The White House on U.S. Senate’s Passage of the CHIPS and Science Act

WASHINGTON—Today the Senate passed an historic bill that will lower costs and create jobs.  As Americans are worried about the state of the economy and the cost of living, the CHIPS bill is one answer: it will accelerate the manufacturing of semiconductors in America, lowering prices on everything from cars to dishwashers.  It also will create jobs – good-paying jobs right here in the United States.

ICYMI | bdpatoday® 07.23.22

It will mean more resilient American supply chains, so we are never so reliant on foreign countries for the critical technologies that we need for American consumers and national security. I want to thank Senators in both parties for their hard work on this legislation.

For decades, some “experts” said we needed to give up on manufacturing in America.  I never believed that.  Manufacturing jobs are back. 

Thanks to this bill, we are going to have even more of them.  The House should promptly pass it and send this bill to my desk.

The White House


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Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Investigation Reveals Digital Economy Highly Concentrated, Impacted By Monopoly Power

WASHINGTON—The House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released the findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices.

The report, entitled Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations, totals more than 400 pages, marking the culmination of an investigation that included seven congressional hearings, the production of nearly 1.3 million internal documents and communications, submissions from 38 antitrust experts, and interviews with more than 240 market participants, former employees of the investigated platforms, and other individuals. The full report may be downloaded by clicking here.

“As they exist today, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy. In recent years, each company has expanded and exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) in a joint statement. “Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation, and safeguards our democracy. This Report outlines a roadmap for achieving that goal.”

After outlining the challenges presented due to the market domination of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, the report walks through a series of possible remedies to (1) restore competition in the digital economy, (2) strengthen the antitrust laws, and (3) reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.

The slate of recommendations include:

  • Structural separations to prohibit platforms from operating in lines of business that depend on or interoperate with the platform;
  • Prohibiting platforms from engaging in self-preferencing;
  • Requiring platforms to make its services compatible with competing networks to allow for interoperability and data portability;
  • Mandating that platforms provide due process before taking action against market participants;
  • Establishing a standard to proscribe strategic acquisitions that reduce competition;
  • Improvements to the Clayton Act, the Sherman Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act, to bring these laws into line with the challenges of the digital economy;
  • Eliminating anticompetitive forced arbitration clauses;
  • Strengthening the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;
  • And promoting greater transparency and democratization of the antitrust agencies.

“After conducting this country’s first major congressional antitrust investigation in decades in which we held hearings, heard from experts and questioned the CEOs of dominant tech platforms, I can say conclusively that self-regulation by Big Tech comes at the expense of our communities, small businesses, consumers, the free press and innovation,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “By reasserting the power of Congress, we now have a thoroughly researched and meticulously reasoned roadmap for the work ahead as we rein in anti-competitive behavior, help prevent monopolistic practices and allow innovation to thrive. I’m looking forward to continuing this urgent work.”

“This comprehensive report is a roadmap to a future where digital behemoths with considerable power over their markets are kept accountable to consumers, small businesses, and their workers,” said Rep. Hank Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. “By following these recommendations, we can bolster antitrust protections to ensure consumer choice, data privacy, and affordability in online marketplaces. But in doing so, we must also answer the overarching question that we’ve been grappling with: How do we remain a country where small businesses can thrive, even as we shift from brick and mortar to lines of code? That is our challenge now.”

Rep. Val Demings added, “Our investigation revealed an alarming pattern of business practices that degrade competition and stifle innovation. These companies have made remarkable advancements that have shaped our markets and our culture, but their anticompetitive acts have come at a cost for consumers and small businesses. Competition must reward the best idea, not the biggest corporate account. We will take steps necessary to hold rulebreakers accountable. I thank Chairman Cicilline for his leadership, and will continue to work for a fair marketplace and a tech industry that can advance quality of life for every person without undermining it for others.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they must be able to compete on a level playing field,” said Rep. Lucy McBath. “We must do all we can to ensure our economy remains fair, our entrepreneurs have the incentive to innovate, and our small businesses are given the opportunity to prosper and create new and good-paying jobs.”

“This investigation has revealed that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were committed to drowning out competition through unfair and anti-competitive practices – often doing so at the expense of user privacy and innovation,” said Rep. Scanlon. “We must do everything we can to protect consumers and this report is a roadmap to the work that lies ahead. I look forward to developing and introducing legislation to restore fairness to the digital marketplace.”

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Norton Releases Statement on Passing of Her Friend and Colleague, Civil Rights Leader Congressman John Lewis

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who was a colleague of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) first in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and then in the House of Representatives, issued a statement today on the passing of her friend.

john-lewis“John’s heroic courage came from principled conviction so deep that it led him to repeatedly risk his life to achieve equal treatment for all Americans. So searing was his example that John was elected chair of SNCC — not because he was strongest but because he was the bravest.

“John’s determination to “never give up or give in” was always leavened by his commitment to non-violence and love.

“In Congress, John Lewis brought the same combination of outspoken opposition on principled matters and reconciliation whenever it could be achieved.

“There will never be another like him.”

Source: Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Photos: Office of Congressman John Lewis

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Congressman John Robert Lewis, the iconic and legendary civil rights leader for Georgia’s 5th congressional district, died July 17, 2020. He was 80 years old and the last of the surviving 1963 ‘March on Washington‘ speakers.  bt

DASHBOARD Act could force more disclosures from BigTECH, consumer data profits, and usage

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight And Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act, bipartisan legislation that will require data harvesting companies such as social media platforms to tell consumers and financial regulators exactly what data they are collecting from consumers, and how it is being leveraged by the platform for profit.

“When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold. These ‘free’ products track everything we do so tech companies can sell our information to the highest bidder and use it to target us with creepy ads,” said Senator Hawley. “Even worse, tech companies do their best to hide how much consumer data is worth and to whom it is sold. This bipartisan legislation gives consumers control of their data and will show them how much these ‘free’ services actually cost.”

“For years, social media companies have told consumers that their products are free to the user. But that’s not true – you are paying with your data instead of your wallet,” said Senator Warner. “But the overall lack of transparency and disclosure in this market have made it impossible for users to know what they’re giving up, who else their data is being shared with, or what it’s worth to the platform. Our bipartisan bill will allow consumers to understand the true value of the data they are providing to the platforms, which will encourage competition and allow antitrust enforcers to identify potentially anti-competitive practices.”

As user data increasingly represents one of the most valuable, albeit intangible, assets held by technology firms, shining light on how this data is collected, retained, monetized, and protected, is critical. The DASHBOARD Act will:

  • Require commercial data operators (defined as services with over 100 million monthly active users) to disclose types of data collected as well as regularly provide their users with an assessment of the value of that data.
  • Require commercial data operators to file an annual report on the aggregate value of user data they’ve collected, as well as contracts with third parties involving data collection.
  • Require commercial data operators to allow users to delete all, or individual fields, of data collected – and disclose to users all the ways in which their data is being used. including any uses not directly related to the online service for which the data was originally collected.
  • Empower the SEC to develop methodologies for calculating data value, while encouraging the agency to facilitate flexibility to enable businesses to adopt methodologies that reflect the different uses, sectors, and business models.

The DASHBOARD Act is the second tech-focused bill Hawley and Warner have partnered on. The first was Hawley’s Do Not Track Act, which would be modeled after the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Do Not Call” list and allow users to opt out of non-essential data collection.

Source: senate.gov

 

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#BDPACon19  convenes August 1-3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia  —  bdpa2019.com

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CBC TECH 2020 delegation visits Silicon Valley

WASHINGTON—Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs Representatives G. K. Butterfield (NC) and Barbara Lee (CA) welcomed Representative Maxine Waters (CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee and Representative Gregory Meeks (NY), also a member of the committee, to the third CBC TECH 2020 delegation to Silicon Valley. On this trip, the members of Congress met with four technology CEOs — Brian Chesky (AirBnB), Tim Cook (Apple), Jack Dorsey (Square & Twitter), and Dan Schulman (PayPal).

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Members proposed a Tech CEO summit, where leaders of major technology corporations must come together to determine specific actions needed to increase minority representation and inclusion across tech industries.  See full story, read more …

 

 — Story and cover photo credit: Keith Moore, Open Government TV (OGTV)
BDPA-DC testimonial: photo © 2016 bdpatoday)

 

Congress Introduces “Active Cyber Defense Certainty” Act

Washington, D.C.—Representative Tom Graves (R-GA-14) proposed the Active Cyber Defense Certainty (ACDC) Act. The bill makes changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to allow the use of limited defensive measures that exceed the boundaries of one’s network in an attempt to identify and stop attackers. Once a cybercriminal is identified, the victim can share that information with law enforcement or try to disrupt an ongoing attack.

The enhanced flexibility will allow individuals and the private sector to develop and use tools that are currently restricted under the CFAA to protect their own network. Additionally, by allowing defenders to develop and deploy new tools, it will also serve as a disincentive for criminal hacking.

“This bill is about empowering individuals to defend themselves online, just as they have the legal authority to do during a physical assault,” said Rep. Graves.  “While the bill doesn’t solve every problem, it’s an important first step. I hope my bill helps individuals defend themselves against cybercriminals while igniting a conversation that leads to more ideas and solutions that address this growing threat.”

The CFAA, which was enacted in 1986, currently prohibits individuals from taking any defensive actions besides preventative protections, such as ant-virus software.

Although ACDC allows a more active role in cyber defense, it protects privacy rights by prohibiting vigilantism, forbidding physical damage or destruction of information on anyone else’s computer, and preventing collateral damage by constraining the types of actions that would be considered active defense.

The proposed bill serves as a discussion draft. After interested parties have an opportunity to provide feedback and make recommendations, Rep. Graves will formally introduce this bill.

— Source: Office of Rep. Tom Graves

Congress confirms Carla Hayden as 14th Librarian of Congress

First woman and first African American to head Library of Congress

WASHINGTON—On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominee for Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, by a vote of 74-18. Along with being the first woman and first African American to head the Library of Congress, Hayden is the first librarian to hold the position in six decades, according to the American Library Association. When Obama nominated Hayden in January, she was the chief executive of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library system, where she earned praise for modernizing the nation’s oldest library system and keeping the libraries open during the Freddie Gray unrest in 2015, including personally opening the doors to the branch located in the heart of the turmoil.   Read more

Source: TheWeek.com
Cover photo: Dave Munch, Baltimore Sun
Video:  The White House

 

Congress enacts permanent ban on State and Local Internet Taxes

Commerce, Retail, and points-of-sale:  On-line vs. Brick-and-Mortar

by Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Journal of Accountancy

WASHINGTON—Congress on Thursday passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, H.R. 644, which would make permanent the “moratorium on states and localities taxing Internet access or placing multiple and discriminatory taxes on internet commerce” (Conference Report, p. 231).
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The Senate passed the bill on a 75–20 vote. It had been passed by the House of Representatives in December and now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.  Learn  more

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