Big Story. Lawmaker targets content moderation practices. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation this week that would impose a ‘politically neutral’ standard on internet platforms, upending critical protections that have allowed the Internet ecosystem to thrive.
Big Story. Tech giants under antitrust scrutiny. The Trump administration is reportedly launching a major antitrust probe to determine whether Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have misused their market power. Under a series of arrangements, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have reportedly divided up oversight of the four companies. The DOJ will now have authority over any potential antitrust investigations into Google and Apple, while the FTC will have oversight of Facebook and Amazon.
Big Story. Tech companies warned about doing business in China. U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly been briefing tech executives about the dangers of conducting business in China, including warning them about the theft of intellectual property and the possibility of cyber attacks. The meetings come as the Trump administration continues to warn companies against doing business with Chinese firms amidst an ongoing trade dispute between the two countries.
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: 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.