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US: FCC, FTC Chairs to talk tech policy at CES

 |  January 6, 2020

A large number of senior government officials will visit the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an annual tech industry event held in Las Vegas, according to a report by Reuters.

The officials will visit in the midst of an interesting time for tech, when many government agencies are investigating the big four tech companies — Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon— over potential antitrust and anti-competition practices.

Both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking into the tech companies.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, White House adviser Ivanka Trump and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios will be among the 150 government officials expected to participate.

Few officials visit CES, with only one typically attending in previous years and none last year due to a government shutdown.

CES will run Jan.7-10, and more than 175,000 visitors and 4,500 companies are expected to attend, as well as present new technologies in cars, airplanes and batteries.

The current administration said technology is a good way to boost employment in the country, and it’s actively working to make it easier for technologies like self-driving cars and drones to be able to operate.

Most of the Big Tech companies skip the event in favor of holding their own events.

There are plans for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to hold fireside chats, and other FTC and FCC commissioners are planning to attend.

Elena Hernandez, the spokeswoman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said Kratsios is expected to discuss the national plan for artificial intelligence (AI), which was started in 2018.

“Recognizing the significance of technology on the American workforce, our national security, and the U.S. economy, the [President Donald] Trump administration continues to make leadership in the cutting-edge industries of the future a top priority,” Hernandez said.