The Big Story: The new push for net neutrality. Democrats came out this week with legislation to restore the 2015 net neutrality rules that kept Internet service providers from blocking or slowing access to content online and from charging companies for better access to users.
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: 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.
The Big Story: How the new trade deal affects startups. After months of negotiating a new trade deal between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the three countries’ leaders signed onto a new trade deal—the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA—late last month.
The Big Story: Trump’s STEM push. The White House released a report this week aimed boosting the country’s science, technology, engineering, and math skills over the next five years, including through work with educational institutions like colleges and libraries as well employers, nonprofits, and others.
The Big Story: FTC wants more authority, resources for privacy. During a hearing this week, the commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission told lawmakers the agency needs more authority to better protect consumers’ privacy online, including the ability to bring civil penalties against companies that violate privacy rules.
A flood of perspectives on privacy. Late last week, the federal government got dozens of comments from companies, trade groups, non-profits and more on how to approach consumer privacy online. As part of the response to a request for comments on a broad framework for consumer privacy, Engine submitted comments to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, outlining the ways in which various privacy proposals and laws affect startups.
After Tuesday night’s midterm elections, we’re facing a new makeup of Congress next year, with a Democratic-led House and a Senate with a more significant Republican majority. Despite the new composition, we’re sure to see a lot of familiar debates surface around policy issues that impact the U.S. startup ecosystem, including around privacy, net neutrality, immigration, access to capital, and more.
A U.K. tax on online services. The British government has announced a new tax on the biggest companies offering online services in the United Kingdom. The tax, 2 percent of U.K. revenues, will be levied on companies with global revenues of $640 million or more starting in April 2020.
The Big Story: Patent trolls aren’t a fairy tale. Last week, in a speech to the Eastern District of Texas Bar Association, the United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Iancu told a room full of trial lawyers that there is no patent troll problem and that it's just a "narrative" being pushed by large companies trying to decrease innovation and competition. This week, we pushed back on that claim, explaining that abusive patent litigation is “a real threat and one every startup founder dreads.”
Pushing 5.9 GHz for 5G. The federal government is seeing more and more pressure to free up airwaves currently reserved for vehicle safety so that they can be used for the next generation of wireless networks, especially as different vehicle safety technologies that don’t depend on that spectrum are becoming commonplace.
The Big Story: A second Senate privacy hearing. The Senate Commerce Committee held its second hearing on online privacy this week, which included testimony from privacy advocates pushing for federal privacy legislation.