Privacy Movements, Social Media Responsibility, And The New OSTP Director: August 2018 Legislative Update
The Senate is working on NDAA reauthorization and several other authorization bills while the House is in recess. The Fall agenda will only have 11 working days in September. Those days will be filled with attempting to pass appropriations bills before the October 31st fiscal year funding deadline. The Senate will focus on the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh prior to the midterm elections.
Trump Administration – Privacy Blueprint in the Fall?
The Trump Administration is crafting a proposal to protect Web users’ privacy, aiming to blunt global criticism that the absence of strict federal rules in the U.S. has enabled data mishaps at Facebook and others in Silicon Valley. The goal is to release an initial set of ideas this fall that outlines online users’ rights, including general principles for how companies should collect and handle consumers’ private information.
Chamber of Commerce Drafting Privacy Legislation
The Chamber is also crafting a federal consumer privacy legislative blueprint. Its aim is to short-circuit a potential wave of conflicting state privacy laws. The push follows the passage of a sweeping California privacy law that could become a model for other states. The California law, currently undergoing an amendment process, shares concepts with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation.
Senate Intelligence Hearing – Social Media and Election Interference
On August 1st, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing titled Foreign Intelligence Operations and their use of Social Media Platforms. The hearing focused mainly on Russia, which witnesses agreed is continuing its operations to divide and manipulate as evidenced by the announcement made yesterday by Facebook that it had disabled 32 fake accounts. During the discussion, a Senator suggested that when there are instances when the U.S. can identify the servers that are being used, those servers could be taken down.
House Judiciary Social Media Hearing
On July 17th, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing, “Facebook, Google, and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practices of Social Media Giants”. In his opening statement, Chairman Goodlatte noted that society is finding it difficult to define what these social media platforms are, and what they do. He also stated that it is clear platforms need to do a better job explaining how they make decisions to filter content and the rationale for why they do so. Chairman Goodlatte discussed Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, adopted in 1996, noting that the Internet of today is nothing like the Internet of 1996.
Last week the Administration threatened to increase tariffs on Chinese products from 10 to 25 percent. Included in a list of products that would impact our industry are: semiconductors, circuit boards, optical fiber bundles and cables, and electric control panels.
NEW Office of Science and Technology Policy Director
Kelvin K. Droegemeier, a weather prediction expert from the University of Oklahoma, has been nominated as the new director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Under President George W. Bush and again under President Barack Obama, Droegemeier served a pair of six-year terms on the National Science Board.