NetChoice Welcomes the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017

“NetChoice welcomes the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017’s common-sense privacy protections for our electronic communications.  Today, our privacy in electronic communication is protected by a 30-year-old law that is decades out of date.  The Act brings the 30-year-old ECPA law into the 21st Century” said NetChoice Senior Policy Counsel Carl Szabo.

The Amazon Acquisition of Whole Foods Is Huge…for 2% of America

High-end grocer Whole Foods is affectionately known as “Whole Paycheck,” even to those of us who regularly frequent the chain. Yet, I have seen a lot of pontificating on how Amazon buying Whole Foods could somehow be a bad thing.

Put simply, the class of professional worriers is worried the combination of Amazon and Whole Foods will create a juggernaut that will wipe out grocery competitors across America.

READ MORE at Morning Consult

Act now on No Regulation Without Representation

Any business that goes online to find customers is finding themselves under siege by regulators and tax collectors from multiple states, despite Supreme Court rulings that limit states’ cross-border taxing powers.

READ MORE at The Hill

KGO 810 Radio – Consumers Are Being Scammed Into Paying Too Much For Bad Seats To Summer’s Hottest Concerts

KGO 810 Radio – Consumers Are Being Scammed Into Paying Too Much For Bad Seats To Summer’s Hottest Concerts

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Retailers built too many stores and the bubble is bursting

Online retailers have become a convenient scapegoat for brick-and-mortar stores looking to cast blame for the rapid contraction in retail jobs in recent months.

It’s become a such a common refrain in reports about job losses in the retail industry that it has almost become gospel.

But upon closer inspection, it’s clear that retailers have only themselves to blame for the bubble they created—a bubble that is finally bursting.

READ MORE at DigitalCommerce

It would be a mistake for Congress to prohibit targeted advertising online

The Internet has democratized access to information and delivered a dazzling array of free online services, like search, news, maps, and social media. But imagine a world where the next time you use a search engine, instead of seeing results, you see a requirement to enter a credit card. Or the next time you visit USA Today there is fewer content and even more ads on the screen.

In this alternate world, you are bombarded with pop-ups and interstitials, all of which are asking for consent in various ways: blanket consent for use of all “sensitive” information, consent for use of some sensitive information, consent for use of sensitive and non-sensitive information, and so on.

It’s hard to argue that this world would be an improvement for user experience, much less user privacy.

Nonetheless, this troubling future could become a reality if Congress passes the “BROWSER Act” – legislation that requires online websites and services to get affirmative consent from users before serving any ads based on their interests. The proposed legislation would create a nightmare “opt-in regime for interest-based ads.”

READ MORE at The Hill

NPR All Things Considered - Massachusetts tries something new to claim taxes from online sales

Steve DelBianco is on the shameless-tax-grab side. He leads NetChoice, a national trade association representing e-commerce sites. He says under this strange Massachusetts theory, “your business is subject to the taxation [and] regulation in any state where a user simply enters their website address. That can’t hold up to legal scrutiny, because it certainly doesn’t hold up to common sense.”

DelBianco is not convinced a cookie on your computer is the same thing as a storefront in a strip mall. He’s willing to take that argument to court, and says his group is pursuing an injunction to block enforcement of the law before it goes into effect in July.

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WBUR – Mass. Will Collect Sales Taxes On Online Purchases July 1 (If There’s Not A Legal Fight First)

WBUR – Mass. Will Collect Sales Taxes On Online Purchases July 1 (If There’s Not A Legal Fight First)

Steve DelBianco is on the shameless side. He leads NetChoice, a national trade association representing e-commerce and online businesses.

“Massachusetts has this unique theory of electronic presence,” DelBianco said. “But under that theory, your business is subject to the taxation [and] regulation in any state where a user simply enters your website address. That can’t hold up to legal scrutiny, ’cause it certainly doesn’t hold up to common sense.”

For DelBianco, the only option left is a legal challenge to fight the idea that a cookie on your computer is the same thing as a storefront on Newbury Street. He said his group has sued a number of other states for online sales tax laws and he’s looking at a legal fight in Massachusetts too.

“We’re researching the legal arguments and raising the funds to pursue a lawsuit right now,” DelBianco said. He said it’s “too soon to say when we’ll be ready.”

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The regulatory landscape facing ride-share drivers

Technology has given us more freedom to choose the way we work, live, travel, and shop.  But many Americans are hitting bureaucratic roadblocks on their way find full-and part-time work with peer-to-peer services like Lyft, Postmates, and Handy.  These roadblocks are not just bad for workers, but also for consumers, commerce, and the tax revenue that comes with it.

Some of these roadblocks are intentionally created by incumbents trying to prevent competition.  But others are just legacy rules and laws that impede the fast-moving trend of workers moving into more flexible, freelance forms of employment.

READ More at Capitol Weekly

Seattle shouldn’t try to force unions on Uber, Lyft drivers

As a father with two kids and full-time job, I love the fact that I can choose when and where I want to drive for Lyft. But an ordinance in Seattle could change the face of ridesharing as we know it. And not just for the Emerald City, but for the entire nation.

Fellow drivers in Seattle are in danger of losing many of the freedoms that make ridesharing so appealing. Drivers no longer would be able to work when, where and how long they want. They could be forced into legally binding agreement that mandate minimum or maximum working hours and limit their shifts to certain days or set times.

READ More at The Hill