Media Outlets Cover Launch of McGuireWoods Consulting’s App Coalition

April 30, 2020

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This week, McGuireWoods Consulting launched the App Coalition to represent the interests of small and medium-sized app developers. Led by McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president, Gregory Guice, initial members include, Priceline, Kayak and OpenTable. The coalition will advocate on behalf of its member companies, including on issues related to the coronavirus.

A POLITICO Influence article noted that one of the coalition’s first priorities is convincing the Congress to include language in the next coronavirus relief bill allowing startups to receive small business loans even if larger investors hold stakes in them.

“With the pandemic we saw there was a more urgent need to go ahead and get launched and talk about this, the app economy and app developers, and how the relief efforts that are being constructed could be helpful to them,” Guice said.

Politico Pro also covered the launch, stating the coalition plans to wade into policy battles over data privacy and security, online content moderation and market competition from the perspective of small and medium-sized app developers who say they’re largely shut out of those conversations, even as people regularly look to apps for information, leisure and entertainment.

“When deals are being cut with regulators and lawmakers, we want to be a part of that discussion to ensure that it’s based in what we consider to be the most prominent and growing area of technology, which is the app economy,” said Michael Drobac, McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor and founding member of the coalition.  

Touting independence from Apple and Google, the App Coalition calls on Congress to recognize the multi-billion dollar app ecosystem remains vital as part of the overall efforts to restart and rebuild the economy, a Bloomberg article covering the launch stated.

Among the other policy issues the group plans to focus on are privacy and content moderation.

“The App Coalition plans to support laws that would spell out exactly what kind of data can be collected from users and how it can be used,” Guice said. “What we want to do is ensure that consumers that use our products, our apps are getting what they expect out of those and that involves privacy and data security practices.”

The McGuireWoods Consulting team has been forming the App Coalition for more than a year, but is now focused on how to help app companies help the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The Hill covered the coalition’s short and long-term goals in an April 29 article.

“As we look at how people are getting health care, it’s through telehealth and we’ve seen a lot of changes recently. Distance learning has been part of our everyday lives now. And we’re looking at how people are engaging in teleworking through apps that some had not even encountered,” Drobac said.

The coalition’s long-term goals include advocating for a uniform privacy regime, content moderation issues, mobile advertising issues and best data security practices. It will also push for a strong Section 230 defense, which refers to protections for internet platforms in the Communications Decency Act.

The launch of the new group speaks to the policy fissures among technology companies, especially when it comes to data security and privacy matters, a Roll Call article noted.

“We’re creating a space for dialog and discussion that isn’t going to be focused on the issues that affect the major tech platforms; by virtue of their size and scale, when one of these biggest walks into a room, the center of gravity moves to their side,” said Eric Silverberg, CEO of Perry Street Software and founding member of the coalition.

The App Coalition is planning a digital summit in June that would include member companies, prospective members and lawmakers, among others.