US Policy

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Say Goodbye to App Stores

Two related items crossed my desktop today, either of which will seriously disrupt how developers use app stores to get their software to market. In the U.S., the Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on whether Apple can be sued by consumers for the markup it places on applications purchased through its​ App Store. Meanwhile, in the EU, Google is defending Android from charges that its licensing arrangements, which require device pre-loading of select Google apps, are anti-competitive. The overlap is that Google’s Android alternative is likely to mimic the closed ecosystem that has Apple under fire, and which might be open to class-action lawsuits from multiple directions.

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Guest Post: The GDPR deadline is coming fast! Is your back end ready?

For now, count yourself fortunate. The rules are limited to companies who have personal data of people from or in Europe. But don’t get complacent. With the recent news surrounding data security and privacy, the US may not be far behind in enacting data privacy laws of our own. But that’s a subject for another blog post, hopefully a little further down the road.

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Again, Legislation from Congress on H-1B Reform Fails

This week Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, introduced amendments to the Senate’s immigration legislation that target high-skilled workers. The amendments are part of a broader immigration reform package that’s pending in Congress and we’re glad high-skilled workers aren’t being overlooked in the process.

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What Developers Should Consider on Data Privacy Day

We encourage our members to take a closer look at their own data practices, not just in preparation for new regulations like GDPR, but for your long-term success. As you do this deep-dive, let us know if you have any best practices that you’d want to share for our data and trust project. Connect with us soon as we’re preparing materials to launch.

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Changes on the Horizon in 2018 for Foreign Workers

Earlier this year (and we’re only on day 11!) reports surfaced that the administration was planning to cut the option for H-1B renewals beyond six years, regardless of whether visa holders were in the application process for a permanent residency green card. This proposal is guided by Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative. Under the current framework, H-1B visa holders can apply for an extension up to six years (two, three year terms) and if they have a pending green card application, they can apply for an additional extension. 

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With great data, comes great responsibility

Those that have spent a few years watching how Washington works know the patterns Congress falls into. For instance, when Congress is struggling to find its legislative footing, there tends to be a flurry of hearings on complex but populist issues in an attempt to show THINGS ARE HAPPENING. So while it seems like all the oxygen in DC is taken up by the political circus, there are a few worrisome items appearing on the congressional agenda. Data, algorithms, and privacy are the ones developers should be watching closely.

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Working Permits for Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders in Jeopardy

Late last week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly announced plans to revoke H-4 visas. Since 2015, the H-4 visa has allowed spouses of H-1B visa holders seeking permanent residency to work in the U.S. This rule has especially benefited the tech community since many of the high-skilled H-1B visas are awarded to programmers, software engineers, and other high-skilled technology and IT professionals. 

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FTC Workshop Shows Gaps in Business-Consumer Data Relationship

Who’s to blame when data breaches, hackers, or developer mistakes cause harm in the real world? This is a topic we should all be thinking about, before courts and regulators start making up new rules or allocating the costs. This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted an all day workshop to examine consumer injury when it comes to data privacy and security. The four panels featured speakers from academia, policy, and public interest groups with diverse backgrounds – from data engineering and privacy to law and policy.

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What’s Next? Congress Holds Hearing on Companies’ Use of Consumer Data


When there’s gridlock in Washington, like we’ve seen for most of 2017, Congress reacts by holding hearings both to appear busy and to lay the foundation on policy priorities they’ll act upon once movement resumes. Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing focused on data. Data drives the digital economy and our members use it daily to reach and serve users. Changes to how it’s regulated will impact developers across the globe, how they build apps, work with platforms, and collect and use consumer information. If you’re a developer or rely on them to operate, you should be on alert and at the ready to ensure your ability to conduct business and innovate isn’t significantly hindered when Congress inevitably takes action on data.  

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