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One Parent’s Support of YouTube Kids

As a parent raising a child in the information age it’s really tough.

There is no book on how do it (Dr. Spock never had to deal with the Internet).  There are no parental figures with experience raising a child in the age of the Internet.  And sometimes our kids are more technologically adept than we are.

So we try to the best that we can with tools that we have available.

Unfortunately, because of well meaning but prescriptive laws and regulations, few tools exist.  These rules scared off the development of tools and services to help parents and children. And that’s why I take umbrage with the recent negative statements about YouTube kids from advocates who don’t speak for all parents but want to remove tools to help my child. Read more

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Facing transparency head-on

Facial recognition technologies have been used for security and safety applications for years in the United States and abroad. Due to high costs and technological limitations, it was used mostly for homeland security to identify terrorists and protect airports. But over the past several years, facial technologies have evolved and reduced in cost, enabling the development of convenience applications to help us better connect with friends and loved ones and to organize our thousands of photos.

With cameras being attached to every phone, computer and tablet, along with virtually unlimited storage space, most of us now have photo collections numbering in the thousands. But much in the same way search engines made navigating the Internet easier, we need better ways to search through our photos to find the ones we seek.

Read more at The Hill

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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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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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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.

READ MORE

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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