Microsoft collaborates with USAID and Internews to support independent journalism

Local independent news is a cornerstone of civic education, engagement, and democracy—in the U.S. and globally. As part of its Democracy Forward initiative, earlier this week Microsoft, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and non-profit Internews, announced a new public-private partnership to build the Media Viability Accelerator (MVA). A web-based platform, the MVA will pool data from independent media organizations worldwide to provide business insights into sustaining local journalism. The tool will also help connect 500 independent news organizations with solutions and services from government, non-profits, and businesses. You can learn more about the MVA here and read Microsoft’s blog on the announcement here.

Thank you for keeping up with tech policy developments. Our news roundup and a featured podcast are below.

This Week in Washington 

  • Nextgov: A bipartisan group of lawmakers has reintroduced the Federal Data Center Enhancement Act. This bill aims to protect federal data centers by establishing minimum requirements for cybersecurity, resiliency, availability and sustainability. 
  • Fierce Telecom: The FCC announced that it added nearly 3 million new serviceable locations to the second edition of its national broadband map following 1.11 million location challenges to the first release.
  • The Washington Post: The road for lawmakers banning TikTok across the nation has been blocked by Senator Rand Paul, arguing that the ban would be an attack on the first amendment. 
  • NextGov: President Biden released new emerging technology policies at the Summit for Democracy. The focus revolves around bringing emerging technologies and democratic values together and protecting vulnerable groups from cyber attacks.
  • CyberScoop: In a hearing with House Appropriation members, CISA Director Jen Easterly spoke out about the negative impact the proposed FY 2024 federal budget would have on the agency and the nation’s security.
  • New York Times: AI’s fast evolution has engineers and political consultants working for both the Republican and Democratic Parties racing to develop tools that might make advertising more efficient, analyze public behavior, write more and more personalized email and text fundraising copy, and find new patterns in voter data.

Article Summary

Featured Podcast

New York Times

  • The Daily
    TikTok, the app known for short videos of lip-syncing, dancing, and bread baking, is one of the most popular platforms in the country, used by one out of every three Americans. In recent weeks, the Biden administration has threatened to ban it over concerns that it poses a threat to national security. (How TikTok Became a Matter of National Security  – March 20, 2023)