NetChoice Response to Andrew Yang’s Tech Proposals

Today, Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang released a slew of tech proposals, covering four main issues:

  • Privacy and Consumer Data
  • The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
  • Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice pushed back on Yang’s proposals:

Privacy and Consumer Data

“The current online advertising model enables consumers to access high quality content and sophisticated services for free. Yang’s policy would create more paywalls around content and diminish the presence of free services.”

“On Yang’s internet we will have more paywalls and less content.”

“Americans support the current market structure. By a 3-to-1 margin Americans prefer online services to be funded by targeted advertising rather than paying for them directly.”

The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People

“The surge in access to technology and the internet in the 21st Century benefits us all every day – that’s why tech is so prevalent in society today.”

“For a candidate who claims to focus on “evidence-based policy,” Yang’s most outlandish claims lack evidence.”

“Rather than proposing knee-jerk policy responses to perceived problems, Yang should wait for more evidence on tech’s impact on children and not ignore a recent study that found no link between social media usage and negative impacts on mental health in teens.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

“We must dispel with this myth that because online services moderate user-created content, they are equivalent to the New York Times or the Washington Post. Unlike the journalists at the New York Times or Washington Post, Facebook doesn’t write posts and Twitter doesn’t write tweets — users do.

“The New York Times and the Washington Post’s comment section benefits from the same legal structure and protections as social media businesses.”

“Social media services moderate content to reduce the presence of hate speech, scams, and spam. Yang’s proposal to amend Section 230 would likely increase the amount of hate speech and terrorist content online.”

“Yang incorrectly claims a “publisher vs. platform grey area.” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not categorize online services. Section 230 enables services that host user-created content to remove content without assuming liability.”

Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

“We welcome Yang’s recognition that breaking up tech businesses wouldn’t benefit consumers. The role of antitrust and regulation in the U.S. is to protect consumers, not competitors of successful businesses.”

Yang Proposes Tax on Digital Ads in Swipe at Facebook, Google


NetChoice, a lobbying group that counts Facebook and Google as members, criticized Yang’s proposal.

“The current online advertising model enables consumers to access high quality content and sophisticated services for free,” NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo said in a statement. “Yang’s policy would create more paywalls around content and diminish the presence of free services.”

US senators need social media customers to have the ability to take their information with them

New Paper 24

he commerce group NetChoice, which counts Google and Fb amongst its members, stated that the invoice would do little to guard customers.

Information portability will inevitably endanger information safety,” stated Carl Szabo, basic counsel at NetChoice. “On-line hackers and criminals trying to steal client information will profit.”

NetChoice Raises Consumer Privacy Concerns about the ACCESS Act

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about the ACCESS Act, introduced today by Sen. Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Warner (D-VA), and Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) that the bill is more focused on attacking big tech than protecting and empowering consumers.

“As presented in the ACCESS Act, data portability will inevitably endanger data security,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Online hackers and criminals looking to steal consumer data will benefit from the ACCESS Act.” 

“These government imposed data portability requirements would make consumer data more vulnerable to abuse.”

The bill could also undermine efforts by market leaders including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, to introduce data portability in a way that empowers consumers without undermining privacy or data security.

The ACCESS Act only aims to regulate large tech businesses with over 100,000,000 active monthly users in the U.S. It also fails to include preemption.

 “By only impacting the largest American businesses, the ACCESS Act is clearly focused more on attacking large tech innovators rather than creating a safe and secure portability system,” continued Szabo.

How Do You Value Data? A Reply To Jaron Lanier’s Op-Ed In The NYT

Tech Liberation Front

Shadow prices can also be calculated through surveys, which is where they get controversial. Depending on how the question is worded, users willingness to pay for privacy can be wildly variable. Trade association NetChoice worked with Zogby Analytics to find that only 16 percent of people are willing to pay for online platform service. Strahilevitz and Kugler found that 65 percent of email users, even though they knew their email service scans emails to serve ads, wouldn’t pay for alternative. 

NetChoice Raises Concerns with FTC Decree Against YouTube for Alleged COPPA Violations

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about the FTC’s announcement that they plan to fine YouTube for alleged COPPA violations.

“Congress created COPPA with clear guardrails — today the FTC broke through them,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel of NetChoice. “This action puts all general audience sites on unsure footing. Is Angry Birds now subject to COPPA? What about CandyCrush or Marvel comics?” 

“The FTC has transformed COPPA from objective principles to subjective punishment for virtually any website – whether child-directed or not.”

In its decision, the FTC greatly expanded the existing subjective COPPA standard to general audience websites even when users sign a contract saying they are over 13.

“This decree will slash the advertising revenue that supports video creators producing high-quality child-friendly content. This means far fewer ad dollars to support videos that my teenager watches to learn about nutrition, sports instruction, and science projects,” said NetChoice President Steve DelBianco.

Unpopular Internet Policies Could Cost Democrats the White House

NetChoice Medium

The 2020 election will be tight and every vote counts. So it’s surprising to see Democratic candidates making calls to regulate free speech and online platforms — policy proposals that Americans overwhelmingly oppose, and policies that could cost Democrats the White House.

This year some Democrats are calling to make it harder for online services to host our comments and pictures. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has even gone so far as to say that America’s most successful tech companies should be broken up.

Read more…

Facebook faces record $5bn fine

The Bangkok Post

The tech industry group NetChoice praised the fine, saying it would motivate companies to improve their privacy practices.

Democrats Scoff at Facebook Fine

Politico Morning Tech

DEMS: $5B FACEBOOK FINE NOT CUTTING IT — Fans of the $5 billion FTC settlement with Facebook leaked late Friday are striving to present it as a wise and just punishment; the trade association NetChoice, which counts Facebook as a member, tried to spread the hashtag “#ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark.” But the settlement in the privacy and data-handling probe, sparked by the revelations over Cambridge Analytica, seems to have only inflamed some company critics.