NetChoice Challenges Warren’s Hipster Antitrust Assertions

Today, NetChoice challenged US Senator Warren’s new Medium post supporting the breaking-up of successful American tech businesses like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

“Sen. Warren is wrong in her assertion that tech markets lack competition. Never before have consumers and workers had more access to goods, services, and opportunities online,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.

“Breaking up tech companies would hurt – not help – America’s middle class,” continued Szabo.

“Sen. Warren’s proposal would increase prices for consumers, make search and maps less useful, and raise costs to small businesses that advertise online. This proposal is bad for all Americans.”

Startups have never been more prevalent.  The Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship shows that entrepreneurship is at its highest levels since 2008. Main street growth and startup activity are likewise up.  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found self-employment is up since 2014 and is projected to grow at 7.9% — faster than the projected rate for all workers.

NetChoice challenges Klobuchar’s Attempts to Politicize Antitrust

Today, NetChoice challenged US Senator Klobuchar’s comments on weaponizing antitrust during today’s Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights – “Does America Have a Monopoly Problem?: Examining Concentration and Competition in the US Economy

“It’s concerning to hear a US Senator weaponizing antitrust for campaign slogans while in the same breath berating the President over his approach to antitrust,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel.

“Contrary to the claims of some presidential candidates, consumers have never had more choice when it comes to online services.”

NetChoice Comments in Advance of House and Senate Privacy Hearings

Below is NetChoice’s statement in advance of tomorrow’s privacy hearing in the House, and Wednesday’s privacy hearing in the Senate. Here are NetChoice’s comments for the record for the House Hearing on consumer privacy.

“We are seeing a fracturing of the internet driven by states introducing disparate privacy bills.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President of NetChoice. “The time has come for establishment of a nationwide standard for privacy online.”

“Americans should ask for a better privacy approach than what Europe and California concocted. Americans deserve a privacy law that doesn’t remove services and stymie innovation.” continued Szabo. “Federal privacy legislation should allow for industry safe-harbors similar to those in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with Calls to Tear Apart Previously Approved Mergers

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee suggestions of re-reviewing merger approvals.

“Tearing apart previously approved mergers threatens America’s startups and empowers America’s competitors.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.  

“We must not take a rear-view mirror approach to merger reviews.” continued Szabo.  It’s surprising to hear Rep. Cicilline saying the Obama FTC failed to do an adequate review of mergers.”  

For more information read NetChoice’s oped: An antitrust Game of Thrones – The fantasy fight against Google and Facebook

NetChoice Raises Concerns with Calls for Conservative Taskforce to Regulate Tech

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about Senate Commerce Committee calls for a taskforce to investigate allegations of tech bias against conservatives.

“It is a myth that social media platforms are unregulated. Online platforms are subject to dozens of laws from across the country.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.

“Jumping to big government solutions such as a task force to address concerns is counter to conservative principles.” continued Szabo.  “This taskforce sets a dangerous precedent that government should intervene in spaces that enable free speech online. Politicians regardless of political affiliation should reject policies that put our online freedoms at risk.”

NetChoice Commends Facebook for Securing User Data

Today, NetChoice commended Facebook for prioritizing the security of its users by restricting what user data third party apps can access.

“After Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is right to prevent third party apps from abusing their access to Facebook user data,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Even if a good actor wishes to access Facebook user data, allowing that risks bad actors gaining access too.”

“Facebook is balancing important priorities that traditional media outlets like the Guardian should appreciate rather than tying Facebook up in a Catch-22.”

NetChoice Applauds the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Online Platform Liability Case

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice applauded the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Hassell v. Yelp, Inc, No. 18-506. This denial retains a California State Supreme Court ruling that Section 230 protections prevent Yelp from being held legally liable for negative reviews posted on their site.

“This case shows the importance of Section 230. Without Section 230 Yelp would be held responsible for negative reviews posted on their site — a legal burden that could shut them down,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Americans increasingly rely on online services like Yelp in their daily lives, services which rely on Section 230 to function.”

NetChoice Concerned By Push for Government Intervention in Barr Confirmation Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice raised concerns with some Senators’ politically motivated demands to punish the tech industry during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing of William Barr.

 

“Weaponizing antitrust in order to attack online platforms sets a dangerous precedent,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Conservatives should turn to market-based solutions to solve perceived problems, not seek more intervention from big government.”

 

“Anyone who’s seen the movie “Vice” knows conservatives like Vice President Dick Cheney fought against the so-called fairness doctrine for broadcast TV.  Only after eliminating “equal time” mandates did we see the rise of conservative voices like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh,” continued Szabo.

 

“An internet unhindered by heavy-handed government regulation continues to help conservative voices be heard online. Had the proposals we heard in today’s confirmation hearing been implemented 10 years ago, modern conservative voices like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens would likely be no more than whispers.”

NetChoice Commends Injunction of NYC’s Anti-Homesharing Ordinance

Today, NetChoice commended the US Southern District Court of New York’s preliminary injunction of NYC’s anti-homesharing ordinance requiring short-term rental platforms, like Airbnb and HomeAway, to hand over huge amounts of sensitive customer data.

“New York City’s fight against their own residents has lead them to defy the constitution and violate the rights of New Yorkers,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “New York’s Southern District Court should protect the rights of NYC homeowners. The city’s anti-homesharing laws are dysfunctional and to enforce them New York City is trampling residents’ right to privacy.”

Here are some quotes from the Southern District Court’s decision:

  1. “[The ordinance] would invite such productions so as to permit regulators to troll these records for potential violations of law, even as to customers as to which there had been no basis theretofore to suspect any violation of law.” P.40
  2. “Existing Fourth Amendment law does not afford a charter for such a wholesale regulatory appropriation of a company’s user database.” P.40
  3. “A home-sharing platform has at least two very good reasons to keep host and guest information private, whether as to these users’ identities, contact information, usage patterns, and payment practices. One is competitive: Keeping such data confidential keeps such information from rivals (whether competing platforms or hotels) who might exploit it. The other involves customer relations: Keeping such data private assuredly promotes better relations with, and retention of, a platform’s users.” P.22

Link to opinion and order: netchoice.org/nycpreliminjunction

 

 

 

 

NetChoice Commends Moderation Efforts by Tech Platforms

Today, NetChoice commended efforts by tech platforms to curb manipulation by foreign actors to influence American elections. The statement was made in response to President Trump’s comments made earlier today criticizing online platforms for their moderation efforts.

“Platforms are taking steps to curb manipulation – proactively addressing the issues raised by the recently released Senate Report on Disinformation Campaigns. This should be celebrated, not condemned,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President at NetChoice. “Condemning platforms for addressing foreign interference in our elections sends the wrong message.”