The Path Forward: Accountability Through the IANA Transition

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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…

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Rewriting the future of Internet governance

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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

Changing the Conversation about Fairness in Internet Taxation

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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. Read more

States Tilting at LPR Privacy Windmills – at a cost to citizens safety

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Like Don Quixote charging dragons that don’t exist, states like Maryland are tilting at license plate recognition (LPR) technology.

This week Maryland legislators, listening to over-the-top rhetoric, introduced a bill to restrict law enforcement’s use of LPR technology – significantly diminishing law enforcement’s ability to stop crimes and save lives.

These concerns take the shape of potential abuses of LPR.  Fortunately, existing police policies, federal laws, and the LPR providers already address the privacy concerns regarding the use of LPR.  Read more

Reminder: The Constitution Protects Innovators, Too

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This week, some businesses filed a constitutional challenge against Utah’s new law restricting license plate recognition technologies. The lawsuit, filed by NetChoice members DRN and Vigilant, seeks a critical precedent that would remind state legislatures that the Constitution protects innovators– just as it protects other citizens.

The businesses filing this suit offer license plate recognition (LPR) technology and services.  We first wrote about this last July, describing the LPR witch-hunt being run by privacy advocates. Read more

The Cost of Collateral Damage from Data Breaches

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Consumers come first.  The theft of data affecting thousands of shoppers from the servers of Target and Nieman Marcus could harm individuals. And the threat of identity theft has exploded, rising by more than 50 percent from 2005 through 2010.

Media and policymakers are right to focus on customer plight.  But we shouldn’t forget that data theft also costs retailers too and we shouldn’t resort to new legislation that penalizes the victim.

With any data breach, businesses face the obvious damage to trust and consumer confidence.  Consumers start shopping at competitors and become skeptical of loyalty cards.  But there’s also the monetary cost of a data breach cutting a business’s ability to meet investor expectations, grow and create jobs. Read more