Startup News Digest 7/13/2018

The Big Story: SCOTUS pick’s tech record. President Donald Trump announced this week that he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court left by the departing Justice Anthony Kennedy. As a current judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has a record on several hot-button tech issues, including privacy and net neutrality.

Kavanaugh played a role in the most-recent legal fight over net neutrality, dissenting when the court upheld the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain web content and from charging websites for better access to users. In his dissent, Kavanaugh argued that the rules impacted ISPs’ First Amendment rights.

On privacy, Kavanaugh has repeatedly taken stances on government surveillance. He wrote in 2010 in United States v. Jones that law enforcement did not violate an individual’s Fourth Amendment protections by installing a GPS tracker on his car without a warrant for the specific places and length of time that the tracking occurred. The Supreme Court later ruled in the case that the use of a GPS tracker was a search under the Fourth Amendment. In 2015, as the court declined to take up a case challenging NSA surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden, Kavanaugh wrote that the NSA’s bulk collection of data about U.S. telephone calls was constitutional and in line with national security needs.


Policy Roundup:

Defending patent review. We teamed up with the Consumer Technology Association this week to urge the United States Patent and Trademark Office to protect startups against bad patents and patent trolls by preserving the office’s process for reviewing patents that have already been issued.

Everything you need to know about UGC. Following our three-part event series with the Charles Koch Institute on the nuts and bolts of user-generated content, we published our policy primer on the laws and technologies that govern how Internet platforms deal with content created by their users.

FCC’s 5G moves. The FCC voted this week to find ways to make spectrum currently reserved for satellite and broadcast operations available for broadband. Also this week, Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to vote at next month’s meeting on an order to auction 28 GHz and 24 GHz spectrum later this year.

EU rejects Article 13. Last week, the European Parliament rejected Article 13, a particularly concerning copyright reform for the tech community, This was a victory for the many digital rights activists and Internet platforms who had opposed the measure. The copyright update will now go back to the drawing board, and MEPs will suggest their amendments in the lead up to another vote in September. 

Facebook faces UK fine. The U.K’s privacy and data watchdog this week levied a penalty of $664,000, criticizing Facebook for its lack of transparency and user protection.

Trade wars. Tariffs on American goods abroad and at home will disproportionately impact a startup’s ability to grow. As the trade war between the U.S., China, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union heats up, you cantrack all of the new tariffs here. 


Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: New York. Out in Tech, a global non-profit startup based in New York and run by Executive Director Andrew Lowenthal, works to unite the LGBTQ+ tech community through regular events in 10 cities. To ensure all have access to some of the highest paying jobs in the American economy, Out in Tech is looking to increase diversity in the tech sector -- including gender identity, sexual orientation, and race. It’s also pushing for innovative programs and policies to increase diversity at all levels of the talent pipeline, from intern to CEO.

Memphis, Birmingham, Dallas. All stops on Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest tour that sheds light on local ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley.  There is energy and momentum in cities with strong traditional business - thanks in large part to startups and entrepreneurs. Case’s tour has already covered 38 cities across the United States. Is your city next?

In DC next Third Thursday? Join Engine and the Congressional Tech Staff Association for Third Thursday happy hour next week.