Opeds

Why Are Major Politicians Spreading Misinformation About Section 230?

Both political parties might find it useful to attack Section 230, but it’s not clear either understands it — or even wants to.

Read more at Medium

“Section 230 should be revoked,” Joe Biden told the New York Times in an interview published this morning.

This is not the first time the crucial internet law has come under attack by the Democratic presidential front-runner. Back in November, Biden alluded to the law, saying “I, for one, think we should be considering taking away [Facebook’s] exemption that they cannot be sued for knowingly engaged in promoting something that’s not true” (we’ll explain why this is incorrect later).

For a good explanation of what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is, click here.

Biden’s not alone: Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested the law could be repealed, and fought the inclusion of Section 230-style language in USMCA.

Read more at Medium…

Jeopardizing Core U.S. Values: Tristan Harris’s Misguided Regulatory Proposal for the Technology Industry

Medium

Sometimes we believe things so intensely that we lose sight of reality. And sometimes we are so certain of our infallibility that we ignore evidence that contradicts our beliefs. Social scientists call this phenomena confirmation bias.

And so it is with Tristan Harris. Testifying before Congress this week, Harris laid out his belief that technology businesses are “leading [us] toward civil war,” “market collapse,” and “near permanent civil disorder.”

Convinced of this belief, Harris used his stage to push proposals that would increase government control over online platforms at the expense of free speech, innovation, and consumer choice.

Read more at Medium…

‘Congress, it’s time to save the free Internet’

Washington Times

After the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect on New Year’s Day, businesses around the country began scrambling to work out how to comply with its strict rules and regulations. These days, more and more states are buying into the idea that they’ve got a role in regulating online privacy. Washington and Massachusetts, for instance, already attempted to pass their own state-based privacy laws in 2019, and many other states will likely follow suit this year.

This is bad news for online businesses, which now need to decide whether to comply with different state standards on digital privacy or to suspend service to particular states altogether. It’s also bad for consumers, who might see their options for certain services severely reduced, like they did in Europe after the EU enacted burdensome digital privacy regulations of its own in 2018.

Read more at The Washington Times…

A DOJ Investigation is the Ticket to a Fairer Market for Live Music and Sport Fans

This week, U.S. House of Representative members Buck, Gaetz, McBath, and Sensenbrenner asked the Department of Justice to look into anti-competitive actions taken by Ticketmaster and Live Nation — and they were right to do so.

Ten years ago, the Department of Justice approved the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation in a 10-year consent decree that expires in 2020. The consent decree was an agreement between DOJ and Ticketmaster-Live Nation where Ticketmaster made certain promises. For example, Ticketmaster can’t “retaliate” against any venue that wants to use a different service. This approved vertical merger allowed the dominant ticketing platform to merge with the largest promoter of concerts.

Read more on Medium…

If Congress Cares About Data Security, It Shouldn’t Weaken Encryption

More Americans than ever are concerned about protecting their data. Congress, too, has echoed these concerns. And on hearing these concerns, technology businesses like Apple, Facebook, and Google have incorporated encryption into their products.

Although complex in execution, encryption is simple in concept: companies convert information like our passwords into a code that only we can crack.

Read more on Medium…

Annapolis respects its citizens’ property rights on short-term rentals — putting it on strong legal footing

Ask any American about the American Dream and you’re likely to hear about home ownership. And if that American is a Millennial, like me, you’re likely to hear that home ownership remains just that: a dream.

But even for those Americans who do own homes, what started as a dream can quickly become a drag. That’s because most homes come with 30-year mortgages attached to them. And in places with high income taxes and high property taxes such as Maryland, homeowners often struggle to stay afloat.

Read more on Medium…

New Jersey’s $650M attack on ridesharing takes workers out of the driver’s seat

New Jersey’s Department of Labor slapped Uber with an astronomical $650 million fine last month. Why?

It seems the state has decided that Uber drivers aren’t contract workers, but rather, employees. For those very drivers, it was shocking news.

So it goes, the Garden State taxed Uber, seeking to morph Uber drivers into employees. The government, too, is looking to backdate that change so that the company owes the government income taxes from its previous years of operation. But this forced reclassification threatens a thriving marketplace that has served both riders and drivers tremendously. It’s the same kind of initiative that’s been tried on the West Coast — this year, California passed a law that will reclassify as employees a huge number of contractors across the state.

Read more at the NJ.com…

Should Twitter and Facebook be punished through government regulation?

When Twitter announced its recent ban on political advertising, the Trump campaign leveled heavy criticism at the platform, suggesting in an official statement that walking away from “hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue” was “a dumb decision for their stockholders.” And when Facebook recently rejected a blanket ban on political ads, actor Sacha Baron Cohen made headlines for proclaiming that the platform would have agreed to run ads for the Nazis (something a look at Facebook’s community standards quickly proves wrong).

Read more at the Washington Times…

Taking power away from parents in a war on tech

Like many parents, I have real concerns on how best to raise my children in the digital age. There is no Dr. Spock book on raising a child in the 21st Century. I can’t ask my parents what they did when I wanted my first smartphone.

Even psychiatrists, pediatricians, and social workers can’t agree on the answers.

It is intimidating to be a parent today.

Read more at Springfield News-Leader

Taking Power Away From Parents in a War on Tech

Like many parents, I have real concerns on how best to raise my children in the digital age. There is no Dr. Spock book on raising a child in the 21st Century. I can’t ask my parents what they did when I wanted my first smartphone.  

Even psychiatrists, pediatricians, and social workers can’t agree on the answers.

It is intimidating to be a parent today.  

But one thing is clear, if parents and child experts don’t know what the answers are, we shouldn’t surrender control over how we raise our children to DC politicians and special interest groups.  

Not missing an opportunity to attack technology innovation, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation to seize control over how online services operate. Sounding like Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons yelling, “won’t someone think of the children,” Sen. Hawley’s “Protecting Children from Online Predators Act” creates a parade of horribles, all part of the senator’s ongoing criticism of the tech industry. 

Read more at the Springfield News-Leader…

The Internet Didn’t Invent Lying Politicians — Contrary to Claims of Tech Critics

Political ads are nothing new. Misleading statements are nothing new in politics either. But when this occurs online, as opposed to on TV or in newspapers, that’s when tech-critics like Tim Wu suddenly have a problem.

In his New York Times op-ed, Wu airs his grievances with online businesses that dare to host political ads. Moreover, Wu complains that these businesses dare to allow politicians to include false statements in political ads.

Read more…

NetChoice Testimony in support of Michigan HB 5127 and HB 5128, regarding sales tax on data center equipment

NetChoice Testimony in support of Michigan HB 5127 and HB 5128, regarding sales tax on data center equipment

Calls to Breakup Apple, Facebook, and Google Are a Modern Day Fairy Tale

Medium

Captain Ahab, Don Quixote, and Ponce de Leon — there are dozens of tales featuring self-proclaimed heroes chasing white wales, tilting at windmills, or hunting for fountains of youth.

Today we have real life examples of mythical pursuit embodied in the rhetoric of those who claim that technology innovators like Apple, Facebook, and Google are monopolies as the basis for their breakup.

Their claims of technology monopolies are classic stories recycled for modern day audience, yet undermined by reality and history. Unfortunately for them, however, we have seen and re-seen their movies, and the endings never bode well for their cause.

Read more on Medium…

Section 230 Should be in Our Trade Agreements. Here’s Why.

Including American digital rules and regulations in trade agreements empowers American businesses to expand their reach internationally. The presence of Section 230 language in trade deals enables the U.S. to push back on foreign restrictions on speech and innovation, while lowering the costs of exporting for online entrepreneurs and making it easier for American small businesses to reach global customers. Trade agreements provide sufficient flexibility for Congress to continue to regulate in this area.

Yet some mistakenly hold concerns about the effect of putting Section 230 and other American internet rules into trade agreements.

So it’s time to clarify this misunderstanding.

Read more on Medium…

Facial recognition tech a boon for law enforcement

The Boston Herald

Facial recognition technology has become a lightning rod for debate in Massachusetts.
Proponents of the technology — and, yes, I’m one of them — argue that it helps law enforcement
to investigate and solve crime. Opponents say the technology has outpaced the law and needs
to be regulated.

I think the answer is simple: lawmakers should debate the issues; legislate reasonable
safeguards, if needed; and enable law enforcement to get on with using a valuable tool to find
criminals and keep our communities safe.

Read more…

The Hotel Industry Is Lobbying to Make Your Next Vacation More Expensive

The Daily Signal

Earlier this month, Congressman Ed Case introduced a bill that would make finding accommodation on your next getaway more expensive—regardless of where you choose to stay.

Why? It turns out hotels don’t like your cheap stays with Airbnb and HomeAway, and they’re lining up behind this bill to run those platforms off the market.

The Hawaii Democrat calls it the “PLAN Act,” short for Protecting Local Authority and Neighborhoods. The bill would amend a crucial internet provision called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the law that enables online services to host large amounts of user-created content without bearing liability for that content.

Read more…

Net ‘Censorship’ and Community Standards

Wall Street Journal

In a week in which our nation is wondering how to stop hateful speech online, Dennis Prager (“Don’t Let Google Get Away With Censorship,” op-ed, Aug. 7) complains about platforms applying their community standards when filtering videos and other content created by users.

Mr. Prager’s complaint, “Our videos are restricted only because they are conservative,” is an accusation that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Read more…

Morning Consult - Section 230 Is the Internet Law That Stops the Spread of Extremist and Hate Speech

Morning Consult – Section 230 Is the Internet Law That Stops the Spread of Extremist and Hate Speech

We live in dangerous times when newspapers are demonizing the very law that helps stop the spread of hate and extremist speech. Despite what some headlines might say, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act succeeded in its goal to make the internet a better place.

But not letting facts and reality prevent a click-worthy headline, we’ve seen several attacks on this amazing law from leading newspapers.

Read more at Morning Consult