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FTC Counsels Privacy-By-Design But Enforces by “Gotcha”

For years the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banged the “privacy-by-design” drum – telling developers to build privacy into their apps and services – and avoided “gotcha” cases. But its latest action against Nomi Technologies (Nomi) suggests a change of heart.

Nomi embraced privacy-by-design. It built an in-store tracking technology with a universal opt-out for customers – an online opt-out used by hundreds of consumers. And Nomi avoided collecting any personal information about customers, recording only the MAC address of a device and immediately hashing the address so devices couldn’t be identified outside of Nomi’s system. This is the kind of “privacy-by-design” the FTC has been counseling companies to adopt since 2012.

But rather than crediting Nomi for its privacy-by-design technology, the FTC chose to prosecute Nomi for a non-material error in their privacy policy. Read more

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Latest Internet sales tax proposal: From bad to worse (The Hill OpEd)

When congressional allies of major retailers began advocating that a complicated nationwide Internet sales tax be imposed, it was a bad idea that Congress rightly rejected. Now they’ve come back with a modified version of their Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) – but doubling down on a bad idea doesn’t make it better; it’s still bad policy.

The argument against the Internet sales tax is simple: we shouldn’t empower tax collectors to try to force small businesses to collect sales tax for what could be 10,000 local jurisdictions, and file returns with 46 states. It would drown small businesses in red tape and leave them open to tax auditors from nearly every state.

Now, in an effort to reignite the debate, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is floating an amended MFA that would only complicate matters further.

READ MORE at The Hill

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Steve DelBianco Speaks at Techonomy Policy Event on ICANN

Today’s Internet is in jeopardy as a global system. Post-Snowden, governments increasingly diverge on what kind of Internet ought to operate in their country. This is alarming to those who believe that how the unitary Net works has led to stunning economic progress and business transformation for everyone. Fadi Chehadé, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Steve DelBianco, NetChoice Miriam Sapiro, Summit Strategies International & The Brookings Institution Moderator: Gordon Goldstein

Watch the Video

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When Airlines Hide their Prices We Pay an Extra $6 Billion

It’s no secret that competition in the market drives down consumer prices. But what if consumers can’t easily compare prices? Well according to a new study from Travel Tech, the reverse is true – prices go up.

The study found that if travelers can only get ticket prices and schedules from the airlines alone, it would cost consumers over $6 billion per year and 41 million travelers would be priced-out of flying. In essence, without the one-stop-shop for price comparison that Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak offer, we would pay more for our tickets. Read more

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Governor’s veto puts Virginians’ safety first

Historically, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been tough on crime and placed a priority on the safety and well-being of its citizens. Virginia has strict laws regarding violent offenses like burglary, murder and sexual assault — without placing a statute of limitations on investigators and prosecutors trying to solve these crimes.

Virginia’s record of protecting its citizens continued when Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently vetoed legislation that would have greatly diminished the ability for Virginia law enforcement to solve crimes.

Senate Bill 965 and House Bill 1673 would have placed extreme limits on the ability of Virginia law enforcement to use all the tools available to serve and protect Virginians. The bills restricted law-enforcement use of license-plate-reader (LPR) data that is more than 7 days old — meaning any criminal investigation that is more than a week old will be much harder to pursue and prosecute.

READ MORE at Richmond Times Dispatch

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iAWFUL Legislation 2015: Death, Taxes and Trade Secrets

iAWFUL Legislation 2015: Death, Taxes and Trade Secrets

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2015 — They say nothing is life is guaranteed except death and taxes. But now state legislators around the country are trying to open your private communications after you die, turn Internet retailers into tax tattle tales, and force trade secrets to be revealed to unauthorized repair shops.

Many pieces of legislation across the country were worthy of review, but only seven were deemed iAWFUL enough by NetChoice to make the latest version of the association’s ranking of state and federal bills that limit competition, innovation and customer choice. (iAWFUL.com) Read more