The Do Not Track Act Would Harm the Digital Marketplace

Today, Sen. Hawley announced the introduction of the “Do Not Track Act.” The bill claims to give consumers the right to use online services without allowing those services to use interest-based advertising.

“This bill harms consumers and competition,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “By preventing the use of interest-based ads, this bill will result in more ads, more paywalls, and less content.”

“Sen. Hawley’s bill undermines small online businesses trying to compete with large incumbents by preventing them from making the most from their smaller user base. This bill most helps large businesses with trusted names while kneecapping future competitors.”

“Sen. Hawley’s bill doesn’t give users more rights over their data, it gives users the right to use online platforms without paying for them.”

NetChoice and Congressman Cox File Amicus Brief Protecting Homeowners Using Airbnb and HomeAway in Santa Monica

Today, NetChoice filed, alongside Chris Cox, Former Member of Congress and Co-Author Of CDA Section 230, an amicus brief in HomeAway and Airbnb v Santa Monica.  As the brief outlines, “the Panel opinion in this case upends the well-established meaning of the words of Section 230, and will have dramatic consequences by overriding the intent of Congress.”

“The prior Panel ruling by the ninth circuit violates the very principles Section 230 put into law and if left in place risks closing-off avenues for free enterprise and free speech for all Americans.  We expect and support an overturning of the prior ruling,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“Section 230 empowers individuals and businesses all over the country through the use of online platforms like HomeAway and Airbnb,” continued Szabo. “The prior decision runs contrary to multiple 9th Circuit decisions that have upheld Section 230 and enabled unprecedented innovation.”
The full amicus brief can be read here.

NetChoice Comments on Marriott’s Home Sharing Division Announcement

Today, Marriott announced the US rollout of their new home sharing division.

“Marriott has spent the last few years attacking home sharing. This confirms that the big chain hotel association, AHLA was just kneecapping new competitors while its large scale members scrambled to develop their own home sharing platforms,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“Now that big hotel chains embrace the benefits of home sharing, AHLA should cease fear-mongering about home sharing and protect the rights of homeowners to earn income on their properties.”

NetChoice Comments on FTC Facebook Fine

“The expected fine demonstrates to consumers and European regulators that the FTC is serious about privacy,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “The fine shows that American businesses should not trust any Cambridge University professor who promises to protect user data.”

“A multi billion dollar settlement is vastly greater than the UK’s $600,000 privacy fine and demonstrates the FTC is a serious enforcer of privacy laws,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “This is not a slam dunk case for the FTC. The FTC knows that if they overplay their hand they will lose in court.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns About Attacks on Platforms’ Ability to Remove Content

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about suggestions made by members of the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee that government should prevent online platforms from removing content they find objectionable ahead of today’s hearing, “Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse”.

“If we prevent online platforms from removing objectionable content, we risk turning online platforms into 8-Chan,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel for NetChoice. “Section 230 was specifically created to enable private platforms to remove offensive content.”

“Online platforms have bolstered conservative speech in public discourse, empowering modern conservative thought leaders such as Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, and Blaire White,” continued Szabo.

“Sen. Cruz is a smart lawyer who surely wants online platforms to remove violent and hateful content, so he’s not really looking to apply the first amendment to private parties.” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Sen. Cruz just wants assurances that online platforms are not curtailing conservative speech. We look forward to today’s witnesses giving him those assurances.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns About Attacks on Platforms’ Ability to Remove Content

Today, NetChoice was concerned by suggestions made during the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Hearing: Stifling Free Speech: Technological Censorship and the Public Discourse to prevent platforms from removing content it finds objectionable.

“Despite the misinformation, Section 230 was specifically created to enable content moderation and removal of offensive content.”  said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice. “It’s surprising that conservatives support the Hobby Lobby decision while oppose the rights of private platforms to remove content they deem objectionable to users and advertisers.”

“Preclusions on platforms removing content would require ChristiansLikeMe to retain atheist’s “political” comments.” warned Szabo.  “If we prevent online platforms from removing objectionable content we risk turning the whole internet into 8-Chan.”

NetChoice Commends LaHood on Effort to Combat Discriminatory Tax Proposals

Today, NetChoice commended Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) for leading the effort to combat discriminatory tax proposals coming from Europe.

“France’s Digital Service Tax’s (DST) targeting of U.S. companies is the poster child for taxation without representation,” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel at NetChoice. “These taxes are designed to target American businesses regardless of whether they’re physically present in Europe.”

“France’s DST ignores advertising by newspapers and television by only taxing online businesses, most of whom are housed in the United States. DST is obviously intentional and patently unfair,” continued Szabo. “We commend Rep. LaHood for his initiative in pushing the White House to protect America’s businesses and combat this tax by a foreign power.”

NetChoice and Taxpayers Protection Alliance Reject Preferential Treatment for Big Media

Today, NetChoice and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) voiced concerns over the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act,” reintroduced by Rep. Cicilline (D-RI), and co-sponsored by Rep. Collins (R-GA).

The legislation would exempt media companies from certain antitrust laws, allowing them to collude against online platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

“This bill empowers big media to circumvent antitrust laws and collude to grow their power.” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel at NetChoice. “We should reject attempts by those representing the ‘old economy’ to maintain relevance and gain advantages to the detriment of the consumer.”

“This legislation empowers big media to force prioritization of their content over their competitors,” continued Szabo.

TPA President David Williams also voiced concerns with the legislation’s text arguing “Companies should get equal treatment under the law, instead of big media companies enjoying a lucrative exemption from antitrust laws.”

“Instead of complicating regulations via special carve-outs, lawmakers should look to simplify rules and promote digital innovation.”

NetChoice Criticizes Attacks on Successful American Businesses

Today, NetChoice was concerned by suggestions made by Sen. Cory Booker during a campaign event in Washington that suggested he could weaponize antitrust law against American tech companies.

“We are not seeing a call for antitrust enforcement but rather an attack on successful businesses,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Breaking-up America’s most successful innovators will leave a vacuum only to be filled by foreign enterprises.”

“Antitrust should not be exploited for political purposes – to do so undermines the American public’s trust in fair and honest enforcement of laws,” continued Szabo.

The reaction to Sen. Warren’s antitrust proposal shows that Americans want fair rather than political enforcement of antitrust laws.”

NetChoice Comments on Mark Zuckerberg’s Washington Post Op-Ed

“Zuckerberg rightly raised the threat to American businesses from data nationalization laws around the world, many of which intentionally target the U.S. tech economy,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“Zuckerberg welcomed national or even global consensus about standards to moderate harmful content such as hate speech and terrorist propaganda. Until then, Facebook will continue to moderate content in order to meet the terms of service it promises to users.”