NetChoice Applauds the USTR Investigation of France’s Digital Services Tax

Today NetChoice applauded the US Trade Representative for investigating and considering action against the French Digital Services Tax (DST), which would impose a 3% tax on gross revenue from businesses with annual revenue of $830 million globally. 

“In a desperate bid to help French companies compete, France designed new taxes to penalize America’s online leaders,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“France flaunted OECD policies when it imposed this discriminatory new tax,” continued DelBianco.  “Just a month after President Macron promised to grow France’s flailing tech industry, his government imposed these taxes to knee-cap American competitors.”

“The USTR is standing-up for American businesses by investigating France’s discriminatory tax. Our government needs to show foreign powers that they will pay a price for targeting America’s online leaders for discriminatory taxes.”

“The DST is doubly discriminatory, by targeting American online business while steering clear of most French companies and sparing ad revenue earned by broadcast and print media.”

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.”

Morning Consult – HUD’s Ben Carson Seems Confused About Online Advertising

Ben Carson, the secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, recently sued Facebook for failing to show certain housing ads to all 218 million Americans who use Facebook.  Rather than just prosecuting the advertisers who placed the ads, Carson wants to hold Facebook liable for discrimination in how these advertisers directed their ads to be shown.

Discrimination in housing is against the law. But why would HUD prosecute platforms — rather than the landlords and realtors who discriminated when placing their ads?  That’s a legally tenuous tactic that just distracts from that actual problems of discrimination. If upheld, HUD’s prosecution of Facebook would let the actual discriminators off the hook, while penalizing an innovative American company and its users.

Read more here…

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.”

POLITICO – Tech Pushes Back on Trump Regulation Remarks

POLITICO – Tech Pushes Back on Trump Regulation Remarks

— Industry rebuttal: “When President Trump says he would regulate online platforms for alleged anti-conservative bias, he really means he would suppress free expression,” NetChoice president Steve DelBianco said in a statement. “Government suppression of negative news and views about the President would blatantly violate the constitution.” And the libertarian TechFreedom group tweeted that “Principled conservatives and liberals should unite against Trump’s attempts to create a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet as a sword for government meddling in social media.”

For a Smooth Ride, e-Scooter Providers and Cities Need to Get Along

For a Smooth Ride, e-Scooter Providers and Cities Need to Get Along

America’s tech industry has embraced the idea of permissionless innovation, where new online business models set up operations without requesting approval from public officials. That’s how eBay revolutionized the way people sell their stuff, and it’s how sharing economy businesses became a great way for Americans to rent their own homes and cars to travelers.

To be sure, permissionless innovation has brought new waves of competition and consumer choice. But sometimes those waves wash right over public officials, raising their skepticism and scrutiny. We’ve already seen the pitfalls of permissionless innovation when some businesses placed their bikes and scooters on city streets.

Read More at National League of Cities’s CitySpeak

BNA Bloomberg – Georgia Enacts Online Sales Tax Law Ahead of Supreme Court Action

BNA Bloomberg – Georgia Enacts Online Sales Tax Law Ahead of Supreme Court Action

“I think Georgia can fully expect a lawsuit before the law takes effect in January,” particularly if the Supreme Court upholds the physical presence rule and finds South Dakota’s law unconstitutional, said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, an industry association for e-commerce.

NetChoice has sued Indiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming over similar sales tax collection laws.

Georgia also could face a legal challenge on the reporting requirements, DelBianco told Bloomberg Tax May 7, in addition to public opposition when residents of the state become aware of the privacy concerns of their online purchases being reported to the state.

The reporting requirements in Georgia’s law are modeled after a Colorado law that faced six years of court challenges before the Supreme Court declined to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s decision to uphold Colorado’s law. No other federal circuit has ruled on such a reporting law, DelBianco said.

“Georgia is not in the Tenth Circuit. You can bet that it’s a ripe target,” he said.


King5 News – Looking for concert tickets? Don’t be fooled by online scalpers

King5 News – Looking for concert tickets? Don’t be fooled by online scalpers

Consumers are being fooled into buying tickets from online scalpers posing as the official event venue, often leading them to pay inflated prices for subpar seats.“These are slippery actors,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of the consumer advocacy group NetChoice. “They will close a website down and open up a new website with new domain names to fool new customers.”

DelBianco said state and federal authorities have the ability to go after unfair and deceptive trade practices.


Southern California Public Radio – Should out-of-state online retailers be required to collect sales tax on in-state purchases?

Southern California Public Radio – Should out-of-state online retailers be required to collect sales tax on in-state purchases?

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to take up a case that would overturn a 1992 decision exempting retailers with no physical presence in a state from collecting state sales tax.

E-commerce advocates such as NetChoice argue that a change in the law would stifle innovation, putting undue burdens on businesses that don’t have a store, office or warehouse in states where purchases are made.


Steve DelBianco speaks at State of the Net


Steve DelBianco spoke about the future of multi-stakeholder governance.

Watch here