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 http://engine.is/digest
The Big Story: Red Alert for net neutrality. Internet companies, advocacy groups, and lawmakers joined efforts this week, turning the Internet red to raise awareness around an upcoming Senate vote to reinstate the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules.
On Wednesday, major websites including Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, Mozilla, and more directed visitors to advocacy sites—including battleforthenet.com—to contact their lawmakers and ask them to support strong net neutrality protections.
The Internet protest coincided with a move from Senate Democrats that could force a vote as early as next week on a Congressional Review Act—or CRA—resolution, which would undo the FCC’s action in December to repeal its 2015 net neutrality rules. Those rules prevented ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites and online services and from charging edge providers for better access to users. While the FCC voted to repeal those rules in December, the repeal will go into effect on June 11.
Artificial Intelligence Select Committee. The White House announced this week a new Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence to help guide the administration’s thinking on how to research and encourage artificial intelligence technology.
Some welcome encryption legislation. A bipartisan coalition of House members have reintroduced their Secure Data Act, a bill that would keep the U.S. government from mandating that companies build backdoors—or intentional vulnerabilities that allow for government access—into their encrypted products and services.
Five votes for 5G. The FCC voted unanimously at an agency meeting this week to move forward with a rulemaking to free up unused spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band for commercial use in a move that could be a big boost the country’s 5G wireless networks.
DOT drone pilot programs. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced this week that it has approved ten pilot programs pitched by companies—including Intel, Apple, Microsoft, and Uber—to help the agency think through regulating drone use of U.S. air space.
Equifax update. Credit reporting agency Equifax sent lawmakers updated information about the scope of its 2017 data breach, which made vulnerable the data of more than 145 million Americans.
#StartupsEverywhere: Dallas, Texas. Dallas is quickly emerging as national hub of innovation, even in the saturated startup state of Texas. This week we spoke with Trey Bowles about the city’s multi-pronged efforts to develop a robust and collaborative ecosystem. He attributes Dallas’ success to the city’s deep talent pool and regional cooperation but believes that public funding for entrepreneur centers and stronger incentives for early stage investment could further unlock its potential for growth.
#SmallBusinessWeek reflections. Earlier this month, the 55th annual National Small Business Week was celebrated on main streets across the country. Policymakers from both sides of the aisle expressed support for measures that promote entrepreneurship and provide small business owners with the resources they need to succeed.