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Nothing Nice on This List — Introducing iAWFUL, a NetChoice Initiative


Some of the biggest threats to the Internet have always come from well-meaning lawmakers looking to “fix” it. And lately, there’s been a whole lot of fixin’ efforts going on.

At NetChoice, we’ve always been committed to challenging legislation that threatens our vibrant industry. Today more than ever, we need a more unified and systemic approach to combat bad legislation.

That’s why we’ve created iAWFUL, the Internet Advocates Watchlist for Ugly Laws. 

iAWFUL identifies America’s 10 worst legislative and regulatory proposals targeted at the Internet. Through iAWFUL, NetChoice will urge citizens to join the fight to defeat bills and proposals that threaten the future of ecommerce and online communication. The list will be continually updated to reflect the most immediate dangers, based on regulatory severity and likelihood of passage.

While misguided Internet legislation is nothing new, the threat that such legislation poses has increased dramatically. The latest breed of legislative proposals are among the most restrictive we’ve ever seen; they can crop up anywhere, as state lawmakers increasingly take the lead; and they threaten an Internet that increasingly lies at the heart of global commerce and communications.

State-based legislative efforts account for the majority of entries on iAWFUL, a stark indication of the growing push in statehouses to regulate and tax nearly every aspect of online behavior.

Topping the inaugural iAWFUL list is New Jersey’s Social Networking Bill (A 3757), which would require the operators of social networking sites to aggressively police their users. In addition to stifling the free exchange of information and communication on social networking sites,
the proposed bill would impose a massive burden — particularly on smaller, upcoming services that lack the resources to take on such an unnecessary and invasive task.

We encourage anybody who cares about the Internet, really to head on over to the iAWFUL site, check the full list, suggest laws that should be included, and join the fight to uphold innovation and Internet freedom.