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.
The Big Story: Supreme Court debates hearing Google-Oracle case. The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Trump administration for its opinion on whether it should hear the long-running Oracle v. Google copyright infringement case involving the Android operating system and access to software interfaces. The justices did not give the Justice Department a deadline to respond.
The Big Story: Dealing with harmful online content. Dueling congressional committees this week held hearings on online hate speech and digital censorship as the United Kingdom released a sweeping plan to require social media companies to be more proactive in removing harmful content from their sites.
The Big Story: Net neutrality bill gaining momentum. The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to advance the Save the Internet Act, legislation to reinstate the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality protections, which kept the Internet a level playing field for startups. A vote by the full House is expected next week.
The Big Story: Data privacy takes center stage. Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection this week to discuss the impact privacy regulations have on startups. Evan stressed the need for lawmakers to craft a comprehensive national privacy framework that balances strong consumer protections with reasonable requirements for startups on bootstrap budgets.
The Big Story: High stakes for trade deals. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testified to Congress this week to address several important trade issues impacting startups. On China, it looks unlikely that we will see a resolution to the trade war or a decrease in tariffs soon, although the Administration has started to make some progress with the Chinese on issues like intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.
The Big Story: EU officials reach a deal on Article 13. European Union officials reached a deal on new copyright rules this week, including Article 13, a controversial proposal that would require Internet platforms to either obtain licenses from a given copyright holder or prevent the upload of any user-generated content that infringes on that rightsholder’s copyright.
The Big Story: White House tees up AI, 5G work. The White House will take steps in the coming weeks to boost the U.S.’s competitiveness in the fields of artificial intelligence and 5G, the next generation wireless network, according to reports out this week. Those specific tech policy areas are ones where policymakers have expressed concerns about losing out to other countries, including China.
The Big Story: GDPR’s biggest hit yet. The French privacy watchdog has issued a $57 million fine against Google, the largest fine yet under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, the sweeping privacy rules that went into effect in the European Union last year.
California collecting input on privacy law. The process of implementing a new California privacy law kicked off in earnest this week as state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office held its first public forum on the issue.
New year, new Congress, same issues. The new year and the new Congress kicked off this week, but many of the policy debates that concerned startups in 2018 will continue on. As the Democrats take control of the House and the gavels of key committees, expect vigorous oversight of the Trump administration across the board, which is likely to impact several of the policy areas startups care most about, including trade, net neutrality at the Federal Communications Commission, and more.