JD Supra - Illinois Geolocation Privacy Protection Act Vetoed By Governor Rauner

“By eliminating the disruptions and redundancies that were part of this bill, we will allow one of the state’s fastest growing industries to succeed,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.


St Louis Today - Wagner's crusade against online sex trafficking gets push - and pushback - from powerful quarters

Cox, a lawyer who now represents NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, said that law enforcement authorities already have legal tools to go after the illegal sex and child-trafficking. Section 230, which he co-wrote, “provides no immunity whatsoever to defendants in federal criminal cases,” Cox argued.

Cox said that the best answer is not in new laws but in more vigorous prosecution under current ones. He said that federal prosecutors have not brought a single case under a 2015 law, also authored by Wagner, that criminalized the knowing distribution of advertising of sex acts outlawed under federal sex-trafficking laws.

Cox also warned that singling out sex trafficking in the Communications Decency Act will create “significant new legal ambiguities” when judges try to determine how it affects other online crimes, like murder-for-hire, or terrorism.

Cox said that Senate report, plus subsequent reporting by the Washington Post alleging that contractors have actively sought sex advertising for Backpage, should give prosecutors ample opportunity to go after the controversial site under current law.


NextGov - Former Lawmaker Says Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill Too Narrow, Could 'Sow Chaos'

“We need to have a solution to this problem that is consistent across more than 4,000 federal crimes and thousands more state crimes,” former Republican California congressman Christopher Cox said Tuesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. “We don’t have enough time in our lives to fix these crimes one at a time.”

Instead, Cox said the government should do more under existing laws to bring traffickers to justice.

“Section 230 was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that commit any crime,” said Cox, who helped pen the legislation along with then-congressman Ron Wyden in 1996. “If we enforced the statute the way it’s written, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

“Courts would have to give meaning to the fact that Congress singled out sex trafficking and no other offenses,” Cox said. “This would make it harder for them to reach the result we would all presumably want in, say, an internet terrorism case: that is, we would not want Section 230 to be a barrier to prosecution of a website that was complicit in creating web content in violation of laws against terrorism. Singling out one crime in a revised Section 230 could easily distort the results in other criminal cases.”


Axios - IBM breaks with Google, Facebook to support sex-trafficking bill

Meanwhile: Advocacy group NetChoice, which represents Facebook and Google, is taking a different tack by suggesting that law enforcement simply needs to better enforce existing laws to combat sex trafficking. “The DOJ already has all the power and permission it needs to prosecute trafficking sites and other bad actors like notorious sex trafficking website Backpage,” NetChoice said in a press release.


Heartland News - Gov. Rauner vetos geolocation bill Friday

“The veto allows industry to continue to do what they do best – stimulate our state’s economy, create jobs, and develop safe and amazing innovations. Illinois needs to encourage those types of efforts and find new ways to attract people to this market,” said Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice Carl Szabo. “By eliminating the disruptions and redundancies that were part of this bill, we will allow one of the state’s fastest growing industries to succeed.”


Illinois Policy - Rauner Vetoes Bill to Restrict Collection, Use of Geolocation Data

Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel for the e-commerce trade association Net Choicewarned that the language of the bill was too vague for companies to know how to comply with it, and that it was an unnecessary attempt to regulate practices already covered under federal law.


POLITICO - Former congressman lobbying for NetChoice on sex-trafficking bill

“It’s the right aim, the right idea — but in some subtle yet critical respects, the wrong approach,” Cox said of SESTA in an email. “Proper application of the existing statute will punish the guilty while protecting the innocent.”

“One of the things we’re working on is to help clarify the legislative intent and clarify what Congress was thinking when it created Section 230 to help ameliorate the confusion in the courts,” Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at NetChoice, said in an interview.


Chicago Tonight WTTW - Geolocation Privacy Protection Act Awaits Action by Rauner

But it could be bad for users’ experience, says Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel for the trade association NetChoice which advocates for fewer restrictions on online businesses.

“Having more pop-ups when you use your device or different pop-ups can create confusion,” Szabo said. “[This bill] begins messing with the notices we’ve become accustomed to using and become familiar with. It requires custom notifications for each app.”

Szabo is also concerned about the language in the bill, which says geolocation information includes the “precise” location of the device. “[HB3449] doesn’t define precise. Is it exactly where I am now? Is it the address? Is it the city block? … Without that that definition I worry there can be abuses of the gaps in the legislative language,” Szabo said. “[The bill] has undefined terms that leave businesses open to legal action.”

Opponents, like Szabo, say consumers are already protected under the federal legislation, specifically Section 5 of The Federal Trade Commission Act.

“We already have the laws on the books to address the concerns being raised by sponsors and supporters of the bill,” Szabo said. “The FTC Act is decades old, well established and enforced vigorously. … It prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices.”

Both the federal government and states’ attorneys can enforce the act, according to Szabo. “Complaints are filed fairly often by consumer advocate groups not only with the state attorney general but with the Federal Trade Commission itself,” he said.


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.


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.”