Kristen Salas Mationg
On March 10th, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed practically overnight, followed only two days later by the collapse of Signature Bank. Prior to its collapse, SVB uniquely served a single category of customers – start-ups. As the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis, SVB’s bankruptcy resulted in significant consequences for the tech industry. While SVB has since been acquired by First Citizens BancShares, the House Financial Services Committee is currently seeking answers from both regulators and SVB executives about how such a failure could have occurred and how to prevent it from happening again.
On February 16, 2023, the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of Commerce (DoC) announced the launch of the Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Matthew Axelrod, the Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement in the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the strike force will bring together various agencies throughout the government, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and 14 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, to “target illicit actors, strengthen supply chains and protect critical technological assets from being acquired or used by nation-state adversaries”.
On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a proposal to ban employers from the use of non-compete agreements with their workers. The FTC’s motivation behind the proposed rule is the protection of American workers, with the regulatory agency stating that non-compete agreements restrict about one in five American workers – about 30 million people. Additionally, the agency estimated that the rule could increase wages by $250 to $296 billion a year across the economy. Since seeking public comment on the ban, the FTC’s broad non-compete proposal has been met with both support and criticism.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Dobbs), the US Supreme Court ruled that abortion is not a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. This decision resulted in additional abortion protections in California, Michigan, and Vermont, and prompted many patients, providers, regulators, and tech companies to rethink data privacy. However, because most abortions are still banned in at least 13 states, this patchwork of state abortion laws, combined with the lack of any sufficient national privacy law, puts patient privacy at risk.
It’s no secret that companies like Google, Alpha, Meta, and Twitter use and sell our data. However, in recent years, the content that companies display to us while we use their platform, from the ads we see to the websites that we find on search engines, has become a major contentious issue. While Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields Big Tech and other online platforms from liability for user-generated content, the Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear Gonzalez v. Google. The outcome of this case could have a huge impact on tech policy and could fundamentally change the type of content that we see online.
While over 10 years have passed since Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced Bitcoin, digital currencies continue to remain unregulated by financial authorities despite a number of challenges that have plagued consumers and the government: the Silk Road, fraud, and various other financial crimes. Additionally, many consumers invest in cryptocurrencies because they are not controlled by any central government monetary policies. However, cryptocurrency investors are also at risk of their money losing its value when the market takes a tumble, as evidenced by the recent current cryptocurrency downturn. Despite these continued challenges, imposing regulations on cryptocurrencies has proven to be difficult. Until President Biden’s Executive Order, issued on March 9th of this year, the White House steered clear of recognizing digital assets as a valid form of currency. The President’s Order explicitly recognized the need for research and policy implementation across various government agencies in order to shape the way cryptocurrencies are regulated.