Startup News Digest 9/28/2018

Want to nominate an entrepreneur to be featured in StartupsEverywhere for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)? Email Jen Fox.

The Big Story: 

Lawmakers mull privacy rules. Facing privacy regulations from abroad and from individual states, lawmakers are getting serious about putting in place federal rules to protect Internet users’ privacy. That was a focus of a hearing this week in front of the Senate Commerce Committee and featuring testimony from representatives from major tech and telecom companies, including AT&T, Google, and Amazon.

Much of the hearing focused on the newly implemented General Data Protection Regulation in Europe and the newly-passed California Consumer Privacy Act in California. The large companies present at the hearing acknowledged that they have the resources to comply with the various requirements in those rules, but almost all of the witnesses expressed concerns that varying and sometimes conflicting privacy rules at the state, federal, and global levels would be impossible for startups and other small companies to navigate.

While Engine supports giving users meaningful information about and control over the information they share online, it’s critical that any privacy rules don’t create burdens that make it difficult for startups to get off the ground and compete with the industry’s largest players. As Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) explained in an op-ed published before Wednesday’s hearing, “a successful consumer data privacy law will help consumers and reward organizations with little to hide, promote innovation, and force shady practitioners to clean up their act or fold up shop.”

Policy Roundup:

 FCC passes 5G proposal. Over objections from Democrats, the FCC approved rules that force local governments to quickly consider wireless carriers’ 5G infrastructure proposals to speed up the deployment of the nation’s next generation wireless networks.

AGs talk privacy. This week’s meeting between the Justice Department, state Attorneys General and tech companies largely focused on whether concerns about data privacy can be addressed with antitrust law.

FOSTA challenge fails. A federal court dismissed a legal challenge to a new law that, ostensibly in the name of fighting sex-trafficking online, created ambiguous legal liabilities for websites that host user content.

Startups may be the biggest losers in Qualcomm-Apple ITC fight. The ITC will weigh in this week on the ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Qualcomm. We break down why Qualcomm’s anticompetitive behavior is harmful to startups.

Another privacy plan. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is seeking public input on a new proposal to give consumers privacy protections over their data while allowing for innovation.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Minneapolis, M.N. Minnesota is known as the state of 10,000 lakes. However, do you know about the vibrant startup community throughout the state and in particular, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul? This week, we met with Sue Marshall who has helped to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota, including her own company NetZro. Leaning on the traditional industry of food processing, Sue created a company to decrease food waste.