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Spring 2014 iAWFUL List – Consumers in the Crosshairs

Twice a year, the team releases an updated iAWFUL list. The list provides a concise collection of both active and proposed legislation that would present a significant non-market barrier to Internet commerce.

This year’s list is full of legislative efforts run amok. As legislators and regulators fall over themselves in a race to regulate Internet services, many are doing more harm than good. In many cases unfamiliarity with technology or misinformation is driving action.

Data breaches and privacy concerns have whipped elected officials into action, but as the 2014 iAWFUL list finds, elected officials are making things worse. Read more

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How Russia and China could take over the internet!

How Russia and China could take over the internet!

Kevin Murphy, April 7, 2014, 13:42:49 (UTC), Domain Policy

Do governments have too much potential power over ICANN, and do they need reining in before the US cuts itself loose?

It’s a question that’s emerging given the recent decision of the United States government to remove itself from stewardship of the domain name system root zone.

The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration may have no intention of allowing other governments to replace it as overseer of the IANA functions, but that doesn’t mean that governments won’t be able to abuse their powers in future under ICANN’s existing structures. Read more

MountainPass

The Path Forward: Accountability Through the IANA Transition

It’s clear that the US government is intent on dropping its legacy contractual role for the IANA functions. Whatever your views on the wisdom or timing of that decision, the challenge now is to ensure that the transition leaves ICANN in the best possible position to succeed.

Arriving yesterday to the island nation of Singapore felt strangely appropriate. Over the past week I’ve been one of the lonely people in the ICANN community to express concern about the US government’s decision…

READ MORE at Circle ID

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Rewriting the future of Internet governance

Americans created, built, and advanced the Internet, while leading the effort to protect it from censorship or discriminatory taxes and regulation.  But now the U.S. government is releasing a big part of its stewardship role, leaving it to others to chart a path that keeps the Internet secure, stable, and successful.

Last week the Commerce Department announced that it would relinquish control of its contractual authority over the Internet’s global addressing system.   Continue Reading

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Changing the Conversation about Fairness in Internet Taxation

Earlier today we had the opportunity to present members of Congress with a workable alternative to the unfair and unconstitutional Internet sales tax measure that was rammed through the Senate last year. Other witnesses were given the same opportunity, so it’s a shame they didn’t make the most of it.

Last year, the House Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Goodlatte, took on the daunting challenge of trying to repair the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), a broken bill that emerged from the broken process of the US Senate, who failed to hold a single hearing and then blocked all floor amendments.

The House Judiciary committee’s first response to this challenge was to publish principles to guide any effort to overturn today’s standard, where every business must pay sales tax for any state where it has a physical presence.    The good news is that these principles were sensible, smart and workable. The bad news is that the bill passed by the Senate violated every single one of them.

Which brings us to today’s hearing, titled, “Exploring alternative solutions on the Internet sales tax issue”.   While the Senate bill can’t even meet the basic principles of fairness, neutrality, simplicity and constitutionality, the House knew it was time to entertain approaches that might actually work.

For our part, we offered an alternative called Home Rule and Revenue Return.  It would treat all businesses the same, whether brick-and-mortar, catalog, or online, subjecting each to the rates, rules, and audits in only the states where they are located.  Our alternative requires sellers to collect sales tax on remote sales using their home rules, then returns that tax revenue to states where purchasers reside.  And our alternative meets all of the Committee principles.

Unfortunately, some other hearing witnesses used their time today trying to revive the old conversation about Internet sales tax, rather than contributing to the new one. Read more