The Lawfare Podcast


What’s in the U.K. Online Safety Bill?

This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information environment, we’re turning our attention to the United Kingdom, where the government has just introduced into Parliament a broad proposal for regulating the internet: the Online Safety Bill. The U.K. government has proclaimed that the Bill represents new “world-first online safety laws” and includes “tougher and quicker criminal sanctions for tech bosses.” So … what would it actually do?

To answer this question, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ellen Judson, a senior researcher at the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, a U.K. think tank. Ellen has been closely tracking the legislation as it has developed. And she helped walk us through the tangled system of regulations created by the bill. What new obligations does the Online Safety Bill create, and what companies would those obligations apply to? Why is the answer to so many questions “yet to be defined”—a phrase we kept saying again and again throughout the show—and how much of the legislation is just punting the really difficult questions for another day? What happens now that the bill has been formally introduced in Parliament?

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Chatter: M. Todd Bennett on the Secretive Story of the Glomar Explorer

A sunken Soviet submarine. A secret CIA plan to lift it from the bottom of the ocean with a giant claw. And reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes. It sounds like the makings of a Netflix series—and it should be. But the story of the Glomar Explorer is the stuff of fact, even if it has long been shrouded in secrecy.  In his new book, intelligence historian M. Todd Bennett pierces the veil surrounding this most improbable of intelligence operations and surfaces a riveting tale of underwater espionage and high-stakes foreign policy. The sub-salvage mission, which the CIA codenamed AZORIAN, was green-lit at a time of remarkable daring and ingenuity by the spy agency, which enjoyed only minimal oversight from Congress. But journalists brought the Glomar operation to light in another era, when scandals and excesses led lawmakers to rein in the intelligence community.  Shane Harris talks with Bennett about his book, “Neither Confirm nor Deny: How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency,” which shows how the exposure of the secret program led to a public backlash against disclosures of classified information and helped reinforce the culture of secrecy that envelops the CIA’s work. The phrase “neither confirm nor deny,” which Bennett tells Harris has become a kind of coy cliche, originates from attempts to uncover the facts of the Glomar mission. Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.