NetChoice Opposes Draft Executive Order on Drone Usage

NetChoice Opposes Draft Executive Order on Drone Usage

Today, NetChoice announced its opposition to a potential Executive Order that would ban the use of foreign-made drones by all federal departments and agencies.

“When securing data created using drones, what matters is where that data is stored not where the drone was made,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “The determining factor should be whether drone manufacturers store data on American servers and comply with appropriate security standards, not the drone’s country of origin.”

“Banning foreign-made drones won’t protect government from malicious hackers. We need cybersecurity standards for drones that apply to all manufacturers, enabling greater competition and security.”

NetChoice Pushes Back on the Anti-Encryption EARN IT Act

Today, NetChoice pushed back on the Anti-Encryption EARN IT Act at the Senate Judiciary Hearing “The EARN IT Act: Holding the Tech Industry Accountable in the Fight Against Online Child Sexual Exploitation.

“By attacking encryption, the EARN IT Act undermines children’s online safety, while doing little to help law enforcement tackle child exploitation,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel. “The tech industry sent over 17 million child exploitation tips to NCMEC in 2018. The problem is not that cases are not being reported, it’s that reported cases are not being prosecuted.”

“Fourth Amendment concerns in the EARN IT Act could endanger existing efforts by online platforms to help in the fight against child exploitation.”

“It would make it harder for law enforcement to track and tackle child exploitation while failing to solve the backlog at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and as a result does nothing to improve prosecution rates for child exploitation.”

NetChoice Announces Opposition to Sen. Graham’s EARN IT Act

Today, Sen. Graham (R-SC) introduced the EARN IT Act, a bill with good intentions to tackle child exploitation yet falls short in addressing the underlying issues while creating new vulnerabilities for children at risk.  By hinging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for online services on complying with rules set by a new committee, online services may be forced to weaken encryption protocols and subsequently create a “backdoor” for criminals to access personal documents and images stored by families in online platforms. 

“The EARN IT Act creates a false choice between protecting children and supporting strong encryption protections,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “The real challenge is funding. Online services work with law enforcement to report millions of instances of illegal content and child exploitation every year but law enforcement is only able to produce convictions on a small percentage of leads.”

“Sen. Graham’s bill would make it easier for criminals and foreign agents to attack victims by weakening vital encryption technology intended to protect users,” continued Szabo.

“FOSTA, the only amendment to Section 230, and its unintended consequences hurt the very victims it was designed to help — and Sen. Graham’s bill would do the same. By weakening encryption, the EARN IT Act would put children at risk by making phones, family photo storage, and internet-connected baby monitors more vulnerable to predators.”

“Law enforcement has a backlog of actionable cases on child exploitation due to a dearth of resources. Sen. Graham’s bill does nothing to address the underfunding of NCMEC and other funding for law enforcement’s fight against child exploitation.”

NetChoice Commends House Subcommittee for Live Event Ticketing Hearing

Today, NetChoice commended the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for holding a hearing into the anti-consumer practices of Ticketmaster.

“Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices present an opportunity for antitrust enforcement that would be both popular and necessary,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel. “We commend the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for holding this important hearing.”

“This hearing showed that now is the time for an antitrust investigation of Ticketmaster and LiveNation. Investigating Ticketmaster for anti-consumer behavior would produce a slam-dunk case for the DOJ and FTC, proving both are well-prepared to protect consumers in the 2020s.”

“Ticketmaster has been denying fans choice and convenience by using anti-competitive and dark practices. We look forward to further government action including the passage of the BOSS Act to protect consumers.”

NetChoice Announces Opposition to Sen. Hawley’s Antitrust Proposals

Today, NetChoice announced its opposition to new plans from Sen. Hawley that would overhaul and politicize American antitrust law.

“Sen. Hawley’s proposals would place the entirety of FTC authority under the control of a single director, giving that person the sole power to dictate the future of American business,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“Rather than protecting the agency from regulatory capture, Sen. Hawley’s proposals would make political abuse more likely — right when concerns are growing over politically motivated antitrust actions.”

“Sen. Hawley’s desire to follow the EU’s approach on antitrust is an abandonment of conservative principles in favor of big government populism,” continued Szabo.
“Contrary to Sen. Hawley’s claims, the FTC is working hard to ensure markets benefit American consumers — allowing tech services to flourish under light-touch regulation that has made them some of the most popular brands in the country.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with the Protecting the Right to Organize Act

Today, NetChoice pushed Congress to reject the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act because it threatens workers’ livelihoods within the growing peer-to-peer economy.

“Workers join the peer-to-peer economy because they’re looking for a flexible way to make a living. The PRO Act would restrict the right of self-employment, deny workers’ choice of when and how they want to work, and make it harder for Americans to find work that best serves their family,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“The internet enabled a surge in self-employment through online services like Lyft and Thumbtack, while the PRO Act would wrest control and opportunity away from workers.”

NetChoice Releases Research on Tax Subsidies to Big Car Rental Industry

Study Exposes Unfair Tax Benefits for Car Rental Industry that are not available to  Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Link to Report

WASHINGTON – NetChoice, a trade association fighting for free enterprise and free expression online, today released a report on the unfair benefits the Big Car Rental industry receives at the expense of taxpayers and consumers. 

Despite consistent revenue growth and profitability, the rental-car industry, including big companies like Enterprise and Hertz, receives tax benefits costing over $4 billion to U.S. taxpayers and consumers annually, the report shows.

“Our study highlights the extraordinary government favors granted to the car rental industry,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“The tax breaks, loopholes, and subsidies analyzed in our report are a boon for big car rental companies, who receive over $4 billion in state-sanctioned benefits annually.  State governments hand out billions to companies like Enterprise and Hertz, providing them an unfair advantage over competitors, like peer-to-peer car sharing services.”

According to the NetChoice study, the car rental industry receives:

  • A sales tax loophole costing taxpayers $3.5 billion every year
  • A vehicle registration fee subsidy costing customers $650 million each year

Key analysis in the report shows:

Passing-on Vehicle License Fees is intentionally misleading to consumers

  • The fee, placed next to sales tax on a car rental bill, leads consumers to think that money is being given directly to the state, when it goes directly to the car rental company’s bottom line
  • The only example of somewhat similar fees is in highly regulated public-utility companies — very different than the car rental industry

Big Rental is asking government to help eliminate competition from peer-to-peer car sharing service

  • A recent survey of rental-car operators revealed that “competition from peer-to-peer networks” ranked as one of the top self-reported threats in 2020
  • These peer-to-peer car sharing services don’t receive the same state-granted benefits as the car rental industry
  • The car rental industry is lobbying the government to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing like traditional car rental companies, even though they would not receive the same state-granted benefits

The full report can be found here.


About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association fighting to protect free expression and free enterprise online. Described by Politico as “Silicon Valley’s most aggressive lobbying presence in Washington,” we advocate at the local, state, national, and international levels, working with the tech industry, lawmakers, and academia. 

NetChoice Raises concerns with Rep. Castor’s COPPA Bill

Today, Rep. Castor introduced legislation to expand COPPA. Here is NetChoice’s statement:

“Rep. Castor’s bill would further distract COPPA from focusing on its original goal – to protect children from online predators,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “By removing the ability for young people to receive content tailored to their interests, Rep. Castor’s bill will undermine the online experiences of young people.”

NetChoice Voices Concerns with Dept. of Interior Restrictions on Drone Usage

Today, NetChoice voiced concerns with plans released by the Department of the Interior to formally ban non-emergency use of foreign-made drones.

“Drone restrictions based on nationality rather than security standards won’t protect our nation from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Discrimination against foreign-made drones means our country won’t have access to the best technologies,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“What we really need are cybersecurity standards for drones that apply to all manufacturers, enabling greater competition and security.”