NPR Illinois - Illinois Issues: The Battle Over Transparency And Privacy In The Digital Age

“[The bill] would require business to keep and store more user information than they have to today, says Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel for NetChoice, a Washington, D.C. trade association of ecommerce businesses and online consumers that advocate for fewer restrictions for online businesses.  Some of its members include companies like Lyft, eBay and Facebook.

“This bill actually puts potentially consumer information at greater risk than it’s at today because you are forcing businesses to create a honey pot of information,” he says.

Others like Szabo, from NetChoice, say that any additional legislation will hurt Illinois and continue to provide a so called “chilling effect” for tech companies that want to expand their areas of innovation. Illinois he says, is a state with laws that are already tough on privacy. The Biometric Information Privacy Act, for example, aims to regulate how companies collect, use, handle and store biometric identifiers and biometric information. According to the Act, biometric identifiers can be anything from “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry.” Without explicit consent from consumers, a website or app can’t collect or store such data. There is some facial recognition software, Szabo says, that cannot be used in Illinois.

No other state, he says, has come close to the level of privacy regulation as Illinois has.

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Illinois News Network - Business and tech groups say geolocation is unnecessary and will confuse consumers

Carl Szabo from NetChoice, an e-commerce trade association, said the language about location in the proposed law is too vague and could cause unexpected effects, such as difficulty retrieving a stolen or lost phone.

“Today, you can call up your carrier and have them help you track down the phone. This bill could make that illegal because they would need to get express opt-in consent from you before they can engage in that feature, and you would have had to opted in to that on the phone itself,” Szabo said. “So once it’s gone you may not be able to get it back.”

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Progressive Liberal - Is Trump Trying to Tackle Internet Sales Tax? – His Tweet About Amazon Suggests Maybe

Carl Szabo is senior policy counsel at Netchoice which represents e-commerce businesses.  He pointed out to the Hill that the 2013 legislation would subject business owners to thousands of taxing jurisdictions. The new tax codes would be “enough to make it near-impossible for small businesses to compete online,” Szabo said.

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The Hill - Trump reopens fight on internet sales tax

Carl Szabo — senior policy counsel at NetChoice, which represents e-commerce businesses — said that he’s concerned that legislation like the 2013 bill would subject businesses to thousands of taxing jurisdictions and put them within the reach of multiple state tax auditors. That would be “enough to make it near-impossible for small businesses to compete online,” he said.

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The Olympian - Online sales-tax money is key part of state budget. Could a lawsuit derail it?

Steve DelBianco, the executive director of NetChoice, a trade association focusing on electronic commerce, said he’s developing legal arguments and rounding up money to challenge the plan.

“Washington is not likely to see any new revenue from this law, since a court would bar enforcement while legal challenges are resolved,” DelBianco said in an email. “So nobody in Olympia should be counting on new tax revenue in the near term.”

Colorado’s court win is not standing in the way of another legal challenge to Washington, DelBianco said.

Carl Szabo, NetChoice’s senior policy counsel, said a lawsuit also could contend that Washington’s law violated privacy protections in the U.S. Constitution.

DelBianco said the information retailers send to the state could “reveal preferences that could be very damaging if they were to become public,” such as purchases from vendors specializing in “health issues, clothing, sexual orientation, personal tastes and financial circumstances.”

“The extent to which that vendor reveals the name of something that’s personal — that information will be in the hands of the state tax department,” DelBianco said.

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Providence Journal - Trade group threatens legal action if R.I. approves plan to collect more online sales tax

NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group that’s challenged online sales tax policies in states across the country — including a current lawsuit against Massachusetts — is urging senators to reject the sales tax provisions in the Rhode Island budget, which they call “privacy invading,” costly and unfair.

“Don’t pass this law,” said Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at Washington, D.C.-based NetChoice. “It is hard to understand what the purpose of it is except for the perception that the Internet is hurting Main Street. Now Amazon, Walmart and most of the top 20 online retailers collect and remit sales tax for Rhode Island.”

“We are drafting our legal arguments to challenge the law, raising funds and building a coalition to take action,” Szabo said.

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Government Technology - Facebook, Google, ACLU Voice Concerns About Republican Internet Privacy Bill

NetChoice, a trade group that includes targeted ad giants Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, says a bill proposed by Republican Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn to make web services and internet access providers like Comcast and Verizon get permission from users before collecting their data will end free services online.

“[I]magine 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,” NetChoice senior policy counsel Carl Szabo wrote in a blog post this week.

“In this alternate world,” he continued, “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.”

Szabo warns that will be the fate of the web if Congress advances the BROWSER Act. Under the law, companies on both sides of the online ecosystem would have to obtain opt-in consent from users before collecting and monetizing their sensitive data, a reversal of the current, largely opt-out requirement set down by the Federal Trade Commission. The definition of “sensitive” includes web browsing history, a category previously left unregulated before the FCC passed privacy rules aimed exclusively at internet service providers (ISPs) last year.

According to NetChoice, the bill would erase $340 billion in advertising revenue over the next five years, citing studies that show opt-in regimes are 65 percent less effective. The loss of targeted ads will mean a greater volume of ads, less content, and more paywalls across popular websites, consequences that will hit low-income Americans and small businesses hardest.

The group argues the FTC already enforces privacy standards and that the industry regulates itself. But the FTC rules only require opt-in consent for the most sensitive information, like health and financial data. Meanwhile, efforts by edge providers themselves, like Google Chrome’s “Do Not Track” feature, are largely ignored by other websites. There’s no law requiring they comply with the browser’s request.

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IAPP Daily Dashboard - Blackburn looks to Democrats for support of broadband privacy bill

Trade group NetChoice is joining advertisers in fighting against passage of the bill. 

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MediaPost – Proposed Privacy Bill Would Wipe Out Billions In Ad Revenue, NetChoice Says

MediaPost – Proposed Privacy Bill Would Wipe Out Billions In Ad Revenue, NetChoice Says

The trade group NetChoice is joining advertisers in criticizing an online privacy bill introduced late last month by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

“On its face, the BROWSER Act seems like pro-consumer privacy legislation. But it’s actually an awful deal for Americans who’ve come to depend on free online content and services,” NetChoice’s senior counsel Carl Szabo writes in an op-ed in The Hill. NetChoice’s members include Google, AOL, Yahoo and Facebook.
Szabo adds that the measure “would erase $340 billion in advertising revenue from American websites over the next five years.”

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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