Startup News Digest 5/17/19

Big Story. Trump administration moves against Chinese tech firms. President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. companies from purchasing or using telecoms equipment produced by a foreign adversary, an announcement that paves the way for a ban on Chinese-owned telecommunications firm Huawei.

In a separate announcement, the Commerce Department said it placed Huawei and its affiliates on a list of firms deemed a threat to national security. The Commerce Department also announced it was banning six Chinese companies from exporting sensitive U.S. technologies, a move that comes as the U.S. and China have intensified their ongoing trade fight with new rounds of tariffs.

Several members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed concerns during a hearing on 5G technology earlier this week that efforts to roll out the next-generation wireless network across the country would be hampered by the Trump administration’s unwillingness to rely on equipment from Chinese telecoms companies due to national security concerns. 

Join us this afternoon for our final "Nuts and Bolts of User Privacy" event.
 Engine and the Charles Koch Institute will be hosting a Hill panel today at noon to discuss what’s happened since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation was implemented last May. We'll discuss what GDPR is, what it does, and lessons learned as Congress examines a federal data privacy framework. Learn more and RSVP here

Policy Roundup:

Continuing the fight to save the Internet. Over 120 startups joined Engine last month in calling on the House to pass the Save the Internet Act, which would reinstate the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality protections. We're resending our letter with updated wording to Senate leadership, encouraging them to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. We need your help to make this happen! Please join us by voicing you support for strong net neutrality protections. You can view the letter here and sign on here.

White House sends mixed messages on curbing online content. The Trump administration declined to endorse the New Zealand-led “Christchurch Call” to curb extremism online, citing free speech concerns with the effort to target digital extremism in the wake of the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques in March. In a separate move, the White House launched a platform for people to share if they were removed or reported on social media platforms because of alleged “political bias.”

Democrats push to bring back congressional tech office. House Democrats are pushing to revive the Office of Technology Assessment, a nonpartisan agency that provided lawmakers and staffers with research about technology issues before its funding was eliminated in 1995.

What CCPA means for small businesses. California's new privacy law could increase costs and create liabilities for small businesses, and California policymakers should pass legislation to fix problems with the law, John Kabateck, California State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, says in  a new op-ed this week.

Senate to examine algorithmic transparency, digital ads. The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a May 21 hearing about the use of persuasive technology online, while the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing the same day about digital advertising and the impact of data privacy and competition policy. 

Startup Roundup:

Looking back on National Small Business Week. Last week, communities across the country celebrated the 56th annual National Small Business Week. We took a look at the lawmakers who were the most vocal about supporting startups and small businesses over the week.

#StartupsEverywhere. Augusta, Georgia. The Atlanta metropolitan area may be considered the focal point of innovation and growth in Georgia, but the city of Augusta is also transforming into a hub of tech and startup activity. Part of that is due to the tireless efforts of Eric Parker, who has been working to help startups thrive in the Augusta area through, a design research lab focused on facilitating the growth of healthy entrepreneur ecosystems.