Protego Weekly Roundup – February 6, 2019

After being delayed during the 35 day long shutdown, the State of the Union finally happened last night.   While the political world tuned in to see which guests each member of Congress will bring, we’ve tuned into the tech policy news.  And, here are a few of the topics that caught our attention:

In Case You Missed It. Justin Hendrix kicked off a discussion around if political candidates can help stop the flood of disinformation with a pledge.  Absent better laws and tech, he argues this may be the only hope for legitimate discourse. Read more in Can American Political Candidates Help Stop the Flood of Disinformation with a Pledge? And visit to explore what a pledge to disavow disinformation tactics would entail.

And, If You Missed It Part II: What happens when a disinformation campaign is launched on an investigation into disinformation campaigns?  Renee DiResta and Bryan Jones examine the latest twist in the Mueller investigation in Through the Looking Glass of Disinformation, and discuss what needs to happen before we find ourselves in a situation where “Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.”

Aspen Institute Launches New Policy Incubator Fellowship For Technologists: The Aspen Institute has launched the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, a West Coast policy incubator focused on training a new generation of tech policy entrepreneurs, and has opened for applications for its inaugural 2019 cohort.

Mozilla Publishes Anti-Tracking Policy: Firefox browser maker Mozilla published an Anti-Tracking policy recently that defines which tracking techniques Firefox will block by default in the future.  Mozilla revealed plans in mid-2018 to push Tracking Protection in Firefox and the Anti-Tracking policy is an important milestone of the process.

Want Better Policy? Bring In The Technologists: Over on The Hill, Cecilia Muñoz and Nathan Ohle highlight what happens when you bring the tools of technology to the policy tables in places like Washington DC.  The process and the advocacy in that experiment helped create the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program, which was signed into law as a part of the Farm Bill in December.  

The Future of Net Neutrality?: Kate Patrick, over at Inside Sources, writes that Congress, Not the Courts, Is the Only Place The Net Neutrality Fight Can Be Settled.  This comes a day after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments for the latest net neutrality lawsuit, Mozilla v. FCC, on Friday.  Patrick expounds that the rehash of the net neutrality debate shows litigation will only continue until Congress writes a clear law ending the debate once and for all.

Is an Iron Curtain Falling Across Tech?: Foreign Policy has a roundup of experts weigh in on if tech will be the main battlefield in a new global struggle between China and the United States?  As America pressures allies to drop Huawei and other Chinese firms, U.S. and European officials point to China’s own laws as evidence that even private firms are potential arms of the Chinese state, and the political atmosphere grows colder in Beijing, the vision of a world brought together through technology feels ever more distant. Are there any prospects for de-escalation? The answer: It’s complicated.