Startup News Digest 9/7/2018

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

The Big Story: Congress tackles content moderation. In doubleheader hearings this week, lawmakers grappled with how Internet companies can and should moderate user-generated content on their platforms.

On Wednesday morning, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing on how foreign operations seek to influence U.S. politics through social media platforms. Dorsey then crossed the capitol to appear at a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Twitter’s transparency and accountability following Republican lawmakers’ claims that the platform has been censoring conservative speech.

The key takeaway of the day? It’s impossible to remove all anti-social user generated content, and, even though platforms are getting better, safe harbors are still necessary.

Also this week, it was reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has scheduled a meeting with state attorneys general later this month “to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”


Policy Roundup:

A conservative case for net neutrality. Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, spells out why voices across the political spectrum need net neutrality in a world where Internet access is far from a free market.

Patent trolls keep fighting. Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Technology Association, penned an op-ed highlighting the need to protect our patent system from continued abuse by patent trolls. And the applications are in, there are an increasing number of low quality blockchain patents that may become the next big patent troll moneymaker.

One last step for California net neutrality. The California legislature has passed its strong net neutrality bill and sent it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk to be signed into law. The bill would put back into place many of the protections from the FCC’s since-repealed 2015 net neutrality rules.

A privacy framework. The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology is kicking of discussions about a federal framework to help organizations protect their users’ privacy.


Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Amelia Friedman and her team at Hatch Apps empower people around the world to create their own mobile apps. By leaning on a strong tech community in Washington, D.C.,  Hatch Apps has quickly grown. However, as an international company, legislation like GDPR has changed the way they do business and deal with data. Amelia is reminded of the importance of engaging in policy, no matter the size of the startup, “policy decisions made halfway across the world can have a big impact on our product.”

Startups are Leaving SF and Why VCs Should Leave Too. Miami, Phoenix, and Philadelphia are now attracting top talent for startups seeking to grow outside the Bay Area and how some are making the case that venture capitalists should move away from the coasts too.