Last week, Dogtown Media and other key members of ACT – The App Association stayed in Washington, D.C. for an extra day of meetings after the official close of AppCon 2017. We posted a little about their meeting with the FCC last Wednesday, but we thought it would be of interest to mobile app developers to see what was discussed behind closed doors in a little more detail so that they know what policies the App Association is pushing for the mobile app community.
The session took place at FCC headquarters with Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and Erin McGrath, his adviser on wireless, public safety, and international legal matters. As mentioned last week, one of the primary topics of discussion was opening up more wireless spectrum and scaling back regulatory obstacles to much-needed 5G infrastructure. In order for the $143 billion app economy to continue to thrive, app developers require a great deal of high speed wireless broadband. The App Association called for the FCC to take an active role in beefing up internet infrastructure. By some estimates, a 5G infrastructure project could potentially create 3 million jobs and boost America’s annual GDP by $500 billion.
During the meeting Dogtown and our colleagues brought up another issue that has been a major concern for Los Angeles mobile app developers: the privacy of consumers using broadband and other telecommunications services (so, in essence, most consumers). Now that ISPs are classified as “common carriers,” their privacy rules are under the FCC’s jurisdiction rather than Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s). The discrepancy between the FCC and FTC’s separate privacy policies leaves consumers in vulnerable position and creates legal uncertainty for small app developing companies. The App Association has asked the FCC to align their privacy rules with the FTC’s to minimize confusion not just for the consumer and tech companies, but for the ISPs as well.
The last issue on the table with Commissioner O’Rielly and McGrath was a somewhat obscure matter involving a complaint from the National Association of State 911 Adminstrators (NASNA) related to issues with various emergency apps for smartphones. The major takeaway here is that the App Association has asked that the Commission leave app-related matters to the FTC, reminding the FCC of its claim that “it has no intent to regulate edge providers.”
The tech community has had a rocky relationship with the FCC as of late, so Dogtown was thrilled to be able to speak face-to-face with officials from the Commission about how its policies affect the app economy —
and hopefully find a little common ground. If the FCC takes the App Association’s suggestions seriously, the booming app industry can continue to innovate and grow the American economy, as well as enhance just about every facet of our lives.