• February/March 2019

Working at the intersection of technology and policy

By Justin Bentaas
Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Innovation and regulation don't have to be enemies. As with most things, balance is key. The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce understands that, and we work diligently to bring business and government leaders together to find solutions that make sense for everyone.

The emerging intersection of technology and public policy is one example. Within the past year, the Chamber facilitated multiple conversations on this topic with stakeholders from all sides of the issue. This included a hosting meeting between Senator Rounds and local business leaders; organizing a roundtable discussion about 5G with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, Mayor Paul TenHaken and members of the Chamber's Young Professionals Network; and hosting our first Cybersecurity Conference.

...the Chamber facilitated conversations with stakeholders from all sides of the issue

We've also been out front of this issue in Pierre, lobbying for the best interests of our business community. Senate Bill 62–which was signed into law on March 21 of last year–requires businesses that hold certain information to notify, in the case of a data breach, any South Dakota resident whose personal or protected information has been affected. Though we can all agree that consumer protection is important, it is also important to protect our businesses. Through meetings with key elected officials, the Chamber was able to communicate the needs of our businesses in crafting this bill. The result was a bill that was equitable to both sides and passed unanimously through both the House and the Senate.

Fast forward to this year's legislative session. As of this writing, we are just a few weeks into the 2019 session and we've already seen bills addressing cybersecurity. Most of us are aware of–or possibly have been a victim of–card skimmers. These innocuous devices are typically installed on ATMs or gas pumps and used to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate transaction. The sponsors of House Bill 1050 are attempting to tackle this issue that impacts far too many consumers and businesses by proposing to make owning or possessing a scanning device or reencoder a Class 6 felony–punishable by up to two years in prison, a $4,000 fine, or both. As of this issue's publication date, the Chamber is closely watching this bill and exploring its implications for businesses.

We've also experienced this intersection of technology and policy at the local level. In January alone, City Council acted upon two futuristic items–drones and 5G technology. With drones, the Council amended a portion of the code of ordinances that regulated these remote aircraft devices. Previously, drones were banned (along with rockets, firecrackers, fireworks and guns) in city parks. However, it was brought to the Council's attention by a group of citizens that the City does not have the authority to regulate drones–that power that lies with the Federal Aviation Administration.

As for 5G, City Council approved a 10-year agreement that permits Verizon Wireless to install small cell equipment in the City right-of-way, parks, and other City-owned property. The fee associated with each installment includes a $500 initial application fee, $25 for a permit, and yearly renewal fee of $175. This ordinance paves the way for 5G small cell towers to be installed in Sioux Falls. Installation of the small cells is expected to start in mid-February with full consumer utilization still a year or two away.

The intersection of technology and policy will continue to evolve, and the Chamber will continue to make sure our business community's interests are heard. We also work to keep you informed of the conversations taking place and policies being considered. Please join us on April 18 for our second annual Cybersecurity Conference. And I encourage you to subscribe to the Chamber Advocate for the latest public policy news each week.

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