Communications Decency Act, PLAN Act

While Congress remains in recess, Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) sent a letter to colleagues this week seeking support for draft legislation aimed at reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act so that short-term rental marketplaces can be held liable for listings in jurisdictions that have banned such rental properties. Case asked the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month to review the matter, arguing that Section 230 shields platforms from penalties for knowingly listing properties they know to be illegal. He intends to introduce the Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods (PLAN) Act when Congress returns to Washington in September.

Cybersecurity of Internet-Connected Cars

Today, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Administrator Heidi King expressing concerns about the cybersecurity of internet-connected cars and asking for information on any steps NHTSA has taken to address such vulnerabilities. Markey and Blumenthal reintroduced legislation last month that would direct NHTSA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards for security and privacy in “increasingly computerized vehicles.” King is leaving the agency at the end of the month; Department of Transportation Deputy General Counsel James Owens will take the helm after her departure.

Technology Policy Institute’s Annual Forum

FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim were among those who spoke this week in Aspen at the Technology Policy Institute’s annual forum. During his panel, Delrahim said that while Section 230 has “nothing to do with antitrust,” it would be appropriate to review it in the context of today’s internet. He also said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has contacted companies subject to its recently announced investigation into the practices of market-leading online platforms and suggested the Department might soon “be issuing compulsory process on some third parties” as part of its inquiry.

Colwell Joins White House as Special Adviser to the President on Technology, Telecommunications and Cybersecurity

Meanwhile, former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chief Counsel Robin Colwell joined the White House this week as a special adviser to the President on technology, telecommunications, and cybersecurity issues. She also replaces Gail Slater on the National Economic Council.

National Space Council Meeting

On Tuesday, President Trump hosted Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House for a bilateral meeting while Vice President Pence spoke at a National Space Council meeting, where he announced that the new United States Space Command will formally launch next week under the leadership of Four-star Air Force General John Raymond.

Hickenlooper, Inslee Drop from 2020 Race

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2020. Gardner sits on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, among other assignments. Hickenlooper recently dropped out of the Democratic presidential primary field. Washington Governor Jay Inslee also dropped out of the presidential race this week and will instead run for reelection.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.