Startup News Digest 8/18/2017

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

Trade Talks Should Keep Startups in Mind. Representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico met in D.C. this week to kick off talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. You may think of things like auto manufacturing and government contracts when you hear NAFTA, but it has major implications for U.S. startups that do business abroad or plan to do business abroad. That’s why we filed comments with the government earlier this summer asking it to include pro-startup policies (like flexibility in copyright protections and internet intermediary liability protections) and avoid policies that would hurt startups (like increased customs hurdles and costs as well as data localization requirements).

Two More Weeks to Talk Net Neutrality. The FCC has extended the deadline to submit net neutrality reply comments by two weeks, until August 30. Net neutrality advocates have been pushing the agency for significantly more time to respond to the comments filed by ISPs and others in favor of the FCC’s plan to roll back its net neutrality rules under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Instead, the agency said it would allow two more weeks to add comments to the docket, which is now at more than 20 million comments.

Get to Know Our DC Team Members. Engine DC was in the spotlight this week with features in both The Bridge and DC Tech Stories. Rachel, our Policy Director, opened up to TheBridge readers about the most important skills she’s acquired in past jobs, which Members of Congress she thinks are most tech savvy, and how Engine is bridging the gap between policy and tech. Our Program Manager, Monica, spoke with DC Tech Stories about how she got interested in tech, what steps she hopes the Trump Administration takes to protect existing policy gains, and how startups can get better engaged in politics.

Court sides with startup in LinkedIn scraping case. A federal judge ruled this week that Microsoft-owned LinkedIn cannot prevent other companies, including talent management data startup hiQ Labs, from collecting data from LinkedIn’s public profiles. Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California ordered LinkedIn to stop using its anti-scraping technology. The company said it plans to challenge the decision.

Congressional Innovation Fellowship Applications Open. TechCongress has opened up applications for next year’s Congressional Innovation Fellowship, a program that brings tech savvy people to D.C. to work with members of Congress and congressional committees for thirteen months. Applications are due on September 28.

Industry Leaders Leave Trump Advisory Groups. CEOs of major companies, including Intel, Telsa, Disney, and 3M, stepped down from the Trump administration’s business advisory councils following President Donald Trump’s remarks about the controversial Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. In response, Trump disbanded the two groups created by his administration: the Strategic and Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council.

The Patent Scam. A new documentary online now takes a deep dive into the world of patent troll lawsuits and the small businesses they hurt. Watch and read more about the patent troll problem and how to help solve it here.