Innovation and success must remain our economic foundation

If there is one word that could sum up the current political climate, it is frustration. And that frustration takes many forms.

There are, understandably, many Americans who feel frustrated about being left behind in the internet era, and fearful of being swamped by waves of emerging technologies.

But we also have many old-economy companies and bureaucrats who view new-economy businesses as a threat to their decades-long dominance of certain markets. And these legacy companies are doing everything they can to protect their privileged position in established markets.

READ MORE at The Hill

Survey of Law Enforcement Officials on Use of License Plate Recognition Technology

A survey of over 500 law enforcement officials found overwhelming support for license plate recognition (LPR) technology and validated its effectiveness, while acknowledging that existing policy and laws protect the privacy of individuals.

Key findings are summarized below. Note that specific questions are referenced in the findings, while much of the related information and graphics are provided through cross-tabulation of responses.

Read the Report

A License Plate Reader Witch-Hunt

We are once again seeing a witch-hunt against technology, this time in the shape of license plate reader (LPR) technology.

What is LPR?

LPR is technology that makes it easier to read and write the license plate numbers of cars on the street and then compare them.  If murder suspect drives past a police car with an LPR camera, the camera reads the license plate, sees that number is flagged, and then instantly tells the officer.  If a repossession officer drives past a stolen car, they get a similar response allowing recovery before the thief drives off with the car.

LPR also makes it possible to store the number and location.  This allows police to identify likely locations of known criminals.  And it gives repossession officers the likely location of stolen assets.

Read more

Awful Internet Laws are Closer Than You Think

Congress may have gone home to campaign, but that hasn’t stopped bad internet bills and regulations from threatening to stifle innovation and limit online choices.

To highlight some of the gravest – and most imminent – legislative and regulatory threats to e-commerce, NetChoice today unveiled a special edition of the Internet Advocates Watchlist for Ugly Laws (iAWFUL).

This latest iAWFUL focuses on measures that pose an imminent threat to the internet in 2012, ones that lawmakers want to jam through legislatures, or rules already in effect and in dire need of repeal and redress. Read more

An Ovation for New Hampshire Governor Lynch’s Veto

Yesterday, New Hampshire Governor Lynch vetoed SB 175 and pulled the state back from creating a law that is so broadly written that it threatened to undermine a number of currently legal, popular, and valuable services.

But it’s not over yet as the Senate could ignore the Governor’s lead and instead vote to override the veto.

SB 175 was written, in part, because the heir to the estate of New Hampshire resident JD Salinger complained that he was not contacted before his dad’s likeness appeared on coffee mugs and t-shirts.  Riding on this understanding of the bill, SB 175 passed the legislature despite warnings of the unintended harms it would bring to New Hampshire’s online businesses.

Fortunately, Governor Lynch saw past the rhetoric, understood the harm to New Hampsire citizens, and vetoed the bill. Read more

Hey, You Kids Turn that Music Down!

As you can tell from all the noise, there’s a party happening on the Internet.  Users and consumers are whooping it up over all the innovations, information, and choices available at new online services.  In addition to millions of job driven by e-commerce, consumers are able to do more, from any location, faster than ever before.

But all this partying has got some neighbors on the block grumbling.  Traditional businesses that are comfortable with byzantine laws that protect the status quo are increasingly flexing their muscle to keep new entrants out of the market.

Our March 2012 iAWFUL list finds that, instead of encouraging innovation, many market incumbents are using legacy laws created before the Internet’s arrival to slow down and eliminate innovation and competition.  This practice is the top threat to online commerce this year.

Start-ups like Uber, Airbnb, and TrueCar  — websites that connect consumers directly to service providers — are  being stymied by long-standing taxi commission rules, hotel regulations, and dealer franchise laws. Read more

Government Learns to Build Partnerships, Not Reinvent the Wheel

Partnerships are wonderful things.  They allow you to off-load some of the burdens of running a service and enable each partner to focus on different aspects of a project.  Kind of a “divide and conquer approach.”

 

Since its creation, the federal government has engaged in these types of partnerships with business.  Rather than creating its own factories and labor force, the Pentagon hires Boeing to build its planes.  Likewise, the government partners with businesses to distribute food to the homeless.  Even Betsy Ross’s creation of the American flag was a partnership.  Government and businesses use these partnerships to deliver quality services efficiently.

 

This tradition of government and business partnerships continues in the online space. Read more

The Google-Buzz settlement: a buzzkill for online services

The comment period just ended for the FTC’s proposed consent decree with Google over privacy violations when Google launched their Buzz social network last year.   There were about 30 comments posted, but the most important comment we’ve seen is by reporter Grant Gross in his IDG News piece, “Google Buzz Settlement a ‘killer’ for E-commerce”.

Read more

Updated iAWFUL List Ranks Top Threats to Online Commerce

Today we published our March 2011 “iAWFULIawful Logolist of bad Internet laws.  We identified a surge in state and federal online privacy legislation that is threatening to tie the hands of online innovators.   (iAWFUL was already picked-up in CNET, Politico, The Hill, and Siliconvalley.com)

Our Internet Advocates’ Watchlist for Ugly Laws (iAWFUL) tracks the 10 pieces of state and federal  legislation that pose the greatest threat to the Internet and e-commerce.  Read more

PFF Was Our Tech Policy BFF

A tinge of sadness touches us upon news that the Progress and Freedom Foundation’s last day is this Friday. NetChoice has had ultimate respect for PFF over the years, and most recently for Adam Thierer and Berin Szoka – the tech policy experts among experts. Over the past few years, NetChoice worked closely with Adam and Berin on Internet privacy and child safety issues. Read more