Executive Briefing November 16, 2018

VFI is always proud to showcase amazing work by members of our community! Voices for Innovation leader Ryan Risley, a partner at Wipfli LLP, presented at Microsoft Inspire this year about his work with the volunteer organization Team Rubicon. Now, Microsoft in the Issues highlights Wipfli’s work using Dynamics 365 to build a volunteer management system to help organize Team Rubicon’s more than 80,000 volunteers. On the blog, read about how “the new volunteer management system helps Team Rubicon more effectively leverage the skills of military veteran volunteers to help communities prepare for and respond to natural disasters.”

As a reminder, Hour of Code 2018 is coming up soon after Thanksgiving, from December 3-9. Read more about Hour of Code on the VFI blog, then sign up, share this event with your networks, and email us if you’re participating at outreach@voicesforinnovation.org

Finally, there will not be an Executive Briefing next week as we all enjoy time away from our office. To everyone traveling for or just celebrating Thanksgiving, have a safe and happy holiday.


The Hill Bill cementing cybersecurity agency at DHS heads to Trump’s desk
A bill that will solidify the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role as the main federal agency overseeing civilian cybersecurity is heading to President Trump’s desk. The House on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to establish a new cybersecurity agency, known as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), that is the same stature as other units within DHS, such as Secret Service or FEMA.

CNET After the midterm elections, the odds improve a little for a US data privacy law
Democratic control of the House of Representatives means there’s a better chance Congress could pass a data privacy law. But don’t expect any progress on the issue to be fast.  On Tuesday, voters gave the Democrats control of the lower house of Congress in the hotly contested midterm elections. The results mean the party will take charge of important committees that oversee technology issues, such as the Energy and Commerce committee. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, is aiming to chair that committee.

Broadcasting & Cable ANA Seeks Uniform National Privacy Standard
Advertisers are advising the Trump Administration to avoid regulating privacy along the lines of Europe’s General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) or California’s privacy law, overly restrictive approaches they argue would harm consumers and businesses by threatening the targeted digital ad model that supports free online content. Instead, they are offering what is billed as a “new privacy paradigm” That came in comments to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) from the Association of National Advertisers.


Bloomberg Microsoft, Google Back Paris Cyber Pledge on Chips, Hacks
Hundreds of companies, non-profit groups and governments — including France and the U.S., but not China or Russia — have signed the “Paris call for trust and security in cyberspace,” which came about under the auspices of President Emmanuel Macron. Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith spoke in Paris at the announcement. Read more at Microsoft on the Issues.

Ed Scoop Keeping with a national trend, Arkansas boosts computer science enrollment
This year, 8,044 students between 9th and 12th grade enrolled in computer science classes in Arkansas, compared to 1,104 students who enrolled in the 2014-2015 school year, according to a recent announcement from Gov. Hutchinson’s office. In the midst of a national surge in computer science education and careers, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says his administration has worked to make his state a model for how to keep pace with an evolving economy.

The Wall Street Journal Tech Firms Should Face ‘Thoughtful’ Regulation, Lawmakers Say
While Silicon Valley companies face increased scrutiny over the role they play in elections and the propagation of false or biased news, politicians and industry insiders at a Wall Street Journal conference said there should be limited regulation of the industry. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech D.Live conference on Monday, both Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican of California, and Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat who represents Silicon Valley, cautioned against overregulating the tech industry.

USA TODAY Americans are more concerned with data privacy than job creation, study shows
Americans believe that companies should have a mission that goes beyond the money—one that has a positive impact on world hunger, job creation and education, according to the latest Harris Poll data… What was the most pressing issue on the minds of Americans? Data privacy, according to 65 percent of survey participants. The second most important issue that adults thought the private sector should do something about was healthcare (61 percent), followed by supporting military veterans (59 percent).

ARS Technica AT&T CEO: State net neutrality and privacy laws are a “total disaster”
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson yesterday urged Congress to pass net neutrality and consumer data privacy laws that would prevent states from issuing their own stricter laws. “There are a number of states that are now passing their own legislation around privacy and, by the way, net neutrality,” Stephenson said in an interview at a Wall Street Journal tech conference. “What would be a total disaster for the technology and innovation you see happening in Silicon Valley and elsewhere is to pick our head up and have 50 different sets of rules for companies trying to operate in the United States.”

The New York Times Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis
A deeply-reported, in-depth look at Facebook’s response to recent troubles, including Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, improper use of data by other companies like Cambridge Analytica, and more.


New America

  • Blog on broadband privacy: Thanks to Cambridge Analytica and other scandals, the federal government is now discussing tech platform privacy issues more than ever. But localities—most recently, New York City—have been stepping in to try to fill the broadband privacy gap. Other local officials should look to New York City as a model for their own legislation or rules, and the public should be pushing their local representatives to protect broadband privacy. (New America Weekly – The New Frontier in Protecting Broadband Privacy, Nov. 15, 2018)


  • Report on AI and big data: Emerging technologies could lead to the next quantum leap in (i) how data is collected; (ii) how data is analyzed; and (iii) how analysis is used for policymaking and the achievement of better results. Big data platforms expand the toolkit for acquiring real-time information at a granular level, while machine learning permits pattern recognition across multiple layers of input. Together, these advances could make data more accessible, scalable, and finely tuned. (Technology and Innovation Research – Using big data and artificial intelligence to accelerate global development, Nov. 15, 2018)

Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

  • Report on Mid-band spectrum: The FCC is advancing on several fronts to help alleviate demand for mid-band frequencies. This report surveys a number of the more important opportunities to get mid-band spectrum out and into the hands of innovators. This report examines some of the major proceedings that will open up mid-band spectrum, including transitioning portions of the lower C-Band from satellite to terrestrial use, proposing to make room for unlicensed services in the 6 GHz band, and making changes to the 3.5 GHz Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) licenses, among other efforts. (ITIF Report – Keeping Up With Spectrum Policy: Mid-band Opportunities, Nov. 13, 2018)

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.