Startup News Digest 10/20/17

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Big Story: Net neutrality fight continues. The period for commenting on the FCC’s proposed plans to roll back net neutrality rules may have closed, but the debate is far from over. While net neutrality advocates and opponents alike wait for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to formally release his plans for commission action on the 2015 net neutrality protections, many are encouraging people to continue weighing in at the agency and in Congress.

According to Politico, the House Judiciary Committee might weigh in on the issue from an antitrust perspective, though those plans could be up in the air now that the White House has announced its picks for the open FTC spots.

And next week, a group of net neutrality advocates -- including Engine Policy Director Rachel Wolbers -- will hold a Hill briefing breaking down what the net neutrality rules are and why it’s so important to preserve them. For more information and to RSVP, check the event page.


What’s Happening in Policy:

EU sees room for privacy improvement. The European Commission has given a thumbs up to a deal that lets U.S. companies bring European users’ data across the Atlantic, but policymakers called for improvements to privacy protections, including under U.S. surveillance programs. One of the most controversial surveillance authorities is set to expire at the end of this year, and while some lawmakers are pushing for reforms, others are working to keep the law as it is.

CASE Act concerns. Engine, the R Street Institute, the American Libraries Association and others sent a letter this week warning of the unintended consequences of a bill aimed at making it easier for independent creators to pursue copyright infringement claims.

Supporting the Support Our Startups Act. Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduced a new bill this week that would increase the tax deductions for new businesses, making it more cost-efficient for entrepreneurs to spend the funds necessary to get their startups up and running.

Plus an accelerator bill. Senator Cory Booker and Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Brian Fitzpatrick introduced the Startup Opportunity Accelerator Act, a bill that will increase funding for startup incubators and accelerators in smaller, less technology-oriented communities so that new startups can thrive and bring economic growth to their hometowns.

Microsoft Ireland heads to SCOTUS. The Supreme Court agreed this week to hear arguments in a 2014 case centered on whether the U.S. government could force Microsoft to turn over user data that was stored abroad.

Online ad transparency push. As tech companies take voluntary steps to increase transparency around their ads, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, and John McCain introduced a bill that would require platforms that host online ads to publish information about online ads, their buyers, their target audiences, and more.


Startup Roundup:

  • Startups improving lives. The Consumer Technology Association featured startups from Madison, San Diego, and Cincinnati who are all changing the way we use electronics to improve health, cooking, and food.  

  • Uber for bikes. Wired looks at the resurgence of interest in bike-share programs, especially dockless ones like LimeBike, which, despite launching only ten months ago, just raised $50 million and operates in 20 markets.

  • VR for PTSD. Researchers at the University of Southern California are trying to find ways to use virtual reality to help veterans suffering from PTSD.