Startup News Digest 8/3/2018

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: Warner’s Internet platform proposals. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is circulating a set of 20 proposals to regulate Internet platforms, according to a report this week from Axios.

One of the proposed reforms would hold Internet platforms legally liable if they don’t prevent certain defamatory content from being re-uploaded once it’s been taken down a first time. As Evan explains in a blog post this week, that’s a technical impossibility that will be legally ruinous for startups that host user-generated content.

“Even relatively small online platforms host massive amounts of user content that is uploaded at all hours of the day, making it impossible to manually review everything that gets posted to their sites,” Evan writes. “Sen. Warner’s proposed change hinges on the common error of believing that there are foolproof, automated tools that websites can use to accurately identify and block specific user-uploaded content. The reality is that there are no automatic and accurate tools to identify specific pieces of content.”


Policy Roundup:

FCC’s 5G push. The FCC this week issued rules for a upcoming spectrum auctions that will help carriers build out their 5G networks. The agency also voted to streamline access to utility poles to boost the buildout of 5G.

Meddling in the midterms. This week Facebook removed 32 accounts and pages involved in a coordinated political influence campaign, targeting the U.S. midterm elections.

Trump’s OSTP pick. President Donald Trump has nominated meteorologist Kelvin K. Droegemeier to lead the administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Capping rideshare vehicles. Next week, the New York City Council will vote on legislation that aims to reduce congestion, protect taxi driver jobs and ensure livable wages for rideshare workers. Although there is widespread support for much of the bill, a proposal to limit the number of new ridesharing vehicles allowed on city roads next year has proved controversial.

U.K.’s Obama hire. Professor Jason Furman, Obama’s chief economic adviser, will lead a panel of experts to examine the U.K. tech industry, with particular attention to the impact of large tech companies on small business growth. The committee will provide a set of recommendations on tech sector competition policy in 2019.


Startup Roundup:

StartupsEverywhere: Seattle, WA. Xiao Wang and his team are working to make immigration processes easier for families to navigate. He hopes for more policies like the International Entrepreneur Rule, to allow foreign entrepreneurs to build companies in America.

In San Francisco? Join our Manager of External Affairs, Jennifer Fox, and the Grassroots Professional Network on August 10th for a special panel discussion on the latest trends in mobile advocacy technology and their real-world application in shaping public policy. This event will feature a panel discussion followed by a networking reception.