Washington Inks Facial Recognition Law Backed by Microsoft

In Washington state, governor Jay Inslee just signed a law regulating facial recognition backed by Microsoft that could potentially be a model for other U.S. states. The law allows government agencies to use facial recognition but restricts it from using it for broad surveillance or tracking innocent people. It is more permissive than at least seven U.S. cities that have blocked government use of facial recognition technology due to fears of privacy violations and bias but stricter than states without such laws. Continue reading Washington Inks Facial Recognition Law Backed by Microsoft

Tech Giants Ramp Up Lobbying as Legal Probes Continue

As lawmakers investigate Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for antitrust violations, these tech giants are boosting their spending on lobbying. Amazon spent $12.4 million, a 16 percent increase. In the first nine months of 2019, Facebook spent $12.3 million, almost 25 percent more than the same period last year. Apple and Microsoft increased their outlay, by 8 percent and 9 percent respectively. Although parent company Alphabet reduced spending on lobbying by 41 percent, Google spent $9.8 million through September 30. Continue reading Tech Giants Ramp Up Lobbying as Legal Probes Continue

Europe Passes a Strict Law That Favors Copyright Holders

The European Union adopted a strict online copyright law requiring technology companies to ink licensing agreements with authors, musicians and news publishers. The goal is to force technology platforms to proactively remove unlicensed copyrighted content from their sites, rather than respond to thousands of complaints by copyright holders. Lobbying leading up to the vote was vigorous. While media companies are celebrating the move, the new law is a blow to companies such as Google and Facebook, as well as free speech advocates. Continue reading Europe Passes a Strict Law That Favors Copyright Holders

Cryptocurrency Industry Sets Up Washington Lobbying Group

Several cryptocurrency companies and their advocates have formed the Blockchain Association, the first-ever Washington, DC-based lobbying group to represent the fledgling industry and its investors and entrepreneurs. Among the companies behind the association are Coinbase, Circle and technology startup Protocol Labs, as well as investors Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital. Kristin Smith, who lobbied on blockchain for Overstock.com when it began accepting bitcoin in 2014, will lead the group. Continue reading Cryptocurrency Industry Sets Up Washington Lobbying Group

Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

The Software Alliance (BSA) published “Global Software Survey,” the latest edition of its report on pirated software, which reveals that the use of pirated PC software declined 37 percent in 2017, down from 39 percent two years ago. The report also states that the value of pirated software dropped 8 percent to $46.3 billion worldwide. BSA, which supports Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec and other software companies via legal action and lobbying, said that piracy is still widespread in some countries. Continue reading Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Last month, 60 lawmakers signed a letter objecting to an FCC regulation that would open up the cable TV set-top box market. More recently, Democratic congressman Bobby Rush’s staff pushed his colleagues to sign another letter, this one opposing an FCC proposal to limit how broadband providers can share users’ personal data. These are just recent efforts by the cable industry to oppose what it sees as unfair advantages enjoyed by tech companies such as Google in the light of new FCC proposals. Continue reading Cable and Telecom Companies Lobby Against FCC Proposals

Film Executives Form Alliance in Effort to Combat Online Piracy

Five film companies are forming an antipiracy coalition called the Internet Security Task Force with plans to mobilize small businesses in the gaming, music, software, film and TV industries against online theft of intellectual property. The alliance — comprised of Bloom, FilmNation Entertainment, Millennium, Sierra/Affinity and Voltage Pictures — is considering a range of initiatives, including the launch of a media campaign, more political lobbying efforts, and placing pressure on companies that advertise on pirate websites. Continue reading Film Executives Form Alliance in Effort to Combat Online Piracy

Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

The European Union drafted a new data-privacy policy that it hopes will be adopted around the world. The policy would require companies to include the “right to be forgotten” option so that people could ask for their links to be removed and to ask users for explicit consent to use their personal data. Europe is looking to have more influence on the Web, which is currently dominated by U.S. companies. Representatives from the EU are lobbying other countries to institute the policy. Continue reading Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

The Justice Department announced this week that it will review the regulatory agreements created in 1941 that govern ASCAP and BMI. It is likely that, as a result, a lobbying fight will surge between technology giants like Pandora and Google against music companies and songwriter groups. If changes to the regulatory agreements are not made, major music publishers, including Sony/ATV and Universal, may withdraw from ASCAP and BMI.  Continue reading ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described President Obama’s newly proposed patent policy yesterday during the daily press briefing. The administration introduced a package of executive orders and recommended legislation that takes aim at patent trolls. Technology companies have expressed early support for measures that they hope will help curb the growing onslaught of lawsuits negatively affecting innovation. Continue reading Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls