Startup News Digest: 2/22/19

The Big Story: Back-to-back privacy hearings. Lawmakers on both sides of the capitol will hold privacy hearings this week as Congress gets increasingly serious about putting federal privacy protections on the book.

First up will be a Tuesday morning hearing held by the Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection and commerce. In a press release announcing the hearing earlier this month, Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and subcommittee Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) pointed to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office recommending congressional action on privacy. “Congress needs to act, and this hearing is an important first step,” Schakowsky said. 

The following day, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on consumer privacy. That hearing will include testimony from various industry groups including the Internet Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.


Policy Roundup:
A bill for startups. Engine’s Aalok Kanani outlines why the STARTUP Act from Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) will incentivize entrepreneurs to create startups at a faster rate, creating more jobs and keeping foreign talent in the U.S.

Committee eyeing facial recognition hearing. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is looking into a hearing on facial recognition, as the widespread use of the technology—including by law enforcement—has raised privacy and civil liberties concerns.

Vermont’s net neutrality fight heads up. Mediapost looks at the legal fight heating up over Vermont’s net neutrality law, which passed last May and prohibits broadband providers who contract with state agencies from violating net neutrality protections.

UK fires Facebook warning shot .A UK parliamentary committee released a report this week criticizing Facebook for misuse of user dat 

Eyes peeled for 706 report. The FCC is preparing to release its annual report on broadband access across the country which will tout the drop in the number of Americans without broadband access, especially in rural parts of the country.

Republican calls for 5G partnership. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is out with an op-ed this week warning about Chinese companies advancements in next-generation wireless networks and calling for a public-private partnership to boost U.S. innovation in the 5G space.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Louisville, KY. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Interapt—led by CEO Ankur Gopal—develops technology tools to solve business problems and training programs to create a new generation of developers. Following the collapse of the coal industry in parts of Kentucky, Interapt worked with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and local policymakers to train students in traditionally overlooked rural and urban communities, and their work has been recognized by the White House and the Department of Labor. Looking forward, Interapt is working to navigate regulations around training former members of the military and hopes to see incentives to bring venture capital funding to diverse geographical areas, including through the new Opportunity Zone program. 

50 women-led startups to watch. Forbes goes through the 50 startups led by women that are pushing the boundaries of innovation across various industries.

In DC next week? Join Engine at two upcoming events: one on Tuesday on the importance of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and another on Wednesday on competition and 5G deployment.