Startup News Digest 2/9/2018

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: Lawmakers introduce cross-border data bill. This week a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers unveiled a bill that could make it easier for Internet companies to comply with varying, and often conflicting, international rules over government requests for user data. The bill—the Clarifying Overseas Use of Data, or CLOUD, Act—is aimed at boosting international cooperation and helping the U.S. government enter into bilateral agreements governing cross-border requests for data.The debate over cross-border data requests ramped up in recent years, especially with Microsoft’s years-long legal challenge to a U.S. government request for user data located on a server in Ireland. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Microsoft case later this month, and the case has drawn significant interest from abroad, especially Europe.

The new CLOUD Act would streamline the process for U.S. law enforcement to get data stored in other countries as well as the processes for foreign law enforcement to get data stored in the U.S., and it would help companies deal with—and, when appropriate, challenge—those requests for data.

Policy Roundup:

A big week for patents. The Senate confirmed new Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu this week, and ICYMI, Julie Samuels, president of Engine’s Board of Directors, moderated a panel on the design patent debate one year after the Samsung v. Apple decision.

Twilio releases National Security Letters. Twilio published its transparency report for the second half of 2017, during which the company received 1,581 government requests for user information from government agencies in 24 countries, including two National Security Letters that the company obtained permission to publish.

New Jersey net neutrality order. Following similar pro-net neutrality actions in other states, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order this week requiring that ISPs that do business in the state to abide by net neutrality principles.

Everyone creates. Engine and the Copia Institute have teamed up to tell new stories of creators and platforms that have benefitted from the pro-innovation framework of US copyright law, a framework that should be preserved as the U.S. looks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Regulating cryptocurrency exchanges. During a hearing this week, top officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission told lawmakers that Congress may need to grant them new authority to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges.

UK gig economy labor reforms. The United Kingdom has announced a labor market reform package in response to a government-commissioned review of changing work patterns driven by the rise of the gig economy.

Defending immigrant entrepreneurs. A coalition of 31 business leaders, investors, and organizations wrote to President Trump urging him to preserve the International Entrepreneur Rule, which allows immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the United States to scale their high-growth startups and create jobs.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Fort Collins, Colorado. Fort Collins is the fifth best performing startup community in the country, despite—or maybe in part because of—it’s small size. For this week’s #StartupsEverywhere, we talked to local Mike Freeman, who attributes the area’s success to being jump started by the local government and close-knit public-private collaboration, and who would like to see an increased focus on expanding access to capital and a boost to the state’s grant program.