The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


As Ben Franklin almost said, a throuple can keep a secret – if a couple of them are dead

Episode 284 of the Cyberlaw Podcast


You knew we'd go there. In this episode I talk about Congresswoman Katie Hill's "throuple" pics and whether the rush to portray her as a victim of revenge porn raises questions about revenge porn laws themselves. Paul Rosenzweig, emboldened by twin tweets – from President Trump calling Never-Trumpers like him "human scum" and from Mark Hamill welcoming him to the Rebel Scum Alliance – takes issue with me.

In a more serious vein, Brian Egan, Paul, and I dig deep into the roots of the battle over how to keep "emerging technology" out of Chinese hands.

Paul explains a Georgia Supreme Court ruling that cops need a warrant to access automobile data after an accident.

Brian and I talk about why DHS might issue a binding operational directive requiring federal agencies to adopt vulnerability disclosure programs.

Maury Shenk tells us to look for tougher cybersecurity rules in China starting December 1.

Paul unpacks the thinking behind a finding of bias in a widely used health care algorithm.

Maury reminds us that "going dark is not going dark," at least not in India, where the Supreme Court is consolidating several legal fights over WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption. In Afghanistan, meanwhile, the New York Times says that WhatsApp has become a key tool for communication by the government.

I note a well-written study contradicting the widespread media narrative that YouTube's recommendation engine is what's radicalizing Americans. According to the authors, the problem isn't YouTube's recommendations but an audience that is looking for the kinds of alternative content that conservatives (not to mention the Alt-Right and the Alt-Lite) are offering.

In shorter takes, Paul and I cover Microsoft beating AWS to win an enormous Pentagon cloud contract, and Brian takes on the problem of lies in political ads on Facebook. And I ask whether we would be wise to follow Russia's example and disconnect from the Internet from time to time.

Finally, Maury and I explore the challenge that TikTok poses not just to the US but also to the Chinese government. Short take: TikTok users can get away with a lot more pro-Hong-Kong-protest speech than the NBA can, at least in the US.

Download the 284th Episode (mp3).

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  1. The Conspirators can't find their keyboards with respect to Pres. Trump but are quick with the Katie Hill commentary.



  2. "The Conspirators can’t find their keyboards with respect to Pres. Trump but are quick with the Katie Hill commentary."

    I know, right? I'll betcha if a bunch of similar pictures of Trump surfaced, the Conspirators wouldn't even look at them.

  3. Why did she have to take the victimhood pathway, blame and excoriate her ex (with whom she quite willingly made some sex movies) and then resign in self imposed disgrace. We should be relieved that no dick pics texts were involved.

    Own your actions congresswoman. Say: ‘yes, those were my pictures, and while I’m disappointed that private moments have become public, ultimately my private life is still my private life.
    I will not resign, I will continue to represent my constituents, and if more pictures become public, thank my worm of an ex. And hey, I’m pretty hot, am I not?’

    1. yup, that's the path forward these days

  4. On the healthcare risk algorithm I can share some insight, as my algorithms are run in numerous hospitals, insurance companies, and underwriters (on the cost side, minimal overlap with the care delivery teams - or at least they’d better not be).

    What I found is similar to the authors, but some differences. The key was that for equally sick people (their definition: number of chronic illnesses correlated with long term health risks) there were more gaps in care for those we were able to identify as black compared to the population at large - and the trend by racial group matched the trend by income, with Asians having the fewest gaps in care (gap in care = expected treatment not receive, such as failure to fill blood pressure medication).

    In their algorithm they identified total cost year to date as the driving factor for the risk score disparity, suggesting (in combination with my finding) that black people aren’t filling prescriptions (and my wife is a prime example, she regularly refuses to fill or take maintenance medication because there’s no acute measurable difference).

    Assuming that’s the full pattern (and it looks like they have enough data to tease it out, assuming they have PBM data) it raises the question: why aren’t these being filled? Is it copays? Systemic distrust? Or that there’s no immediate response to taking them? Or something else, of course.

    1. And we’re going to ignore the bigot, Ruha Benjamin, who concluded that it’s a lack of diversity among the data scientists who built that algorithm that led them to race neutral selection criteria.

      As a matter of fact, the data science team at Optum (who developed the algorithm) is quite diverse - by geography, philosophy, and melatonin content (I know most of them). So assuming that must not be the case is pure bigotry. His other point (lack of understanding of how things get applied) is spot on though.

  5. I don't get why she resigned. I thought we were in the post-shame political world.

    1. I suppose for the same reason Al Franken resigned: Because of the pictures that didn't surface, but might.

      1. This. Franken had nine women accuse him by the time he resigned (eight claiming he touched them inappropriately and one claiming he harassed her after they appeared on a debate show together). When it looked like he might enter the Senate race next year to regain his old seat, a tenth accuser appeared.

    2. She resigned to be like a man in the same position.
      The accusations should have been enough, the pictures were just titillation.

  6. Now we can be getting more tiktok followers and fans at online.

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