Two quick highlights:
- See the first Week in Washington news story below: Congress has taken notice of the expiring Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which helps make broadband affordable for low-income households. If you haven’t done so already, please visit the VFI Action Center to email your elected official to voice your support for the ACP. And please share this action with your networks.
- A group of 30 venture capital firms and investors joined an earlier cadre of 7 VCs to voice support for Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard—and for our nation’s competitive innovation economy. The deal closed in October, but the FTC is appealing its district court loss in the case.
Happy holidays—and thank you for reading!
This Week in Washington
- Fierce Telecom: With funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers free or discounted high-speed internet to qualified households, slated to lapse in April 2024, several lawmakers expressed concern for and interest in extending the program’s funding during a recent House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing.
- FedScoop: Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) have introduced the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Expansion Act, a bipartisan House bill aiming to bolster the U.S. cybersecurity workforce by introducing training programs within the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Nextgov/FCW: A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 20 federal agencies had failed to meet the deadline set in President Biden’s cybersecurity executive order requiring them to implement more advanced cyber event logging requirements across their systems.
- Healthcare IT News: The Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched the first Secure by Design alert, which highlights web management interface vulnerabilities and asks software manufacturers to publish a roadmap to shield their customers from malicious cyber activity.
- Roll Call: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the U.S. government to collect the digital communications of foreigners who are located outside the country, requires reauthorization ahead of a December 31 expiration. The House Judiciary Committee will consider legislation that would insert a warrant requirement for information on Americans, with certain exceptions, while renewing the surveillance authority for three years.
- Fierce Telecom: The FCC will consider a report and order to make the pole attachment process faster and more cost-effective. It would also establish a new intra-agency rapid response team, the Rapid Broadband Assessment Team (RBAT), which will review and assess pole attachment disputes and recommend resolution procedures.
- AP News and Reuters: The EU’s AI Act, expected to be the world’s first attempt at comprehensive AI regulation, is facing a make-or-break moment with negotiators working through final details, which has been complicated by the rise in AI that produces human-like work. The suggested compromise could exempt open source models from strict regulations.
- StateScoop and The Wall Street Journal: Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen is suing Instagram’s parent company, Meta, claiming they intentionally designed the app to be addicting – and in violation of Montana’s Consumer Protection Act. New Mexico has also filed a civil lawsuit against the parent company, stating that they have failed to prioritize children’s safety online.
- The Wall Street Journal: 50 technology companies and research institutions, including Meta, IBM, Intel, Oracle, Cornell University, and the National Science Foundation, have formed the AI Alliance, a new coalition focused on “open innovation and open science” in AI.
- Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith
Ben Rhodes had a front-row seat to one of the great transformations of our time – how people consume and react to information on social media. From his post as Deputy National Security Advisor and speechwriter serving under Barack Obama, Ben watched as this technology evolved from a democratizing force of the Arab Spring to a weapon used to spread disinformation and divide societies. In this episode, the bestselling author and podcaster discusses the transformative technology of today, Artificial Intelligence. He shares his perspective on how we can develop and deploy AI to serve society and help solve some of society’s biggest challenges while staying clear-eyed so that we can anticipate risk and navigate new challenges. (Ben Rhodes: The enduring power of language in the era of AI – November 30, 2023)