A bipartisan pair of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would prevent tech companies from amassing personal information about teenagers without their consent. The bill, introduced by outspoken tech critics Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), would prevent internet companies from targeting ads toward children and require the companies to provide more insight into how they collect and use children's data.
The bill instructs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to more equitably allocate funding for research with a focus on early childhood. The bill also directs NSF to support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in STEM activities, including computer science. The Building Blocks of STEM Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill, introduced jointly by Congresswoman Stevens and Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN) in the House of Representatives, alongside U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in the Senate.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday unveiled legislation that would create cybersecurity standards for internet-connected devices, often known as the “internet of things.” The bill, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and in the House by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), would require established standards for government use of the devices.
Major federal STEM education programs received steady or increased funding in its appropriation for fiscal year 2019. Congress rejected the proposed elimination of several Education Department grant programs and the education offices at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while significantly boosting the National Defense Education Program.
Congressional lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would re-instate open internet protections, known as net neutrality, nationwide and allow states to continue enforcing their own laws. The two-page “Save the Internet Act” would undo the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 vote to repeal net neutrality, a policy that required internet providers to treat all traffic the same, without speeding or slowing service to some sites over others.
Lawmakers have expressed concerns about the lack of diversity at tech companies, the use of facial recognition technology, discriminatory ads, the lack of rules for handling sensitive race data and how biased algorithms can lead to discrimination. “Tools like algorithms are being used to make decisions, like who gets a job or a loan, that deeply affect people’s lives,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is chairing the hearing, said in a joint statement.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced Monday that it has officially launched the National Quantum Coordination Office. The new office, a requirement for which was set out in the National Quantum Initiative Act that President Trump signed into law in December, will coordinate quantum efforts between agencies across the government.
Democrats in the U.S. Congress plan to unveil legislation on Wednesday to reinstate “net neutrality” rules that were repealed by the Trump administration in December 2017, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Pelosi told lawmakers in a letter that House Democrats, who won control of the chamber in the November 2018 elections, would work with their colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass the “Save The Internet Act.”
ITIF President Rob Atkinson testified before the Senate Small Business Committee on the issue of unfair Chinese trade and technology policies and practices and what the federal government should do in response. In his testimony, Rob discussed the importance of a new framework from Senator Rubio for how to think about the economic challenge from China, the nature of the economic challenge posed by “Made in China 2025” (MIC25), and components for more robust trade, innovation and competitiveness strategies, including to help small businesses.
Addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on prospects for global energy markets, Birol said the USA had been a leader in nuclear power technology for 60 years alongside France, Japan and Russia, but was set to be overtaken by China unless US policies change. Birol has testified in front of the committee for the last three years.