tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 26, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
google is a search engine company -- was a search engine company that did a lot of great things. [laughter] >> humble. >> the right to be forgotten is an interesting issue that a lot of us in the u.s. look at the ruling of this european court of justice and think this is outside the bounds and not something that would gain traction here due to our first amendment and strong intermediary liability principles. i think it's important to acknowledge some of the feelings that motivate the desire for a right to be forgotten. there is more information about all of us online than ever before.
that is true. a lot of the search costs for finding things have been obliterated. it used to be you could find a criminal record in the basement of city hall. the internet has obliterated that. people are concerned about the impact. what concerns me about the right to be forgotten is it has not been balanced with some of the other competing values such as the values of free expression and the benefit of the consumers right to know about things like whether a vendor has had bad reviews against them or a babysitter has had criminal offenses. these are things that people could request to be removed from search results and i think that's very anti-consumerist. >> is this a shift in thinking with google from a stance that used to say we index the internet. if you have a problem with that, please consult the internet.
to a stance that says, there are a lot of tricky things that need to be balanced and may have quibbles with a privately activated process where a person comes to google and maybe a link goes down between a person and the information. this is a new reality. >> the reality is and why the court case in europe has been heavily dissected is it hinges on whether google is a data processor, which the court ruled it is, or a newspaper or journalistic organization. we are showing some prioritization, which we are. that is the value of search results. search results do both. they believe that these results are more important to the user than others. >> on the mechanics of it, how is it going? give us a sense of the flow coming after the opinion came
down. are there plans to open it up voluntarily to other citizens, because i have a small list in my pocket-- [laughter] >> we have received 100,000 requests. we have a backlog of requests. we have to go through these one by one. >> are their jobs posted for google right to be forgotten processors? >> some of the cases we have seen have been former politicians asking to have news of their criminal convictions removed. in our view, these are not in the public interest. there is some interest in the part of regulators and policymakers in parts of latin america and asia, looking at that, this is something we should consider.
>> so far, you are limiting this right to where it is required of you to implement. >> only within our european domain. >> only in localized portals. >> >> if i am alert enough to say i can perform a search in england. are there other companies at the table that watching this very closely? if you're not a search engine is right to be forgotten implicating what you do, either now or in the future? it's remarkably quiet. [laughter] this is a search engine specific thing? wow. brad? i i thought i saw a hand go up?
>> no you didn't. [laughter] >> fair enough. >> i am a senior counsel at trip advisor. we were once the world's largest travel site. that point in time is now. [laughter] it will be disingenuous to say we're not watching with interest how this unfolds. we have looked at the european court justice decision and we have seen how google has reacted to it. there is a proposed directive that we don't know whether it will be enacted or not. we don't know what form it will take.
and if it is, how they each country will implement that directive. the decision raises more questions than it answers. who falls into the exception? what is a relevant and who decides that? >> should google not allow the intervention? >> matters of public interest. where is that line drawn? a politician is one thing. a b&b owner providing poor service to customers, where does that fall in the line it? i think there are a lot of open questions. -- >> let me ask you -- adam was saying its 2014. it's not as simple as let the internet deal with it. there are lots of equities to be balanced. this is the new reality. is there a similar thing going on on sites like trip advisor that solicit reviews and other information from people that might make institutions -- i can imagine it might make or break a hotel if it gets a certain ranking or review.
is it your view that this generally gets sorted out in your commitment to your users. or are there ways in which this could go awry? >> i think each individual platform has the rules and ethos that users come to expect. those are evolving for sure. i don't know when you what the government determining what's irrelevant. take them down. >> we got rid of the cockroaches. the prior owners are in jail. how would i do that through a contact form? >> at trip advisor, there are situations where we will remove reviews.
change of ownership is the most common one. major renovations, you just put on three new wings and hired new management. there are judgments. we have made some lines that work for our users -- >> are those judgments made according to your conscience and what makes for a good business? is there a shadow of government intervention should you do that wrong? i know that your lawyer is at the table. >> he is sitting right here. [laughter] those are made for what is best for the community. the larger the volume, the more experiences you are able to offer up to someone who is trying to figure out what to expect when they take time off and spend their hard-earned money and take their kids somewhere, the quantity is very helpful. we have determined, there are
certain things we determined that are irrelevant. maybe they should be forgotten. in certain situations, you put new linens on your beds, we are not going to change everything. we will leave all the reviews of about the restaurant downstairs and the front desk. that is not changing anything. >> anything else on the right to be forgotten before we move along? i can't tell it's because it's uncontroversial or because it's totally controversial. [laughter] hoping to get awake that will not say anything that has the baleful eye of sauron. >> i just want to add one thing. this won't go away as an issue. the debate will be the next arena where this takes place. we have precedent under the fair credit reporting act where we say that information should be
used like bankruptcy or foreclosure, it can't be used to get somebody past 10 years. we've made a judgment through legislation in this country that information has an expiration date. >> if it is in the hands of a big credit reporting firm. >> exactly. we acknowledge that there is value in the meantime. we don't want it to be held against somebody forever. we will have to weigh a lot of these things legislatively about how we feel a person's history ought to follow them prefer that -- for certain types of information. we already make that judgment with criminal matters. we require sex offenders to register forever. on the other hand, if you look at france, they believe any crime should be expunged from your record once you have done your time. we have made these judgments. they want people to have a clean slate. we will have to make these
judgments legislatively. >> it's easier when the information is in the hands of the government. once it's in the public domain it's much harder to effectuate putting the genie back in the bottle. your prediction five to 10 years , from now, will there be an american right to be forgotten recognize legislatively or as a matter of customer service? >> i don't think there will be a right to be forgotten on the scale of this court -- i think there will be miniature laws and other steps taken to it dress certain types of information. -- to address certain types of information. >> more broadly, how are things going around now? are some of the concordance with american law, before the modern time and the year 2000, and the
companies here were up and running, are those holding up well? we see correspondingly section 512 -- defamation in another state law claims that 70 might bring often involved an intermediary, those tend to be off the table through the communications decency act. we see section 512 of the copyright act which encourages intermediaries in many circumstances against copyright infringement claims, even if the site is the way in which the infringement is happening if they take things down when asked. is that holding up well? is there any ask that anybody would have to tweak that in -- that regime in america, one way or the other? this is the most wonderfully -- [laughter] todd, tell us where you are from. >> >> i am with ebay. engaging internet commerce and
we do payments through paypal and we have a small company called stub hub for ticket sales. go to your point about the communications decency act and with the government break the internet. when you look it has not been ruled unconstitutional other than section 230, we would have said today that the internet had been broken. the irony of section 230 is a law meant to limit speech on the web ended up being one of the greatest proponents. >> yes. >> part of this is the government acting in ways that the sponsors don't expect to come out, the way that it came out. i don't think you can get anything like section 230 in the u.s. or anywhere else around the world, but as the far end of the pendulum, it allows everybody to
start from a position of we are going to work to keep openness as the basic principle and work act from there with the exceptions. >> it sounds like you are saying, congress, keep up the good work. [laughter] just to put you on the record. thanks so much for your enlightened legislation. >> a senator from nebraska ended up being a visionary that he never expected to be. >> as you were saying, you can layer on acceptable use policies, things that in the company's judgment like auctions that are prohibited. >> that has been from day one, also. that was part of the protection that these acts provide is the ability for companies to exercise judgment and to get rid of things they believe are in the consumer's interest. >> when there's been a conflict
in commerce, for example, a number of shmolex watches going up for sale on ebay and the rolex company has a litter of kittens over that. and that being more or less settled now. is everyone more or less happy? >> i would say that the great copyright and trademark wars over the internet are not settled. there is the ability for people to push the envelope. for the vast majority of commerce, it's a much better situation than it had been. i think there is no reason to reopen the digital millennium copyright act, and globally, most companies have adopted similar statutes and regulations. >> safed, can i ask you -- seth,
can i ask you to weigh on this? >> sure, i am also from trip advisor. we used to do an online review. internet reliability is an issue that we confront this regularly. i would agree with todd. as the state of it is today in the united states, 230 is a issue that we confront this regularly.terrific bulwark to our business model and others here today. it is, from time to time, under threat. there was a group of state ag's a year or two ago trying to claw back some of those restrictions. in europe, it is a little bit more unsettled, in terms of the regularity and the rules of the road there. it is a less friendly environment for the intermediaries. >> nothing in particular you
would ask of the government? nothing in this area that you are fearing it will do? >> on the u.s. side? no. >> internationally? >> internationally, i think clarity. the big ask would be what it looks like. to todd's point, it is unlikely that would be passed today. it may be a difficult road to get past internationally. -- to get that passed internationally. >> maybe i can ask you, tell us where you're from. >> i am at the republican senatorial committee. the republican party over the last 20 years has had an amazing resurgence, it is a great, golden age, as we all know. [laughter] >> and how much would an issue like the one we were just
talking about be on the radar, whether for a campaign, or for policymaking, or is this kind of in the weeds? >> presently today, it is an issue that is largely to the -- in the weeds, which is a benefit to the tech industry as a whole. tech policy is an area of remarkable consensus more or less, and as we have seen in recent policy debates on the hill, there are issues that are forming unusual coalitions, so issues where you have darrell issa working with jared polis. that is to the benefit of my view of the tech industry that it does not become overly aligned with either political party. as you zoom out the lens on the issue of the right to be forgotten and these other issues, within the construct of how you set up this roundtable and you say what is the perspective in the future, i think it is an inevitable shift
as society itself changes their perspectives so-called "digital natives" enter their 30's, 40's and 50's, and frankly we have a different view on things like social posts, search information, and the rest. the baby boomer generation "digital-immigrants" if you will perhaps will be more concerned , about some of those issues than digital natives will be ultimately in the end. >> we are hearing about the live stream people are not hearing you. >> they are not hearing me? apologies to the lifestream for the distance of the mics. got it. let me ask a question knowing we have a good friend from facebook at the table. here is just a quick question --
suppose we have some form of unrest, a la ferguson of the last few weeks, and there are posts on facebook about it, and facebook has an opportunity in the interest of public safety to decide whether to subordinate posts that say something like let's meet at the corner of x , and y and really show our rage -- maybe facebook can say we will escalate a little bit the video of a cat. [laughter] >> they might do that anyways. [laughter] >> let me turn to joel kaplan of all people so he may express his outrage that i would even ask the question. >> yep, i'm just recovering from the shock that my friend, matt would suggest that. joel kaplan. i'm the vice president of u.s. public policy for facebook which was a small startup social
network with a goal of connecting the world, and hopefully by 2024 we will achieve that. it is a great question, and i think it does, it extends out the conversation about intermediary liability in a way that i think touches on some of the broader issues that we see not necessarily the united states. i think i agree with the earlier comments that u.s. law is actually pretty good as a result of section 230 and other efforts, but we do see in other places around the world efforts to hold internet companies responsible for the content of the people who are posting it, user-generated content. one of the places where it manifests itself, is when the citizens are using the internet, not just facebook, but other sites, to communicate their
dissatisfaction and potentially there -- their plans for meeting, and that can turn into unrest. that is something you're seeing increasingly. governments around the world i think very conscience of and increasingly conscious of after the arab spring in 2011. >> what is your baseline way of dealing with that? is it analogous to adam's original, as google, google's original view of it is the internets, if you have a problem with it, go to somebody else and facebook is saying look, we have a secret sauce that organizes what posts rise in the feed. we do not tweak it so much, it does what it does, don't blame us. or is there license reserved to do exactly that in the interest of the customers or the public good? >> i think you are conflating two issues, which understandably how the algorithm for the newsfeed operates, and whether facebook will be responsive to a
government that wants to crackdown on dissent. >> you are right. let's talk about the first one first, which is wholly on the absence of government wanting to do anything. with facebook on its own, the way trip advisor might decide there has been a change in ownership, we are going to make a change to our algorithm -- there is an acceptable use policy. >> the algorithm that facebook uses to determine what to show in an individual's newsfeed is a somehow or effort to show that individual the information we think is most relevant and interesting to that person, and that is a constantly evolving determination, taking into consideration lots of other factors. so, i mean, i don't really view that as facebook -- i do not think facebook would view that as its response ability to determine what the people who are using its service ought to see.
>> now this is written into my oath as a law professor to ask the type of follow-up -- there is some video from the islamic state that if other users of facebook subscribe into the ideals of the islamic states want to see, you and reserve the right to intercede? >> again, i am trying to disaggregate the question of how often the algorithm will show what is on the site, period. we do have community standards , for the most part, our goal and mission is to advance free expression. we tried to have as light a touch as possible. but we do have community standards that exclude some contents, and mostly that stuff that we view as causing direct harm, so if somebody is directly inciting violence on our site, that is precluded under our community standards. >> what i am hearing you saying is, it is on-off.
if it is inciting violence, it will not get pushed down in the feed, or something. it is just gone. >> if it violates our community standards of inciting violence or otherwise causing direct harm or other things laid out in our standards, it will be precluded from being on our site. the way we enforce that is through a reporting mechanism, so in most instances we are not going out to police that. we're waiting for somebody, one of our users, to report that. >> you are saying, you would not use the feed algorithm as a remedy, you would only use block it or not block it, take it down or leave it up. >> yes. >> got it. you said there was a second point about government and what it might demand, and facebook of course is a worldwide phenomenon. >> we are obviously a global service, and we have to abide by the law of the countries in which we operate. so, in addition to our community standards, basically, we will respond to demands from government if they conform to the laws of that country.
now, we won't typically take something off of our site if we think it does not violate our community standards, but we may ip block it in the jurisdiction of the area. >> roughly but not exactly analogous to google implementing a right to be forgotten within the european portals but not elsewhere, and then the user will see a message -- "this is not available." >> right. one of the things we have done as have a number of companies around the table, is to begin publishing government request reports, the purpose of which is to share with our users the number of circumstances in which their government has asked us to take something down. that gives the people who use our service a way of understanding the extent to which their government or some number of circumstances in which other government is insisting that content be precluded from what we have seen. -- from being seen.
>> can i jump in actually? >> yes, macon. >> i am macon phillips. i used to work for the organization that governed the united states before the great facebook -- [laughter] >> how many users does the u.s. government -- [laughter] >> i work at the state department now. i joined it about a year ago and prior to that, i worked at the white house after the president was elected in 2008. it occurs to me that i'm in a room with people who can answer this question that i have had for a few years now, and hearing matt talk about how tech policy is in the weeds right now and it is a good thing. i recall the great sopa and pipa debate of 2011 or whenever that was, and being in the white house and seeing this issue develop and how rapidly it developed in the public space once the internet companies started talking about it to the users. and as someone who has spent a few years in internet advocacy -- and advocacy generally -- it was something i had never seen before.
to go from five miles an hour to 100 miles an hour. once google put a link on its page, once expedia had a link at the top, and it occurred to me that these large sort of membership-based organizations that can rapidly communicate to millions of people and frame an issue for people who had no idea what it was before they saw it on this page had this great new power that could be, you know, used -- advocate for policy positions when it is presented to people by companies -- they are advocated by corporate interests, even though they say they are always looking at the customer first. and i think it is good. but being on the receiving side of it, it was remarkable to me to see the power that large internet companies have when they decide to present an issue. >> is there a question you want to ask? >> as the people who are probably making those decisions
-- are we ok talking about the -- this to our users? when we talk about transparency reports, do we want to tell people how they could, you know, express their views on whether they like this or not? how would you advocate your responsibility of encouraging accuracy? -- advocacy? >> i thought we had somebody here from reddit, ok, we have a campaign manager from reddit. michael, did you want to say something iago -- something iago -- something? >> we are a public policy trade association represent public policies. if you are watching in 2025, we are also doing drone policy. [laughter] >> a bit too late. >> i think that is an interesting question. looking through the political lens, all politics are local and the approach we take with issues that we bring, we want to make sure that elected officials see our companies and our users as particular interest.
-- as constituent interest. if you're a senator from a big agricultural state, you care about the farmers and the crops and you may not have a google or yelp based in your district or your and voters care about the internet and they care about internet issues. they are using facebook, google, trip advisor, yelp, other services, and they care about what happens. that is what you happen with sopa and pipa. they are going to speak out. >> macon is saying with an association like yours, you have a usual lever to pull. there is a special lever, "break glass in case of emergency," which has changed the homepage
of google, with the shroud around the wikipedia entry, and the users here, and i hear macon asking how frequently, under what circumstances will that lead? >> the great thing about the internet is the user is king, so it is not always top-down where the user is saying you need to care about this, it is what matters to users, and competition on the internet, unlike probably any other part of our economy, to click away. it is easy to click from one site to another, whatever is interesting to you, so our company and our industry is very responsive to what the interests of the user are. >> trying to think what might be the next issue where you way to break glass and pulled lever and rally directly -- would it be over government surveillance? >> i think that is an important issue. joel made a good point on his transparency report, something that users care about and our companies and our industry have been leaders on shining the light on government practices and standing up and defending their users.
the platforms are all global, so it is not just by users in the united states but about users around the world, and it is something that out think our companies have shown real leadership on. >> yes, lorelei. >> i am going to give an institutionally -- >> tell us who you are. >> my name is lorelei kelly. i am with x lab. we are looking at billing the next and ration of platforms for public problem-solving. i work on congress and how to -- [laughter] here we go. who watches "house of cards"? congress is not organized enough to be that awful. it is an old jalopy with the hood up right now trying to drive on a modern highway. >> it is just a country legislature. [laughter] >> one of the things i am delighted about this meeting
right now is to bring technology, policy, community, especially the commercial interests, into a conversation about long game policies, and not just showing up -- >> what would crystallize the ask you would like to make to this group? >> i would like to ask that you invest a new kind of, not necessarily think tank, but a nude kind of knowledge brokering, in a support system with a neighbor like technology for decision-making in the policy arena, which is not crowdsourcing, it is much more curation, much more showing up at the right place at the right time. all information is not created equally. right now, if we do not figure out a way to flip the big data revolution into a competitive political constituency for evidence, we are not going to have a legislature that makes
policy based on the best knowledge available, for example. >> let's just unpack that. the big data revolution, to be able to be used to produce evidence, you mean by that thanks to big data, there is lots more we can know about the world and about people, not just what kind of cat food they are likely to buy -- >> exactly, but they are not necessarily on rents into the policymaking process right now that are useful or that show up at the right place at the right time. i mean, let's face it, the language between california and washington, d.c. is crazy, and hackers are artists. they are looked at as criminals in d.c., disruption of a business plan and san francisco, a national security threat in washington. there is a huge effort to simply apprehend -- >> is there a classic case study where you can imagine this being
applied, just to be concrete? >> i was on the hill for 10 years, and we did not even have lcd screens or really basic technical compositions inside committee hearings. what if we created a way to create data, predictive modeling or probability modeling or context modeling, inside mark ups while they are voting on amendments? so you have a way to hold members accountable for decisions they are making in the moment about the outcomes for society at large. there are all kinds of ways you can enable -- >> if i put the word "not" into this sentence, this will tell me what will change -- this is how many people -- >> it is very important to say right now it is not the quality -- congress has a huge data quantity problem. let's face it. but we do not want to get into the fight about the credibility of big data as much as the
quality of it, and i am fine with co-rotating the data if a committee chair will listen to it, which is from their district. it is that kind of mapping that gets to the -- it just gets into the inbox. it is really not that complicated. it is that this community, i think, is thinking that information is the answer. it is not. >> let me stop you there and turned to bruce schneier. bruce, i want to ask you crisply first, after introducing yourself, how worried should the average internet user be about government surveillance in particular in 2014? use whatever unity think appropriate. second -- do you have a view on whether there is a way to deploy new technologies, new ways of sorting and searching new information to help this broken jalopy of congress? >> i am bruce schneier, i work
in security and technology and policy at a lot of these issues. this is a comic it a question, and to be crisp, i think you have to be very worried about surveillance in general, whether it is government and corporate. sibley because it is a new way of organizing society where everything is recorded and used and reused and saved, and the policy implications of that really have not been brought through. we have kind of backed through carrying a cell phone or using a search engine without really thinking about what the ramifications are. policy fixes i think are going to come not directly but from the side. we do not really see appetite in congress, really in many countries, to attack these countries head-on. europe more than the united states, but even so not much.
i look toward some of the regulatory agencies, some of the ways you can get policy, which is informed by technology, into action that does not require legislators. i tend to be near-term pessimistic and long-term optimistic, and i will leave you tantalizing at that point. >> a lot of the companies present are on the table are themselves on behalf of their users newly sensitized to maintaining a certain distance from government, securing user data. i am curious -- is there anything, any question you will make around a table, or is this pretty much the issue and they are working on it? >> they want to do it themselves. google is not saying, "we do not like surveillance." google is saying, "it is our job, go away." we need to get to the point where users want business models that don't have surveillance.
when duck, duck, go surpasses google in traffic, we know -- >> policy or something like it is adopted. >> or you go in through policy. we are at the point where technology can become policy and policy can become technology. >> let me go to althea. tell us where you are from, and given the posture of the couple you are working with and the place in the industry, how much do these issues of surveillance, whether in relation to the government -- i am trying to figure out what sort of request the government would make of etsy -- we need to know where that scarf came from!
[laughter] on maybe the corporate surveillance side that bruce was rather incendiary, striking the tinder on -- how much are you concerned about user rights within the commerce that you facilitate? >> i am with etsy, an online marketplace, and for us the government surveillance issue is not as you implied much of an issue, we just do not have government knocking on our door all that often, which is great. it lets us not worry about that as much as up on the user privacy peace, for us it is really a matter of building and maintaining trust with our user base, so when we are making decisions about how to use data internally, we just got check ourselves. if i knew that was happening for me, would i find that creepy? that is important for us because if we use the data we collect
about our users in a way that they -- that would lose trust without consumer base, they are going to go somewhere else, so that is sort of how -- we do police ourselves, i guess. >> i once went to hormel foods in minnesota and met their bacon taster, a guy whose job was to taste bacon all day long. >> great job. >> at some point he would go you know what, it is best before today, and they would stamp the package and be like, "now we know." etsy is like, "you know, that policy, it would be best if it were not that way." >> right. >> maybe i should put it out voluntary questions before i call on someone, maybe from yelp or something -- [laughter] how broken, if at all, is the model of data gathering and usage that, in many ways, drives
the free internet? maybe less so the transactional internet, but you get the free information -- somebody has got to pay for all of this stuff. advertising has a storied history back to free television. is this model -- you just need to adjust it to deal with the occasional creepiness, or is there something fundamentally worrisome about it? why don't i put it to you, laurent? >> sure. laurent crenshaw with yelp. at this point, in 2014, i do not think it is broken. i will just put that out there. yelp is a platform that can next people to local businesses that are around them, so whether it be a restaurant or a dry cleaner or wherever, you want to find out what is best in your location for stuff you can going to yelp and look at user id's and content --
>> how does yelp make its money? >> through advertising. basically we get businesses to put ad packages on yelp, and if you are searching for a dry cleaner, a restaurant -- >> you have two lists, here are the good dry cleaners, and here are the ones that paid me, and they are marked. >> it is marked as an advertisement, so the user knows, and we try to do everything that we can to illuminate any sort of confusion there. at the same time, that is how we make our revenue, through that manner, and i do not think there is anything wrong with it. in our sense, it is not about colllecting a ton of information about the user. it is easy to set up a yelp account, your first name, last name, initial, date of birth and an e-mail address.
anything you want to put in after that is up to the user themselves. >> is the data you are collecting, i guess the targeting happens quite naturally. you are looking for the dry cleaner in this area, boom. are you looking on the basis of inference about a user rather than just on a search? >> we want to build to tell the business and providing most useful information about who is going there, so it is a matter of how many people who might be going to that page. >> what demographics would you give in to say old people really like your dry cleaning, maybe young people not so much? >> exactly. various metric thing the vast majority of yelp users are college graduates, most of them are in the 25 to 50 range and make over x amount a year, and also generally speaking have been able to sort of show that within a period of time, like within a week, you want to go to
aggregate form. if i were to use personal information to target michael beckerman for an ad based on cliques and the millions of impressions that we need for advertisers, it would not be successful strategy. so aggregating all of the information laurent was talking about in all of the information about user behavior to serve them targeting advertising is i think something that a lot of the companies around the table do, but one of the things that we try to do in a reasonable way is give transparency to our users and choices about whether or not they want to be targeted. you have got an opportunity to opt out of that kind of data collection and targeting. and i think that there is always a balance in our industry -- >> i hear you -- >> between privacy and free internet. you have an opportunity to opt out of that targeting. there is always a balancing in our industry between privacy and
free internet. >> it sounds like an enthusiastic plus one. let's see if we can make it a viral sensation. >> margaret nagle with yahoo! we are a company that provides -- we are trying to meet users' daily habits every day with weather, sports, finance e-mail. plus one absolutely to the comments. the other thing you are starting to see a lot of on the privacy front is something the companies are dealing with everyday. if our users don't trust us they will not continue to use our service. we are always trying to ensure what we are doing is something the users will be comfortable with, understand, and be clear. one thing companies are doing is starting to not necessarily compete on privacy. but i think people are starting to see privacy as a way to differentiate their product and to talk to users about privacy more directly.
you are seeing a lot of contextual privacy notices and trying to make sure when you are on an app you are seeing what is happening on the app and not the yahoo! website. when you're interacting with an advertisement, you will see privacy notices about the kind of data informing that advertisement. on our sports website, you're seeing your favorite football team, the redskins. there is going to be a way for you to understand why you are getting that information in context. that is one of the areas where you are seeing development and trying to make that communication more clear. >> let me ask you about the point on competition. that is getting back to bruce schneier's comment. you are suggesting that here as well.
users because we understand that is something they would want to understand. i cannot speak to every other internet company and how they handle relationships with their parties. >> on the regulatory front, do you see anything coming from government? is this stable? the jalopy is not chasing you? >> i don't think the jalopy is chasing us. i think it is something because so many people use technology and are seeing the ways it is being integrated into our daily life, i think it is something everyone is paying a lot of attention to. there is a lot of attention on it and a lot of oversight, which is appropriate. whether that will lead to legislation or regulation in the immediate future, i am not sure. i think the dialogue and oversight is important.
you're seeing a lot of companies work together on regulatory efforts. i think there are best practices and things that will move forward maybe more quickly than regulation or legislation. it is certainly an issue we are all focused on. >> in the future, i think we will see this change from a person-interface site world we are living in and moving to the pigpen world in which you as a person with your device carry around all your data. all around you, people are seeking data about you and for you. >> the data may not literally be in the device. you are saying the authority to release it may be much more interactive rather than a one-time i agreed to that policy five years ago. it will be somebody is wanting to know x about you right now.
how do you feel about that? >> i walk into starbucks and i have my starbucks app. they know who i am when i walked into the store. here is your coffee you like tod, it has already been prepared for you. >> let's check in with etsy. how is the creepy meter on that? [laughter] no coffee for you. we will get over that and you will be able to drive into starbucks. they will have a lamppost a block away. the coffee will be hot when you arrive at starbucks. >> or you will drive by the lamppost and it will say there is a starbucks right here. isn't it time for you to have your starbucks? at 4:00 in the afternoon when you search for a location, it will say, are you going home? i do think we are moving to, whether it is deliberate or not,
we will all end up as pigpen carrying our data around us. >> that may not be the best metaphor. [laughter] >> that is the creepy side of it. >> i am being chased by a jalopy. >> one thing i would add is that may be creepy to althea, but i would love it if every time i walked into starbucks my cup of coffee was ready and i did not have to wait in line. that is where the user choosing to put that app on his phone -- >> people are coming in and grabbing stuff. if you are a third party in 2014 looking at this, what is going on? if we rfid money, it is like pushing the grocery cart and it adds up your stuff because it is tagged. you could grab buckets of money in the bank left out in the lobby. you just walk out the door and
it would check you out. it would be, ok, $272. >> why would you need money at that point? [laughter] >> so you could save walking into a bank. >> you may not want to try that in 2014. >> i think it speaks back to the generational shift and societal tolerance for those issues. remember the seamless sharing apps three or four years ago which i loved. they would seamlessly share after one-time authorization your netflix viewing. by and large, users got freaked out by that and they deemphasized that. >> you have young people walking in and grabbing a coffee and old people in line. >> as our society gets more used
to things, you can move the ball slightly forward. i do believe things like that that today some creepy, in five or 10 years, it may sound -- >> we are talking about the melding of physical infrastructure and the internet out there. walking down the street, i cannot help but think to turn to you and how much you as a c.i.o. of a public entity is about keeping the trains running on time on the desktops of the employees of the city versus thinking about what role there might be in public infrastructure to support the kind of vision tod is talking about. >> i am the chief information officer for the city of boston
formerly a small colony of puritans down the road from here and now the hub of the regional economy. [laughter] it is an interesting question. much of my job does consist of making sure the trains run, the computers work. as a city, near where the rubber meets the road sometimes literally on the more innovative technologies being developed when it comes to things like transportation, things like lodging. we have legitimate public policy interests at play when it comes to these new innovative technologies. we are less in the realm of privacy and intermediary liability as a policy matter. we do have to think about things like public safety, liability,
and protection of landlords and individuals participating in these new and innovative services. there is a shift i think is happening. we have gone from a place of many municipalities to one where we believe we have an obligation to try to support the innovation economy, to work with companies doing innovative things, and find ways to meet our public policy needs and objectives in a practical sense. the challenge we face now is there's not necessarily great models for this that do address those challenges at the local level. that is what we are struggling to do, to work with companies to make sure we are developing policies that are smart and don't just shut down things that should be given room to grow. >> how much of your concern
within a municipal government has to do with what joel alluded to, getting internet available to everybody? i cannot help but ask, how much would something like net neutrality be something in which something like the city of boston would have a stake? would boston have a view on net neutrality? >> boston does have a view on net neutrality. our mayor has signed on to the conference of mayors statement encouraging regulatory agencies to support and preserve net neutrality. we look at it from a couple of different angles. one is we are a center of the innovation economy. we think it is important for businesses in boston to be able to thrive and have an open internet. we also look at it as a question of equity and ensuring our citizens have access to
affordable broadband as being a core issue in our cities and something we have oversight into how we think about our policies. we want to make sure when a citizen goes online, whether they are doing business with the city, accessing educational information, looking for job opportunities, trying to start a business, that they have the connectivity and bandwidth they need to do that. as a result, we have skin in the game. >> is there a hunger to produce municipal fiber or get the city into the broadband business? >> we are committed to ensuring every resident of boston has access to affordable high-speed broadband internet. there are a lot of different ways to solve that problem. i don't think we have figured out the right answer for that. i don't think we are where we
need to be. for our most under-connected residents, there are not a lot of great options now. but we are looking at ways to encourage and increase the adoption of broadband. >> does anyone want to weigh in on net neutrality? >> i want to go back to the first question you asked in regards to internet and technology adoption within the city. take the general premise of, will government break the internet and flip it around. i want to say the internet can help governments do their jobs better. that is what lorelei was talking about earlier. we have tremendous amounts of data we continue to get on a daily basis on millions of users. one thing a lot of companies will continue to do is figure out ways to package this data
that can be helpful to government entities. >> does yelp offer that for government? >> you can go on yelp and rate any general space. [laughter] >> city of boston, 4.5 stars. [laughter] >> our parking clerk's office is not faring so well. [laughter] >> is there something that could be done? is it a feedback issue or a different issue? >> i don't think anyone is going to the parking clerk for a good time. [laughter] in terms of how we do service delivery, we are thinking about how we use data. some of that is about using the data we have a more strategic ways in our organization to manage, set targets, create accountability, creating transparency with the public. we are interested not only in
the data sets we have but the ones that exist in the public and how we can interact with that in an effective way. for us, it is not thinking about how many stars we have on yelp but are we delivering good services and holding ourselves accountable for that. there are a lot of ways to use technology to do that. >> i am a professor at george washington university and a fellow at the shorenstein center at harvard. and thinking about whether government can break the internet, i think the answer is no because the internet as a peer to peer network is already broken and has been for some time. the notion of peer to peer network where my computer, my website, is treated equally to all others was true until about 2007 and 2008. when amazon put something online
and i put something online, we both had to take the same path over the internet. >> now amazon writes a check or builds its own delivery network, and you cannot. >> now the vast majority of web traffic never touches the public backbone. instead of having to go through regional networks and up to the main national fiber networks and back down taking dozens of hops along the way, now when i do a google search it is just a few hops. instead of using the backbone, there is a direct fiber connection between comcast and google. the reason this has happened is because we are all very sensitive to tiny slowdowns in latency. >> is this -- >> it is now the de facto structure of how the internet
functions. >> is this something, see, the system works? >> i think the real concern is less about bandwidth, which is mostly what policymakers have been talking about, and much more about latency. the single best established fact about web traffic is higher latency, waiting a fraction of a second longer between when you click the button and the page loads, it is impossible to build an online audience without having a blazingly fast site. google has spent billions of dollars just to be about a quarter of a second faster. the concern is not so much youtube or netflix. if they have to pay for more bandwidth, they will. the concern is if comcast is in the situation of being able to force everybody else to pay for latency, that is not just about
google or netflix. that is about every single newspaper site. >> where do you park that concern? wake up, congress, you need to do x? or is it something for which you want to invoke the industry? where do we take that concern? >> i think it has to be a concern in the corporate boardroom, the federal communications commission, the federal trade commission absolutely in the halls of congress. >> they are all listening to you. what do you want them to do? >> i think the most important principle is making sure people and small carriers especially don't have to pay to have the same latency amazon or google does. a net neutrality focused more on latency rather than bandwidth.
making sure that if i have my own upstart online that it runs roughly as fast as amazon. >> is there anything you would ask of the supranational entities, the internet governance entities? >> it is something regulators in europe and around the world should pay attention to. if comcast -- because there is no competition for truly high-speed internet, you really do have -- what comcast is explicitly trying to do is become a market maker or essentially the model. the ability to say nice website,
it is a shame it runs half a second slower than everyone else's. >> turn to comcast and we don't have one. let me ask, among the barons that have the billions to not have this be a problem, are you guys basically sitting pretty? are you concerned about the future of the infrastructure that delivers bits between you and your customers? joel? >> of course we are concerned about it. my guess is most of the companies around the table are concerned. we have on net neutrality taken the position through our association that it is something the f.c.c. needs to address and preserve. i agree with matthew that latency is a huge issue for
users, particularly in the developed world where most people have access. they are to the next stage of wanting access as fast as possible. other parts of the world, that is not the issue. only about 1/3 of the world has internet connection. the bigger challenge in huge parts of the world is to get to the first step, which is access, to get them online at all. that is something we are focused on. >> how do you think through the natural possibility that when you get them online, you will get them online in a mode that says we will give you facebook wikipedia, a few other things we curate? anything else, let's wait until you can pay for it. how do you think through that form of what i gather is a non-neutral net you are providing at no cost? how do you think through what
that would look like to somebody? is it a good thing if somebody thinks the internet is wikipedia? >> about 85% of the people in the world live within wireless coverage. only about 1/3 of the world is online. there is a huge gap that needs to be filled. it is not an infrastructure problem. it is an awareness problem. what are the benefits i can get from being online? it is a cost problem that they cannot afford data. one of the things we in cooperation with governments and other companies are trying to do is figure out, our their business models and ways to address the awareness and cost issue? one is by providing some free basic services. about a month ago, internet.org rolled out an app in zambia which provides basic services.
facebook is on there, so is wikipedia, so are a number of maternal health organizations. >> that is the curated stuff i was referring to. >> things that are important to get to the people in that country. we will see how it works. so far, there is good interest. that is a way to addressing the access problem. we think that is a good thing. >> it almost suggests a path from no internet, non-neutral internet is not such a terrible alternative path to neutral internet. >> i think there are issues we are properly focused on in the united states and other areas in the developing world that will be important in the developing world as well. there are threshold issues. you've got to get them online
and to see the value of connection. that is something we are focused on. >> i am the last person on earth who will defend comcast. i am the recently retired c.e.o. turner broadcasting. [laughter] i do think it needs to be recognized that these companies have made a massive investment in infrastructure. it is not a public resource. they are entitled to make money on it. they have to respond to the marketplace. i'm going to voice a bigger concern we should have about companies like comcast. they have to respond to the marketplace. you cannot afford to have people not be able to get to service sites. they roll their eyes when people say to them you're going to discriminate.
>> that is true even if they are the only broadband game in town. >> we will see you. as a citizen out of the industry, i am frightened about the implications of their growing size. we spent half an hour on privacy. nobody mentioned the cable operators. these new generations of set top boxes are capable of obtaining and keeping and using all of this private information. if you have a new generation set-top box, every show you watch every minute of the day. nobody talks about that. they talk about facebook and yahoo! >> getting to the reality of internet in 2014, many people would be saying television cable? all i need is broadband. is it the name of the game for a company like comcast is ultimately cable where broadband is the loss leader?
>> they make more money on it now. there is a higher margin. because of the strength of programming companies like espn, margins have gone down. that is how they started. the potential of what these boxes can do good and bad, good for advertising and bad for privacy. something i am amazed there is not more discussion of. >> we are almost out of time. i want to give the handful of people who have yet to weigh in a moment to say something. together, we who have not spoken, leaving out myself bring us in for a landing. is there something we have missed? is there anything we have covered for which there is something vital you want to add? >> i come at it from a news media perspective and echo some of matt's concerns. it remains the case that media
organizations, no matter how maligned they are today with business models having trouble provide a huge amount of important information in the united states. i fear in a metered internet situation and a non-neutrality situation we could lose a great deal of that civically important information. >> is there anything you would ask of government? write us a check like a national endowment? >> public spectrum for the public good. maybe a big media merger tax. we have thrown around the idea of nonprofit back lanes or some version of that. >> get c-span faster than ever.
[laughter] latency on the agriculture committee. i should not be saying this about c-span. [laughter] >> alex jones, i am the director of the media center on public policy. a couple of things in the news today that bear on this. one is the lawsuit against yelp in san francisco that charged yelp with shaking down advertisers and threatening them with lower rankings if they did not buy advertising. that was totally thrown out. yelp said we did not do it. but the point is the court said it does not matter whether you did it or not. you can do anything you please with that information. it turns the issue of a company's ownership of data and what they do with it and how
they use it entirely into a first amendment issue. >> we have another panel coming up. are there things we could imagine companies subscribing to? maybe we don't need a law preventing it but something that would say we will never do it and sue us if we do. >> this decision, that is the argument and what the court bought. >> a company can make it so that they are sueable. they don't like it but they can. >> from yelp's perspective, there is never amount of money a business could pay to influence the overall. >> if i had a small tablet of wet cement and a stylus, would yelp be willing to write into that tablet a commitment to that through 2025? >> it has always been our commitment since the company was founded. >> every day, the farmer comes
to the chicken and feeds it. [laughter] >> the court didn't even have to get to the point of addressing whether or not the claim we made was true. >> i am asking. can you imagine the company promising for the future it will resemble the past in that way? >> generally speaking, i would say most companies have an ethos they were founded on and follow. that has been one of the core ethos of yelp. >> we are not going to move a car off this lot today. >> exactly. >> but it is something you might be willing to consider. it brings us full circle to the beginning of the panel with joel pointing out we might get rid of stuff under the a.u.p., but we are not messing with the feed. one might wonder, could that
amount to a commitment of some kind in the future or not? obviously, we are not going to move a car office lot today. those might be interesting to think about to bridge the gap alex is invoking. >> even though yelp and other companies would not do it, they would argue in court for the right to do it because they have first amendment rights. that is the way they are interpreting them. that is going to be a real issue. >> why not establish a reputational stake in something? i don't know if google regrets it, don't be evil. that is a way of saying come at us if we let you down. >> google has ways of looking at this issue. the right to do what you want to with the data you collect is an interesting question the courts will have to deal with. >> alex, thank you for that
intervention. wonderful. adam, let me turn to you. >> adam connor at brigade, a new startup. we want to change the world and save government -- with the eyes of the world upon you. >> thank you. we have the spirit of the startup are presented here. catherine, nancy? pass. nicco? >> i reserve the balance of my time for the subsequent session. >> join me in thanking the panel. [applause] we stand adjourned until 11:00.
i am teaching my first class of the semester as soon as we wrap this up at 1:00. i thought the title of this part of the program is called "your next big startup idea, why your net policy matters." the goal is to get into a discussion about what it means for newer companies and startups, what internet policy ways it can constrain and encourage newer companies entering the space. before we do that, at the end of the last session, we had a compelling comment from alex jones. alex mentioned two things. one was the san francisco court
judgment during the yelp case. there was another story wanted to mention. >> they are related. the other one was from china. the leading financial news organization of china has been charged by the chinese government with extorting money from prospective advertisers or clients or businesses in order to prevent or publish certain stories. in other words, the idea is they were extorting money and cooking their reports. that is illegal in china. they were charged with that. this is a great area for american journalism because it is true news organizations all over the country have long been seeking advertising from people they also cover. but you may not extort.
you may not threaten. the issue for the web, it seems to me, is that there are laws that put limits on what news organizations can do in terms of their own reports. even in the first amendment environment, there are things you cannot do. the penalty for journalism for publishing something erroneous is libel. defamation that does damage to people, that is something the courts have said you can make a claim about. as i understand the web attitude about data and all the information they gather and what they put on their sites, there is an argument being made constantly that they have first amendment rights to do whatever they want. in the case of the yelp data, it was a case of saying we are not going to do this. we are not going to misuse this
data. but that is something they reserve the right to say -- and there is no kind of law that is going to put constraints on that. however, if you are looking at yelp, google, and other entities publishing after a fashion, even though they just call it aggregating, information that could do damage, they're going to find themselves in the realm of libel if they are going to claim first amendment protections. i think the question is, where is the control of this vast amount of data going to reside? is it going to be considered a first amendment issue or something that comes under a different kind of legal regulation? i think the web world will resist anything that puts constraints on them aside from voluntary ones.
i don't know whether that is going to stick. >> two questions i would open to the room. one is about the role of the first amendment in the issues we are talking about around speech and regulation. many companies and organizations operate in the public sphere and there are speech considerations. the second is, you added at the end some concern about resistance to regulation in the industry. >> i don't know if that is the core problem. >> i am going to interrupt and say the not so enviable task of following the professor and follow the same rules to ask you to keep yourself to one point and introduce yourself at the beginning. >> i am from the "boston globe."
you're talking about regulation and legal issues. i don't know if the problem gets that far. in media, the classic way of expressing bias is not lying about people or providing distorted information. it is about what you decide to cover and not to cover. you can have a huge impact on businesses, individuals based on whether you show something online or don't show it. one thing i worry about is facebook or google or online services could advantage or disadvantage certain groups or political parties by simply choosing to show more of that perspective and less of something else. they could advantage a company by showing more data related to that company and less related to somebody else. i don't think you can do anything legally about it. that is the thing that is much more concerning.
>> i would take your point. i think the fact is as the power of these websites is consolidated, as they grow unlike the “boston globe," if you don't like the way you are covered, you can go somewhere else. but if you are a business covered by yelp and you are going to be impacted financially by where you lie in the advertising-driven yelp rankings and yelp has the right to put you anywhere they want based on whether or not you buy advertising, that is not the way the "boston globe" does business. there's is not a viable alternative to being on yelp's list. this is an area i believe yelp would claim first amendment rights and they have been given
them by the courts to put any list together on any basis. it is also true those lists are clearly capable of doing significant financial damage to someone. >> there are other responsibilities and considerations that come with first amendment rights. >> i would disagree to an extent. if yelp or any other site is not being responsive to the user and their just arbitrarily having the rankings and it is no longer useful, people will no longer use it. there are alternatives. they will go to the sites most useful for the users. they will do other searches. they will look on facebook and asked friends. every time i am on facebook, someone asks about a good restaurant in boston. if any side is not being responsive to users or
productive enough forum, people use alternatives and there are other sites. >> libel is geared toward the individual publishes and whether it does damages that can be proven. if yelp and others are claiming first amendment protections, that goes with the territory as well. i wonder how that is going to sort itself out. >> just introduce yourself. >> joel kaplan from facebook. since we were referenced i think i'll violate the rule and make two two points and try to make them quick. i grew up in boston and love the boston globe. i have to say i find it sort of extraordinary the notion that in the internet era where the most important i would say significant impact has been the ability of individuals to have
voice, the notion in the town i grew up where there's the globe and the hearld and if you didn't like the globe it was the good thing you had the hearld. now on the internet, everybody has a voice. and they can have it on facebook. they can have it on yahoo or any number of distribution mechanisms and facebook at least in its algorithm to michael's point is trying to provide the information to the individual that is most useful and interesting to them. if we fail in that then people will stop coming to facebook and stop using their news feed. and second point i want to make i think is most specifically relevant to the topic of this session of start-ups is this issue of liability protection for internet companies that are just showing user generated content probably the single most important protection that led to the proliferation of successful
start-ups in the internet as we know it today in section 230. i think it's a great point, alex, you brought up to start the conversation. i think you can't overstate how important that liability is to the success of not just the companies around the table but the ones that are just thinking of how they're going to reach their audience in the first place. they're going to be subject to lawsuit for everything their millions of users put on their site then they won't be created and succeed. >> i want to take that as an opportunity to shift our discussion. in this session we're joined by a number of folks. i was in germany monday and monday night took an uber home from my restaurant and woke up to take an aoub tore my first meeting and discovered it was now illegal but not allowed to operate.
maybeth looking how that played out in the united states, it seems like it's happening really on a basis of a moon pat to moon pat. taking different approaches from regulatory perspective. and i'm wondering about that should we have a broader more uniform way of regulating some of the questions arising out of the sharing economy or is a -- is there some advantage to more of a peace municipal approach to the game. almost every company is facing in some way, shape or form and certainly the public service around the table also dealing with this. very interested in your thoughts as well. move the mic a little closer. >> brian with uber. yeah, so, the german court ruled that uber didn't have the proper
permits to operate in the country. we're appealing that process through the legal process and still operating in germany. since that court ruling sign-ups have gone up 590% in germany. the upside to the open free markets people vote with their wallet wallet. i think the german people are interested in uber and companies like that in that country. we're hoping for that and good resolution if the court system. whether one solution or individualized solutions it depends on the country and depends on what that solution is. we have jurisdictions and work very well with. we have good relationships with cities and some states the state of colorado passed peer to peer ride sharing legislation and it's a good ladies and gentlemen hreugs and something we work under and other companies like uber work under. it's a good thing you and have other states where it's tougher to get in there. so i think it's just going to
depend on the jurisdiction. one catchall solution that doesn't work isn't any better than 50 different ones that you're haggling with. but i think my colleagues that run all over the country dealing with it city by city probably wish there was one solution as opposed to sreuf them. when it comes to this, this is something that local governments traditionally dealt with. as far as the transportation market goes, offering that kind of service, companies like uber, i think we should work with those governments to try to work with a workable solution. >> molly from air b and b. for the most part not entirely, sharing economy companies are really dealing with regulations that have absolutely nothing to do with the internet. airbnb, all of the regulatory issues that we're working on around the world have to do with
the issues -- the laws that are hosts that people who rent out their homes have to comply with in their moon pat which has nothing to do with the internet. it enabled the host and morro indicationly than ever before. and land use in our case is regulated at the local level and there's really no way around that. and land use laws have very good reasons to exist. they protect safety, many other things that we as a platform rely on thank goodness airbnb live in homes that are safe for them to live in and safe for their guests. it makes us more complicated to operate in 35,000 cities around the world to advocate on behalf of the hosts but again i would echo uber's perspective. we have to work collaboratively with these cities to figure it out and hopefully we can come up
with a couple of solutions that might be applicable to cities around the world. >> i agree with that whole-heartedly. what we're finding is as we have these patchwork of regulations across the country and for us in much like uber, what we're dealing with are laws that were written far before anything like what we operate or even con plated. in some cases it's dating back into the 1800s. what we provide to local governments is the opportunity to move into a new generation of innovation through their regulatory structure. we come in ask work collaboratively with city asks mayors and states and governor's offices and at some point i imagine congressional members will get involved in the conversation. at the most part this is a localized issue, nor to tep help understand how we can address mobility. what i see at least what we have
seen so far is a desire to move towards what the next level of innovation and regulation really looks. we can come to a city of boston and say, okay, we want to be able to provide a positive peer to peer transportation mobility option for your citizens but then we can also work with you to provide some data sets so you understand how people are moving around the city and become a benefit to those cities as opposed -- >> offering some of the data collected for the purpose of public policy for good policy making? >> yeah, i think that's where we'll head. we'll have to partner with a lot of cities. we're already doing it and trying to figure out ways to work collaboratively. >> sure. i mean i guess briefly it's very encouraging to hear sharing economy companies around the table talking about the collaboration with local government i work for the city of boston and we are trying to craft appropriate regulations
that both address the public policy needs that we have as well as ensure these kinds of new and innovative services that deliver benefits to citizens. the challenge we face is often there are -- we have to look at these problems not only from the question of here's a news service which maybe is being use the by initially by a small slice of the population that has certain self regulating characteristics to it. when you think about a regulatory regime that is going to apply not only to what exists today but also to what comes after it population that has certain self regulating it and how these individual seven services evolve and what is created in the same space. there needs to be both an open mindedness on the part of local governments but also a measure of caution that says what works for transportation company x may actually turn out to be not sufficiently be tro protective
of the interest. so i think it andthat's the balance that we have that we have found that most of the companies in this space have been very open to working with us at the local level and it's a dialogue that the city of boston at least is very open to having. >> adam connor. i work at brigade which is a new start-up. but prior to that i worked at facebook and i think the particularly these examples of collaboration with government at the local level is encouraging because in my experience particularly having worked with the federal and of the larger state governments to take step back when they try to use this technology and federal agencies were first interested using facebook, a collaboration is not necessarily the word i'd use there. it was -- we want to use your service and here are the tremendous amount of things that you have to do. they're going to cost you time and lawyer money. you have to make changes. you do all the arbitrary things just solely to use your service
for free. there were good people inside the structures worked hard to push it forward. but i'd go to a meeting and ten government lawyers would sit down and say these are the 32 things you have to change in order to use the free service. there is a burden on start-ups as well. we come back and say okay, is there any world in which you guys might think about changing your policies or talking about modernization. oh, no, we're not going to change anything on our end and i think what is nice about hearing about this local model, i think hopefully and i know again many people in government are doing good work, but there needs to be responsiveness and a chance to modernize certain things as well to allow some of these new technologies for others to use that and i think that's another part of the conversation whether we're talking about congress, whether we're talking about federal or state or others is if we want to benefits of using the new technologies we need to make sure the internal rules are
being -- willing to be considered to modernize. it's an unfair burden that we were willing to take on. a lot of other 1 or 2 person start-ups that the government may benefit from using don't have that ability and i think that's a tremendous loss for everyone. >> todd cohen from ebay. i appreciate what my colleagues from uber and air nb&b and their respectful attitude towards regulation of their services and the need to collaborate at the local level and i endorse them to do that. but also with the reality that there are very entrenched economic interests that have every desire to put start-ups like that out of business. and they work act i havely and have political power and engage
in many ways the worst type of regulatory models, the -- we want have to a level playing field is the classic example of, well, then therefore we should have these unnecessary burden ebs placed upon new entrants that have nothing whatsoever to do with the service that is underlying that. i'm pleased to see what the german people are responding and signing up at 592% increases because it is what people want and i would just make sure that as many of these companies i advocate you try to get in early and inknock late yourself and try to make sure you find the regulators that are not only cap ty but understand what's going on. it's an example of fraternity hazing. so there's a -- i appreciate that everyone's got the right
attitude of we want to collaborate and work with governments, but let's be very clear. there are a lot of people that want to stop these services and will spend energy and effort and political power to harm these businesses. >> so it will i that's a great point in the context of if we're talking to this panel about start-ups and why internet policy matters to start-ups and we're thinking about every company in the room is young compared to with much more established industries. and there's two challenges, one is a challenge of entrenched industries trying 0 protect their turf and challenges from unexpected quarters. another might be a generational gap among decision makers. on monday when i was in germany
i met with german officials who had no idea what uber was and they wanted me to show it to them on my phone. this goes to adam's comment the challenges facing some of these institutions. i wonder what are the rights stat strategies and what are the experiences around dealing with government institutions that are may have a generational gap in understanding some of these issues and experiencing them coupled with some wonder what are the rights organizations, companies, like comcast perhaps been in the industry for decades long history for the industry there. what kind of environment that creates for public policy. >> i'm with google.
i thought todd's comments were right on. if you're only playing what i would consider the inside game with policymakers there's a good chance that newer companies and new he industries are going to lose simply on the basis of older industries having been there longer. not just the taxi cab industry or the hotel industry, but the content industry and the telecommunication firms. these are companies that are many of whom are regulated and been players before policymakers for a long time. i think that one of the tools that is effective here and has been effective is showing policymakers when they are out of tune before policymakers for a with consumers. the ball is the quintessential example here. that was an inside game debate and it wasn't
until it became an outside game with consumers weighing in that policymakers put the brakes on what they were doing. i will say even in the wake of pip sopa, one of the things we observed policymakers in the u.s. are extremely cautious about legislation becoming the next pippa sopa. they don't want their bills to be pippa sopaed. they don't want be the reu recipient of thousands of phone calls saying they're on the wrong side of something. so i think they're going to need things of what todd referenced newer companies confront policymakers with saying, look, it's us who is on the side of consumers. and i think one of the scariest things a policeymaker can encounter they are not on the side of consumers and they often
switch sides very quickly to avoid that situation. most long serving policeymakers are not going to last very long if they're completely out of touch with what their voters want. >> if i could add on to that. i'm trying to find it in my e-mail but not working. i seem to be getting an e-mail from uber maybe year and a half, two years ago about the challenges they were having in d.c. i thought that was just remarkable. i don't want to say it didn't happen. i wanted to look it up. i seem to remember this happening. that they were going to their customers saying this is you're community. and then you look at a terrific decision to hire david and that's a tactic he's familiar with. as companies start wanting -- >> what do you mean that's tactic he's familiar with >> grassroots organizing. as they start debating in these debates and realize an inside
strategy isn't sufficient and playing the outside game it's mind boggling the amount of power these companies that have these large membership lists have when they decide something is important to their corporate interest. they can call it their user interest but it's corporate and they can leverage to advocate. it's new a political dynamic. >> i just like to add something really quick. i agree whole-heartedly with the importance of grassroots organizing and advocacy. a unique challenge to start-ups, they don't necessarily have enough people to do the grassroots advocacy on their behalf when it's just the idea. in addition to the advocacy education is also important and airbnb has intested in should youedying and sharing information about the impact this has to dispel a lot of the
information and educate policymakers so they're not relying on an anecdote from their nephew who used it two weeks ago but all the citizens in their city what their doing. and again, that's a challenge for start-ups who don't have the capability of scale to share that information or data with policymakers so they can make informed decisions. >> just wanted to jump often that point. i think it's actually more a way of keeping companies honest about what issues they take on and it's because our user -- they're worried about slow down of internet speeds will have a direct impact on their small business. they're crafting pillow that's
say protect open internet and that's what makes us which is great and also makes us feel very confident that when we mobilize our users next week actually to contact congress about this that they have our back and we're not diverging from the interest of our community and i think that's true for around the table. >> the first set of premise i think that's important to recognize in this whole conversation is that is that the advertising model for democracy there's not a way to sustain public purpose in a space with an advertising model. to figure out what a sustainable plan in civic engagement in general. this is a big conversation starting to happen. another thing is that our institutions have to be technologically self determining to some extent. we have to give them capacity and one of the ways we can do
this is by giving places like congress staff, why don't we have fellows and a code for america for the legislative branch where we reinvent land grant knowledge for the public interest with members of congress very often don't have is basic situational awareness the less they have this technological competence, the more it migrates to the military services. this is a classic explanation what has happened with the nsa. when you do the technical competence and the rewards of public service to the defense department in this case, a lot of responsibilities that are too hard for the civilians will go there. they'ved a they've there are probably a couple hundred -- matt, do you know? there are probably a couple
hundred military fellows inside of congress. if you need foreign policy expertise you ask for military. the other problem inside congress is it's working at 60% of 1979 levels of staff. meanwhile almost 50% of house staff has been moved in the district. unless we create some kind of a high quality decision support system for our legislative branch in the states it's not going to appear and it's going to continue to look sort of like this pro prior terri information cartel which is what congress looks like. i think this was a great deal of love for this institution i'm obsessed with it. but it needs this institutional empathy right now. the executive branch has been the focus of attention, but it's running into a wall right now
when it comes to legislative branch capacity for even understanding these problems. when you're working on the hill you ask the person who is sitting next to you, it could be nuclear non proliferation and technical i.t. questions we have to provide them people. >> there is tremendous potential to bring innovateers into government and that what we're doing with the u.s. digital service. that's important as we think about modernizing our government's digital services. the reason that's relevant to start-ups government can be a platform i'm quote tim o'riley and we're opening update at an as fuel. that's one of many things that the presidential innovation
works on. >> one of the challenges given the internet age, when you see the private sector is through start-ups the disruption of old business models that can be reinvented with new technology. like an institution like congress you won't see that level of disruption at the same pace. it manifested itself with 7% approval ratings and persists through the majority different ideologies it's a process rejection. it's an important issue for our country. programs serve as models. i think the united kingdom has done an exciting work. i'd say the challenge for the community is at a certain point
it's like how can you regulate uber if you live your existence in a motorcade. at a certain point we need our legislative institutions and our executive leaders to be connected with the reality of life in our society and i think it's natural for us as we've been through it before with the rise of radio and television and we'll get there. if can i pivot to the start-up this issue of regulation. i think one of the things that's remarkable about technology as a whole at least right now and through its existence in the last several decades is that it's unique in the sense it typically protects disruption of itself. in away that most others don't do. and as technology begins to impact more and more sectors in our society you see this regulatory response. not as a way of serving public interest necessarily but as a
weapon to protect the status quo. they need to keep the public on its side as a primary objective. without that it will never be able to defeat those static interests. you think about things like self-driving cars. in my opinion how is that going to impact the industry and the transportation industry and the taxi industry and the trucking industry and all these other and massive regulatory fight. and it's just one of dozens examples we can see and companies around this room deal with on a daily basis. i don't see the technology industry being able to succeed unless they very cognitively protect the interest of their users so they can leverage that. >> so, i would just build on that and say i think that this is tremendous opportunity foreign gauged partnership
between the technology industry and start-up community and government itself. chris eluded to this a little bit like a service like lift could share transportation data with the cities in which they operate and help the city to improve overall. we've done some experiments in boston and built some products in boston during this session i got a notice that the broken glass i reported on the sidewalk by my house using our city app this morning had been cleaned up by our public works department a few hours after i reported t that's about changing people's explanations of government and not just picking up glass and recognizing that people expect a standard that is defined in large part by what the technology industry has created. what i would ask somebody in government toplt people who work in the technology industry reach out to us and look for ways to partner with us because we have service delivery not only obligations but a desire to up our game and to be able to match
the kind of expectations that people have and instead of thinking about it as how do we avoid this regulation or get an opening to do this kind of service, if we think about where the mutual benefit lies we think there are a lot of opportunities for everybody to come out of this delivering a great product for their customers whether they're citizens or paying customers on the other end of the product. >> i had more of a question than a statement. you can expect me to ask questions because i don't know anything. you hear lately a lot of people talking about a libertarian moment in politics. i don't know if it's true or not. i wanted to ask if maybe the rise of internet start-ups wouldn't to some extent drive. that when you look at what's going on with aouber and lift and the sudden pressure on government to reduce their regulation of the way they regulate transportation services. and i look at this and i think are we going to go through this with every internet based idea coming down the pike where whole
new areas will have to be rethought and will that lead to a general push to increasingly did he regulate sectors of the economy to make four people to use the internet are we going to see political pressures to do that or ad hoc basis? a new company comes along to has to rethink that one sector. >> i'm from trip advisor, just to answer your question, i think what you may see is consumer appetite and more wilderness and a clear attitude about what you are seeing with uber, airbnb flip key, is the bumping up against old regulations that have existed for health, safety, and prosperity. we are for those.