Executive Briefing March 22, 2019


FierceWireless TV white space advocates applaud FCC’s rule changes
TV white space stakeholders mostly applauded the FCC’s order released Wednesday that spells out steps it’s taking to improve the accuracy of TV white space data and bring some certainty to the technology market. “We applaud the FCC for today taking an important first step towards unlocking TV white space spectrum so rural communities can better access broadband connectivity,” Microsoft said in a statement. “There are several opportunities before the FCC to continue on this progress today and we encourage the Commission to move quickly on these items to help close the rural broadband gap.”

The Hill Senators introduce bill to regulate facial recognition technology
A bipartisan pair of senators on Thursday introduced a bill that would regulate the commercial use of facial recognition technology, an issue that has gained steam as critics have raised civil rights concerns over the relatively unregulated technology. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), members of the Senate Commerce Committee, introduced the first-of-its-kind legislation, which has endorsements from Microsoft and digital rights group the Center for Democracy and Technology.

Next Gov Hurd: Congress Must Make Sure Artificial Intelligence Maintains Western Values
To ensure that America is on the bleeding edge of developing artificial intelligence technology, Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas announced he is devising a national AI strategy for the United States. Hurd said by creating the strategy, he hopes to ensure that the U.S. will remain a global leader in the development and use of AI and that the ethics that are going to be adopted around AI reflect those of liberal democracies. “We need to make sure as the ethics around the development of this new technology is based on our values,” he said.

Fed Scoop The White House now has a special webpage for its AI efforts
The White House has launched a new online home for the federal government’s efforts around artificial intelligence — AI.gov. The page leads with the executive order on AI that President Trump signed in February to create the American AI Initiative. It also includes sections on the Select Committee on AI that Trump created in May 2018, links to agency-level AI programs, AI-focused workforce training programs sponsored by federal grants and a section dedicated to “AI with American Values.”

CNET Democrats hit the gas on Net neutrality bill
Rep. Mike Doyle, who’s shepherding the Democrats’ bill in the House of Representatives to restore the Obama-era net neutrality protections, says he’s not waiting for Republican support before bringing the proposed legislation to a vote. In an interview with CNET, the Democrat from Pennsylvania, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on communications and technology, criticized his colleagues on the other side of the aisle for not making a good faith effort to work across party lines to put net neutrality protections in place.


Fortune Most Companies Aren’t Ready for California’s Tough New Privacy Law
California’s tough new privacy law is coming, and according to a new survey, most companies still aren’t ready. The California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect in January 2020, will significantly limit how companies handle, store, and use consumer data. The law will also require businesses to be more transparent, give consumers the ability to delete and download collected data, and give them the chance to opt-out of the sale of their information.

Associated Press ND Legislature passes bill to study internet data privacy
The North Dakota Legislature has passed a bill that will study personal internet data issues. Senators endorsed the House legislation 43-2 on Wednesday. Fargo Republican Rep. Jim Kasper’s original bill sought to allow North Dakotans to be able to ask companies what personal data has been collected and how it has been shared. The bill was amended to study the issue first.

Finance & Commerce DEED seeks $70 million for rural broadband
After a five-year effort to bring broadband internet to rural Minnesota, state leaders believe the finish line is in sight. Under Gov. Tim Walz’s proposed budget, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development would spend $35 million in both 2020 and 2021 to support the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. That $70 million will put the state on track to hit a statutory goal of extending broadband to all Minnesotans by 2022, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said Wednesday.

TechCrunch Google fined €1.49BN in Europe for antitrust violations in search and brokering
The European Commission recently announced another antitrust fine for Google. The latest fine — €1.49BN (~$1.7BN) — relates to its search ad brokering business, which involves Google selling advertising space related to searches carried out on third party websites. Speaking at a press conference, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the search giant — “by far the biggest” search ad broker in the region, with its AdSense platform taking a share in Europe of “well above 70% since 2006” — had engaged in illegal practices in order to “cement its dominant market position”.

AgWeb Facial Recognition Software May Improve Pig Wellbeing
Can facial recognition technology assess the emotional state of pigs? Some scientists believe so. Animal behaviorists from Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh (SRUC) are teaming up with machine vision experts at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to study how this technology can monitor individual animals’ faces and alert farmers to any health or welfare problems.



  • Blog on broadband priorities in infrastructure: I’m hopeful Congress will someday address the country’s infrastructure deficits. I’m also certain that the outcome then will be better if we begin debating different approaches now, enabling Congress to act more effectively when the stars align for action. What should be the broadband agenda for such legislation? Here are some key principles. (The Avenue – A broadband agenda for the (eventual) infrastructure bill, Mar. 19, 2019)

New America

  • Blog on tech issues in the 2020 election: From what to do about the spread of disinformation on social media to how the United States can protect the principles of a free and open internet, tech promises to be hotly debated, especially in the Democratic primary. And while these issues, for now, might seem to be mainly domestic, they have many implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security. (Cybersecurity Initiative – Tech Issues Should Also Be U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities in the 2020 Race, Mar. 20, 2019)

Note: Voices for Innovation regularly shares a range of opinion articles and press releases from organizations in and publications covering tech policy. These pieces are meant to educate our audience, not to endorse specific platforms or bills.