Opeds

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.

How Airbnb actually makes NYC affordable

The sharing economy is changing the way we work, live and play. But nowhere have we better seen the benefits of this change than in our transportation and travel. In just a few years, we’ve added Lyft, Uber and SideCar to our zeitgeist for rides and turned to Airbnb for housing when visiting a city.

We’ve lovingly termed this change “disruption.” It’s a disruption of industries that have remained relatively unchanged for decades and a disruption craved by us all. We’re turning our cars and homes into valuable assets and facilitating the type of customer experience we all want.

READ more at NY Post

Utah – Don’t Make a U-Turn Away from Ride-Sharing

Ride-sharing companies like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar are transforming how we travel.  Everyday, ride-sharing provides Utahns with rides on demand via the press of a button and these rides come with the safety and security of knowing the driver’s name, photo, and ratings.  

These services allow Utah citizens to turn their car into a source of income. Their presence reduces traffic congestion and DUIs. And these services illuminated the inadequacies of a taxicab system that has not changed much since the introduction of the Model T.

But rather than looking in the mirror at their own deficiencies and taking the opportunity to improve, the taxicab monopoly has cried foul and decided to blame its troubles on the marketplace.  One of the biggest criticisms from the taxi industry is that ride-sharing companies are “playing by a different set of rules and regulations.”

Earlier this year, Utah passed SB 294 that created a common sense regulatory framework requiring ride-sharing drivers to comply with the same insurance requirements as taxis. 

READ More at Deseret News

Delaware Law To Hamstring Maryland Border Businesses

The border towns between the states of Maryland and Delaware are tremendously inter-twined.  The north-south portion of the Maryland and Delaware border forms the Mason-Dixon Line and the east-west Transpeninsular Line cuts across the Delmarva Peninsula where so many residents of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania enjoy some of the East Coast’s best beaches.

The Maryland-Delaware border has been a venue for historic disputes.  But in modern times, the border towns of the two states share commerce and customers from Newark, Del to Elkton, Md. and Ocean City, Md. to Fenwick Island, Del.

However, that could soon end as a new Delaware law will place burdensome regulations on Mom-and-Pop businesses, forcing those on the Maryland side to turn away Delaware consumers that use online technologies to place orders and make payments. Read more

Don’t punish victims while chasing online thieves

When Gov. Bruce Rauner was running for office, he talked a lot about his support for Illinois small businesses. He even used his inaugural address to describe how the state’s economic turnaround could begin with local businesses right here in Illinois.

In the coming weeks, Gov. Rauner will have a golden opportunity to make a meaningful impact in support of Prairie State small businesses. He should seize that chance and issue an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1833. Why? Because this proposed legislation expands the definition of data breaches to include ordinary sales and marketing information that threatens no one’s safety or security. In fact, it is so off the mark that not a single other state in the country would or has adopted a similarly overreaching measure – not even California.

READ More at Chicago Sun Times

Amendatory veto needed for Illinois’ small businesses

When Gov. Bruce Rauner was running for office, he talked a lot about his support for Illinois small businesses. He even used his inaugural address to describe how the state’s economic turnaround could begin with local businesses right here in Illinois.

In the coming weeks, Rauner will have a golden opportunity to make a meaningful effect in support of Prairie State small businesses. He should seize that chance and issue an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1833.

Why?

Continue reading at Northwest Herald

Steve DelBianco Speaks about ICANN and IANA at AEI Conference

More at: AEI – The DOTCOM Act: A roadmap for congressional oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition

Chaffetz Internet Sales Tax Bill Is Too Costly and Complex

Congress is looking for a sensible solution to the dilemma over how to collect Internet Sales Tax in a fair and reasonable way.  But the fatally flawed Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) introduced in June by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, is exactly the wrong way to do it.

This legislation would impose large costs on America’s small businesses, is amazingly complex to administer, and creates uncertainty and fear of intrusive government audits from 46 different state tax departments across the nation.  Congress should find a better way – one that doesn’t favor big box retailers at the expense of small businesses in any corner of the country. Here’s why:

READ MORE at CFO

One Parent’s Support of YouTube Kids

As a parent raising a child in the information age it’s really tough.

There is no book on how do it (Dr. Spock never had to deal with the Internet).  There are no parental figures with experience raising a child in the age of the Internet.  And sometimes our kids are more technologically adept than we are.

So we try to the best that we can with tools that we have available.

Unfortunately, because of well meaning but prescriptive laws and regulations, few tools exist.  These rules scared off the development of tools and services to help parents and children. And that’s why I take umbrage with the recent negative statements about YouTube kids from advocates who don’t speak for all parents but want to remove tools to help my child. Read more