Opeds

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

Carl Szabo Speaks on NPR To the Point – Do You Really Own Your Own Face?

Visit NPR’s To the Point

Privacy advocates are warning about the loss of public anonymity from face-recognition technology that’s ubiquitous thanks to Facebook and other software companies. We’ll hear about the risks… as well as the benefits.

Facing transparency head-on

Facial recognition technologies have been used for security and safety applications for years in the United States and abroad. Due to high costs and technological limitations, it was used mostly for homeland security to identify terrorists and protect airports. But over the past several years, facial technologies have evolved and reduced in cost, enabling the development of convenience applications to help us better connect with friends and loved ones and to organize our thousands of photos.

With cameras being attached to every phone, computer and tablet, along with virtually unlimited storage space, most of us now have photo collections numbering in the thousands. But much in the same way search engines made navigating the Internet easier, we need better ways to search through our photos to find the ones we seek.

Read more at The Hill

FTC Counsels Privacy-By-Design But Enforces by “Gotcha”

For years the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banged the “privacy-by-design” drum – telling developers to build privacy into their apps and services – and avoided “gotcha” cases. But its latest action against Nomi Technologies (Nomi) suggests a change of heart.

Nomi embraced privacy-by-design. It built an in-store tracking technology with a universal opt-out for customers – an online opt-out used by hundreds of consumers. And Nomi avoided collecting any personal information about customers, recording only the MAC address of a device and immediately hashing the address so devices couldn’t be identified outside of Nomi’s system. This is the kind of “privacy-by-design” the FTC has been counseling companies to adopt since 2012.

But rather than crediting Nomi for its privacy-by-design technology, the FTC chose to prosecute Nomi for a non-material error in their privacy policy. Read more

Carl Szabo Speak about Facial Recognition on NPR’s On Point

The Computer Will (Literally) See You Now

Steve DelBianco Speaks at Techonomy Policy Event on ICANN

Today’s Internet is in jeopardy as a global system. Post-Snowden, governments increasingly diverge on what kind of Internet ought to operate in their country. This is alarming to those who believe that how the unitary Net works has led to stunning economic progress and business transformation for everyone. Fadi Chehadé, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Steve DelBianco, NetChoice Miriam Sapiro, Summit Strategies International & The Brookings Institution Moderator: Gordon Goldstein

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When Airlines Hide their Prices We Pay an Extra $6 Billion

It’s no secret that competition in the market drives down consumer prices. But what if consumers can’t easily compare prices? Well according to a new study from Travel Tech, the reverse is true – prices go up.

The study found that if travelers can only get ticket prices and schedules from the airlines alone, it would cost consumers over $6 billion per year and 41 million travelers would be priced-out of flying. In essence, without the one-stop-shop for price comparison that Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak offer, we would pay more for our tickets. Read more

Governor’s veto puts Virginians’ safety first

Historically, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been tough on crime and placed a priority on the safety and well-being of its citizens. Virginia has strict laws regarding violent offenses like burglary, murder and sexual assault — without placing a statute of limitations on investigators and prosecutors trying to solve these crimes.

Virginia’s record of protecting its citizens continued when Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently vetoed legislation that would have greatly diminished the ability for Virginia law enforcement to solve crimes.

Senate Bill 965 and House Bill 1673 would have placed extreme limits on the ability of Virginia law enforcement to use all the tools available to serve and protect Virginians. The bills restricted law-enforcement use of license-plate-reader (LPR) data that is more than 7 days old — meaning any criminal investigation that is more than a week old will be much harder to pursue and prosecute.

READ MORE at Richmond Times Dispatch

iAWFUL Legislation 2015: Death, Taxes and Trade Secrets

iAWFUL Legislation 2015: Death, Taxes and Trade Secrets

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2015 — They say nothing is life is guaranteed except death and taxes. But now state legislators around the country are trying to open your private communications after you die, turn Internet retailers into tax tattle tales, and force trade secrets to be revealed to unauthorized repair shops.

Many pieces of legislation across the country were worthy of review, but only seven were deemed iAWFUL enough by NetChoice to make the latest version of the association’s ranking of state and federal bills that limit competition, innovation and customer choice. (iAWFUL.com) Read more

Times Union – New York Lawmakers OK Budget Bill But Reject Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Proposals

Times Union – New York Lawmakers OK Budget Bill But Reject Gov. Cuomo’s Tax Proposals (NetChoice Oped)

As the song says about New York, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” But if the state budget includes a new sales tax mandate, online marketplaces may not make it in New York – or anywhere else, for that matter.

Online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay enable small producers and specialty retailers to reach customers across the country who might never visit their factories or stores. From handmade crafts to custom clothing to specialty tools, online marketplaces are empowering small businesses and meeting consumer demand.

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The Hill – Online educational legislation could strand students

The Hill – Online educational legislation could strand students

As a parent I want to protect my son.  I could try and protect him from the world by hiding him on a proverbial “island” devoid of online connectivity.  I would unplug the Internet and take away all the mobile devices.  This would isolate him from potential harms.  At the same time it would deprive him of all the benefits of a connected education and tools that help him grow.  In the end, it’s all about striking the right balance.

Laws protecting students must also seek to strike the same balance between safety and growth – between isolation and discovery.  Unfortunately, the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act (SDPPRA) of 2015 misses this balance.  Through overly proscriptive language, SDPPRA retreads existing law while shackling educational innovation.

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Privacy fears slaying serious conversation

We’ve seen TV shows about ghost hunters and Bigfoot hunters, where they eschew science and fact in favor of fears and fantasy.   That’s understandable, since it’s impossible to have real conversations when some talk about what might exist and others are talking about what does exist.  The same is true for sweeping privacy legislation coming out of the Obama White House. 

This week the White House released its Privacy Bill of Rights — sweeping privacy legislation based mostly on anecdotes and fears instead of evidence and cost-benefit analysis.  By arming the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with incredible new punitive powers, this bill strings CAUTION tape in front of American businesses developing new technologies and business models.

READ more at The Hill

State Legislatures Tone Deaf to Americans’ Desire To Control Personal Privacy After Death

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Eighteen state legislatures are drafting or debating bills that would curtail the ability for Americans to control the privacy of their personal communications when they die – despite the fact that Americans believe their right to privacy does not end when they take their last breath.

According to a new poll* conducted by Zogby Analytics for NetChoice, the vast majority of Americans believe that maintaining the privacy of their electronic communications trumps giving access to family and heirs. Read more

Time for the ECPA to Get an ’80s-Style Remake

The 1980s were a decade to remember. Advancements in the ’80s became the foundation for many of the technologies that have become a part of our daily lives — wireless phones, video game consoles and, of course, the foundations of the Internet. And just like our favorite ’80s TV shows are remade into new movies (such as “Transformers” and “The A-Team”) let’s add a 28-year-old online privacy law deserving of a remake too: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The ECPA, which was passed in 1986, set standards to restrict government access to private communications. But in the nearly 30 years since, this law has shown it has loopholes that expose some private data of American citizens.

READ MORE AT ROLL CALL

Carl Szabo Speaks on Detroit Channel 4 On Digital Afterlife

Husband loses wife, fights Apple over iPad


video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

More at: Channel 4