Startup News Digest 3/16/2018

The Big Story: SESTA headed to the Senate floor. The Senate has queued up a vote on an anti-sex trafficking bill that could open up small Internet platforms to legal problems. The bill, a hybrid of two proposals that passed the House late last month, is likely to pass the Senate next week. Here’s a breakdown of the changes we’d still like to see made to the law.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has offered two amendments to the bill. As Evan said in a statement this week, the amendments “would help clarify that companies honestly engaging in content moderation won't face unexpected or unfair liability,” which “would make it substantially easier for platforms to proactively contribute to the fight against sex trafficking without fear of negative consequences." We hope the Senate passes these amendments, which would make the bill a better measure to allow Internet platforms to help fight sex trafficking online.

Policy Roundup:

New net neutrality bill. A California lawmaker has introduced a new measure that would go even further than the FCC’s now-defunct 2015 net neutrality rules.

The pursuit of accurate broadband data. The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on rural broadband this week, where lawmakers honed in on the need for better data about broadband offerings across the country.

GitHub sounds alarm on EU copyright proposal. GitHub is out with a blog post this week explaining why the European Union’s proposal for mandated copyright filtering will have negative effects on platforms, even those that don’t make money off of copyrighted music and video.

More EU platform proposals. The European Commission is also considering requiring platforms to disclose information about how they rank search results to address concerns about market power.

Judge clears data breach victims’ path. A judge ruled this week that victims of the high-profile Yahoo data breaches can sue Verizon, which bought much of Yahoo’s business last year.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Houston, Texas.
Despite its reputation as an “oil patch town”, Houston is home to a thriving and diverse startup ecosystem. This week, we learned from Brad Burke and Lawson Gow that Houston’s diversity, concentration of research institutions and active investors, and involved support from local government have been critical in making the city a startup hub.

No hero souls for patent trolls. In a Medium post this week, we break down the latest on a legal fight between video game company Playsaurus and a patent troll.