For the tech world, New Hampshire is anyone’s race – Politico

Posted: February 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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With help from John Hendel, Cristiano Lima, Leah Nylen and Katy Murphy

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If Sanders wins in New Hampshire: If the polls hold true, the tech world may see a ton more heat from the Vermont senator, who has long been critical of tech giants market power and labor practices.

Trumps 2021 funding requests: President Donald Trumps 2021 budget proposal would give big funding boosts to artificial intelligence and quantum computing, as well as the Commerce Departments NTIA and the Justice Departments antitrust division, but not to the FTC or FCC.

Bipartisanship at risk?: House Judiciarys Republican leaders say recent comments from the Democratic chairman about Silicon Valley giants threatens the panels tech antitrust probe, a rare point of bipartisanship in a hotly divided Congress.


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WHAT NEW HAMPSHIRE MEANS FOR TECH A week after winning the most votes in Iowa, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is polling first in New Hampshire, with Pete Buttigieg a close-second. (Further behind, and mostly neck-and-neck, are Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar.) What could this mean for the tech world? Just about anything.

But if the Vermont senator prevails in tonights Democratic presidential primary, we can expect to hear more of his usual anti-Amazon commentary (Sanders has repeatedly criticized Amazons labor practices and complained that the online giant pays zero in taxes); more break up big tech talk (Sanders has said he would absolutely look to break up tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook); and more attacks on corporate power and influence (he has proposed taxing tech giants based on how big a gap exists between the salaries of their CEOs and their mid-level employees).

Several prime tech policy issues are also fair game: Sanders criminal justice reform plan includes a ban on law enforcements use of facial recognition technology, and he has spoken out about tech's legal liability shield, Section 230 debates that are playing out (often, with fireworks) at the federal level. (Further reading in POLITICO Magazine: Is it Bernies Party Now?)

Plus: Could New Hampshire be the next Iowa? State and local election officials running this primary without apps (voters will cast their ballots on paper, which in some cases will be counted by hand) say no. POLITICOs Eric Geller provides the birds-eye view.

Heres everything you need to know about the 2020 race in New Hampshire.

BUDGET DISPATCH: HUGE JUMP FOR DOJ ANTITRUST, NO BIG CHANGES FOR FCC AND FTC The White House on Monday rolled out its fiscal year 2021 funding requests, including a proposed 71 percent bump in congressional spending on the Justice Departments antitrust division an increase that, as Leah reports, is another indicator that the agency is serious about its pending investigations into tech giants like Google and Facebook. (It would also allow the agency to hire 87 additional staffers.)

In contrast, the FCC and FTC arent requesting any big changes in their funding or staffing. The FCC is seeking $343 million, up 1.2 percent from its 2020 funding level, while the FTC is asking for a little over $330 million, which is about $800,000 less than its current funding. The FCC noted its on track to move to its new Washington headquarters in June, while FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, a Democrat, objected to the request for her agency, saying in a statement that it does not accurately reflect the funding the FTC needs to protect consumers and promote competition.

Artificial intelligence and quantum computing would also receive big funding boosts under the budget proposal, Nancy reports. So would the Commerce Departments NTIA, to help prepare the agency for 5G and other technological changes, as John reported for Pros.

IS THE BIPARTISAN TECH ANTITRUST PROBE IN JEOPARDY? The House Judiciary Committees investigation into competition in the tech sector which garnered rare bipartisan momentum in a hotly divided Congress could now be in trouble. On Monday night, the committees Republican leaders criticized Democratic Chairman Jerry Nadlers recent remarks railing against the power of Silicon Valley giants, writing in a letter that Nadlers comments "have jeopardized" the panel's "ability to perform bipartisan work." Spokespeople for Nadler did not offer comment. A Cicilline spokesperson declined comment.

The dust-up marks the first major sign of fracturing between House Judiciary Republicans and Democrats over their bipartisan investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct in the tech industry a probe widely seen as one of Silicon Valleys biggest threats on Capitol Hill, Cristiano reports in a new dispatch. The dispute could threaten the push to advance bipartisan antitrust legislation in the House, something House Judiciary antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has said the committee plans to do early this year.

T-MOBILE-SPRINT WIN T-Mobile and Sprint can merge, a federal judge is expected to rule today, rejecting a challenge by California, New York and other state attorneys general, Leah reports. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero is expected to release his hotly anticipated decision on the $26.2 billion telecom megadeal later this morning.

FCCS FUTURE-OF-WORK FOCUS Amazon, AT&T, Walmart, LinkedIn and Postmates are among the tech companies expected at a future-of-work event today that Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks is hosting at the agencys headquarters.

The public roundtable will address the same kinds of issues that several Democratic presidential candidates have raised, such as concerns about AIs effect on labor economies. Issues of #5G, #InternetInequality, automation & education are colliding in ways that will impact all Americans, Starks wrote on Twitter. Eager to host this important policy discussion!

CCPA UPDATE: GET ME REWRITE! California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday published a business-friendly tweak to his proposed Privacy Act regulations, a change that his office said had been inadvertently omitted from a revised draft unveiled on Friday.

Only businesses that collect, sell or share the information of at least 10 million Californians per year thats about 1 in 4 residents would have to report annual statistics about CCPA requests and how quickly they responded to privacy-minded consumers, under the change. That threshold was originally 4 million.

The update will come as a relief to companies that no longer need to pull back the curtain on their Privacy Act responsiveness. Its also good news for procrastinators, as the new deadline for submitting comments on the AGs rules was pushed back a day to Feb. 25.

TECH QUOTE DU JOUR Senate Judiciary antitrust Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered colorful praise on Monday for Sen. Josh Hawleys (R-Mo.) proposal to have the Justice Department absorb the FTC, a plan aimed in part at addressing concerns over the FTCs enforcement of antitrust standards in the technology sector.

Having two federal agencies in charge of enforcing antitrust law makes as much sense as having two popes, Lee told MT in an emailed statement. This is an issue weve had hearings on in the Judiciary Committee and I think Sen. Hawley has identified a productive and constitutionally sound way forward. (Hawleys proposal swiftly drew pushback from one industry group, NetChoice, which said it would make political abuse more likely.")

The state of play: Some Republicans in the GOP-led Senate now want to reduce the number of regulators overseeing competition in the digital marketplace. A small contingent of House Democrats wants to create a new federal enforcer to police online privacy. But a vast majority of the discussions happening on Capitol Hill around those issues have so far focused on ways to empower the FTC, not downgrade it.

Mike Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television, is joining Amazon as a senior vice president overseeing Amazons Prime video platform and movie and television studios.

AB 5 blow: Uber and Postmates on Monday lost the first round in their challenge to Californias new worker classification law, POLITICO reports.

Uber IPO fallout: As tax season begins, some of Uber's earliest employees are realizing they had little idea how their stock grants worked and are now grappling with the fallout on their tax bills after last May's disappointing IPO, Protocol reports.

JEDI latest: Amazon wants Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to testify in its lawsuit against the Pentagon over the award of the multibillion-dollar JEDI cloud computing contract to Microsoft, POLITICO reports.

ICYMI: Federal prosecutors announced charges Monday against four Chinese intelligence officers for hacking the credit-reporting giant Equifax in one of the largest data breaches in history, POLITICO reports.

Facebook ad tracker: New Hampshire saw more than $1 million in Facebook spending in the month leading up to todays presidential primary, Zach Montellaro reports for Pros.

Can privacy be a piece of cake?: A privacy app called Jumbo presents a startling contrast to the maze of privacy controls presented by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, Protocol reports heres how it works, and how it plans turn a buck.

Virus watch: Following Amazons lead, Sony and NTT are pulling out of this months Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as a precaution during the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

In profile: Zapata Computing, a startup that creates software for quantum computers by avoiding as much as possible actually using a quantum machine, Protocol reports.

Out today: Alexis Wichowski, New York Citys deputy chief technology director and a professor at Columbias School of International and Public Affairs, is out today with The Information Trade: How Big Tech Conquers Countries, Challenges Our Rights, and Transforms Our World, a book published by HarperCollins.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Send them along via email to our team: Bob King (, @bkingdc), Mike Farrell (, @mikebfarrell), Nancy Scola (, @nancyscola), Steven Overly (, @stevenoverly), John Hendel (, @JohnHendel), Cristiano Lima (, @viaCristiano), Alexandra S. Levine (, @Ali_Lev), and Leah Nylen (, @leah_nylen).


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For the tech world, New Hampshire is anyone's race - Politico

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February 12th, 2020 at 5:43 pm

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