Startup News Digest 8/24/2018

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: California advances net neutrality bill. A key committee of California lawmakers approved a strong net neutrality bill this week, setting it up for a vote by the full Assembly next week.

The bill, which was approved by the state senate earlier this year, reinstates the federal net neutrality rules that the FCC put in place in 2015 and repealed late last year. Those rules kept Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking or slowing access to certain content online and from charging websites and online services for better access to users. Before they were repealed, the rules were critical to the success of the U.S. startup ecosystem because they kept the Internet a level playing field.

The debate over net neutrality—both in California and federally, as advocates prepare to file in a federal lawsuit challenging the 2017 repeal next week—was fueled this week when a California county fire department claimed that Verizon throttled the Internet speeds of the department’s emergency equipment during one of the state’s worst wildfires.


Policy Roundup:

Another backdoor fight. The Justice Department is reportedly asking Facebook to break encryption on its Messenger service so law enforcement can listen in on voice conversations tied to an investigation involving the MS-13 gang.

Startups speak on trade. Several startups testified in front of the United States International Trade Commission this week to oppose the tariffs being placed on Chinese imports.  

Privacy for smart meters. A federal court ruled this week that Fourth Amendment protections apply to smart meters, which give frequent and precise readings about household electricity use.

Disrupting broadband competition. Neighborly, a tech company in the public finance space, is launching a community broadband accelerator to help communities launch their own broadband networks.


Startup Roundup:

From coast to coast, entrepreneurs met with lawmakers a part of Startup Week Across America (August 20-24). Want to get involved digitally? Tweet at your lawmaker using #StartupWeek and share why startups are crucial to local economies.

Thanks to Representatives Suzan DelBene and Randy Hultgren for penning this op-ed on the importance of startups. Showing support coast-to-coast, Representatives Mimi Walters and Yvette Clarke celebrated the importance of Startup Week Across America and recognizing entrepreneurs everywhere.

Why is it important to engage with lawmakers? Entrepreneurs should have a voice in policy.  Learn more why more in this short video by the Kauffman Foundation, a Startup Week Across America partner.

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