Internet Sales Tax Scheme the Easy Choice For Worst Internet Legislation

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When we meet twice a year to put together the Internet Advocates’ Watchlist for Ugly Laws (iAWFUL), we’re looking at two key factors: the relative awfulness of the bill or law and it’s likelihood of taking effect.  It’s rare that one measure tops both categories, but for the August 2014 list, the choosing the worst of the worst was morbidly simple.

The ironically titled Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) has been a fixture on the iAWFUL since we first introduced the list – thanks to the unique burdens it seeks to impose on Internet sellers and customers.  But as bad as MFA is, the awfulness of the bill has always been tempered by our confidence that right-thinking lawmakers wouldn’t allow it to pass in its current, fatally flawed form.  Read more

Congress Should Reject EU Attacks on Internet Freedom

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European lawmakers and regulators will tell you that their recent adventures into Internet regulation are aimed at upholding a “fundamental human right” to privacy. They’ll claim the right to be forgotten is not a “super right” trumping other fundamental rights. But in their headlong rush to protect Internet users from themselves, they’ve done just that and downgraded other fundamental human rights like the right to free expression.

We’ve all heard about the European Court of Justice’s conjuring the “right to be forgotten” into case law. But European policymakers aren’t content with just a disastrous court ruling. If the European Parliament gets its way the right to be forgotten will be enshrined in law across the continent. Legislators say the changes are intended for the good of their citizens, but they have a selective view of which citizens — and which rights — deserve protecting.

READ MORE

Innovation in the Crosshairs as California Again Targets Ride-Sharing

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Imagine if the Florida legislature spent the past 18 months cracking down on orange growers, or if Vermont imposed tough restrictions on maple syrup makers. If those scenarios seem strangely self-destructive, then you have a good sense of how ridiculous California’s growing hostility towards the Internet innovation economy seems to us.

If we didn’t know better, we’d have to assume that California lawmakers want to extinguish the innovative industry that makes the state the envy of the world in the Internet era. Read more

Spain cuts the fabric of the Internet with its new tax

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The Internet is a collection of different sites interwoven together through “links.”  Now imagine an Internet without links.  Can’t do it, can you?  That’s because the web depends on interconnectivity of content – it is the thread that makes up the fabric of the internet.  But some aggressive European countries seeking to wangle in and wrangle money from the online world want to limit online links. 

We all know about the new European requirement for search engines to remove links – but now Spain wants search engines to pay for just displaying links.

READ MORE at The Hill

Death and Social Media: Don’t Strip Delaware Citizens of their Privacy

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bill awaiting Governor Markell’s signature would override your privacy choices about what happens to your online accounts when you die.

Lawmakers across the country are increasingly confronting the question of what happens to Americans’ digital lives when they die. It’s a question worth careful consideration. Unfortunately for Delaware internet users, lawmakers in Dover have reached the wrong answer.

The Delaware legislation forces your email providers and online services to expose our personal communications when we die.  For many of us this is no big deal.  But consider the personal, sensitive, and confidential communications of spouses, doctors, psychiatrists, or addiction counselors. Read more

The Real Motivation Behind the Attack on Ride Sharing

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While ride-sharing technologies, such as Uber and Lyft, are creating never-before-achieved efficiencies in transportation, not everyone is celebrating those achievements.

Some have taken the rise of sharing-economy business models as a signal to retrench, protect the status quo, stifle innovation and, in some cases, turn a tidy profit by cracking down on ride-sharing services in state legislatures and insurance commissions.

Fortunately, members of the national media are increasingly savvy to this tactic and what drives it. This week, Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle shed some light on the real motivation for this attack on the ground-breaking technology: Read more

Arkansas Governor and AG’s Photography Law Out-of-Sync with Their Priorities

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Over the past several years, law enforcement has utilized new cutting-edge technologies to apprehend the most violent of criminals – murders, rapists and abductors. One such innovation, known as license plate recognition (LPR), takes photographs of license plates and logs their time and location, creating a searchable database that has allowed police to reduce investigation times and get felons off the streets.

However, a new law recently signed by Governor Mike Beebe, could put an end to LPR use in Arkansas, hamstringing law enforcement by limiting the use of a critical crime-fighting tool that helped solve thousands of violent crime cases across the country.

READ MORE at North Little Rock Times