Washington Turns Up the Heat on Tech; Developers Alliance Responds in Effort to Protect Innovation 

The August and September US Policy Update

Developers Alliance Joins Broad Coalition Calling on Senate to Reject STOP CSAM Act

The Developers Alliance joined dozens of other industry associations, civil rights groups, and groups representing LGBT+ individuals and journalists in a letter identifying how the Senate’s STOP CSAM Act (S. 1199) will create more problems than it will solve, harming developers and internet users.

Said Geoff Lane, Head of U.S. Policy for the Developers Alliance:

“While well-intentioned, S. 1199 will only open up a can of worms for internet users and developers alike. The bill is certain to stifle free expression online as platforms remove content in an effort to comply with it. What’s more, the bill actually makes internet use less safe. Because end-to-end encryption will be curtailed, user data could be accessed by bad actors, government officials, platforms, and more. Finally, no developer signed up to serve as a platform gatekeeper, but this bill requires just that. We urge the Senate to reject the bill in its current form, and work to create legislation that fully protects internet users and the developers powering this important part of our economy.” 

Developers Alliance Submits Comments to the United States Federal Trade Commission on Facial Age Estimation Technology

Facial age estimation has the potential to be a safe, secure, and equitable avenue to protect minors online. The Developers Alliance supports innovations like these and encourages the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to nurture their growth through sandboxing and experimentation. 

Said Geoff Lane, Head of U.S. Policy for the Developers Alliance:

“Developers work hard to earn and keep their users’ trust, and that’s why we support the responsible deployment of facial age estimation technology. The technology has the potential to be more effective than current age verification models like credit cards, addresses, social security numbers, or birthdates. We urge the FTC to work with developers to nurture this nascent technology through sandboxing and experimentation to collect performance data and demonstrate effectiveness.”

Developers Alliance Joins Six Other High-Tech Organizations Calling on the White House to Defend American Workers from Harmful EU Protectionist Regulations

The European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA) targets highly successful American companies, harming innovation and job creation. The Developers Alliance joined six other leading tech organizations demanding that the White House stand up to their EU counterparts and push back against this harmful regulation.

Said Geoff Lane, Head of U.S. Policy for the Developers Alliance:

“Make no mistake, the Digital Markets Act was created with a single goal in mind: harm American companies to tilt the playing field in favor of their EU competitors. The digital economy has created an untold number of jobs and generated billions of dollars for the U.S. economy. We call on President Biden to quickly push back against this unfair regulation to protect American workers and our economy. We stand ready to work with him and his EU partners to ensure new regulations are crafted in a thoughtful manner that spurs innovation, job creation, and economic growth.”

Fall 2023: Regulating Tech

If you live inside the Brussels or DC bubble, you already know that regulating tech is the newest big thing. AI regulation in the US, EU, and now globally through the G20. Age verification and user identification are everywhere. Platform dis-assembly in the EU. And threats to encryption, AR/VR hearings, not to mention software CE marks, liability for software defects, and the ongoing pressure to make developers the front line in the online speech wars. Fun times.

So, DC, Brussels, London, Canberra and Ottawa need to be acknowledged in your project plan. Lucky for you, you have people advocating for you in exactly these places. What we need from you is for you to add your voice to the many who  are already fighting (for you) inside our community. Click here, and we’ll keep you informed of what’s going on and add your voice to the thousands of developers who  are already speaking out for our community.

Senate Panel Holds Nomination Hearing to Fill Vacant FTC Slots

The Senate Commerce Committee held a nomination hearing on September 20, 2023 to fill open roles at the Federal Trade Commission. Current FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter was renominated in early 2023 to continue in her role as commissioner. Melissa Holyoak and Andrew Ferguson were nominated for two vacant slots at the Commission. Holyoak serves as solicitor general in Utah, and Ferguson currently serves in the same role in Virginia. A number of important policy issues that the Developers Alliance is tracking came up. Notably, all three advocated for a federal privacy law, supported limitations to tech’s liability shield, and pledged to use existing laws to regulate AI. The nominations were approved by the Commerce Committee, and now head to the Senate floor for consideration. 

AI Serves as Punching Bag During Senate Hearing 

The Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law held a hearing on September 12, titled “Oversight of A.I.: Legislating on Artificial Intelligence. Testifying were William Dally of the NVIDIA Corporation, Brad Smith of Microsoft, and Woodrow Hartzog of the Boston University School of Law. The hearing was most noteworthy in that each of the witnesses acknowledged additional government intervention is likely needed in the AI arena. Dally said that while existing laws and regulations in the space were good, it was likely that additional steps would need to be taken to erect AI guardrails. For his part, Smith was supportive of the AI framework Senators Blumenthal (D-CT) and Hawley (R-MO) unveiled, and even signaled his approval for an AI licensing regime as well as a new government agency to oversee space. Finally, Hartzog was generally critical of AI’s deployment, citing bad actors who might abuse it, as well bias concerns around inputs. Among the concerns Senators on the panel flagged were mis/disinformation, election interference, and children’s online privacy. The Developers Alliance will continue to work with policymakers to ensure they understand the benefits of AI and the steps developers are taking to prevent harm. 

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By Geoff Lane

Policy Counsel & Head of US Policy Geoff Lane serves as the Developer Alliance’s head of U.S. policy. In this role he oversees the organization’s federal legislative and regulatory agenda as well as state-level efforts. Prior to joining the Developers Alliance in 2022, Geoff worked with senior Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. Since his time on Capitol Hill, he has held senior roles at various technology trade associations (including a previous stint at the Developers Alliance). At each stop he led efforts at the intersection of innovation and policy. He has worked on critical policy issues including privacy, encryption, patent reform, workforce development, corporate tax, tax nexus, and research and development. Geoff holds a B.A. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. When he is not working, you can find him booing all of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams. Geoff is based in Washington, D.C.

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