good point about parts pairing and about sort of the cybersecurity security aspect of this because that is something that people have pointed out since this news has come out earlier this week. There's still a lot of parts pairing issues, software issues like Apple still has a huge amount of control over that. And so this is Apple giving a concession, but they still have a huge level of control and so maybe they eventually decided this is not going to impact us that much. And then the other thing I'll mention is a lot of the repairs that are happening now, the sort of bleeding edge of repair is board level repair where you're doing micro soldering. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (01:34:11):
Apple things that's not doing that. They're charging you 1500 bucks for new motherboard.
Jason Koebler (01:34:15):
Exactly. And so this is not something that Apple is going to be offering through this. They're not going to be offering micro soldering guides or anything like that. I'm sorry,
Leo Laporte (01:34:24):
I didn't mean to say the word motherboard in your presence. I apologize. I started and I stopped. Okay.
Jason Koebler (01:34:32):
We call them logic boards around here. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (01:34:37):
If you're just joining us, I should mention that the new publication 4 0 4 media at 4 0 4 media.co and Jason Kler is here. He is the E I C editor in chief, one of the four who left Motherboard to Start 4 0 4 media. And I'm really liking it. In fact, so much so that I just subscribed. So thank you for
Jason Koebler (01:35:01):
Leo Laporte (01:35:01):
Thank you. I really want to support what you're doing. It's a scary and hard thing to do and I really want to support it. You got great, by the way. Another great article. Elon decided I'm going to stream full self-driving about 20 minutes in to the stream as he's driving around the car, tried to go through a red light.
Brianna Wu (01:35:26):
Oh my God.
Jason Koebler (01:35:27):
It tried to go straight As a bunch of people were turning left on a left turn arrow. It tried to go straight into oncoming traffic.
Leo Laporte (01:35:35):
Oh wow. And so Elon had to grab the wheel and save his life. Not the demo Elon was hoping for, but you got to give him credit for doing it. Even
Jason Koebler (01:35:51):
The best part of that video is he yelled, he literally yells intervention when he's doing it, which I thought was pretty strange
Brianna Wu (01:35:58):
Leo Laporte (01:35:59):
Amazing. Okay. Alright. Anybody who's ever used Tesla's full self-driving knows you really do want to keep your hand on the wheel and your eye on the road. It looks
Brianna Wu (01:36:11):
So stressful. Leo, you've done this right? I see the videos of it and it's just,
Leo Laporte (01:36:17):
I've never done it on city streets and I wouldn't, and that's really where you get in trouble.
Brianna Wu (01:36:23):
I get stressed enough just using cruise control and barely use that with this, but don't be so much
Leo Laporte (01:36:30):
Easier. You said 20 minutes in. Is there a time code? I'd love to hear it
Jason Koebler (01:36:35):
Scream. I think it's 2050 I believe.
Leo Laporte (01:36:39):
Jason Koebler (01:36:39):
Or it's either 2050 or 1950
Leo Laporte (01:36:42):
Because the stream is still on X by the way. I am going to call it x. I think it should be called X. It should not be called twi. It should be called X. And he shouldn't be the chief twi. He should be the chief X enough sick.
Brianna Wu (01:36:58):
I unfortunately will continue deadnaming Twitter and you're dead naming. No, that's not,
Leo Laporte (01:37:02):
It's not nice. It's not nice.
Brianna Wu (01:37:05):
I just can't get on board
Leo Laporte (01:37:06):
With X. Well, I know. And by the way, apparently X can't either because the word tweet is all over the place still. So,
Jason Koebler (01:37:15):
Okay, Leo. It's at 1950 if you want it.
Leo Laporte (01:37:17):
Oh good. Let me see if we can, I have to jump ahead. Here's 16, 19 45. Listen, turn up the sound.
Speaker 7 (01:37:27):
Hello. Because we're driving around in basically rush hour intervention. Sorry. Okay, so that's not first intervention.
Leo Laporte (01:37:38):
Literally that's a red light. He was literally driving into the red light
Speaker 7 (01:37:41):
Should be going straight.
Leo Laporte (01:37:43):
And those cars are not Elon.
Eric Geller (01:37:45):
Okay. I like the music. The music is a very nice kind of calming, soothing backdrop for that.
Leo Laporte (01:37:51):
I feel like I'm in a spa driving around with Elon. Honestly, I don't feel safe in any of those like Cruise or Waymo. We have 'em all over the Bay Area and nothing but problems with running into emergency vehicles. And recently the California Public Utilities Commission said crews and could have run as many cars as you want day and night all the time everywhere in the city. And immediately there were crashes and the regulators had to, within a day or two, tell crews to reduce your fleet by 50%. So there was a crash Thursday night with a GM cruise running into a firetruck. California D M V as it does routinely said, okay, we want you now to reduce your fleet until we investigate. There's no more than 50 vehicles during the day, 150 at night until we complete our investigation because we want to know why it ran into a firetruck. Was there anybody in it? I feel Cruz's response is over a hundred people lose their lives every day in American roadways and countless or badly injured. We believe it's clear cruise positively impacts overall road safety. That's a crash here, A crash there.
Brianna Wu (01:39:19):
I don't know. I feel like one of the things I think that would really benefit the autonomous driving market would be regulatory clarity. I have a really good friend of mine that used to run a venture capital firm for this here in Massachusetts and just went to China because he came to the conclusion if anyone is going to solve this, it is going to be the Chinese because there is greater regulatory clarity and what the roads look like and what the process is to be indemnified if there's a crash, what the expectations are. And I think too often, even on this show, sometimes when we talk about regulation, it's always seen as a bad thing. I think you can actually go the opposite way where if a tech company can really understand a path forward to develop a product where they're not going to be sued out of existence, that can really be a positive, right? So I think Tesla's trying to do something very, very difficult. I think they're doing it with fundamentally flawed hardware, but I also think that the lack of clarity in what the path is to not get your pants suit off. I think that's a really big hurdle.
Leo Laporte (01:40:30):
Eric Keller writing in the messenger, the messenger.com, you could afford the M, actually, I guess Finkelstein could afford the m a young congressman sounding alarms about election security. This guy's a freshman member of Congress, Chris Luzi from Pennsylvania 17th District. We often complain, and I know Brianna, you ran on the premise that our members of Congress don't have a clue about technology. That's true. There are a few. Ron Wyden is one and Broo, I guess Chris de Lucio is he was the policy director at the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Cyber Law Policy and Security. And while there helped a local commission craft a report that led to, according to Erica, complete overhaul of voting machines in the area, which is great. He also worked at the NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. Tell us about Chris de Lucio. We should celebrate when we get some members of Congress who know what they're talking about.
Eric Geller (01:41:34):
Well, when I cover cybersecurity and it's such a technical topic and it can be so dense and particularly covering it with a focus on policy, you have to make it about the real world impact on regular people. You have to make it something that people can understand without a degree or a COMPT certification. And I try to make it as much as possible about the people who are involved. Particularly we hear a lot about Washington as this monolith Washington is messing this up or whatever. When it comes to tech and cyber, for the most part, these folks really don't have personal experience with this stuff. They're doing what their staffers are telling them or perhaps they're doing what the lobbyists are telling them. So I try to highlight when folks actually come in with an understanding of this stuff, or in the case of center-wide, they develop an experience with it.
Chris de Lucio is a really interesting person because he's a freshman, so this is his first term in Congress, but he has a lot of experience in a policy context thinking about why it matters that there are only four or five companies that make the vast majority of American voting machines and why there are no federal rules that require them to have any kind of security precautions on these voting machines. This is really all done at the state level and a state can choose not to require any of this stuff. And it basically comes down to who has the strongest requirements, who has the weakest, not necessarily the way that we would want to set up the system if we started from scratch. He has experience with this. He studied this, he's looked at this. He's also worked on issues like disinformation and how we can try to get the companies to do things differently.
We were talking about this earlier, and what he was saying is basically he worked with state and local election officials day in and day out as they tried to understand how safe their voting machines were and what he saw, and this should not surprise folks, is for the most part, these people had no idea how to ask the right questions of these voting machine companies. Do you use two-factor authentication for the administrator portal to get into the unofficial election result database where you post the results on election night? It's not the official results, but if somebody can hack that, they can cause a panic. And potentially in this day and age that can lead to real world harm. As we've seen riots break out over misinformation on social media. So this is incredibly important. It's all done at the state and local level. The federal government has basically abandoned any sort of responsibility to regulate this.
There are agencies that will give advice to the companies about what you should do, but they're not requiring it. They're pushing it to these local election clerks who don't know how to do this stuff. And he actually wrote basically a how to guide, what questions should you be asking when you're going out there to buy new voting machines? What should you be looking for? And he was talking about how it's time for Washington to step up. It's time for Congress to pass legislation that sort of sets uniform standards so that you don't have to worry whether you live in Massachusetts or California or Idaho, you don't have to worry. Is your voting machine producing a paper record? So you actually have durable proof of how that vote was cast. You don't have to worry about all kinds of security issues right now. You have to kind of figure it out for yourself. Look up what kind of equipment you're using and what standards it's meeting. So I think he's an interesting example of somebody who has this prior experience and is coming into this place that is not known for being up on the latest tech and cyber policy news. And he's trying to change that along with a handful of other folks. So he's someone to watch.
Leo Laporte (01:44:53):
He's a freshman congress critter, so it's hard I'm sure to be heard. Are people paying attention in Congress?
Eric Geller (01:45:02):
Well, he's fortunately for if you like what he's doing, he sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which writes the policy bill for the Pentagon. And you would not necessarily guess this, or maybe you would if you follow politics, but a lot of stuff that is not strictly related to the military gets stuffed into this bill. So this committee is very important. A lot of cybersecurity stuff has been stuffed into the defense bill over year, over year. And so he has the ability to kind work that angle and get folks paying attention within this committee. Good.
Leo Laporte (01:45:33):
He's also trying to slow down the automatic approval approval of section 7 0 2 of fisa, which would be a good thing as well that comes up at the end of the year.
Eric Geller (01:45:46):
Yeah, he's very interesting because the administration, the Biden administration is really pushing for that law to be reapproved without major changes. And he comes in this interview with me and basically says, I'm not quite convinced by the argument that the government is making, which is basically the short version is if we don't renew this law without changes, we're going to lose a really important source of information about cyber attacks in this country. We learn a lot about what the other countries are doing to us in cyberspace by using this power to spy on them. And he basically said, I'm not convinced that this is such a critical tool. So it's an interesting kind of tension between a new democratic member of Congress and the Democratic president
Leo Laporte (01:46:23):
In this piece you say, he says, we were not thinking about privacy when 7 0 2 was created 15 years ago alongside security in the way that we do now. And I think it's appropriate to readdress it and say, how can we make 7 0 2 better if we want to reaffirm it, how do we make it better, I think is appropriate. Brianne, I'm sure you have a lot to say about this.
Brianna Wu (01:46:43):
Well, I was just going to say, I think it's really interesting in this country. Look, I think no one that looks at election security would claim that we invest the kind of resources into this that we need. At the same time, the fact that all 50 states and then even sub-counties within those states all have their own election systems and processes. And in some ways it's so distributed. It does. It's part of strength. Faith in it does. I mean, and you can look at individual circuit clerk's offices and you'll go down there and you'll find Windows me running and the infrastructure has not been updated in many years. That's something we should very clearly appropriate more federal dollars for. But I think there are ways to take the strength of states running the elections in a way that makes sense to them to take that strength and also have some federal guidelines lines for what kind of technology you can use.
I think if there's an argument against public code auditing for voting machines, I have never seen it. I think there's no excuse for this to be a black box. I think obviously cybersecurity people should be able to go look at that code and give you confidence in the results and the issues you're raising, like two-factor authentication for administrator functions. I think that's something we need a mandate for. So I think there's a way to keep the strengths here, but also have a little bit more federal oversight in it in a way that will give the public more confidence in the outcome. I mean,
Eric Geller (01:48:24):
It's just such an interesting space because a lot of other aspects of technology, PCs, and even cars now, the companies have made peace with the idea that there are going to be people tinkering and meddling and trying to find problems. And especially the computer makers decades ago, were very, very against the idea of creating programs to let hackers look at the code, look at the technology, tell them if there's a problem, and potentially get a reward for alerting them to a critical flaw. The voting industry is kind of the last bastion of resistance to this idea. And so it's very interesting to watch the resistance from these companies and they've been opening up a little bit under sustained pressure, including from the government, but a lot of them still don't really feel comfortable letting these hackers, these unvetted hackers come in and look at this equipment. And for a long time, what they have been able to successfully say is, we are different. We are the architecture of democracy. You cannot let random people look at this code. Now the response of course, from the security professionals is they're already doing that. You can buy voting machines on eBay and open them up and see what's in them. What's
Leo Laporte (01:49:29):
Happened already? Yeah, they did at DEFCON last year with the Voting Machine Village. They
Eric Geller (01:49:32):
Did it. They did it. I was just there a couple weeks ago watching some of the machines that they were pulling apart. I mean, this stuff is happening already.
Leo Laporte (01:49:40):
Although Chris Krebs did say that the 2020 election was the most secure election in US history. He was at the time the director of cisa. He got fired for it. But I mean, I think we've made progress, have we not?
Eric Geller (01:49:57):
Absolutely. I mean, first of all, a lot of the state and local government agencies that do this work didn't know that there was any federal support available for them in 2016. And after D H ss, the Department of Homeland Security said, we're going to call elections critical infrastructure, which opens up a new role for us to help them. You started to see local clerks get to know, for example, the cybersecurity agency, ciso, which you just mentioned. They started to form partnerships with F B I cyber experts. You also saw nonprofit groups start to come in, provide money, provide expertise. We have absolutely progressed significantly since 2016. Part of that, of course, was the tech companies for a while felt pressure to do more, to fight misinformation and to root out hackers using the platform. So we'll see if that continues to degrade. But absolutely, in a lot of other areas, sometimes it's just as simple as knowing who to call. If you see something suspicious on your network, you would be stunned. Folks watching this show would probably be stunned how much that is the problem. You get into a crisis, you've been hacked, you don't know who to call at the federal or state level to get help. That has been dramatically reduced as a problem across the country. That is much, much less of a problem. Those relationships exist today. So we are definitely better off than we used to be.
Leo Laporte (01:51:13):
You also did a great article, an interview with a representative from South Carolina, Nancy Mace, who has introduced legislation that would require firms with federal contracts of $250,000 or more to create so-called vulnerability disclosure programs and encouraging white hat hackers to probe for bugs in public facing computer systems. Good for her. That's great. What's currently, what's the status of that?
Eric Geller (01:51:41):
So it's just been introduced. One of the things I think is interesting, it is a Republican congresswoman who's pushing for regulation of federal contractors, which is not something you see every day, but it goes back to this idea that the government relies on private companies for so much more than we used to. We outsource it. We outsource human resources from federal agencies to these private companies. And folks who watch this show or listened to this show might know the name SolarWinds. This is a company that provided IT software to federal agencies, fortune 500 companies. They were hacked and that opened a door to their customers. So what this is trying to do, it's not going to solve the problem in one fell swoop, but it is going to put more eyes on this code so that you don't have what are called supply chain attacks getting into the ultimate target by getting into an intermediary target first. If you can cut down the number of attacks, you can cut down the ability of hackers to jump from one victim to another. And what this is doing is saying federal contractors are obviously a huge target because if you can get into them, you can get into the federal government. So this is trying to deal with that.
Leo Laporte (01:52:45):
By the way, it is an interesting split. I mean, it's not completely left or a lot of the people fighting against the renewal of section 7 0 2 of the FSA Act are in Republicans. In fact, I, Josh, what's his name? Josh Hawley. I tried to blank his name out constantly. But there is opposition on both sides of the aisle on 7 0 2, which is great. I mean,
Brianna Wu (01:53:17):
I know this is idealistic of me. I really think good tech policy is not a right versus left issue. It shouldn't be. It's, I've talked to so many smart Republican engineers that hand, God, I have more in common with them on policy than the most left-leaning progressive that just doesn't follow this stuff.
Leo Laporte (01:53:38):
The key is knowledge, whether you're left or right, but is the knowledge,
Brianna Wu (01:53:42):
If you understand this stuff, you understand that it is difficult to balance platforms and free speech. It's not all or nothing. It is a gradient and you've got to approach this thing. And cybersecurity is the exact same way. It's not just a completely locked down system or complete free for all right, there's give and take here. Good policy is about understanding all these perspectives and coming to something that addresses the best needs. So I completely reject this framing that it's left
Leo Laporte (01:54:14):
Versus right. Well, look at Matt Gates, who I think you're
Jason Koebler (01:54:16):
Leo Laporte (01:54:17):
Matt Gates voted to reauthorize 7 0 2 back in 2018 this year. He says, you couldn't waterboard me into voting to reauthorize 7 0 2. These 7 0 2 authorities were abused against people in Washington on January 6th. Okay. And they were abused against people who were affiliated with the BBL M movement. Oh, okay. I'm equally aggrieved by both those things. Even Jim Jordan is questioning 7 0 2. So that's good. I think that's a good thing. Go ahead. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt. Interrupt.
Jason Koebler (01:54:44):
I was just going to say, Eric, I'm glad you're doing these articles because you mentioned Ron Wyden earlier, and I think it is important that people in DC understand the issues that they're talking about. And for so long it was like, oh, you want to talk about privacy? Go talk to Ron Wyden. And he continues to do really excellent work. But the fact that there's a new crop of lawmakers who understand this stuff and who are talking about it in an intelligent way is really hardening to see, because you do, so much of the last few years has just been screaming about Facebook censorship or these sorts of things without a lot of substance behind it. I mean, the TikTok hearings were horrifying just in terms of the level of understanding among the folks running them. And so, I don't know. I'm just happy you're doing this work because I'm really glad to see that there are some people who are taking it seriously and who are actually trying to understand the issues. And
Eric Geller (01:55:43):
Part of it is just communication, right? It's not the easiest subject to explain. I mean, that's why I like doing it is because finding new ways to make this relevant to regular people is interesting. And it challenges me to explain it in a more interesting way. So for Congress, for members of Congress to grab this and make this an issue that they care about, that says a lot because it's not the sexiest issue. You're not talking about healthcare or even education or even simple military issues where you can understand a tank rolling across the battlefield. This is just not as tactile. And so when people take this on, I think it's worth spotlighting that we have folks who are trying to communicate about this to their folks back in their district.
Brianna Wu (01:56:21):
I dunno if I agree with you on that, just in the sense my current job is working a lot with younger people or canvassing. We're directly working with some of the biggest Twitch streamers to basically get their audiences activated for this election. And I have to tell you, when it comes to social media policy or open expression policies or even cybersecurity, they are exponentially more keyed in than I think the average voter my age would be. So I do think there's a growing electorate that understands that technology is, it's our open square. This is where we talk about things today.
Eric Geller (01:57:05):
Absolutely. It definitely skews by age. And I think what you're seeing now is you have to message to those young folks who are already kind of tech savvy and naturals at this. But if you want to get people to support you on your stance on a cybersecurity issue, you frankly have to get them to understand it in people in their fifties, people in their sixties, people who have never used social media, that is still the most politically influential slice of the United States electorate. And it's changing. But for now, you do still have to communicate to those folks. And the one thing that does hit people no matter what their age is, ransomware. So you constantly see these ransomware attacks on schools on hospitals, people can't get their elective surgeries done because the unit is shut down because their computers don't work, right? I mean, think about the NotPetya malware attack.
The shipping around the world was paralyzed because the computers at these ports could not cargo containers. Shipping was paralyzed for a significant amount of time for some of these big companies because of this cyber attack, not because of a ground invasion or a nuclear strike, but because of this thing in the computer. So we're starting to see this affect regular people more, but it's still pretty scattershot as far as, has your son's school been ransomware, right? Did your daughter have to cancel an elective surgery because of a cyber attack on a hospital? That is still where it's hitting people the hardest? We're not yet seeing that it's widespread, but it's not yet to the point where every single American is like, well, this is in my top five issues, and I don't know that it ever will be, but it's still a challenge to communicate about this to a lot of folks.
Leo Laporte (01:58:36):
You're doing a good job. Thank you. messenger.com. We're going to take a little break, come back with more with our great panel. Speaking of sexy, I want to find out how I can make it with Carla, but I think we're going to find out with Brianna W in just a little bit, and I want to talk a little bit about AI as well. But first I want to mention our club. Just like the Messenger, just like 4 0 4, we rely on our audience to pay the bills and to keep things going. For a long time, we were an ad supported network. We still are, love our advertisers, but ad dollars just don't go far enough to keep this podcast network going, and that's why we started club Twitter about two years ago. Very happy to have the 7,000 of you who are in club TWI as members, but that's only 1% of the audience, and I'd like to get you involved.
So lemme give you the pitch. Seven bucks a month. I'll start right up with price upfront. We do have family plans and corporate plans to have discounts, and of course there's an $84 a year, year long plan. If you just want to pay once every year, what do you get? You get ad free versions of all of our shows. You're paying us, so we don't need to have ads. We don't have any tracking or any ads in any of the shows, plus shows you don't get unless you're a member of the club. Hands on McIntosh with Micah Sarge. Hands on Windows with Paul Ott, the Untitled Linux show. We couldn't afford a title for it, but we can do the show. Jonathan Bennett is the host of that, the GIZ Fizz with Dick d Bartell. We have a title, but it's a cheap title. It doesn't matter.
The point is, if you sponsor us, we will put more of these shows on the air. We just brought back home theater geeks with Scott Wilkinson. We couldn't really afford to do it because advertisers and the audience just weren't large enough to put that show on. But thanks to the club members, we can, and that's the kind of thing we can do with Club Twit. You also get access to, I think, the best social network ever, which is the Club Twit Discord. A place where you can converse with other club TWIT members. Talk about the shows that are on the air, have champagne, whatever it is, kind of the champagne room of the Twit Club.
It also has more animated gif than a body can stand. What else do you get? Oh, you get the Twit plus feed, which includes content that we don't put out as shows at all. Things that happened before and after the shows, things like that. Here's how you do it. Go to twit tv slash club twit, seven bucks a month. It helps us out. It really keeps us on the air, and I think you're going to get your money's worth because we've put together a lot of value added stuff, including events. I couldn't come because I was exposed to Covid. I could not come to the photo walk yesterday. I really wanted to, but Aunt Pruitt did a great Petaluma photo walk yesterday. I hope you guys went and had fun. Stacey's Book Club is coming up on Thursday. Translation State is the book, if you like, sci-fi. Tune in September 7th for a fireside chat with Daniel Suarez and Hugh Howie, two of our favorite sci-fi authors hosted this week at Enterprise Tech. Doesn't ask me anything. Lou Maresca, end of the month, another sci-fi author, John Scalzi. Wow, wow. We'll be stopping by October 5th. Anthony Nielsen, our AI guru. We'll do an inside twit. We're going to also do, speaking of Inside Twits, they're calling it the Old Farts Fireside Chat. I'm a little insulted, but that's me and Jeff Jarvis and URLs.
We will all get together on a day that we will live in infamy. December 7th, also, Renee Richie comes back for a fireside that chat. Those are some of the events that are going on. Oh, awesome. Yeah, I love Renee in the Club Twit. Seven bucks a month. It's worth it, folks, and it really helps us out a lot. Plus you get that good feeling in your heart knowing you've done something to support what we do. Thank you in advance on we go with a show, Balder's Gate three. Have you speed run this. This is the hot game right now.
Brianna Wu (02:02:45):
This is through huge to Speed Run. You miss it
Leo Laporte (02:02:47):
Everything. There are Speed Runners, there are people doing that though.
Brianna Wu (02:02:51):
I'm sure you could do it, but this is very similar to the Mass Effect trilogy in the sense it's a beautiful, interesting story with deep characterizations. If you're speed running it, you're missing everything that makes it special. So no, I will not be speed running this game.
Leo Laporte (02:03:08):
I played a little bit on my Linux box, but I'm waiting till the Mac version comes out, which I think it's September 5th, which is nice. This is a turn-based R p g. That's apparently very much like d and d. Is that right, Brianna?
Brianna Wu (02:03:23):
Yeah, that's exactly it. The combat in it is a little bit clunky. It's not the best feature of it.
Leo Laporte (02:03:30):
I don't like turn-based combat. I hate it,
Brianna Wu (02:03:33):
But it's pseudo turn based. It's more like a final fantasy, active time battle system, like everybody moves across the board in X number of spaces. The real reason to play this is it is a very, very deeply written game. Those truly one of the best fantasy stories I've ever played through. This is really rivaling Dragon Age as far as quality, so that's the reason people love it. It's been a long time since we had a really good narrative game, especially with the BioWare layoffs that we're announced this week. I think this is the best we're going to have for a while.
Leo Laporte (02:04:09):
Oh, that's bad news. Yeah. Where do you stand on the Microsoft acquisition of Activision?
Brianna Wu (02:04:17):
I am really neutral on it. I think it could hurt. I think it could help. I hate to see,
Leo Laporte (02:04:23):
I mean, on the one hand, I mean it won't make Microsoft the number one gaming company in the world or anything close to it, but on the other hand, I hate to see any kind of shrinkage in the number of companies doing this stuff. Bobby Codick and Activision Blizzard were kind of nightmare companies and certainly could use some adult supervision. I don't know if Mike,
Brianna Wu (02:04:48):
I think there's the argument that certainly I think we agree less competition is bad in the video game industry. On the other hand, still I'm in deep with the game to have Kraut, right? There's a really good argument that Microsoft Game Pass has been very good for small sized studios because it gives them a funding way to make a 10, 20, $30 million game in a way that couldn't have existed just a few years ago. So I do think it's good for smaller studios, this particular model, how long Microsoft can keep it up. That's a whole nother question, though.
Leo Laporte (02:05:24):
They are not apparently making any money on Xbox.
Brianna Wu (02:05:28):
Leo Laporte (02:05:29):
But Xbox Game Pass really is, at least for people who want to try a lot of different games, the best way to go because for basically the cost of one AAA title a year or maybe two, you get to play hundreds of games, which is good for me because I'm not like Paul Throt, where it's called Duty or Nothing. I played Balder's Gate a little bit, Diablo four a little bit. I want to try 'em all out, and so Game Pass is a really good solution, at least for those games. I'm looking forward to Starfield, which will be available day and day. Yeah, I
Brianna Wu (02:06:07):
Can't wait for that
Leo Laporte (02:06:08):
Xbox, so that's
Brianna Wu (02:06:09):
Going to be, I do think it's a fair argument that they've not put out the kind of high quality first party titles that you want over there. Like PlayStation five just does have better games. I'm sorry. So the Golden Knight remake was really, really good on Game Pass. I certainly felt like that justified it for the year for me, but it's hurting, right? It's really struggling. I wish 'em the best, but I don't have strong feelings. It could go either way.
Leo Laporte (02:06:39):
That's interesting. Yeah, I mean, Sony was the one complaining about the Activision acquisition because they were afraid that Microsoft would take some of those games exclusive to Xbox. Microsoft assured them it wouldn't, and apparently reassured regulators certainly reassured the court in the United States where the judge basically threw out the FTCs case against the merger. We're just waiting now for the UK to come along, and I guess Microsoft has attempted to appease the UK regulator by selling off the Activision Cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft, which is a French firm, but maybe that's better than an American firm. I don't know.
Brianna Wu (02:07:20):
I have to ask, were you joking about Paul Thoreau playing c o d? He
Leo Laporte (02:07:24):
Actually was such a bad Call of Duty addict for so many years that six months ago he went cold Turkey. Really? He literally
Brianna Wu (02:07:34):
Said he's missing the new Nicki Minaj expansion pack over
Leo Laporte (02:07:37):
There. I know. I saw that night, said, I'm not going to tell Paul. I'm not going to tell Paul. Nikki gets to play an existing character, right?
Brianna Wu (02:07:45):
Leo Laporte (02:07:47):
In Call of
Brianna Wu (02:07:47):
Duty. So you get to play as her in multiplayer mode, her pink guns and everything. It's great.
Leo Laporte (02:07:55):
She's your operator.
Brianna Wu (02:07:56):
Leo Laporte (02:07:59):
Does she sound like Nicki Minaj or no, it's just a
Brianna Wu (02:08:02):
Skin. It sounds exactly like her.
Leo Laporte (02:08:03):
No, she does.
Brianna Wu (02:08:04):
It's a skin. Yeah. Yeah. It's voiced by her as far as I can tell. It's glorious and stupid and I love it. But that's the same game that had Homeland and it just a few weeks
Leo Laporte (02:08:13):
Ago. They've done it before. Let's play a little Nicki Minaj call y'all. Hell, excuse me, with the bad language, you know? Really just going to sit here. They're
Brianna Wu (02:08:23):
Right. Well, yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:08:27):
Nick Minaj is in the game.
Brianna Wu (02:08:34):
Where are they?
Leo Laporte (02:08:36):
This is cartoon violence. Do not. Oh my God.
Brianna Wu (02:08:41):
Leo Laporte (02:08:43):
One Oh man, gamers. What are we going to do with them? I felt we were doing a good job keeping this a family friendly show. We're going to bleep the hell out of that. That's all. That's all I can say can always
Brianna Wu (02:08:53):
Rely on call duty. I apologize. It's all my fault.
Leo Laporte (02:09:00):
Actually. Microsoft's been trying to shut down all of the trash talk on Xbox. Good luck. Good luck with that. Oh my goodness. Oh boy.
Brianna Wu (02:09:08):
I have opinions on that.
Leo Laporte (02:09:11):
Are you not a trash talker?
Brianna Wu (02:09:14):
No, I don't do that in multiplayer games. I'm trying to lead my team to greatness. You're
Leo Laporte (02:09:19):
A nice person.
Brianna Wu (02:09:21):
No, I'm not a nice person. It just doesn't give me the outcome I want.
Leo Laporte (02:09:27):
That's no way to win.
Brianna Wu (02:09:29):
You shown leadership by stepping up and talking, like giving your team instructions, like offering.
Leo Laporte (02:09:36):
I would love to be in a multiplayer game with you sometime. That would be,
Brianna Wu (02:09:39):
We would do great.
Leo Laporte (02:09:40):
Brianna Wu (02:09:41):
I've thought a lot about going into Club Twit sometime, and my game is Alien Fire Team. I love that game. I love that game. I love that game. Just
Leo Laporte (02:09:49):
Give us an hour. Play that game for an hour. A hundred
Brianna Wu (02:09:51):
Percent. Come roll. We'll just come roll and I'll walk you through the first mission. That would
Leo Laporte (02:09:56):
Be awesome. A bunch
Brianna Wu (02:09:57):
Of aliens. I'll do that
Leo Laporte (02:09:58):
Anytime. My son, so he saw me playing Heim because I'm, don't laugh at me, I'm a loser.
Brianna Wu (02:10:05):
I love it. No, I love your
Leo Laporte (02:10:06):
Passion for it. It's a great Viking build. I call it Minecraft for Vikings, and he said, you should just play this on Twitch. You'd make a lot of money. I said, no one wants to see me play Heim, but maybe you and me, you can give me some pointers on that.
Brianna Wu (02:10:27):
Well, aliens Fire team, it is really, so it's a three person, squad based game, so you, me and someone else will get Lisa to come on in. So you have different roles. There's Gunner, there's the person with the smart Gun, there's a medic, and you really have to go through a hive, valence and survive, and it's really hard. Oh boy.
Leo Laporte (02:10:48):
Brianna Wu (02:10:49):
Leo Laporte (02:10:49):
Hard. So we'll all be, it's like Overwatch. We'll all be on a team together. Is that it? Yeah.
Brianna Wu (02:10:55):
Yeah. But it's versus virtual.
Leo Laporte (02:10:57):
Do you promise not to yell at me? If I don't
Brianna Wu (02:10:59):
Do it, I promise not to do it. I would
Leo Laporte (02:11:01):
Yell at, I might curl up into a ball and just scream like a girl, and
Brianna Wu (02:11:07):
This is where you show who you are when
Leo Laporte (02:11:09):
The chips are. That's who I'm, are
Brianna Wu (02:11:10):
You going to stand up and kill the aliens, or are you going to panic? That's
Leo Laporte (02:11:13):
Who I'm, I'm going to panic. There we go. Yep. Game over. Game over, man. That's me. Okay. That looks like fun. So good.
Brianna Wu (02:11:22):
Leo Laporte (02:11:23):
Do you guys play games? Didn't mean to take over the show.
Jason Koebler (02:11:26):
I do. No. So I played Warzone a lot with a bunch of my colleagues, so got really into Warzone one. Never really enjoyed Warz Zone two, so I play a lot of Rogue likes on my switch. Nice.
Leo Laporte (02:11:40):
This is primarily what I do. What's your favorite on Switch right now?
Jason Koebler (02:11:45):
So I put probably three or 400 hours enter the Gungeon, which I a hundred percent of that game. I played so much of it. I've really been enjoying Monster Train, which is a Roguelike duck builder.
Leo Laporte (02:12:02):
I'm not a
Jason Koebler (02:12:02):
Much fire, I'm not a
Leo Laporte (02:12:03):
Deck fan. I don't mind Roguelike games. I don't want to build a deck, and if I wanted to play cards, I'd do it with Lisa. I don't need to, I don't want to do a card. This looks like fun though. This is so silly looking. You have how many hours on this?
Jason Koebler (02:12:19):
Something like 300 hours. I mean, it's a very hard game and I got pretty addicted to
Leo Laporte (02:12:26):
It. Apparently there's smoking in it, which is interesting.
Jason Koebler (02:12:30):
Yeah. Everything is gun themed, like Well, yeah, it's a bullet
Leo Laporte (02:12:36):
Hole. Oh, I get it. I see it. Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. That looks like fun.
Jason Koebler (02:12:42):
Leo Laporte (02:12:43):
How about you, Eric? Do you do any gaming at all, or what do you do in your downtime?
Eric Geller (02:12:48):
I'm not a huge gamer. The one game I do drop into every now and then is the original scape. I reactivated my account a few years ago and I like,
Leo Laporte (02:12:56):
That's school game
Eric Geller (02:12:57):
You. That is so fun. I'm going to drop back into it. So it's really, it takes a lot of time and grinding to level up in all the different skills. So I will not claim to be one of the most advanced scape players, but it's just kind of fun. It's nostalgic. It brings me back to that early two thousands era of my life and having a clan and doing missions or whatever. So that's the extent of my gaming, I guess. Also Wordle, does that count as a game?
Leo Laporte (02:13:21):
Wordle counts. You call that a
Brianna Wu (02:13:22):
Game. It's okay.
Leo Laporte (02:13:23):
Brianna Wu (02:13:23):
Alright. What are your opening Two words.
Leo Laporte (02:13:26):
Two words? Oh,
Eric Geller (02:13:28):
I do beast and then I do chump and I find that gets me a pretty good sleep, so I always
Leo Laporte (02:13:33):
Brianna Wu (02:13:33):
Leo Laporte (02:13:34):
Crony, which is almost an acronym of, I mean A anagram of Beast B. I never thought of B so much. What do you do crony?
Brianna Wu (02:13:42):
I GOs and then crony.
Leo Laporte (02:13:44):
What's sa? Is that a word?
Brianna Wu (02:13:46):
It's a French helmet. I don't know.
Eric Geller (02:13:49):
Now do you folks play on hard mode, which is where you can't guess letters that you've already gotten
Leo Laporte (02:13:55):
Out? I didn't even know there was a hard mode. It just did it by default and somebody had explained that to me. That's how you play, right? That's the only sensible.
Eric Geller (02:14:03):
That's the only way true connoisseurs play Wordle Leo.
Leo Laporte (02:14:05):
Yeah. You wouldn't guess. A letter that you already know is not, I mean, do it right. Use the letters and figure out the rest.
Eric Geller (02:14:16):
Leo Laporte (02:14:16):
Right. Seems only fair. I find it's actually escapist for me and the worst the world got. I really didn't get into heim until Covid, and then when the world really went to hell in a hand basket, I created a new life for myself as a Viking, and every once in a while I go back and visit the good old days ruins kind of that.
Brianna Wu (02:14:39):
Leo Laporte (02:14:39):
Love it. I love it.
Brianna Wu (02:14:41):
I still think, I bet you could sell this to Lisa if you get her that Godzilla pinball table I'm trying to get you to do.
Leo Laporte (02:14:48):
She does not want me to get that. Every time you bring that up, she says, no, you
Brianna Wu (02:14:53):
Got to do it. You got to
Leo Laporte (02:14:54):
Do it. I really want it. How much? 10,000.
Brianna Wu (02:14:57):
$10,000, but worth it. Totally worth
Leo Laporte (02:14:59):
It. That's a lot of money for a pinball game,
Brianna Wu (02:15:02):
But it's Godzilla.
Leo Laporte (02:15:03):
If I charge people quarters
Jason Koebler (02:15:05):
An investment. It's
Leo Laporte (02:15:06):
Brianna Wu (02:15:08):
It's an investment.
Leo Laporte (02:15:11):
What's the payoff? If I invest,
Brianna Wu (02:15:14):
I have plenty of pinball machines have gone up and money. I bought them. My twilight gone up. My Star Trek has gone up. Godzilla. If I sold it today, it'd probably be a wash with what I paid for
Leo Laporte (02:15:25):
It. Alright. Okay. Let's take a break and come back with final words as we wrap up. What has been a very fun addition of the show? Really glad to have two new folks to pray on. Eric Giller Keller from the Messenger. It's great to have you. The messenger.com cybersecurity reporter and Jason Keebler. He's the editor in chief at 4 0 4 Media, which I seriously did just join. You've sold me. I want to support you guys. 4 0 4 media.co.
Jason Koebler (02:16:03):
The other folks are making fun of me because we decide we're all equal to start. So not editor in chief. I'm
Leo Laporte (02:16:11):
Jason Koebler (02:16:11):
Journalist, a co-founder. You're a
Leo Laporte (02:16:13):
Journalist. There's no higher state than a journalist. You were. I was part
Jason Koebler (02:16:18):
Of it though.
Leo Laporte (02:16:18):
You were at EIC c a motherboard though, right?
Jason Koebler (02:16:21):
I was, yes. So
Leo Laporte (02:16:22):
You're kind of defacto E I C?
Jason Koebler (02:16:24):
No, no, no, no. We're taking a flat approach.
Leo Laporte (02:16:29):
Oh, that won't last. Okay.
Brianna Wu (02:16:31):
There's a timeline line. The boss is the one that does the Boston. So who does the Boston at 4 0 4.
Leo Laporte (02:16:39):
I love the, you must've had fun during the photo shoot like you're doing your album,
Jason Koebler (02:16:44):
Right? That was so very surreal. Thousands of photos of us. I don't think I'm going to go into modeling, although I know I look pretty fierce here. Pretty fierce.
Leo Laporte (02:16:54):
It's almost a mugshot fierce. I mean, you look good.
Jason Koebler (02:16:58):
I'm literally in a dumpster in this photo.
Leo Laporte (02:17:01):
Wait a minute. You are, but you managed to keep it serious.
Eric Geller (02:17:05):
Was that an empty dumpster? Did they stage this or did they just bring you to a dumpster and say, okay, go ahead and get in.
Jason Koebler (02:17:11):
We took the photos with a friend of ours who's a professional photographer. This
Leo Laporte (02:17:15):
Is beautifully shot.
Jason Koebler (02:17:16):
Yeah. She put us in a dumpster. She put us in a flower pot. She made me climb a ledge. I think she was really seeing what our limit was and didn't find it. The dumpster was the last objects
Leo Laporte (02:17:32):
We tried. Yeah, because here you are, the New York Times, whatever you want. Is this the same photo shoot or did the Times send their own photographer? This was
Jason Koebler (02:17:38):
Immediately before Times had their own photographer. This was immediately before in a studio, and then we did some photos sort of nearby with another photographer.
Leo Laporte (02:17:50):
The times of late in these photos has done some sort of weird wash, gray wash across all their photos. Compare that to the bright vivacious colors of your own album cover. I don't understand why the Times does this. Maybe it'll, they're the gray lady. They're serious. I don't know, but I've noticed this with the other photos that they've started. Look at that. It's so gloomy
Eric Geller (02:18:14):
Needs a dumpster. It's just missing a dumpster.
Leo Laporte (02:18:16):
It's missing a bright red dumpster. That's what you need.
Jason Koebler (02:18:21):
Exactly. Exactly. We all had a freak out over what to wear as well. The group chat was just going crazy.
Brianna Wu (02:18:28):
I just love that. I know if I show up and ask you to get in a dumpster, you'll say yes. N So that's
Leo Laporte (02:18:35):
Very helpful information doing it. I love it.
Brianna Wu (02:18:38):
That's where you do your best bossing is from the dumpster.
Leo Laporte (02:18:42):
You're not editor in chief now, man.
Jason Koebler (02:18:45):
Leo Laporte (02:18:45):
You're in the dumpster now.
Jason Koebler (02:18:47):
Get in there. I no one being bossed now. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:18:50):
Alright, and of course Brianna Wu, it's always great to have you rebellion pack.org. Tell me what that does. It sounds like you're talking to influencers, by the way. It's dot com. I'm sorry, not.org. You're talking to influencers to get them involved in the political process.
Brianna Wu (02:19:06):
That's exactly right. We are going to, if you follow Twitch politics at all, just pay attention to the news cycle. There's going to be something that's going to come out in a few weeks and you're going to be like, oh my God, I can't believe this is happening and I did it. So just stay tuned in this space. I'm really proud of the work. We have the Wisconsin Go to special election with using the work I'm doing. We managed to get over 50,000 phone calls done over 10,000 doors knocked on in just a weekend, so this is a playbook that works getting younger people involved through their favorite Twitch streamers.
Leo Laporte (02:19:45):
There is actually a Twitch politics. That's it. Subject. This is what you're talking about? Yep. Oh, okay. There's a lot of stuff in Russian here.
Brianna Wu (02:19:55):
Yeah. I think that may not be the right channels. I'm thinking more Destiny, Vosh, Hassan. People like that. All report
Leo Laporte (02:20:04):
Politics. Is politics. Interesting. I think you're right. I think young people. I look at my son 29. Happy birthday Henry. He'll be 29 tomorrow. I got in the car. He's listening to Joe Rogan. I said, what do you listening to that crap for? He said, dad, I don't believe it. I just listened to it.
Brianna Wu (02:20:24):
It is good intelligence to listen to people you disagree with. I do it all the time. That's
Leo Laporte (02:20:28):
Right. Yeah. Okay. That's what he says. He's doing AOCs coming back to Twitch. She played among us. She's going to be a regular stream.
Brianna Wu (02:20:40):
Oh, look at that. You may want to pay attention to this space. She may not be the only member of Congress doing this.
Leo Laporte (02:20:51):
I will look forward to a dark Brandon's Twitch channel. I think that's going to be,
Brianna Wu (02:20:55):
You might want to pay attention to that too.
Leo Laporte (02:20:57):
That would be interesting. Joe Biden plays among us.
Brianna Wu (02:21:02):
Look, this election is we the young
Leo Laporte (02:21:05):
People. We got to get the Youngs to voting.
Brianna Wu (02:21:08):
We got to get past this idea in the Democratic Party that the only way to get your message out is going on C n N. It's a dead playbook. I enjoy every time I go on C N N, but we got to try some
Leo Laporte (02:21:19):
New stuff. I honestly think that the 24 hour news networks, all of them have ended up being a bust that this was a bad idea and there are better ways to get our information.
Brianna Wu (02:21:29):
Leo Laporte (02:21:29):
Agree. Yeah. I dunno if Twitch is hit, but okay. When dark Brandon does this Father Gate, it's run run's great. I will be watching that with great interest. You should. I'm going to decide how to vote based on that. If you missed anything this week on Twit, well, you missed a mouthful. Watch we made a little bit. Does that look like me? I don't think that looks like me. Does that look like me? Those steps a little bit too big to be yours. I don't know why it keeps, I keep saying I'm a man. I don't know why I keeps doing that. Well, let's put it this way. Dustin Hoffman said in Tootsie, he said, the only hard thing about being a woman was how ugly I was previously on Twit Tech News weekly. I
TWiT Promo (02:22:17):
Have in my hot hands here, the Samsung Galaxy
Leo Laporte (02:22:20):
Z fold five. I
TWiT Promo (02:22:23):
Give you my full thoughts
Leo Laporte (02:22:24):
On this in a detailed review
TWiT Promo (02:22:27):
This weekend, enterprise tech
Today, we talked with Michael Amori, C E O of Lytics, and he talked about AI and how it's impacting data access and analytics.
You need to make sure that the AI explains why it is that you should believe something before you move on to the next thing. They need to be explained, and that's kind of the ethical part of ai, making sure that everything is really explainable understandable for the human.
This week in Google,
Leo Laporte (02:22:56):
Incredible New Yorker profile of Elon Musk, oh boy, by Ronan Farrow is titled of the article, Elon Musk's Shadow Rule. Musk is involved in the national highway system in terms of the electrification of the fleet. He's involved in our space program. He's involved in speech communications. Right, exactly. With both X and also with starlink. I don't think that we've ever had a wealthy person who has so much control over the fundamental things that government historically has been
TWiT Promo (02:23:26):
Involved. Twit broadcasting from the capital of the free world, Petaluma, California. No,
Leo Laporte (02:23:34):
That's not true. That's not even the capital of California.
Jason Koebler (02:23:40):
I was up there a few months ago. A beautiful,
Leo Laporte (02:23:42):
Beautiful, oh, you came to the wine country. Thank you. Jason. Next time come by and say hi. We're in Sonoma. Yeah, Sonoma County Petaluma. Did you go to the Napa County? You probably went up to the Napa County.
Jason Koebler (02:23:54):
No, my friend lives in Petaluma. Oh, you're kidding. He's He's a big cyclist, so I was in downtown Petaluma.
Leo Laporte (02:24:00):
Oh, nice. I think I saw him go by the other day. It was Guy had a bicycle.
Jason Koebler (02:24:03):
Leo Laporte (02:24:04):
Yeah. He was the morning bun. The Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that phone searches your smartphone require warrants. However, subsequent court rulings have been unclear one way or another. There's a new ruling from the Fifth Circuit that scares me just a little bit. The case, we talked about it when it happened. Immigration lawyer named Adam Malick crossed the border from Mexico into Texas and the Department of Homeland Security and the C B P. The Border Patrol seized his phone in response to Mr. Malick's assertion of privilege. He's an attorney. Remember, he said, Hey, attorney, client privilege. There's privileged communications on this device. Officer Sullivan informed Mr. Malick that the d h s was seizing the iPhone and the digital contents would be searched. Officer Sullivan did not disconnect the iPhone from the internet or the communications network. He failed to take action, would protect the iPhone from accessing the internet or a communications network. He ordered Mr. Malick to leave the deferred inspection area without the phone while the phone was connected to the internet. The reason that's important is because that's, you could go through all the email. There's stuff the phone's connected to, and when it's unlocked, you have access to it.
Furthermore, they kept the phone for five months. They sent it to a lab for forensic analysis, bypassing the security features, extracting the phone's data, sent the data to the D H S. They then used a filter team to screen out any privilege materials. That took additional two months. Once the filter team had finished, they provided the border officers in Dallas with two thumb drives containing the data. The filter team had determined was not privileged. Five months later, he gets his phone back. He sues, he says, there was no warrant. There was no probable cause. I am in fact a member of global entry. He was Fifth Circuit, said, no, you're going across the border, dude. You have no protection from the Fourth Amendment. No warrant is needed. Now I have to point out, there's been case law on both sides of this. This is the most recent, this is really bad news. We reported this story when it happened, and it seemed an appalling abuse of power that because he was an immigration lawyer, the D H S decided to effectively harass him.
Brianna Wu (02:26:50):
Leo Laporte (02:26:52):
Nevertheless, the court has ruled that it was legal.
Brianna Wu (02:26:57):
It's really confusing to me. I truly do not understand why there's not more political willpower to make personal privacy a bigger election issue. I think it transcends parties. I think most people understand the technology has unprecedented power in our lives, and I think even within the Republican party nowadays, I think you see a lot of suspicion over this kind of warrantless collection of information like this. So it seems to me that this would be a very popular initiative to codify this in the law. It is truly baffling to me. We don't see more progress on this.
Jason Koebler (02:27:40):
We've seen over and over again that the Constitution doesn't quite exist at the border and doesn't exist in areas near the border. By the
Leo Laporte (02:27:49):
Way, this, that's significant too. I think they said within 35 miles of the border, which includes pretty much everybody living on the coast of the United States. I mean, it's a huge percentage of the population. They're asserting, oh, you don't have any Fourth Amendment rights.
Jason Koebler (02:28:07):
Crazy. Right. I mean, the A C L U calls it a hundred mile border zone and says, nearly two out of three Americans live within this specialty.
Leo Laporte (02:28:14):
It's a hundred miles.
Jason Koebler (02:28:16):
I mean, that's what a C L U says. I think. I didn't read this entire decision, so I'm not sure if they changed it.
Leo Laporte (02:28:24):
Jason Koebler (02:28:25):
At all in this. But yeah, I mean, they call it a reasonable distance from the border that C B P
Leo Laporte (02:28:32):
Has, and believe me, they're going to use this. I mean, this is a really powerful tool for them, and I think that one thing that some of the courts have realized is your smartphone contains your life. This isn't the equivalent of searching your briefcase, especially if you don't disconnect it from the internet. Yeah. This is disappointing. I guess the lesson from this is if you are crossing the border into the United States, and I suppose it's true in other countries as well, you probably should carry, erase data, disconnected in internet, maybe carry a dummy phone with you. He was not accused of any crime, and in fact has not been charged with any crime.
Brianna Wu (02:29:20):
Leo Laporte (02:29:23):
I think it was very
Brianna Wu (02:29:23):
Leo Laporte (02:29:24):
Stuff was harassment
Brianna Wu (02:29:25):
Leo Laporte (02:29:29):
I think I've run out of stories. I'm trying, I'm desperately trying to find something to talk about, but it is late August, the dog days. Let me ask all three of you, what's coming up in the fall on your docket? I'll start with you, Eric. What are you looking at for the next few months?
Eric Geller (02:29:47):
Well, in terms of what's happening in my world, Congress has to pass some big bills that could be used to do a lot of things on cybersecurity. I mentioned earlier that Pentagon spending Bill, that's been a place where they've put a lot of stuff on cybersecurity, so I'm going to be watching what they're doing on AI, on trying to build up the militaries, cyber sort of war fighting teams. There've been kind of a shortfall of troops who are ready to do that work, so they're trying to fix that. So watching what Congress does with these bills to try to improve our posture to deal with a lot of cybersecurity threats. That's going to take up a lot of my attention. And then also turning to the election season and looking at how the government is getting ready to defend our election systems from any hackers that might try to come from within the United States or outside the United States. Those are a couple of things on my radar.
Leo Laporte (02:30:37):
Yeah. Pentagon's asking for 886 billion for fiscal year 2024. I'm sorry, 831 billion. It's changed. We'll be very interesting. There are earmarks in there too, aren't there? They stick stuff in there because who's going to say no to this defense spending?
Eric Geller (02:31:01):
Yeah, there's a lot of fights right now over abortion access for US service members that's holding up this building.
Leo Laporte (02:31:06):
Tommy Tuberville, good old Tommy.
Brianna Wu (02:31:09):
It's one old football coach. I cannot believe
Leo Laporte (02:31:12):
My Oh, you went to Miss. That's right. Ole Miss.
Brianna Wu (02:31:14):
Ole Miss. He was my old football coach there. Really weird to him, hurting our national
Leo Laporte (02:31:21):
Security. And what position did you play on the team?
Brianna Wu (02:31:24):
Yes, me. I was obviously the quarterback. Yes. Yeah,
Leo Laporte (02:31:27):
Of course. Yeah. Yeah. He's taken an interesting position. I can't imagine that's a popular position even with his constituents. Maybe it is. Maybe it is. What are you working on, Jason, for the fall is about to begin.
Jason Koebler (02:31:43):
Yeah. I mean, we are experimenting with what our subscribers are going to enjoy having us do. I mean, we're focused primarily on doing breaking news, doing really important cybersecurity hacking, privacy surveillance type stuff. Good. I also
Leo Laporte (02:32:00):
Also revealing Taylor Swift's code name,
Jason Koebler (02:32:03):
Very important. That's what I was going to say. Raking
Leo Laporte (02:32:05):
Jason Koebler (02:32:06):
I've become, yeah, I've become obsessed with the Freedom of Information Act. Does
Leo Laporte (02:32:12):
This a FOIA request? Wait a minute. This
Jason Koebler (02:32:14):
Was a FOIA request? Yeah. Oh my
Leo Laporte (02:32:19):
God. Public records obtained by 4 0 4 media. Who do you go to get ERA'S tour information from?
Jason Koebler (02:32:30):
Right, so I've written a lot about Ticketmaster and about ticket
Leo Laporte (02:32:34):
Jason Koebler (02:32:34):
General, and so most of the venues that she played are publicly owned football stadiums because including
Leo Laporte (02:32:43):
Our own Levi Stadium here,
Jason Koebler (02:32:45):
Taxpayers buy the stadiums and then lease them out for pennies on the dollar to these football teams, obviously. And so I just foiled every single stadium authority in the country that she played at, and I got not as many emails back as I would've liked because a lot of these leases are designed to prevent public records from being accessible, specifically because they have carve outs in the law that won't allow for public records to come out about the operations of these football stadiums. That wasn't the case in Ohio though, and I got some emails from Taylor Swift's team about how they planned the Aris tour. So they were calling it the Sparkle Tour before it was announced. That
Leo Laporte (02:33:31):
Was the code name. So they code
Jason Koebler (02:33:33):
Name was Sparkle. They weren't using Taylor's name. Only one person was allowed to make graphics for the promotional graphics. So only one person was read into that, and then basically the night before is when a lot of people found out people who worked at the different stadiums found out that this was actually happening. I didn't get as much as I wanted. I really wanted to know how many tickets were actually available for sale in different pre-sales, because
Leo Laporte (02:34:08):
That's fascinating. You say that in the 2009 tour in Nashville, of the 13,000 tickets available, 11,000 were sold in presale. Only a couple of thousand were available during the actual public sale.
Jason Koebler (02:34:25):
Yeah. I mean, a lot of them are held back either for normal types of presales, like there was a Capital One presale for Taylor Swift where Capital One pays Ticketmaster and pays Taylor Swift to give Premier access to their card holders. But then there's radio holds, there's tickets given to VIPs, there's tickets given to sponsors, and there's this spreadsheet that exists for every show that should show how many tickets actually were available to the public, which is what I'm searching for is my holy grail of ticket.
Leo Laporte (02:35:02):
Do you want to give out your signal number in case somebody wants to leak this to you?
Jason Koebler (02:35:07):
You know what I do. Why not?
Leo Laporte (02:35:08):
Yeah, let's take down Ticketmaster. I'm a hundred percent behind this one. These guys are, it's
Jason Koebler (02:35:15):
2 0 2 5 0 5 1 7 0 2 2 0 2 5 0 5 17 0 2.
Leo Laporte (02:35:22):
If you know what's going on the inside scoop on the S tour text, Jason,
Jason Koebler (02:35:29):
Lemme know. I'm just going to signal you a bunch of pictures of Butts.
Leo Laporte (02:35:33):
Jason Koebler (02:35:35):
Leo Laporte (02:35:35):
Want. No, what do you think? This is Blue sky. Knock it off. A hundred percent. Sorry. Knock it off. I apologize. No pictures of butts or That was not of alien entities. None of that. No AF pictures, please. No, this is good. At first, I kind of thought this is cute and funny, but now that you mentioned this is about Ticketmaster, there is something nasty under the hood there. I would love to blow the lid off of 'em. Well, that's why that's, I'm paying a hundred bucks a year for 4 0 4 media worth every penny.
Jason Koebler (02:36:12):
Thank you for your support. I
Leo Laporte (02:36:13):
Couldn't do the thousand dollars tier, I'm sorry, four oh four.co, but I think I really love to support these kinds of entities. I think this is fantastic, and I love the investigative journalism you've done over the years at Motherboard. I'd love to see you continue here in your own venue.
Jason Koebler (02:36:35):
Thank you. Lots more FOIA stuff to come. Lots more rights to repair, stuff to come this week. There's going to be a bunch of filings for D M C A exemptions for different devices to make it legal, to repair them. So that happens every three years. That's something I'll be keeping my eye on.
Leo Laporte (02:36:57):
And you guys do a podcast who's on the 4 0 4 Media podcast? All four of you.
Jason Koebler (02:37:03):
So it's all of us. Yeah, so Joseph Cox is our security and hacking reporter. Samantha Cole covers AI and sex work. Emmanuel Berg covers kind of everything news, AI porn again, which we don't have tons of stuff about porn, but we do cover it a lot because a lot of the advance in the technology are pioneered by sex workers and porn companies, and then they sort of filter down into the broader tech ecosystem. So
Leo Laporte (02:37:38):
It's just fun to cover. We right up through that lens. It, it's fun. The parties are great. I don't blame you. Exactly. No, actually there's some sleazy sy skeezy stories in that area as well.
Jason Koebler (02:37:52):
For sure. Especially with AI generated stuff.
Leo Laporte (02:37:56):
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That just
Brianna Wu (02:38:00):
Killed the whole show energy,
Leo Laporte (02:38:01):
Jason Koebler (02:38:02):
I'm so sorry. No, so our podcast is the 4 0 4 Media podcast. If you Google, if you search it in your favorite podcast app, it will show up.
Leo Laporte (02:38:09):
Nice. I love it. Nice. I forgot to ask Eric, you do a podcast too, don't you?
Eric Geller (02:38:16):
I do. I'm a huge Star Wars fan, so I co-host a Star Wars podcast called Hth Takes God.
Leo Laporte (02:38:22):
What do think about Soka? So I thought, yo, he's got a H take on that. Let me tell you. Go ahead. Tell us.
Eric Geller (02:38:29):
It's a mixed bag. The lead actress is not good. There's only one really good cast member. The writing is, the pacing is uneven. It's got some promise on the story front, but it's got a long way to go. You can listen to Hoff Takes. Yeah, I'm
Brianna Wu (02:38:45):
I'm starting my own podcast to hug your podcast sucks.
Leo Laporte (02:38:48):
Eric Geller (02:38:50):
I'm ready for a podcast where we can drive up both our numbers that way. This
Leo Laporte (02:38:53):
Is awesome. Let's do it. Let's do it. Oh,
Brianna Wu (02:38:56):
I'm about to go off. Okay. Asoka is Okay. So look, I get, you have to have seen Rebels. I will completely granted to understand anything going on in a Soca, but this is all of the most amazing women in Star Trek. Star Wars in one show, and they all get an arc and rewards you for following a Soca and her whole storyline for years. And it's this pal,
Leo Laporte (02:39:24):
It's Noor. So good. Now come on. Let's be on. It's not
Brianna Wu (02:39:28):
Eric Geller (02:39:28):
It's not. Nothing will be Andor. I agree.
Brianna Wu (02:39:30):
I agree. But come on. It's better than O be one.
Eric Geller (02:39:34):
Well, not a high bar to clear, but yeah.
Brianna Wu (02:39:37):
Eric Geller (02:39:39):
These are some hot takes though. I appreciate
Leo Laporte (02:39:40):
It. This is good. H takes h o t I get it. When I saw it, I thought, did you just misspell that? Is there extra H No, it's hath get it. The Winter Planet Hll. Never. Who is the bad
Brianna Wu (02:39:53):
Leo Laporte (02:39:54):
I'll never forget. Rosario
Eric Geller (02:39:55):
Dawson is just not a good asoka. I'm sorry. She sounds too wooden. She doesn't have the warmth and the Witt that Asoka had in the enemy series. She just
Brianna Wu (02:40:03):
Doesn't Fair. D, fair fine.
Leo Laporte (02:40:11):
Now I want to watch it though, just for if she's really awful, that'd be great.
Brianna Wu (02:40:18):
I think she's trying to be a more mature version of, we saw her when she was like a literal child, right? And we've seen her get more serious and deal with trauma all the years and leave the Jedi, and now she is kind of the Jedi masters in Star Wars are not pouring with emotion, and that's kind of the point where we see her here. I agree. There are ways she could put more personality into it, though. I think
Eric Geller (02:40:45):
We need this week in Star Wars. Leo, I think you're seeing
Leo Laporte (02:40:47):
I. I think so. I think so. When is your Asoka podcast coming out? Because the last one you did was last month. Yeah.
Eric Geller (02:40:57):
I co-host this with two journalists who are obviously like myself, busy fitting this in between our actual day job. So recording episodes, we don't have the ability to, this is not our job like twit, unfortunately. So we're going to try to do, I think we're going to wait and do an Asoka episode after the show is over. Unfortunately, I know all the loyal Hof takes. Listeners are devastated to hear that they won't get an episode on this for a few months. Come. We want to watch it in retrospect. Yeah.
Leo Laporte (02:41:23):
Hth takes H O T H T A K E s.wordpress.com. Eric Geller, grace Seegers, and Hailey Bird wilt. This is great. I will be listening. Thank you so much, Eric, and of course, Brianna. Woo. We mentioned Rebellion Pack. What else you got? I should mention your podcast, rocket on Relayed the best
Brianna Wu (02:41:46):
Podcast, the best non twit podcast. So much better than Hof takes our Star Wars takes, by the way. No, this is a show we make with Christina Warren who obvious
Leo Laporte (02:41:56):
You're just trying to start a beef war so that you guys both,
Brianna Wu (02:41:59):
I got to get my ratings
Eric Geller (02:42:00):
On. I know. Let's do it. We
Leo Laporte (02:42:01):
Know what's going on.
Brianna Wu (02:42:02):
No, obviously you see Christina on Twit all the time. She elevates your
Leo Laporte (02:42:07):
Show. You never see Simone because she never responds to her email.
Brianna Wu (02:42:11):
I will bother Simone. I think the best episode
Leo Laporte (02:42:14):
Twitter. We'll do another takeover. We
Brianna Wu (02:42:16):
Came and took it
Leo Laporte (02:42:16):
Over. I've watched R r R now so I could play that game. That was a tough one. I tell you. Yeah.
Brianna Wu (02:42:24):
What am I working on right now? So in addition to having meetings with the House, the Senate, the Biden campaign, I'm working on the A F C project, this Americans for Contraception, we are working to codify access to birth control at the state level. This is what I really enjoy about this is so much of my work is just pushing for one party to win birth control should be a completely nonpartisan issue. The right-wing argument for it is it's a freedom issue. The government should not be able to sit down and nobody
Leo Laporte (02:42:57):
Should be able to tell me, yeah,
Brianna Wu (02:42:58):
Your access to condoms or yas or
Leo Laporte (02:43:01):
Plan B, all this stuff for crying out loud. So
Brianna Wu (02:43:04):
It's a freedom issue. I love this project. We are really being very successful in first getting people understand there's a real threat to birth control access in this country in the aftermath of Dobbs. So I'm really excited to be working on that. A bigger project,
Leo Laporte (02:43:23):
By the way, if you don't succeed in this Wall Street Journal, headline is going to become true everywhere. A sperm donor chases a role in the lives of the 96 children, he's fathered. Okay, that's a good argument for contraception right there.
Brianna Wu (02:43:38):
That's really troubling stuff. Yeah, no, I was going to say one of my big missions this time around for 2024, and just to give you a really blunt assessment of my own party, if you're looking at who funds the Democratic Party, it tends to be the same people from the tech industry that write giant checks every single cycle. A lot has changed in our party since the Obama years, and a lot has changed as far as who has been successful. So one of my projects I'm going to be working on this time around is to put together a coalition of donors to basically push issues like cybersecurity on a federal level and to be very involved in this election this time around. So please pay attention to that. We're going to be very successful. The only voice you have in politics is the policies you actually get in there and fight for, and that's what I'm going to do.
Leo Laporte (02:44:36):
Well, I just wish you the best because you're fighting the good fight. Always a pleasure to have you on. Thank you, Brianna. Woo. Find out more rebellion pack.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Brianna Wu (02:44:50):
And hth takes sucks.com Please,
Eric Geller (02:44:52):
Please go. Wow. Trying to get that in at the last minute. All
Brianna Wu (02:44:57):
Right. We go.
Leo Laporte (02:44:58):
Ow. Ow. What do you got against a Teda female who was a forced sensitive outcast from the Jedi order? What do you have against her? That's all. I love her
Brianna Wu (02:45:08):
Soca. I'm a Soca defender.
Leo Laporte (02:45:11):
Yeah, you just don't like Rosario Dawson, that's all.
Eric Geller (02:45:14):
No, I'm the one who's I'm pro is Soca, but anti Rosario Dawson. But that's a whole separate,
Leo Laporte (02:45:19):
Eric Geller (02:45:20):
Get this weekend. Star Wars. Yeah,
Brianna Wu (02:45:22):
You should come on Rocket. And we'll just get all this out. That's a good
Leo Laporte (02:45:25):
Brianna Wu (02:45:26):
We'll talk it out. It'll be good.
Leo Laporte (02:45:28):
Let's do it. Get the beef. Where's the beef? Thank you, Eric. Jason, Brianna, thank you all for joining us. We do twit every Sunday afternoon, 2:00 PM Pacific, 5:00 PM Eastern, 2100 utc. You can watch us do it live at live twit tv. There's audio and video there. If you're watching live chat, live in the IRC at IRC twit TV Club. Twit members of course have access beyond the Velvet Rope to the Club Twit Discord. We watch both chats as we're doing the show after the fact. You can download the show at our website, twit tv. There's a dedicated YouTube channel to this week in tech, but I think the best way to get it is to subscribe in your favorite podcast player. That way you don't have to think about it. You just know Monday morning got a brand new twit and you can listen to it. Thank you all for joining us. We will see you next time. As I have been saying now, I think I forgot last week by the way. Somebody said you didn't say it last week, so I'll say it twice for this week. I've been doing it for 18 years. Another twit is in the can. Another twit is in the can. This my is amazing T Baby T. Alright.