Startups News Digest 6/8/2018

The Big Story: Net neutrality pressure builds. With days to go until the FCC’s repeal of its net neutrality rules goes into effect on June 11, the House is facing increasing pressure to take up and pass a measure that would reverse the FCC’s repeal. The FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites or other online services and from charging websites for better access to users.

The measure to undo the repeal—a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution—passed the Senate 52-47 earlier this year. The House companion measure currently has almost 170 members signed on in support. If a majority of the House, or 218 members, sign onto a discharge petition, the measure must be brought to the House floor for a vote.

Ahead of public pressure to move the CRA resolution, Senate Democrats pressured House Speaker Paul Ryan in a letter this week to bring the measure to the floor for a vote. “[I]t is it incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all,” the group of Democrats wrote.

Policy Roundup:

ENCRYPT is back. Lawmakers reintroduced the ENCRYPT Act, a bill that would preempt state and local government rules that require companies to intentionally build vulnerabilities into their encrypted products.

Twitter wins threatening content case. A Californian court determined that Twitter was within its rights in banning a far-right figure from its site who posted “threatening” content.

Freeing up spectrum. Lawmakers introduced a bill this week to boost research into getting federal agencies to give up some of their under-utilized spectrum.

Australia’s encryption battle. The digital rights community remains concerned over a proposal in Australia that could create backdoor access for law enforcement.

House rejects tech office. The House voted this week against a measure that would have reinstated Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, an in-house department to provide lawmakers with technical expertise.

Startup Roundup:

How to keep good talent in your city. Take a look at Boston’s ecosystem, overflowing with quality universities and smart graduates. Upon graduation, many are quickly leaving the city. As a result, the ecosystem has responded to fix the problem, by bringing venture capitalists on to college campuses.

VCs turn their attention to the Midwest. Gone are the days where VCs only scout on the coasts. All eyes are on the Midwest and the growing startup scene. Between 2016 and today, coastal firms have invested in Midwest startups 5.5x more than they did during the previous 3 years (2013 through 2015).

Berkeley’s self-driving data set. Data scientists can now access the largest and richest dataset on autonomous driving through UC Berkeley’s new open source initiative, including 100,000 video sequences annotated with weather conditions and GPS.