Startups: Talk Data Reg with FTC Commissioner Brill


Engine is excited to host a townhall with Commissioner Julie Brill of the Federal Trade Commission Wednesday at 4:00 pm. Join us for the event at The Hattery in SOMA (414 Brannan Street, San Francisco, California). Video will be available after if you can’t attend. We’re bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, policy wonks, and lawmakers to talk about data, privacy, and other policies that impact small businesses and technology firms. Commissioner Brill’s visit is part of the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Net West series.

Why should startups care about the FTC? The agency has been working to create guidelines for businesses on consumer privacy, releasing its “final report” on the subject March 26. Data exchange is central to the relationship between internet-based businesses and their consumers. Maintaining and enhancing trust between innovators and users will be critical to the continued success of startups across the web.

While the commission has focused on large tech companies, search engines, internet service providers, data brokers, and web browsers, perspective from dynamic young companies may help in the construction of policies that preserve the internet ecosystem that has opened doors for entrepreneurs.

Large companies tend to have established practices that are easily conveyed to users and the government. Startups, on the other hand, often change strategy, business model, or size rapidly and require a great deal of flexibility. Policymakers must be mindful of these difference as they consider rules that would affect tech companies of all ages and sizes.

Data’s regulation is one of the areas addressed in the issue book we circulated at the party nominating conventions a few weeks ago. So far, the government has taken a relatively low-impact approach to the regulation of data in the form of privacy, cybersecurity, and data breach rules. Calls for the government to become more involved have intensified in recent years. It’s critical that startups and entrepreneurs make their voices heard in this debate to ensure that the opportunity to innovate remains open.

Dialogue between entrepreneurs and lawmakers like Commissioner Brill will be critical to the success of government and business. For new rules to effectively protect customers, businesses must be able to grow, innovate, and offer new products to consumers. Engine’s goal is to foster these connections, inject startups into the policy dialogue, and promote entrepreneurship in Washington and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Priya Deonarain.