Connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in Washington are likely to pick up speed as 2021 rolls in. Indeed, a new presidential administration, new agency leadership, and a new Congress may drive new CAV regulation while also spurring innovation in an industry that many believe can enhance road safety, mobility, and accessibility. For instance, John Porcari, a Biden-Harris campaign advisor and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, recently indicated that transportation agencies under President Biden would prioritize innovation and technological change and adopt a federal framework for autonomous vehicles.

Lawmakers and regulators, furthermore, will have the opportunity to build on some of the initiatives that picked up speed during the fall of 2020, such as the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (H.R. 8350) (“SELF DRIVE Act”), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) AV TEST tool, and NHTSA’s request for comment on its proposed framework for Automated Driving Systems (“ADS”) safety. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) adoption of rules to modernize the 5.9 GHz Band could spur the deployment of CAV technology, and the new administration may reinvigorate inter-agency efforts to examine consumer data privacy and security issues posed by CAVs, as well as CAV-related developments in infrastructure. This post looks down the road ahead for CAV developments in Washington.
Continue Reading IoT Update: The Road Ahead for Connected and Automated Vehicle Developments in Washington

Since the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) repealed the 2015 net neutrality rules last year, federal and state lawmakers have debated how to address the issue of net neutrality going forward.  We previously have discussed some of the state net neutrality laws that were enacted, including California’s law, which currently is on hold pending the resolution of Mozilla Corp v. FCC, the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s order that repealed net neutrality rules.  Oral argument for this case was held in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on February 1, 2019.

Continue Reading Net Neutrality Update: House Hearing and Proposed Legislation

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to apply net neutrality rules to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) operating in that state.  California is not the first state to enact legislation on net neutrality, but its bill contains the most stringent requirements yet.  The Trump Administration and multiple ISPs have sued to prevent the new law from going into effect, arguing that it conflicts with federal law.  The first hearing on the legal challenge will take place on November 14.

Continue Reading California Adopts Net Neutrality Law; Court Hearing Scheduled for Nov. 14

On Friday August 24, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register: The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (“Proposed Rule”).  83 Fed. Reg. 42817.

The long-anticipated rulemaking has garnered media attention for its proposed measures to indefinitely freeze fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards, and to strip California’s long-held authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own tailpipe emissions rules.  EPA’s decision to reconsider its own determination that the previous standards were appropriate as set through the year 2025 has been challenged in court by eighteen states, private parties, and environmental NGOs.

But another set of stakeholders may be interested in the rule: autonomous and connected vehicles manufacturers and parts suppliers.


Continue Reading Covington AI/IoT Update: EPA and NHTSA Seek Comment on Autonomous and Connected Vehicles

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing this week to discuss the State of Modern Application, Research, and Trends of IoT Act (SMART IoT Act). This proposed legislation would direct the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a comprehensive study of the IoT industry and Federal agencies with jurisdiction over the IoT industry, as well as all IoT regulations and policies implemented by those agencies. The SMART IoT Act would also require the Secretary of Commerce to produce a report to Congress within one year of the bill’s enactment, detailing the results of the study and recommendations for enabling the secure growth of IoT.  Although this legislation has not yet been formally introduced, the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection has published the bill’s full text as well as a summary.

Three witnesses testified:

  • Tim Day, Senior Vice President, Chamber Technology Engagement Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce;
  • Michelle Richardson, Deputy Director, Freedom, Security, and Technology Project, Center for Democracy and Technology; and
  • Dipti Vachani, Vice President, Internet of Things Group, General Manager, Platform Management and Customer Engineering, Intel Corporation

At the hearing, the SMART IoT Act drew broad support from all of the witnesses as well as from members on both sides of the aisle. However, there were differing opinions regarding the focus of the study called for by the SMART IoT Act, as well as the next steps that Congress should take with respect to IoT.
Continue Reading IoT Update: Congress Hears Testimony on IoT Legislation

As policymakers weigh the many policy implications associated with the Internet of Things (“IoT”), U.S. lawmakers have put forward a variety of proposals for studying—and regulating—IoT devices. Although the likelihood of current proposals becoming law this term remain uncertain at best, existing legislative proposals provide important context and insight into the ways that lawmakers view IoT and the government’s role in fostering and regulating the technology.

Below, we summarize five draft bills in the U.S. that approach IoT from different perspectives—including seeking to develop IoT technologies, imposing contractual requirements on companies that provide IoT devices to the government, regulating specific security standards, and creating new resources for consumers to better understand the security and reliability of their IoT devices.
Continue Reading Covington IoT Update: U.S. Legislative Roundup on IoT

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has just released a 75-page Green Paper on Modernising Consumer Markets, setting out the Government’s main priorities for the digital economy in a post-Brexit Britain. The Green Paper reflects on the current state of consumer markets and regulation, and lays down the key challenges and opportunities which will be the focus of the UK’s regulatory and competitive framework going forward. This poses consultation questions to stakeholders on hot topics in digital markets, including questions on: the adequacy of the current competition rules and privacy protections, supporting consumer-friendly innovation, use of and access to big data, whether personalised pricing should be regulated, sufficiently protecting customers without stifling innovation, and alternative dispute resolution solutions.

It also includes various proposals to ensure new technology and data are used to benefit customers, strengthen national enforcement of consumer rights, modernise the approach taken by regulators, and improve consumers’ access to alternative dispute resolution services. In this Covington blog post, we explore some of the key messages and questions posed by the Green Paper.


Continue Reading The UK Government Seeks Views on the Regulation of Digital Markets for a Post-Brexit Great Britain

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted along party lines to adopt a 210-page Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” or “Order”) geared towards overhauling the net neutrality framework established during the Obama administration in 2015 (the “2015 Order”).  On February 22nd, the Order was officially published in the Federal Register — kicking off the period for filing of court challenges to the FCC’s decision and for efforts by Democrats in Congress to signal dissent through passing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.

Against the backdrop of these actions at the federal level, for the past few months several states have taken matters into their own hands and begun proposing their own ways to restore the 2015 Order’s net neutrality rules within their borders.  Such efforts, even if successful at the state level, will likely be met in the courts by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order’s explicit statement that the Order preempts all “inconsistent state and local regulations.” 
Continue Reading States Battle to Resurrect Net Neutrality Rules