In this week’s episode (the second of a two-part conversation) Julie Walsh talks with David Hancharik, an electrical engineer who has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 36 years. David and Julie discuss the controversy regarding free speech and “Big Tech” – the technology companies that make our internet and social media usage possible.
In the wake of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, social media companies suspended accounts (President Trump’s most notable among them) and hosting companies took websites offline. To many, these actions felt like attacks on Americans’ freedom of speech.
But were they? It’s not such a simple question. Do private companies infringe on individuals’ freedom of speech when they don’t permit them to use the companies’ platforms? In a world where most political speech has moved online, have those platforms come to be our newest, and most important, public square? And which is more important: companies’ rights to their private property or individuals’ rights to use that property for public speech?
David and Julie spoke at such length on these questions (and more) that we split the conversation into two episodes. This episode covers: the Fairness Doctrine; the differences between bias, accuracy, and fairness; the question of whether office-holders should always be allowed access to social media platforms; how social media companies cooperate with the government when it comes to threats to public officials; the unintended consequences that might result from efforts to restrict social media companies’ ability to censor content on their sites; and the importance of considering matters of conscience when it comes to those who work in “Big Tech.”
David Hancharik is an electrical engineer who has worked in the telecommunications field for over 36 years. A majority of his experience has been in the areas of satellite communications for consumer and national security applications. While David’s primary responsibilities have been in the analysis and design of these systems, he is also involved in business development and exposed to commercial and national security industry customer communities.
David has taught scriptural studies throughout his adult life and has been a Catholic Catechist for the past ten years. He is keenly aware of the moral benefits and evils that are made possible by the telecommunications industry, as well as how conscience considerations are applied within it.
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