The Big Story: Dealing with harmful online content. Dueling congressional committees this week held hearings on online hate speech and digital censorship as the United Kingdom released a sweeping plan to require social media companies to be more proactive in removing harmful content from their sites.
The Big Story: Net neutrality bill gaining momentum. The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to advance the Save the Internet Act, legislation to reinstate the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality protections, which kept the Internet a level playing field for startups. A vote by the full House is expected next week.
The Big Story: Data privacy takes center stage. Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection this week to discuss the impact privacy regulations have on startups. Evan stressed the need for lawmakers to craft a comprehensive national privacy framework that balances strong consumer protections with reasonable requirements for startups on bootstrap budgets.
The Big Story: High stakes for trade deals. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified to Congress this week to address several important trade issues impacting startups. On China, it looks unlikely that we will see a resolution to the trade war or a decrease in tariffs soon, although the Administration has started to make some progress with the Chinese on issues like intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.
The Big Story: EU officials reach a deal on Article 13. European Union officials reached a deal on new copyright rules this week, including Article 13, a controversial proposal that would require Internet platforms to either obtain licenses from a given copyright holder or prevent the upload of any user-generated content that infringes on that rightsholder’s copyright.
The Big Story: GDPR’s biggest hit yet. The French privacy watchdog has issued a $57 million fine against Google, the largest fine yet under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, the sweeping privacy rules that went into effect in the European Union last year.
California collecting input on privacy law. The process of implementing a new California privacy law kicked off in earnest this week as state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office held its first public forum on the issue.
New year, new Congress, same issues. The new year and the new Congress kicked off this week, but many of the policy debates that concerned startups in 2018 will continue on. As the Democrats take control of the House and the gavels of key committees, expect vigorous oversight of the Trump administration across the board, which is likely to impact several of the policy areas startups care most about, including trade, net neutrality at the Federal Communications Commission, and more.
The Big Story: How the new trade deal affects startups. After months of negotiating a new trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the three countries’ leaders signed onto a new trade deal—the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA—late last month.
The Big Story: Trump’s STEM push. The White House released a report this week aimed boosting the country’s science, technology, engineering, and math skills over the next five years, including through work with educational institutions like colleges and libraries as well employers, nonprofits, and others.
The Big Story: FTC wants more authority, resources for privacy. During a hearing this week, the commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission told lawmakers the agency needs more authority to better protect consumers’ privacy online, including the ability to bring civil penalties against companies that violate privacy rules.
A flood of perspectives on privacy. Late last week, the federal government got dozens of comments from companies, trade groups, non-profits and more on how to approach consumer privacy online. As part of the response to a request for comments on a broad framework for consumer privacy, Engine submitted comments to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, outlining the ways in which various privacy proposals and laws affect startups.
After Tuesday night’s midterm elections, we’re facing a new makeup of Congress next year, with a Democratic-led House and a Senate with a more significant Republican majority. Despite the new composition, we’re sure to see a lot of familiar debates surface around policy issues that impact the U.S. startup ecosystem, including around privacy, net neutrality, immigration, access to capital, and more.
A U.K. tax on online services. The British government has announced a new tax on the biggest companies offering online services in the United Kingdom. The tax, 2 percent of U.K. revenues, will be levied on companies with global revenues of $640 million or more starting in April 2020.