The Dev Download keeps you up-to-date with the latest tech policy news. The Download is published each Wednesday, ensuring you and your team are informed on what policymakers are talking about.
PRIVACY & GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE
Prosecutors Win Gag Orders Against Facebook, Google, Other Tech Giants (Politico, 7/5)
In a complex case, prosecutors in Brooklyn have succeeded in obtaining gag orders to prevent tech companies like Facebook and Google from letting users know that law enforcement is seeking their information.
UN Rights Council Condemns Internet Blocking (The Hill, 7/1)
Last Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning countries that block access to the internet, calling such efforts a “violation” of international human rights. Several countries around the world still practice internet blocking, and while the resolution is not legally binding, the call for digital access is an important step in the right direction.
Data, Drones and Apps: States Debate Privacy Protections as Technology Speeds Ahead (GovTech, 7/1)
In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of technology-related legislation impacting everything from drone usage to data protection. This article offers a comprehensive look at the policies in question and their impact on tech creators and users.
TRANSATLANTIC DATA TRANSFERS
EU Expected to Approve Data Transfer Deal with US Within Weeks (The Hill, 6/30)
The long-awaited Privacy Shield agreement is expected to be approved by EU member states this month The new deal puts in place a framework outlining how US companies handle EU citizens’ data.
PATENT LITIGATION REFORM
Startups Should Be Watching as the Supreme Court Decides Samsung v. Apple (Recode, 7/1)
As Samsung and Apple fight over the latter’s demands for “total profit” damages following the infringement of a single design patent, the tech industry should pay close attention. If the Supreme Court upholds a prior ruling in Apple’s favor, it could open a door for patent trolls to cripple developers by using the same argument to win maximum profits. The consequences have not gone unnoticed by the industry, with tech giants like Facebook and Google filing briefs to support Samsung.
INTERNET OF THINGS
South Korea Gets its First Nationwide Internet of Things Commercial Network (International Business Times, 7/4)
South Korean phone carrier SK Telecom is launching the country’s first Internet of Things network, investing up to $100 billion in the project. South Korea will join the Netherlands as the only countries with nationwide IoT networks, and the technology involved will ultimately reach 99% of the South Korean population.
Smart Cities: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (GovTech, 7/2)
Cities like Columbus, Ohio, have been lauded as exemplary smart cities, but unfortunately their success is not universal. In some areas, smart city technology is being used to improve already thriving, wealthy communities, instead of assisting the populations in need. Further, technology has outpaced existing policy in many countries, leaving smart city platforms unsupported by governance and in a state of uncertainty.
Netherlands Rolls Out World-First Nationwide Internet of Things Network (Gizmag, 7/1)
Barely beating South Korea in the race for first, the Netherlands has presented the world’s first nationwide IoT network, with Dutch company KPN connecting the country’s millions of smart devices. Extending to everything from airport baggage handling to railroad switches, the extensive new network already includes 1.5 million devices.
States Must Work Together to Regulate Driverless Cars- NTSB Chief (StateScoop, 7/5)
Last week, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart expressed the need for states to adopt uniform policies regarding autonomous vehicles, and a concern that people may be “wildly underestimating the complexity” of the situation. Calling it the “Wild, Wild West”of technology, Hart encouraged cohesive and systematic standards for the budding technology.
How Self-Driving Cars Can Make Cities Better (Vox, 7/5)
While many see autonomous vehicles as safer if the driver still maintains some responsibility, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) feels that the human element is actually more dangerous. This coalition of transportation officials has released a set of nine principles for self-driving vehicles, encouraging full automation, increased data collection, and more.
Google’s Robot Cars Recognize Cyclists’ Hand Signals- Better Than Most Cyclists (Recode, 7/5)
While many companies focus on making autonomous vehicles aware of and safe around other cars on the road, Google is making sure that caution extends to bicyclists. Their cars are not only capable of recognizing the bikers, but understanding their gestures and acting accordingly, used in situations like being waved forward at a stop sign.
Americans Are Wary of Driverless Cars, Even When Unaware of Fatal ‘Autopilot’ Crash (Morning Consult, 7/5)
A Morning Consult poll has found that, even though a plurality of respondents knew nothing about one of Tesla’s semi-autonomous vehicles being involved in a deadly crash, they are still wary about riding in one. Participants expressed concerns about glitches, human error, and other potential obstacles.
Tesla and Google Are Both Moving Toward Autonomous Vehicles. Which Company is Taking the Better Route? (Los Angeles Times, 7/3)
While Tesla prefers to improve their self-driving technology through a public beta version, Google looks to perfect their algorithms before putting passengers behind the wheel. After watching how quickly drivers were willing to relinquish all driving responsibility to a still-imperfect system, Google experts intend on making the autonomous technology “human-proof” before releasing cars on the road.
BMW, Mobileye and Intel are Building a Full Self-Driving Car For 2021 (TechCrunch, 7/1)
With the assistance of Mobileye and Intel, BMW intends on shipping out its first fully autonomous vehicle by 2021, promising a car for not only highway use, but for start-to-finish driver replacement. Test drives will begin next year, and once perfected the companies intend on sharing their technology platforms with other car manufacturers.
After a Fatal Tesla Crash, the Debate Over the Safety of Semi-Autonomous Technology Continues (Recode, 7/1)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into the first fatal car crash in a semi-autonomous vehicle, adding volume to the already contentious debate over the safety of self-driving vehicles. Concerns about distracted driving increasing with this technology, the potential for system failures, and ethical issues have all been raised, even as more manufacturers commit to producing autonomous vehicles.
The Technology Behind the Tesla Crash, Explained (The Washington Post, 7/1)
The autopilot technology at fault for a driver’s death in May has become the subject of much criticism and oft used as a evidence for skeptics of autonomous vehicles. This report explains the specifics of the accident and the system in question, looking to the future of Tesla’s program and the long-awaited self-driving vehicle in general.
Tech Industry Wants Trump Agenda (The Hill, 7/4)
Following the release of Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive tech platform, technology advocates and experts have turned their attention to her presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Calling for the presidential hopeful to “get in the game,” groups want to know Trump’s positions on issues important to the tech industry.
Technology Will Change Where We Live (TechCrunch, 7/2)
In a future where self-driving cars negate traffic, the Hyperloop provides transportation as quickly as 700 miles per hour, and virtual reality improves telecommunication, we could see a drastic shift in where people decide to live and work. If this becomes a reality, housing crisis areas like San Francisco have the potential to become a thing of the past.
Next Generation of Public Employees Must Understand Data and Policy (GovTech, 7/1)
As technology becomes an increasingly essential skill in the workforce, the next generation of public employees needs to be well-versed in using it. Individuals should aspire to be “tech-minded,” increasing both their value and potential, and companies should look to attract recruits like these, capable of spearheading change in both business and government.