The Big Story: Lawmakers scrutinize Chinese social media app TikTok. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on Tuesday to examine how technology companies might be exposing user data to “criminals, China, and other bad actors,” with lawmakers spending much of the time lambasting popular social media app TikTok for not sending a representative to testify before the panel.
The Big Story: The importance of small business exports. A new study released this week highlighted how American small businesses have successfully leveraged the explosive growth of the digital economy over the past several decades to make significant contributions to the U.S. economy.
Although entrepreneurs are responsible for nearly all net new job creation, policymakers have frequently prioritized big business over new business. That’s why entrepreneurship champions across the country have joined together to form the Start Us Up coalition to urge policymakers to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship.
The Big Story: House passes troubling copyright bill. The House this week voted in favor of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act), legislation that would create an extra-judicial Copyright Claims Board within the U.S. Copyright Office to adjudicate “small-claim” copyright infringement claims.
As conversations swirl around the use of non-compete agreements in the labor market, it is important that lawmakers consider the effects of these agreements on startup formation and talent acquisition. Instead of protecting legitimate business interests, non-compete agreements are often used to block competition, prohibiting talented Americans from starting their own innovative ventures and from hiring the talent they need to succeed and to be competitive.
The Big Story: Keeping U.S. cryptocurrency globally competitive. Ahead of next week's hearing featuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussing cryptocurrency, another Facebook official warned this week that China will be at an advantage if U.S. policymakers fail to come up with a system to regulate cryptocurrencies like Facebook's Libra.
The Big Story: U.S. acts on Chinese firms. The U.S. Commerce Department added eight Chinese artificial intelligence companies to its trade blacklist this week, even as reports emerged that the Trump administration plans to issue licenses to allow some U.S. companies to continue supplying nonsensitive products to Chinese telecoms firm Huawei. The decisions both came as the U.S. and China resumed discussions this week to resolve their ongoing trade dispute.
The FTC is reviewing potential updates to a children’s privacy law to determine whether changes need to be made to the law to account for “evolving business practices.” While protecting children’s privacy online is a shared goal of the FTC and the tech community, some potential changes to the rules under the law could impact platforms across the Internet, especially startups.
The Big Story: Federal court issues ruling on net neutrality.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit this week upheld parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 repeal of the popular net neutrality rules, although the court struck down a portion of the agency’s order that kept states from enacting their own net neutrality regulations.
Encryption is back in the news this week with a major piece in the New York Times blaming the spread of child exploitation material in part on encryption and an upcoming Justice Department event on encryption’s “impact on child exploitation cases.” But proposals to undermine strong encryption could undermine the way startups and tech companies ensure their users’ privacy and security.
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.
As congressional leaders continue to explore ways of addressing online disinformation ahead of the 2020 elections, it’s important that policymakers understand the difficulties digital platforms already face before impulsively moving forward with flawed legislation that would roll back critical liability protections.
The Big Story: Lawmakers, tech industry take on hateful online content. Facebook, Google, and Twitter defended their efforts to combat online extremism during testimony before a Senate panel this week, even as some lawmakers pushed for measures that would force online platforms to take more drastic steps to remove hateful content.
TLDR: California lawmakers have run out of time to fix problems in the state’s sweeping privacy law before it goes into effect next year, leaving startups hoping that Congress will step in and create a strong, uniform federal privacy law that protects consumers without creating unnecessary and costly burdens. If other states move forward with privacy legislation mirroring California's law, it will create a patchwork of requirements that will have an outsized impact on smaller companies hoping to operate across state lines.
The Big Story: CASE Act exacerbates existing copyright problems. The bill that could make copyright law more confusing and easy to misuse is making its way through the House. The House Judiciary Committee held a markup on Tuesday of the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019,” or the “CASE Act.” As Engine IP Counsel Abby Rives explained in a recent InsideSources op-ed, the CASE Act—which passed committee on a voice vote—would “exacerbate existing problems in copyright enforcement and cause new ones.”
The Big Story: Tech news from the G-7 summit. French President Emmanuel Macron announced during the G-7 summit that France and the United States reached “a very good agreement” to end a standoff on France’s new digital services tax on online platforms. In a press conference with President Trump, Macron said tech companies that pay the tax could deduct the amount after an international deal on taxing Internet companies is finalized next year.