When it comes to entertainment, viewers are increasingly using a range of digital tools, from mobile phones to large televisions with on-demand service, that don’t include movie theaters. My own teen sons leap from one device to the next effortlessly, but could not be coaxed into going to the theater last weekend, even though I stuffed the offer full of chicken wings and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. And these were kids raised regularly going to the theater.
Still, without them — “Sorry, Ma!” — I trekked to the AMC multiplex in Georgetown, and I was thrilled to be there. Curiously, the Bond film made an interesting turn away from cool gadgetry, one of the go-to elements in the series’ long history. This time I could count the cool tech on one hand, and some of it has been used before: a bionic eye, a watch that shorts things out, cars with a lot of weaponry. The only fresh tech I noticed was an unfolding gravity plane that turned into a submarine, which also did not even feel especially new, and some magnetized suits that allowed the villains to jump down an elevator shaft.
“Sure, Bond gets a cool watch, a classic bulletproof (and gun-equipped) Aston Martin, and he rides in something called a gravity plane,” Engadget wrote, but the gadgets “come few and far in between. Instead, the film focuses on Bond’s human drama: his inability to trust; his persistent death-wish; the danger he brings to others.”
In other words, gadgets don’t kill people, Bond does.
This week I’m chatting with Ifeoma Ozoma, a tech policy expert with experience leading global public policy efforts at tech companies. With State Senator Connie Leyva, she helped draft and push through the Silenced No More Act, a new California law that protects workers who speak out about harassment and discrimination even if they’ve signed a nondisclosure agreement.
1. A lot of people don’t sponsor a bill and help pass it after being at odds with their companies over harassment or discrimination issues. What prompted you to do what you did?
I picked up almost everything I know about effective policy engagement while working on the public policy teams at Google, Facebook and Pinterest. I also learned a great deal about the quiet waysthe tech industry works with lobbying groups like the Chamber of Commerce to kill certain bills and manage communications around policy efforts.
There’s a lot of talk about “tech accountability,” but unfortunately very little tangible progress. It was only fitting that I’d use all of the experience I gained in tech to benefit workers in California harmed by abuses in the industry. Working with Senator Leyva, equal rights advocates and the California Employment Lawyers Association to turn this bill into a law is my proudest achievement. Millions of workers outside of tech (as well as tenants across the state) will also be protected by this bill.