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.
- CNBC and Reuters: The U.K. government has dropped its main concern over Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard, marking a win for the tech giant. The Japan Fair Trade Commission also came to the conclusion that the takeover would not harm competition.
- Yahoo: Microsoft’s investment in ChatGPT developer OpenAI, and adding AI assistance to Bing, Office 365, and more have dominated the AI conversation, putting Microsoft “clearly out in front of everybody else.”
- New York Times: ChatGPT has become a critical tool to help people draft content, create images and soundbites, along with streamlining workflow, and now it will help kickstart difficult conversations.
- The Verge: Microsoft launched an AI-powered Security Copilot assistant designed to help cybersecurity professionals identify data breaches and easily investigate them.
- StateScoop: Iowa became the sixth state with its own consumer data privacy law, joining California, Virginia, Utah, Connecticut, and Colorado as the only states in the U.S. with a comprehensive data privacy law on the books. Iowa’s bill passed unanimously in the state’s House and Senate earlier this month and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2025.
- New York Daily News, KRQE, and Community Impact: Federal and New York state officials announced $100 million in funding to bring broadband to about 100,000 Empire State households, while four New Mexico broadband providers will receive $17 million in grants to expand their infrastructure, and in Texas, officials invited local governments, school districts and internet service providers to apply for $120 million in grants to expand broadband.
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)