online-travel-user

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

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Times Union – New York Lawmakers OK Budget Bill But Reject Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Proposals

Times Union – New York Lawmakers OK Budget Bill But Reject Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Proposals (NetChoice Oped)

As the song says about New York, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” But if the state budget includes a new sales tax mandate, online marketplaces may not make it in New York – or anywhere else, for that matter.

Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay enable small producers and specialty retailers to reach customers across the country who might never visit their factories or stores. From handmade crafts to custom clothing to specialty tools, online marketplaces are empowering small businesses and meeting consumer demand.

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The Hill – Online educational legislation could strand students

The Hill – Online educational legislation could strand students

As a parent I want to protect my son.  I could try and protect him from the world by hiding him on a proverbial “island” devoid of online connectivity.  I would unplug the Internet and take away all the mobile devices.  This would isolate him from potential harms.  At the same time it would deprive him of all the benefits of a connected education and tools that help him grow.  In the end, it’s all about striking the right balance.

Laws protecting students must also seek to strike the same balance between safety and growth – between isolation and discovery.  Unfortunately, the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act (SDPPRA) of 2015 misses this balance.  Through overly proscriptive language, SDPPRA retreads existing law while shackling educational innovation.

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Privacy fears slaying serious conversation

We’ve seen TV shows about ghost hunters and Bigfoot hunters, where they eschew science and fact in favor of fears and fantasy.   That’s understandable, since it’s impossible to have real conversations when some talk about what might exist and others are talking about what does exist.  The same is true for sweeping privacy legislation coming out of the Obama White House. 

This week the White House released its Privacy Bill of Rights — sweeping privacy legislation based mostly on anecdotes and fears instead of evidence and cost-benefit analysis.  By arming the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with incredible new punitive powers, this bill strings CAUTION tape in front of American businesses developing new technologies and business models.

READ more at The Hill

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State Legislatures Tone Deaf to Americans’ Desire To Control Personal Privacy After Death

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Eighteen state legislatures are drafting or debating bills that would curtail the ability for Americans to control the privacy of their personal communications when they die – despite the fact that Americans believe their right to privacy does not end when they take their last breath.

According to a new poll* conducted by Zogby Analytics for NetChoice, the vast majority of Americans believe that maintaining the privacy of their electronic communications trumps giving access to family and heirs. Read more