In this episode, I interview Rob Knake, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, about his recent report, “Weaponizing Digital Trade—Creating a Digital Trade Zone to Promote Online Freedom and Cybersecurity.” The theme of the report is what the US can salvage from the wreckage of the 1990s Magaziner Consensus about the democratizing and beneficent influence of an unregulated Silicon Valley. I suggest that, when you’re retreating from global ambition to a battered band of democratic nations, talking about “weaponization” is delusional; what the paper really proposes is a kind of “Digital Dunkirk.” Rob and I proceed to disagree about the details but not the broad outlines of his proposal.
In the news roundup, we finally have a Google antitrust complaint to pore over, and I bring Steptoe’s Michael Weiner on to explain what the complaint means. Bottom line: it’s a minimalist stub of a case, unlikely to frighten Google or produce structural changes in the market—unless a new administration (or a newly incentivized Trump Justice Department) keeps adding to the charges as the investigation wears on.
Speaking of Justice Department filings that serve up less than meets the eye, DOJ has indicted GRU hackers for practically every bad thing that has happened on the internet in the last five years, other than the DNC hack. (In fact, I lost an unsaved Word document in 2017 that I’m hoping will be added to the charges soon.) The problem, of course, is that filing the charges is the easy part; bringing these state hackers to justice is so hard as to be more or less inconceivable. So one wonders (along
Article from Latest – Reason.com