Startup News Digest 9/27/19

The Big Story: U.S., Japan reach deal on digital trade. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe announced this week that the United States and Japan reached a limited trade deal on agricultural products and digital trade. The limited accord, announced from the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, represents the first step towards a larger trade agreement between the two countries.   

The deal includes a set of provisions regarding digital trade, such as prohibitions on both barriers to cross-border data transfers and tariffs on the electronic transfer of digital products. The inclusions of these provisions helps to further reinforce the United States’ “model of internet development” across the world and will help expand the ability of American entrepreneurs and startups to grow their businesses abroad.

The Nuts and Bolts of Encryption. Engine and the Charles Koch Institute will be holding the second panel in our three-part series on the nuts and bolts of encryption next Friday, Oct. 4, at noon. We’ll be looking at the evolving global policy landscape around encryption. Learn more and RSVP here.

Policy Roundup:

Another California privacy proposal. Privacy activists, led by San Francisco real estate developer Alastair Mactaggart, released a proposed 2020 ballot initiative this week that would expand privacy rights for consumers and obligations and penalties for companies in California. The new ballot initiative comes on the heel's of Mactaggart's ballot initiative in the 2018 election, which prompted the state legislature's passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act. If this latest initiative is added to the ballot and eventually enacted, it will add to the complicated set of state-by-state privacy rules that is costly and onerous for startups to navigate. 

 “Right to be forgotten” only applies in EU. The European Union’s top court ruled this week that Google does not have to extend the bloc’s “right to be forgotten” rules to search results from across the world, meaning Google and other platforms do not to have to remove links to sensitive personal data from search results located outside of the EU. 

SEC chairman not ready to say how Libra will be regulated. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton told the House Financial Services Committee that he was “not prepared” to say if Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency would be regulated as a security. The SEC previously said that Bitcoin and Ether were no longer securities, but the agency has also been criticized for providing insufficient guidance about how it intends to regulate other digital assets.

Facebook has suspended thousands of apps in privacy investigation. Facebook announced late last week that it suspended “tens of thousands” of apps from its platform for misappropriating personal information from the platform’s users, or refusing to comply with the company’s investigation.

Google tweaking article snippets to comply with EU copyright rules. Google announced plans to change the way it shows French users previews of news articles in search results so it won’t have to pay licensing fees under the European Union’s new copyright rules, which say that platforms must pay publishers to show more than “very short extracts” in their search results.

Facebook and YouTube won’t remove lawmakers’ content. Youtube and Facebook both announced this week that they will not remove content from political leaders that violates their content and community standards, with officials from both platforms saying that political leaders' content is newsworthy.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere. Berkeley, California. Geopogo, a 3D software company, is working on cutting edge augmented reality technology for design and construction. We recently spoke with Dave Alpert, CEO and co-founder of Geopogo, to learn more about his story and perspective on the startup ecosystem.