Startup News Digest 12/15/17

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The Big Story: FCC repealed net neutrality rules, now what? The FCC voted this week along party lines to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules that kept ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites.

The rules, including the ban on paid prioritization, were especially important to startups and other small companies that can’t afford to compete against well-funded incumbents for better access to users. That’s why more than 1,300 startups, innovators, and investors, from all 50 states, signed a letter opposing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal the rules.

The outcry in the lead up to Thursday’s vote shows just how strong support for the 2015 net neutrality rules is. Democrats called for a delay on the vote, and some Republicans joined them this week. State attorneys generals pushed the agency to delay, citing concerns about fake comments filed on the issue, and some are already threatening to sue over the change. The fight is far from over, and it is as important as ever that the perspective of startups be heard.


What’s Happening in Policy:

SEC warns about cryptocurrency markets. Securities and Exchange Commission head Jay Clayton warned about the shifting regulatory ground around cryptocurrency initial coin offerings.

A standalone bill. A bipartisan group of 35 lawmakers called on House leadership to hold a standalone vote on renewing the controversial surveillance authorities under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, instead of including renewal in a must-pass spending bill.

News groups take on tech. European press agencies are calling on tech companies, including Facebook and Google, to pay for the news content the platforms display.

Uber, Waymo case gets criminal. The Justice Department confirmed in a letter published this week that it has opened a criminal investigation into claims that a former Waymo employee stole information about self-driving cars from the company before heading to Uber.

Trump signs Kaspersky ban. President Donald Trump has signed into law a ban on federal government use of software from Kaspersky Lab, a company feared to have ties to the Russian government.

Senators turn to AI. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on artificial intelligence this week, where lawmakers announced various legislative measures aimed at boosting the development and studying the implications of AI.


Startup Roundup:

  • Startups Speak Out. Ahead of the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules, several startups shared how net neutrality has helped their businesses.

  • Add These to Your List. AngelList has rounded up 20 women-founded startups to join next year.

  • Boss Up Baltimore. Black Girl Ventures held a pitch competition in Baltimore, Maryland, featuring entrepreneurs who are women of color.