Opeds

When it comes to the sharing economy, some are Lost in Austin

In 2015, Austin was ranked the “Best City to Live in” by WalletHub, a personal-finance forum. However, some members of the 2016 Austin City Council seem to have forgotten that the city’s ability to embrace and foster innovation is what has made the city great.

Read more at Austin American-Statesman

Utah Citizens: Internet Sales Tax System Works Fine, Don’t Mess With It

Sixty-seven percent said that imposing sales tax obligations on businesses that have no physical presence in the state would amount to a statewide sales increase.

Sixty-seven percent of Utahns said the “issue has largely solved itself and requiring small merchants to collect and send taxes to 46 states is overly burdensome.” Only 16 percent said there “should be federal or state laws that require merchants large and small to collect and pay taxes to tax collection agencies in nearly every state.”

Utahns support the current online sales tax system. An overwhelming 78 percent said that the current system is “fine, I like it as it is.” Only 8 percent said “it needs to change. More purchases should be taxed.”

Read the Polling at NetChoice.org/UtahTaxPoll

Steve DelBianco – Philadelphia Inquirer – Uber, Lyft are safe

Emails between taxi medallion owners and the Philadelphia Parking Authority have revealed a too-cozy relationship between the regulated and the regulator (“Taxis, PPA join against Uber,” Thursday). Shrugging it off as business as usual only justifies bad behavior.

Read More at The Philadelphia Inquirer 

The Hill – European courts should provide a clear ‘Safe Harbor’ for the Internet

To watch BBC News or send online messages to European friends, data must flow across the Atlantic. The EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement makes these data transfers possible – but this might soon change.

We could soon see “cyber-fences” between the U.S. and EU if negotiators from both sides fail to adopt a new agreement by the end of the month.

Read more at The Hill

Austin on verge of dealing a big blow to sharing economy, and this has nothing to do with Uber

For the past three years, Austinites have enjoyed all the inherent freedoms of home ownership. But some of those freedoms could vanish if the Austin City Council passes City Code 25 on Thursday.
In 2013, Austin led the state, and the nation, in adopting sensible short-term rental regulations. This allowed homeowners across the city to offer short-term rentals to visitors and Austinites.

Read More at Austin Business Journal

Steve DelBianco Speaks at State of the Net: High Noon for the IANA Transition

PANEL: Alissa Cooper, Distinguished Engineer, Cisco; Steve DelBianco, Executive Director, NetChoice; David Redl, Counsel, U.S House Committee on Energy and Commerce; Greg Shatan, Partner, Abelman Frayne & Schwab; Chris Wilson, Vice President, Government Affairs, 21st Century Fox. MODERATOR: Laura DeNardis American University

Student privacy legislation requires a surgical approach

Our nation’s schools have always been responsible for providing a safe educational environment for our children.  Today, technology in the classroom is making our schools face challenges meeting that responsibility.

But some believe schools must choose between privacy and technology. This is a false choice.  Parents, schools, students, and lawmakers can have both – it’s just a matter of crafting the right policy.

Read more at The Hill

Steve DelBianco Speaks on TPA’s “Taxpayer Watch Podcast”

Also available here

FTC’s credibility tarnishes as its privacy offensives grow

Having worked for an FTC commissioner, I’ve seen first hand the commission’s regulatory successes. Imbued with the powers of competitive oversight and consumer protection, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was a beacon for other governmental agencies.

Unfortunately, times have changed. The commission’s recent obsession with media exposure has darkened the FTC’s luminescence.  The FTC has forgotten its core foundational tenet: identify practices that actually harm consumers.

Read More at THE HILL

Is Your Internet Bill About to Go Up?

When you look at your mobile and home internet bills, have you ever noticed the taxes and fees section?

Well if some in Congress get their way, these taxes could be even higher — with many of us paying an extra $20 per month for online access
(18% tax rate on home internet and mobile bills totaling $110 per month).
Read more

Kojo Nnamdi Show – Taxing Your Online Shopping Spree

Steve DelBianco speaks about internet sales tax issues.

Link to Kojo Nnamdi 

Why Are We Importing Europe’s Broken Internet Sales Tax System?

As Congress weighs Internet sales tax proposals, it should look to Europe’s unpleasant experience with the Value Added Tax (VAT) system for guidance on what not to do.

The European Commission (EC) is calling for major reform of its current tax collection system for its 28 member countries because the VAT has proven harmful to retailers and is slowing cross-border purchases. Now the EC is advocating for a tax structure based not on where the buyer is (as is currently the case), but on where the seller is, helping to create what it calls a “Single Digital Market.”

Read more at Forbes.com

Don’t cry wolf about student privacy

When I ask my 3-year old, “why did the boy cry wolf?” he answered, “for attention of course.” It’s a simple enough story with a basic message. Too bad the attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) didn’t learn that tale when they were youngsters.

READ MORE at TheHill

Your Home is Still Your Castle

The citizens of San Francisco spoke loud and clear on Election Night.  They want control over how they share their homes – including the right to use short-term rentals to help cover the cost of home ownership in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

Proposition F (Prop F) would have made home ownership in San Francisco even more unaffordable than it already is, by restricting homeowners’ ability to host short-term rentals enabled by online services like Airbnb and HomeAway.  These hosting platforms have provided homeowners across the nation with help to fund their American dream.  Read more

Governments Shouldn’t Play Games with the Internet

Governments often use small players as pawns in their global games of chess. Two weeks ago the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU-US Safe Harbor (“Safe Harbor”) framework, turning Internet businesses into expendable pawns in a government game. But for the past fifteen years, Safe Harbor allowed data flows across the Atlantic — fostering innovation and incredible economic development.

The Safe Harbor agreement mirrors the original goal of the Internet, ubiquitous information sharing regardless of borders. Now, with quadrillions of bytes of data transferred daily between our nations, accounting for trillions of dollars in trade, the Internet is essential for the global economy.

READ MORE at CircleID

Protecting the freedoms of the sharing economy

Technology has always promised to give us the freedom to work where, when, and how we want.  And, in the past two years we have truly seen this become a reality.

We call it the sharing economy.  People are able to leverage their expertise or skill without the need for a traditional employer.  But old world cartels are trying to stop the new freedoms granted to us by this new economy.

READ More at The Hill

Two bills that should be on everyone’s “Don’t Pass” list

With Congress back from the August recess, attention will quickly shift to the “Must Pass” legislation that has to be approved by the end of the year to avoid calamity.  But there are two Internet sales tax bills that should be on everyone’s “Don’t Pass” list, because if either is slipped into moving legislation, it would be a calamity for America’s small- and medium-sized businesses.

We’re talking about the fatally flawed Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) and the Remote Transaction Parity Act (RTPA), which was supposed to fix the problems with MFA, but actually made a bad bill even worse.

MFA would force America’s online and catalog sellers to comply with the sales tax laws of 10,000 local jurisdictions in our nation, creating costly administrative and compliance burden on small- and medium-sized businesses that can scarcely afford it.  It would also expose every single American business to new risks of government audits from any of the 46 states that impose a sales tax.

READ MORE at The Hill

Orwell would say we are missing 1984’s warning

Complex issues are often oversimplified so that they can be communicated in a 15-second sound bite.  And when it comes to oversimplifying complex privacy issues, many would skip serious thoughtful discussion and resort to terms like “Orwellian” or “1984.”  But this “Cliff’s Notes” version of sophisticated privacy discussions rarely matches the actual text of George Orwell’s masterpiece.

We all know the novel 1984, or at least we think we do.  But we tend to focus on the technology involved in the story and miss the underlying warning Orwell was trying to give.  Orwell’s “Big Brother is Watching” was not about fear of new technology or businesses, but a cautionary tale about government’s unfettered access to information and the misuse of technology.  

READ MORE at The Hill

Carl Szabo Speaks about Facial Recognition on Australian Broadcast TV

Watch Interview Here.