Startup News Digest 10/13/17

The Big Story: Anti-Encryption Rhetoric from DOJ. The Justice Department launched a new attack on strong encryption this week. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a speech Tuesday criticizing encrypted products and services and the companies that offer them for failing to provide law enforcement with access to the encrypted data.

Rosenstein decried “warrant proof” encryption and -- ignoring the security dangers of encryption that allows for unauthorized access -- called instead for “responsible encryption” that can be circumvented with a court order. “Encrypted communications and devices pose the greatest threat to public safety when they are part of mass-market consumer devices and services that enable warrant-proof encryption by default,” he said.

The law enforcement push for the ability to circumvent encryption is a familiar one. Engine has previously highlighted why strong encryption is critical to startups, and we released a report earlier this year on how encryption works, how it’s used, and how startups are innovating in the encryption space.


What’s Happening in Policy:

Government Watchdog Examining FCC DDoS. After a request from Democratic lawmakers, the Government Accountability Office will investigate the FCC’s alleged cyberattack on its electronic comment filing system earlier this year.

Acting on the Micro Offering Safe Harbor Act. Engine wrote a letter of support for a bill that would make it easier for small businesses to raise capital through non-public offerings, which was up for consideration in the House Financial Services Committee.

Startups and 702. The debate over online spying under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Act is heating up on the Hill, and startups are watching.

T-Mobile, Sprint to Face DOJ Skeptics. The two wireless carriers are likely to face an uphill battle if they seek regulatory approval for a merger, Reuters reports.

CBC Heads to SV. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will discuss diversity with tech companies in Silicon Valley next week.


Startup Roundup:

  • RoTR on the Road. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest has been on the road this week. Monica has been on board, and you can catch up on her tweets here.

  • $164M Marks the Spot. Location data startup Mapbox has raised $164 million in a series C round of funding.

  • Offering Refuge. WeWork is opening the doors to its Bay Area offices to anyone affected by the Northern California wildfires.