DOJ is not wielding its power to bring down online sex trafficking

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that sex trafficking is a horrendous crime, really the worst of the worst. Those who knowingly facilitate sex trafficking — whether it be online or offline — should be prosecuted and put in jail. Robbing the promise and potential of a human life is an egregious offense. One prime example is the notorious Backpage.com website, the leading U.S. website for prostitution advertising.

In August, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) set out to thwart sex trafficking on the internet with the introduction of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill would modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it easier to prosecute websites that contribute to sex trafficking.

On first blush this may seem like a good idea, but two issues should make us reconsider this approach..

READ MORE at The Hill

Small Business Radio - Debating the merits of not taxing Internet sales

Debating the merits of not taxing Internet sales

Could a global congress on trust help control digital fear and greed

Why Massachusetts bailed on remote sales tax collection

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  Today, our privacy in electronic communication is protected by a 30-year-old law that is decades out of date.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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