Congress is Back Home

Members of Congress are on their August recess. While lawmakers will enjoy a little downtime, many will also be touring their states or districts, holding town hall meetings, and listening to voters. We encourage VFI members to engage in the democratic process by attending local events with your officials, listening to their priorities, and sharing your views—whether on tech policies or any other issues. (We are still waiting for national data privacy legislation, for example!) Lawmakers value the input of their constituents.

How do you find out if a legislator is holding meetings in your area? Visit their website and look for a schedule or press release announcing upcoming events. You can also subscribe to your legislators’ newsletters. Another option is to call the closest in-state office to ask if your official will be holding town halls or making other local appearances. If you attend an event, share it on LinkedIn and tag Voices for Innovation.

We hope you’re enjoying your summer, too—even if you’re not in recess. Thank you for reading!

This Week in Washington 

  • The New York Times: President Biden signed an executive order banning new American investment in key technology industries that could be used to enhance Chinese military capabilities. The order prohibits venture capital and private equity firms from investing in Chinese efforts to develop semiconductors and other microelectronics, quantum computers and certain artificial intelligence applications.
  • StateScoop: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved increasing the subsidies laid out in the Affordable Connectivity Program for low-income households in rural areas that receive high-speed internet. 
  • Reuters: A federal appeals court is set to weigh in on lifting a Louisiana judge’s order that limited the ability of the Biden administration to ask social media platforms to moderate content and limit the spread of what officials considered to be misinformation. 
  • CyberScoop: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released its Cybersecurity Strategic Plan for FY 24 through FY 26 that adheres to the Biden administration’s direction on cybersecurity. CISA’s plan has three key goals: address immediate threats, harden the terrain, and drive security at scale.
  • Nextgov: The Biden administration and its private sector partners have announced a new slate of initiatives to address the cybersecurity concerns of K-12 schools across the nation and strengthen their digital infrastructure. These initiatives include the Government Coordinating Council, a new entity to spearhead cybersecurity policy and communication to bolster cyber resilience.
  • The Hill: A record $300 million fine has been issued for an illegal auto warranty scam robocall operation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The operation made more than 5 billion calls to over 500 million phone numbers in a three-month span in 2021 and violated a number of regulations, such as making pre-recorded calls without consent. 
  • Nextgov: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its revamped Cybersecurity Infrastructure, a voluntary set of best practices for organizations, adding a sixth pillar, governance, to the framework’s cybersecurity program. 
  • STAT: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been cracking down on digital health companies’ data use, including charging companies with improperly handling sensitive health information. Recently, the FTC proposed changes to the Health Breach Notification Rule that would clarify the agency’s ability to regulate digital health companies and their use of health data. The changes would seek to fill in gaps left by the patient privacy law HIPAA, which in many cases doesn’t cover online and app-based health and wellness services.

Article Summary

  • Wired: The Gonzalez v. Google case did not produce a decision that could radically alter the way Americans use the internet, but two new cases in Texas and Florida have the potential to force the Supreme Court to act on internet policy. In each case, NetChoice is representing tech companies who are challenging the restrictions set on their ability to moderate speech.
  • The Hill: Georgia legislators introduced a bill that would require social media platforms to take concrete steps to verify the age of users and remove features deemed addictive to children.
  • Telecompetitor: new report from Broadband Now ranks Delaware the best and Alaska the worst among states for broadband, based on a combination of internet coverage, prices and speeds. Following Delaware, the top states, in order, were New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Virginia and Washington. Just ahead of Alaska, in terms of the worst states for broadband were West Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri and Hawaii.
  • The Guardian: TikTok is set to face multi-million Euro fines from the EU’s European Data Protection Board for allegedly breaching children’s privacy. The decision is based on an investigation into how the platform handled the data of children ages 13-17 and complies with the EU’s general data protection regulations.
  • Fox Business: Nvidia, an AI powerhouse, has released AI Workbench, a new toolkit that will allow developers to create, test, and customize generative AI models from open-source communities.

Featured Podcast


  • Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith
    Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Scott, believes that for AI to benefit everyone, humans must be at the center of its development. His philosophy was shaped by his rural Virginia roots, where he belonged to a hardworking community that used creativity, perseverance, and curiosity to support each other and tackle practical challenges.

    In this episode, we talk about how a culture grounded in human values can lead to safer products, how AI can increase access to critical services like education and medicine, and what Chopin’s G Minor Ballade can teach us about AI and human connection. (Kevin Scott: Putting AI into the hands of people everywhere – August 3, 2023)