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Jennifer Johnson is a partner specializing in communications, media and technology matters who serves as co-chair of Covington’s global and multi-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT) group. She represents and advises content distributors, broadcast companies, trade associations, and other media and technology entities on a wide range of issues. Jennifer has more than two decades of experience advising clients in the communications, media and technology sectors, and has served as a co-chair for these practices for more than 15 years. On IoT issues, she collaborates with Covington's global, multi-disciplinary team to assist companies navigating the complex statutory and regulatory constructs surrounding this evolving area, including legal issues with respect to connected and autonomous vehicles, internet connected devices, smart ecosystems, and other IoT products and services.

Jennifer assists clients in developing and pursuing strategic business and policy objectives before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress and through transactions and other business arrangements. She regularly advises clients on FCC regulatory matters and advocates frequently before the FCC. Jennifer has extensive experience negotiating content acquisition and distribution agreements for media and technology companies, including program distribution agreements with cable, satellite, and telco companies, network affiliation and other program rights agreements for television companies, and agreements providing for the aggregation and distribution of content on over-the-top app-based platforms. She also assists investment clients in structuring, evaluating, and pursuing potential investments in media and technology companies.

On five consecutive Wednesdays beginning on September 2nd, the ABA will hold its 5th Annual IoT Institute, together with a session called Data, Data Everywhere, and Not a Chance to Think, addressing the intersection of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Covington was scheduled to host the IoT

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asked for comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Consumer Technology Association (“CTA”) that proposes to modify the FCC’s device authorization rules to allow the importation and conditional, preauthorization marketing and sales of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices that have not yet been approved under the FCC’s rules.  The deadline for filing comments supporting or opposing the petition is July 9, 2020.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Considering Changes to Device Rules

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the digital transition and the adoption of artificial intelligence (“AI”) tools and Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices in many areas of society. While there has been significant focus on leveraging this technology to fight the pandemic, the technology also will have broader and longer-term benefits. As the New York Times has explained, “social-distancing directives, which are likely to continue in some form after the crisis subsides, could prompt more industries to accelerate their use of automation.”

For businesses proceeding with reopenings over the coming weeks and months, and for sectors that have continued to operate, AI and IoT technologies can greatly improve the way they manage their operations, safely engage with customers, and protect employees during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. But businesses also should take steps to ensure that their use of AI and IoT technologies complies with the evolving legal requirements that can vary based on several factors, including the industry sector where the technology is deployed and the jurisdiction where it is used. Businesses also will want to have mechanisms in place to help ensure that the technology is used appropriately, including appropriate oversight and workforce training and other measures.


Continue Reading Return to Workplace Considerations for Businesses Using AI and IoT Technologies

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both speed bumps and accelerants for connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in the United States.  In our Quarterly Update earlier this month, we covered recent legislative and regulatory activity around CAVs, both specifically targeted efforts and those impacting AI and IoT technologies generally.  Although some CAV legislative efforts have been sidelined due to the government’s focus on COVID-19, the pandemic is incentivizing policymakers at the federal and state levels to support CAV-related initiatives.

Continue Reading IoT Update: COVID-19 Drives Forward Connected and Automated Vehicle Legislative and Regulatory Efforts

Yesterday, with vocal support from fellow Commissioner Brendan Carr, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a draft Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“DR” and “NPRM”) to promote the use of broadcast spectrum for internet services (referred to by the FCC as “Broadcast Internet”). The full, five-member Commission will vote on adoption of the DR and NPRM at the agency’s next monthly public meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

Continue Reading FCC Proposes Spectrum Leasing to Promote Use of Broadcast Spectrum for Internet Services

With all the current excitement around emerging high-tech autonomous vehicles and internet of things (IoT) devices, it may surprise some observers that around 20 years ago the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at Congress’s direction, was already taking some important steps with respect to these technologies.  Most notably, the FCC set aside the 5.9 GHz band, which is a swath of highly-valued mid-band spectrum, for vehicle related communications and transportation safety features.  At that time, the FCC pursued Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) as the standard to develop critical safety services, but over time, similar technologies outside of the 5.9 GHz band have developed.  More recently, a number of manufacturers and developers have been focused on a new technology called Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X), which proponents argue should be the standard going forward.

The FCC has decided to weigh in on the issues in the 5.9 GHz band in a draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to be voted on at its December 12 Commission Open Meeting.  The 5.9 GHz band has been a political issue subject to disagreements among the FCC, Department of Transportation, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, regarding the best path forward, which technologies should be pursued, and whether there is enough spectrum that can safely be shared among different use cases. 
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Proposes New Spectrum Plan for Vehicle Safety and Unlicensed Uses

Last week, Covington dispatched a team of connected and automated vehicles (“CAV”) practitioners to participate in the Mcity Congress, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Lawyers from our Technology and IP Transactions, Public Policy, Product Safety and Liability, and Insurance practice groups presented a series of observations and insights around mitigating liability in the CAV industry, and we saw first-hand what’s happening at the cutting edge of CAV technology.
Continue Reading IoT Update: Who’s at the Wheel? Connected and Automated Vehicles Stakeholders Weigh In from the Mcity Congress