It’s a commonplace among Silicon Valley VCs that introducing a new product too early is worse than arriving too late. They wouldn’t get an argument this week from EU negotiators, who are facing what looks like a third rewrite of an AI Act released much too early in pursuit of the vaunted Brussels Effect. Mark MacCarthy explains that negotiations over an overhaul of the act demanded by France and Germany led to a walkout by EU parliamentarians. The cause? In their enthusiasm for screwing American AI companies, the drafters inadvertently screwed French and German AI aspirants.

Mark is also our featured author for an interview about his book, “Regulating Digital Industries: How Public Oversight Can Encourage Competition, Protect Privacy, and Ensure Free Speech” I offer to blurb it as “an entertaining, articulate and well-researched book that is egregiously wrong on almost every page.” Mark promises that at least part of my blurb will make it to his website. I particularly recommend it to Cyberlaw listeners who mostly disagree with me – a big market, I’m told.

Kurt Sanger reports on what looks like another myth about Russian cyberwarriors – that they can’t coordinate cyber and kinetic attacks to produce a combined effect. Mandiant says that’s exactly what Sandworm hackers did in Russia’s most recent attack on Ukraine’s grid.

Adam Hickey, meanwhile, reports on a lawsuit over internet sex that drove an entire social media platform out of business. Meanwhile, Meta is getting beat up on the Hill and in the press for failing to protect teens from sexual and other harms. I ask the obvious question: Who the heck is trying to get naked pictures of Facebook’s core demographic?

Mark explains the latest EU rules on targeted political ads – which consist of several perfectly reasonable provisions combined with a couple that are designed to cut the heart out of online political advertising.

Adam and I puzzle over why the FTC is telling the U.S. Copyright Office that AI companies are a bunch of pirates who need to be pulled up short. I point out that copyright is a multi-generational monopoly on written works. Maybe, I suggest, the FTC has finally combined its unfairness and its antimonopoly authorities to protect copyright monopolists from the unfairness of Fair Use, an insight now preserved in a new Cybertoon. Is the Federal Trade Commission taking this indefensible legal position out of blind hatred for big tech companies? Now that I think about it, that is kind of on-brand for Lina Khan’s FTC.

Adam and I disagree about how seriously to take press claims that AI generates images that are biased. I complain about the reverse: AI that keeps pretending that there are a lot of black and female judges on the European Court of Justice.

Kurt and Adam reprise the risk to CISOs from the SEC’s SolarWinds complaint – and from all the dysfunctional things companies and CISOs will soon be doing to save themselves.

In updates and quick hits:

  • Adam and I flag some useful new reports from Congress on the disinformation excesses of 2020. We both regret the fact that those excesses now make it unlikely the U.S. will do much about foreign government attempts to influence the 2024 election.
  • I also mourn the fact that we won’t be covering Susannah Gibson again. Gibson raised campaign funds by doing literally what most politicians only do metaphorically. She has gone down to defeat in her Virginia legislative race.
  • In Cyberlaw Podcast alumni news, Alex Stamos and Chris Krebs have sold their consulting firm to SentinelOne. They will only be allowed back on the podcast if they arrive on the Gulfstream.
  • I also note that Congress is finally starting to put some bills to renew section 702 of FISA into the hopper. Unfortunately, the first such bill, a merger of left and right extremes called the Government Surveillance Reform Act, probably should have gone into the chipper instead.

Download 481st Episode (mp3)

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