If Congress Cares About Data Security, It Shouldn’t Weaken Encryption

More Americans than ever are concerned about protecting their data. Congress, too, has echoed these concerns. And on hearing these concerns, technology businesses like Apple, Facebook, and Google have incorporated encryption into their products.

Although complex in execution, encryption is simple in concept: companies convert information like our passwords into a code that only we can crack.

Read more on Medium…

NetChoice Praises the Advancing of USMCA

Today, NetChoice reiterated support for the USMCA and pushed the U.S. House of Representatives to pass it.

“USMCA will empower America’s tech industry to compete on the world stage, at a time when international competition is fierce,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“USMCA is a trade agreement well suited for the digital age. USMCA is a template to ensure future trade agreements stand the test of time.” 

Insights Association - Should America Copy the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Insights Association – Should America Copy the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Carl Szabo of Netchoice contended that the FTC’s “unfairness” authority “is pretty broad,” so he asked if Section 5 can address a lot of Brookman’s concerns? And should it apply to nonprofits, he asked, since they deal with so much data, too?

NetChoice Celebrates Passing of CLOUD Act as part of Omnibus Spending Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice welcomed the news that the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act has passed Congress as part of the omnibus spending bill and makes its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“When signed into law, the CLOUD Act will improve civil justice in foreign countries while helping law enforcement solve crimes and save lives,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “We’re excited for the CLOUD Act to clarify the relationship between law enforcement and cross border data.”

In our op-ed in Morning Consult, Carl explains how the CLOUD Act will encourage strong civil justice protections by requiring high standards for access to U.S.-held data.

NetChoice Celebrates Inclusion of the CLOUD Act in the Omnibus Spending Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice applauded the news that the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act would be included in the spending omnibus bill.

“The CLOUD Act is a commonsense bill that will improve civil justice in foreign countries while helping law enforcement to solve crimes and save lives,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “We’ve seen the failure of trying to force civil justice reforms on foreign countries. The CLOUD Act takes a new approach by positively incentivizing them instead.”

As written in our op-ed in Morning Consult, by requiring high stands of civil justice protections to be able to access U.S.-held data, the CLOUD Act will incentivize foreign countries to adhere to these standards.

“The inclusion of this legislation in the omnibus ensures that this pressing issue can be solved as soon as possible,” continued Szabo. “We look forward to the CLOUD Act being enacted, ensuring law enforcement has clear tools to access data held abroad while protecting the rule of law and civil justice.”

Catch the Criminals – Don’t Pass the Buck

When a crime is committed it’s the criminal that is responsible.  But some in Congress think that since capturing cyber-criminals is challenging we should hold online services accountable.  That’s like holding Ford accountable for making the car a bank-robber uses.

But that didn’t stop the attempts by Sen. McCain to assign false blame at today’s Senate hearing on a threat to consumers called “malvertisements” — when a cyber-criminal injects malware into an online ad and then misleads an ad network into displaying the contaminated ad.

I appreciated the shift in focus from privacy to security as threats to consumers’ security pose real harms.  Unfortunately, the hearing was more about trying to assign liability rather than talking about catching the criminal perpetrators of this new form of malware. Read more

The Cost of Collateral Damage from Data Breaches

Consumers come first.  The theft of data affecting thousands of shoppers from the servers of Target and Nieman Marcus could harm individuals. And the threat of identity theft has exploded, rising by more than 50 percent from 2005 through 2010.

Media and policymakers are right to focus on customer plight.  But we shouldn’t forget that data theft also costs retailers too and we shouldn’t resort to new legislation that penalizes the victim.

With any data breach, businesses face the obvious damage to trust and consumer confidence.  Consumers start shopping at competitors and become skeptical of loyalty cards.  But there’s also the monetary cost of a data breach cutting a business’s ability to meet investor expectations, grow and create jobs. Read more

Internet Dodges a Bullet in California

California’s Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) did innovators and their customers a huge service earlier this month, when it released a report that warned of the unforeseen costs of imposing a sweeping new privacy standard.

But while the LAO may have warded off one serious threat, in one state, it’s good work won’t be enough to hold back a rising tide of economically disastrous “privacy” measures nationwide.

The time is ripe to build on what the California LAO accomplished, by conducting a nationwide study that examines the economic impacts of all proposed privacy measures – not just to governments – but to the innovative industries that they target.

The focus of the LAO study was a draft ballot initiative – backed by former State Senator Steve Peace – that would have required all Internet companies to obtain affirmative, opt-in consent before sharing virtually any customer data — even for necessary functioning of services. Read more