feature image via ABC.
I had an essay planned. But NOPE everything is on fire and there are some things y’all should know.
Trump’s Tech Summit
So this travesty happened where Trump had a bunch of top technology CEOs to his flipping New York City-funded transition office and home in Trump Tower. 20% of the attendees were Trump family members, including his children who are running his businesses, because that’s not fishy at all. Attendees included Peter Thiel, Tim Cook, Sheryl Sanberg, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Safra Catz and Elon Musk. CEOs from Microsoft, Intel, IBM—all there. Trump reportedly said the following:
“This is a truly amazing group of people. Anything we can do to help this go along, and we’re going to be there for you… you’ll call my people, you’ll call me – it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command here. We’re going to do fair trade deals, we’re going to make it a lot easier for you to trade.”
Because having no formal chain of command is exactly what I want to hear pop out of our president-elect’s mouth. The New York Times also reports:
Twitter declined to comment on why it was not included. A campaign official complained last month in a Medium post that Twitter had killed a #CrookedHillary emoji. On Wednesday, Sean Spicer, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said that Twitter had been left out of the meeting because of space considerations in a gathering that many other technology executives were “dying to get into.”
Other reasons were given as to why Twitter wasn’t invited, such as the table was only so big, and Twitter too small to be at this meeting of tech giants.
Tim Cook, who sat at a table with people who question his right to exist, reportedly said as he introduced himself: “Tim Cook, very good to be here,” and “…I look very forward to talking to the president-elect about the things that we can do to help you achieve some things you want.” I mean, I didn’t know it’d be THAT fast, but it sure does sound like a rich white gay dude is about to sell the rest of us down the river in the name of profit and power! But perhaps I could’ve guessed by his lackluster email to all his employees where he doesn’t denounce white nationalism and calls for the inclusion of white nationalists in the name of diversity lalalala.
Notably absent was Marc Benioff, who served as keynote speaker for one of the fabulous Lesbians Who Tech Summits and is touted as a great ally to marginalized communities in the tech industry. I’d like to think he’s sticking to his principals, but who knows! I also am torn about the tech industry’s participation in this meeting, because what choice do they have? If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu, and leaving the country’s technology policy up to a table of white nationalists who want to make a database of Muslim people is socially irresponsible. Kara Swisher puts it brilliantly:
Tech companies also stand on the other side of a myriad of key issues from Trump, including immigration reform, encryption and a range of social concerns. But those involved said that tech leaders had little choice in accepting the invitation, even if they wanted to decline, opting to engage now even if they later oppose Trump.
I’m going to continue to pay very close attention to who is opposing Trump in the technology industry, and who is using the power of technology to support a white nationalist agenda.
Tom Wheeler Is Stepping Down
Which we knew was coming, but is nonetheless cause for major concern! It’s customary for the Chairman of the FCC to resign when a new administration comes in, but Wheeler had dodged the question of whether he would for months. Now it’s official—yep. Which gives Republicans control over the FCC, and thus over Obama-era regulations. According to Politico:
Chief among the GOP targets are Wheeler’s net neutrality rules, passed last year, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. The rules reclassify broadband akin to a utility making it subject to stricter oversight. Republicans called the regulations burdensome on companies, and the telecom industry has sued — so far unsuccessfully — to overturn them.
Governor Moonbeam Is Killing It, Though
California Governor Jerry Brown is ready to fight Trump at every turn should he try to fuck around with earth science, specifically those monitoring climate change. He’s promised that if Trump’s white nationalist administration turns off the satellites used for this research, California would “launch its own damn satellite.” A reminder that, in an anti-science federal climate, state and local agencies helping to fund and fight for the sciences become more important, as do independent agencies.
Be Prepared: Here Is an Internet Security Video Series
Let’s end on something proactive. Watch this series on internet security basics with your family this holiday instead of the yule log.
So what did I miss? What else is on fire? Please alert us to potential freedom-threatening technology-industry stuff in the comments below. And remember: