Press

NetChoice Raises Concerns with Calls to Tear Apart Previously Approved Mergers

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee suggestions of re-reviewing merger approvals.

“Tearing apart previously approved mergers threatens America’s startups and empowers America’s competitors.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.  

“We must not take a rear-view mirror approach to merger reviews.” continued Szabo.  It’s surprising to hear Rep. Cicilline saying the Obama FTC failed to do an adequate review of mergers.”  

For more information read NetChoice’s oped: An antitrust Game of Thrones – The fantasy fight against Google and Facebook

Politico Morning Tech - Trump talks ‘industries of the future’

Politico Morning Tech – Trump talks ‘industries of the future’

TECH PUSHES BACK ON GRAHAM — The tech industry is pushing back on Graham’s plans to create a task force to look into allegations that tech companies are biased against conservatives. “This taskforce sets a dangerous precedent that government should intervene in spaces that enable free speech online,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice. Graham told reporters on Tuesday he wants to put together a joint task force of the Judiciary and Commerce committees to look at privacy, content, bias and terrorism in social media.

NetChoice Raises Concerns with Calls for Conservative Taskforce to Regulate Tech

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about Senate Commerce Committee calls for a taskforce to investigate allegations of tech bias against conservatives.

“It is a myth that social media platforms are unregulated. Online platforms are subject to dozens of laws from across the country.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice.

“Jumping to big government solutions such as a task force to address concerns is counter to conservative principles.” continued Szabo.  “This taskforce sets a dangerous precedent that government should intervene in spaces that enable free speech online. Politicians regardless of political affiliation should reject policies that put our online freedoms at risk.”

Politico Influence - Who’s still lobbying for Bayer

She’s already working with the trade group NetChoice “on their efforts in various states to promote and improve the economic and tax environment” for data centers, according to her spokesperson.

Bloomberg – Tech Group Favors Privacy Bill That Preempts Tougher State Laws

Bloomberg – Tech Group Favors Privacy Bill That Preempts Tougher State Laws

NetChoice says measure would avoid a patchwork of regulations.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Hawley says he'd welcome joining with Ocasio-Cortez in challenging big social media companies

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Hawley says he’d welcome joining with Ocasio-Cortez in challenging big social media companies

also reported in Nouvelles Du Monde and Tech2.

Hawley and Ocasio-Cortez are facing resistance from online industry players, including NetChoice, the trade association representing e-commerce companies.

“Sensible legislators need to avoid the allure of weaponizing antitrust for political aims,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice’s vice president and general counsel. “Politicizing antitrust exchanges good policy for partisan politics and creates a disastrous precedent.”

He added: “Hipster antitrust threatens small businesses that rely on large platforms to find new customers. If Sen. Hawley and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez want to support small business back home, they should applaud platforms — not attack them.”

Internet Society - International Approach to Internet Policy Declining, Some Experts Say

also reported in Finance Follow

Recent efforts to keep the Internet safe for free expression and free enterprise are “mission impossible,” said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of Internet-focused trade group NetChoice.

Back in the early 2000s, the Internet was enabling the disruption of governments and powerful businesses by providing users ways to work around those organizations, DelBianco added. “Fifteen years later, I’d have to say that governments and big businesses have regained their footing and are reasserting control,” he said.

Fox News - Missouri's GOP senator wants to work with Ocasio-Cortez on tackling tech giants

“Sensible legislators need to avoid the allure of weaponizing antitrust for political aims,” Carl Szabo, NetChoice’s vice president and general counsel, told the newspaper. “Politicizing antitrust exchanges good policy for partisan politics and creates a disastrous precedent.”

“Hipster antitrust threatens small businesses that rely on large platforms to find new customers,” he added. “If Sen. Hawley and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez want to support small business back home, they should applaud platforms — not attack them.”

NetChoice Commends Facebook for Securing User Data

Today, NetChoice commended Facebook for prioritizing the security of its users by restricting what user data third party apps can access.

“After Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is right to prevent third party apps from abusing their access to Facebook user data,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Even if a good actor wishes to access Facebook user data, allowing that risks bad actors gaining access too.”

“Facebook is balancing important priorities that traditional media outlets like the Guardian should appreciate rather than tying Facebook up in a Catch-22.”

NetChoice Applauds the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Online Platform Liability Case

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice applauded the US Supreme Court’s denial of Certiorari in Hassell v. Yelp, Inc, No. 18-506. This denial retains a California State Supreme Court ruling that Section 230 protections prevent Yelp from being held legally liable for negative reviews posted on their site.

“This case shows the importance of Section 230. Without Section 230 Yelp would be held responsible for negative reviews posted on their site — a legal burden that could shut them down,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Americans increasingly rely on online services like Yelp in their daily lives, services which rely on Section 230 to function.”

Small Business Advocate Radio - Short-Term Rentals, Antitrust, and Facial Recognition

Segments:

NetChoice Concerned By Push for Government Intervention in Barr Confirmation Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice raised concerns with some Senators’ politically motivated demands to punish the tech industry during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing of William Barr.

“Weaponizing antitrust in order to attack online platforms sets a dangerous precedent,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Conservatives should turn to market-based solutions to solve perceived problems, not seek more intervention from big government.”

“Anyone who’s seen the movie “Vice” knows conservatives like Vice President Dick Cheney fought against the so-called fairness doctrine for broadcast TV.  Only after eliminating “equal time” mandates did we see the rise of conservative voices like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh,” continued Szabo.

“An internet unhindered by heavy-handed government regulation continues to help conservative voices be heard online. Had the proposals we heard in today’s confirmation hearing been implemented 10 years ago, modern conservative voices like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens would likely be no more than whispers.”

The Information - Tech’s Next Big Battle: Protecting Immunity From Content Lawsuits

Groups like NetChoice, a trade association for eCommerce whose clients include Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Hotels.com, are educating new and old members of Congress on the history and usefulness of the law.

“Without Section 230, we couldn’t have Yelp reviews. We couldn’t have services like Patreon or GoFundMe or websites like NextDoor,” said Carl Szabo, president of NetChoice, in an interview with The Information. “This is the most important law for the internet that no one has ever heard of.”

E-Turbo News - NY court protects Airbnb and Homeaway from customer data violation

E-Turbo News – NY court protects Airbnb and Homeaway from customer data violation

“New York City’s fight against their own residents has led them to defy the constitution and violate the rights of New Yorkers,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “New York’s Southern District Court should protect the rights of NYC homeowners. The city’s anti-homesharing laws are dysfunctional and to enforce them New York City is trampling residents’ right to privacy.”

NetChoice Commends Injunction of NYC’s Anti-Homesharing Ordinance

Today, NetChoice commended the US Southern District Court of New York’s preliminary injunction of NYC’s anti-homesharing ordinance requiring short-term rental platforms, like Airbnb and HomeAway, to hand over huge amounts of sensitive customer data.

“New York City’s fight against their own residents has lead them to defy the constitution and violate the rights of New Yorkers,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “New York’s Southern District Court should protect the rights of NYC homeowners. The city’s anti-homesharing laws are dysfunctional and to enforce them New York City is trampling residents’ right to privacy.”

Here are some quotes from the Southern District Court’s decision:

  1. “[The ordinance] would invite such productions so as to permit regulators to troll these records for potential violations of law, even as to customers as to which there had been no basis theretofore to suspect any violation of law.” P.40
  2. “Existing Fourth Amendment law does not afford a charter for such a wholesale regulatory appropriation of a company’s user database.” P.40
  3. “A home-sharing platform has at least two very good reasons to keep host and guest information private, whether as to these users’ identities, contact information, usage patterns, and payment practices. One is competitive: Keeping such data confidential keeps such information from rivals (whether competing platforms or hotels) who might exploit it. The other involves customer relations: Keeping such data private assuredly promotes better relations with, and retention of, a platform’s users.” P.22

Link to opinion and order: netchoice.org/nycpreliminjunction

WJBF - New year, new laws for 2019

“You’re seeing states throw away the recommendations set forth by Justice Kennedy and instead doing anything and everything they can do to collect as much taxes from every small seller across the country as possible,” says Carl Szabo of NetChoice.

2019 Outlook: States Still Responding to ‘Wayfair’

“Among the new states imposing remote sales tax are some who are nowhere close to the standards in the Wayfair ruling,” Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce business and online consumers. “That includes states where hundreds of local tax jurisdictions have their own rules, returns, and audits, like Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana, who are likely targets for litigation.”

NetChoice Commends Moderation Efforts by Tech Platforms

Today, NetChoice commended efforts by tech platforms to curb manipulation by foreign actors to influence American elections. The statement was made in response to President Trump’s comments made earlier today criticizing online platforms for their moderation efforts.

“Platforms are taking steps to curb manipulation – proactively addressing the issues raised by the recently released Senate Report on Disinformation Campaigns. This should be celebrated, not condemned,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President at NetChoice. “Condemning platforms for addressing foreign interference in our elections sends the wrong message.”

Retail Dive - 12 news stories that shaped retail in 2018

The ruling has sparked a chain reaction of various tax legislation in the states. In December, California, for example, laid out new e-commerce tax requirements with the same threshold. Meanwhile, some trade organizations like the American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice have continued to push local and federal lawmakers to carve out protections for small businesses, which may be negatively affected by the burden of sales tax collection across the country. Retailers can expect the issue to continue into 2019

Retail Dive - California lays out new e-commerce tax requirements

In the months since that decision came down, the issue has played out in various ways state by state. Some trade organizations like the American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice continue to push local and federal lawmakers to carve out protections for small businesses, which may be negatively affected by the burden of sales tax collection across the country.

Politico Morning Tech – The Latest Privacy Proposals

Politico Morning Tech – The Latest Privacy Proposals

TWITTER JOINS NETCHOICE — Tech trade association NetChoice has added Twitter to its ranks, bringing its total membership count to 31, the group tells MT. “NetChoice fights to keep the internet safe for free enterprise and free expression, and we’re excited to have Twitter’s support,” NetChoice spokesman Robert Winterton said. Twitter joins Facebook, Google, Alibaba and other top industry players repped by the group.

Disruptive Competitive Project - Crucial USMCA Intermediary Protections Are Consistent with U.S. Law

Disruptive Competitive Project – Crucial USMCA Intermediary Protections Are Consistent with U.S. Law

However, this progress has been criticized by a handful of commentators who are under the misimpression that inclusion of these longstanding protections will lead to political bias, or represent a departure from current U.S. law.  (For more on why neither Section 230 nor the USMCA provision are enablers of political bias, see this post by NetChoice’s Carl Szabo.)

POLITICO – CEOs to White House to talk tech today

POLITICO – CEOs to White House to talk tech today

— The remarks drew swift repudiation from tech industry groups. NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo said he is “blown away that leaders of the conservative movement want increased government regulation of business and increased government regulation of free speech.” And the libertarian-leaning TechFreedom tweeted that in “suggesting government meddle in a private companies business,” Hawley was taking a stance that “true conservatives are against.”

The Kansas City Star - Josh Hawley’s war against Big Tech could bring down small startups

The Kansas City Star – Josh Hawley’s war against Big Tech could bring down small startups

Also available in the Miami Herald, and the Sacramento Bee

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the tech industry group NetChoice, said that rolling back the law would make it nearly impossible for some internet startups to operate.

“The liability would just be too great to the point where only incumbents with armies of lawyers and dollars could even conceive of operating,” he said.

USMCA Interactive Computer Service Provisions Put America’s Digital Economy First

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice commended the Trump Administration for including Article 19.17 in the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA contains language from the Communications Decency Act that allows online platforms to engage in good faith content moderation efforts without being subjected to legal liability.

“When it comes to our digital economy, USMCA puts America first,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Online platform protections make the United States a world leader in tech and innovation, Canada and Mexico will surely benefit from emulating these platform protections.”

Insights Association - Should America Copy the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Insights Association – Should America Copy the EU General Data Protection Regulation?

Carl Szabo of Netchoice contended that the FTC’s “unfairness” authority “is pretty broad,” so he asked if Section 5 can address a lot of Brookman’s concerns? And should it apply to nonprofits, he asked, since they deal with so much data, too?

The Daily Caller: The Misguided 'Hipster Antitrust' Movement to Break Up Amazon, Apple, and Google

Rarely does a day go by without groups decrying economic disparity in America. The rich are too rich, and America’s most successful businesses are too big.

And as you can expect, these groups oppose free-markets seeing heavy-handed government engagement as our only savior. Apparently, these groups have forgotten that it is America’s exceptionalism that led us to become the greatest country on earth.

When it comes to America’s tech businesses, their complaints are the same: Apple is too powerful, Google too large, and Amazon too ubiquitous. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch called these attacks “hipster antitrust.”

Legislation Will Imperil Short-Term Renters from Anacostia to Brookland

Washington DC, November 12, 2018 – The future of short-term rentals (STRs) throughout the nation’s capital is being put at risk by DC Council Bill – B22-0092 which would introduce a licensing system that would eliminate nearly all current short-term rentals like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

The bill would:

  • impose zoning requirements that effectively eliminate nearly all short-term rentals;
  • require short-term rental platforms to share private information about hosts with the city government;
  • cost the city over $104 million in lost taxes and implementation costs;
  • eliminate short-term rental competition allowing big-hotels to gouge visitors to the nation’s capital.

“Big hotels are the only real winners of DC’s anti-home sharing bill.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President at NetChoice. “The city’s latest anti-tech action threatens resident’s privacy and financial security.”

“I can think of a better way for the city to spend $100 million.”

“DC is going after short-term rentals to the detriment of home owners and at a cost of $104 million,” continued Szabo. “The City Council’s proposed rules would burden residents who use STR platforms to help make ends meet.”

A copy of coalition opposition letter can be found at: https://netchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/Association-Joint-DC-Council-Letter-150.pdf

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce and online businesses that share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

NetChoice Calls For Federal Privacy Legislation to Stop Fracturing of the Internet

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (“NTIA”) request for comments on Request for Comments on Developing the Administration’s Approach to Consumer Privacy.

“We are seeing a fracturing of the internet driven by states introducing disparate privacy bills.” said Carl Szabo, Vice President of NetChoice. “The time has come for establishment of a nationwide standard for privacy online.”

“Americans should ask for a better privacy approach than what Europe and California concocted. Americans deserve a privacy law that doesn’t remove services and stymie innovation.” continued Szabo. “Federal privacy legislation should allow for industry safe-harbors similar to those in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.”

Read Comments to NTIA

American Action Forum - Comments On Developing The Administration's Approach To Consumer Privacy

An unwillingness to pay is a common finding and for good reason. Everyone would love to get something for nothing. Trade association NetChoice worked with Zogby Analytics to find that only 16 percent of people are willing to pay for online platform service. Strahilevitz and Kugler found that 65 percent of email users, even though they knew their email service scans emails to serve ads, wouldn’t pay for alternative.

POLITICO – Tech Pushes Back on Trump Regulation Remarks

POLITICO – Tech Pushes Back on Trump Regulation Remarks

— Industry rebuttal: “When President Trump says he would regulate online platforms for alleged anti-conservative bias, he really means he would suppress free expression,” NetChoice president Steve DelBianco said in a statement. “Government suppression of negative news and views about the President would blatantly violate the constitution.” And the libertarian TechFreedom group tweeted that “Principled conservatives and liberals should unite against Trump’s attempts to create a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet as a sword for government meddling in social media.”

NetChoice Warns Lawmakers: Americans Reject Government in Tech

Washington, D.C. – Today, NetChoice warned President Trump that heavy-handed regulations on tech platforms is out-of-step with his electorate.

“When President Trump says he would regulate online platforms for alleged anti-conservative bias, he really means he would suppress free expression,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “Government suppression of negative news and views about the President would blatantly violate the constitution.”

“Other policy proposals being thrown out by beltway pundits and think tanks are even more unpopular,” continued DelBianco. “Whether it’s competition and antitrust, advertising or parental controls, Americans overwhelmingly oppose government intervention in tech. 90% of Americans don’t think the government should block tech company acquisitions and 95% think the government should not focus on trying to break them up.”

NetChoice’s comments follow statements made by President Trump during a press briefing on the results of yesterday’s Midterm Election.

Learn more about NetChoice’s recent poll at netchoice.org/techlashpoll.

Ticket News – Michigan Bill Could Legalize Ticket Scalping If Passed In Senate

Ticket News – Michigan Bill Could Legalize Ticket Scalping If Passed In Senate

Among those in support of the legislation is Carl Szabo, vice president of the eCommerce association NetChoice.

“NetChoice supports [the bill] as it updates an 80-year-old law that restricts Michigan fans’ ability to sell at market prices,” Szabo told Watchdog.org. “Michigan stands virtually alone with this restriction that harms the ability of fans to recoup their ticket expenses.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential – Little Guy Faces Jail For Scalping A Ticket, Corporations Do It Every Day

Michigan Capitol Confidential – Little Guy Faces Jail For Scalping A Ticket, Corporations Do It Every Day

NetChoice, an eCommerce association that includes several online companies, such as StubHub, eBay and Google, supports the legislation.

“NetChoice supports [the bill] as it updates an 80-year-old law that restricts Michigan fans’ ability to sell at market prices,” NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo said. “Michigan stands virtually alone with this restriction that harms the ability of fans to recoup their ticket expenses.”

Szabo said the proposed law would put Michigan on equal footing with the rest of the country by allowing Michigan residents to sell their tickets at market price, which can sometimes fluctuate above the face value of the ticket.

“And to address the problem of unscrupulous ticket sellers, HB 4424 helps ensure that one group doesn’t use ‘bots’ to grab hundreds of tickets the minute they go on sale by making the use of technology illegal and empowering the [Michigan] attorney general to enforce,” Szabo said.

Washington Examiner – DC Council Should Give Residents a Break, Not Big Hotel Chains

Washington Examiner – DC Council Should Give Residents a Break, Not Big Hotel Chains

“A crackdown on short-term rentals would allow companies like Marriott and Hilton to raise room rates even higher. Even worse, D.C. would need to spend more than $100 million to enforce these new regulations on residents — including losing tax revenue earned from short-term rentals.

Imagine what the District could do if it spent $350 million on affordable housing rather than on this new handout to big hotels.”

Does the “Consumer Welfare Standard” Still Protect Competition? Opinions from FTC Antitrust Hearings

Removing the consumer welfare standard would risk injecting politics into what should otherwise be impartial decisions. Doing so would seriously degrade the trust Americans have in the impartiality of the FTC and would expose yet another component of our government to political scrutiny.”

Tech goes to the races

NetChoice, a trade group that counts Facebook and Google as members, sees “a real threat and not in a good way with [a] Democratically controlled House in advancing federal privacy legislation,” said general counsel Carl Szabo, who fears Democrats will resist pre-emption.

Democrats brace for 'tug of war' with tech after midterms

NetChoice, a trade group counting Facebook, Google and eBay among its members, sees “a real threat and not in a good way with [a] Democratically controlled House in advancing federal privacy legislation,” said general counsel Carl Szabo. He said NetChoice is especially concerned Democrats won’t be as inclined as Republicans to preempt states from passing their own privacy laws, which would leave the industry with a patchwork of different rules.

Biometric Update – New York City Councillor to Propose Facial Recognition Disclosure Rules for Businesses

Biometric Update – New York City Councillor to Propose Facial Recognition Disclosure Rules for Businesses

Carl Szabo, Vice President of the e-commerce trade association NetChoice, says Texas and Illinois state laws requiring consent from customers for businesses to use facial recognition are too stringent, but that the increased transparency driven by Torres’ bill could ease consumer concerns about the technology.

Tech Policy Podcast – Techlash: What Do Americans Think?

Tech Policy Podcast – Techlash: What Do Americans Think?

The tech industry’s reputation has taken several hits in recent years over privacy breaches, allegations of bias, and concerns over election interference, causing a backlash in public opinion. But exactly how severe in this “techlash” among American consumers? What do they think government’s role should be in regulating the sector? A recent NetChoice poll attempts to answer these questions. The organization’s president and CEO, Steve DelBianco, joins the show to discuss the poll’s results.

World News Travel Wire – Palm Beach County Short-Term Rental Ordinance

World News Travel Wire – Palm Beach County Short-Term Rental Ordinance

“Palm Beach County is flaunting years of federal protections that have benefitted consumers and enabled the Internet to become a vital economic engine for local, state and national economies,” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel for NetChoice. “The existence of short-term rentals in Palm Beach benefits local residents as much as it does tourists. STRs allow local homeowners to pay their mortgages and afford the added burdens of local taxes and hurricane insurance. Visitors save money by staying in STRs enabling them to have extra cash to spend at local restaurants and stores.”

“Palm Beach County Short-Term Rental Ordinance is Unconstitutional and Undermines Homeowners’ Personal Privacy”, NetChoice Says

October 15, 2018 – Efforts by Palm Beach County to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) infringes on the constitutional rights of homeowners, invades the privacy of county residents and undermines a vital economic engine to the local economy, NetChoice filed in legal testimony today.

Proposed Ordinance 95-30 would require online STR platforms, like Homeaway, Airbnb and VRBO, to disclose user data to the government or face liability requirements.

NetChoice believes the ordinance:

  • Violates the U.S. constitution.
  • Breaks federal Internet law.
  • Prevents local residents from earning extra income and would have wide-ranging negative impacts on the local economy.
  • Threatens the privacy of local residents.

“Palm Beach County is flaunting years of federal protections that have benefitted consumers and enabled the Internet to become a vital economic engine for local, state and national economies,” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel for NetChoice. “The existence of short-term rentals in Palm Beach benefits local residents as much as it does tourists. STRs allow local homeowners to pay their mortgages and afford the added burdens of local taxes and hurricane insurance. Visitors save money by staying in STRs enabling them to have extra cash to spend at local restaurants and stores.”

NetChoice’s testimony detailed how Palm Beach’s proposed ordinance breaks the 4th amendment of the U.S. constitution, as it requires unreasonable search and seizure of personal information.  Further, the proposed ordinance also violates the Communications Decency Act,  which protects online platforms from being legally responsible for content posted by their users. The law’s existence has enabled consumers and businesses to conduct billions of dollars of commerce on the internet.

Politico Morning Tax – Changes ahead for Ways and Means

Politico Morning Tax – Changes ahead for Ways and Means

States that have voluntarily coordinated their sales tax regimes for remote sellers are showing little interest in federal legislation to mandate such harmonization, said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade association.

“I floated the idea to a crowd that you would have thought would be attracted to the idea,” DelBianco said, “but there was little interest in any federal legislation in the wake of Wayfair.”

Washington Examiner – Transportation Department forges ahead on rules for self-driving cars

Washington Examiner – Transportation Department forges ahead on rules for self-driving cars

The Transportation Department’s guideline revisions “will drive the autonomous vehicle industry to innovate while maintaining public safety,” Carl Szabo, vice president at NetChoice, a trade association for e-commerce businesses, wrote in a statement.

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: State, Trade Group Officials Have a Chat

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: State, Trade Group Officials Have a Chat

A federal bill imposing standards of uniformity and simplicity on the states is needed to ensure that remote sellers can cope with their new collection obligations and that the states don’t ignore the limits on state authority set up by the court, said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, an e-commerce lobbying group.

The discussion took place Oct. 4 in St. Louis at an informal gathering of tax stakeholders organized by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Also at the meeting were officials from the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board Inc. (SSTGB), the Multistate Tax Commission, the National Governor’s Association, and the Federal Tax Administrators.

NetChoice has proposed 20 tax simplifications, a ban on retroactive taxes, a delay before collection obligations can be imposed, a small-business exemption, and incentives to get states to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA).

Multi Channel Merchant – With More States Requiring Online Sales Tax Collection, Concerns Rise

Multi Channel Merchant – With More States Requiring Online Sales Tax Collection, Concerns Rise

While there was an initial meeting in July between the ACMA, the MTC and NetChoice – an online seller advocacy group – to try and find common ground in the wake of Wayfair and set up working groups, a subsequent meeting never materialized.

New DOT Guidelines Will Put Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Into Gear, Says NetChoice

NetChoice, which counts Waymo and Lyft as members, applauded new guidelines from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that foster innovation while still prioritizing safety.

“DOT’s new guidelines put self-driving cars into gear and onto the roads.” said Carl Szabo, VP and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“DOT guidelines will drive the autonomous vehicle industry to innovate while maintaining public safety,” continued Szabo. “The guidelines are forward looking, taking into account that cars of the future may not have many features of today’s cars, such as steering wheels, gas pedals and mirrors.”

The guidelines also push states and localities to remove barriers to autonomous vehicle testing and to ensure the growth of new technologies and interoperability. The new guidelines also allow car manufacturers to self-define their cars as self-driving rather than having to comply with a specific description. These are just two of many ways the DOT will ensure effective regulations that do not burden innovators.

“Autonomous vehicles are the future of road transportation, and the DOT has provided guidelines that will allow America to lead in the adoption of this revolutionary technology,” continued Szabo.

Morning Tech, Politico - D.C. Council, Tech Clash Over Short-Term Rental Measure

“Extreme restrictions on short-term rentals is not only bad local policy, it is bad business policy,” wrote the Internet Association, the Consumer Technology Association, NetChoice and Travel Tech on Monday. “It sends a message that DC is not open for innovative businesses and is not a place for the technology sector to invest in.”

Global Travel Industry News - NYC short-term rental law unconstitutional, NetChoice issues statement

“New York’s fight against their own residents has led them to defy the constitution and violate the rights of New Yorkers,” continued Szabo. “New York’s Southern District Court should protect the rights of NYC homeowners. The city’s anti-home sharing laws are dysfunctional and to enforce them New York is trampling residents’ right to privacy.”

NYC Short-Term Rental Law Is Unconstitutional, NetChoice States

Forcing Businesses to Turn Over Private and Personal Customer Information Violates the Rights of all New Yorkers

Washington, D.C., October-1, 2018 – Local Law 146, a short-term rental law passed by the New York City (NYC) Council and signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in August violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and needs to be amended, NetChoice says.

NetChoice filed in the court cases of Airbnb vs. NYC and HomeAway vs. NYC. Both Airbnb and Homeway are seeking preliminary injunctions against NYC’s Local Law 146.

Local Law 146 requires short-term rental (STR) platforms to disclose private and personal information of hosts who reserve STRs through them. This law is an attempt by the city government to improve enforcement of strict regulations on STRs.

However, NetChoice believes that the law has three fatal flaws as it:

  • Breaks the 4th Amendment of the Constitution
  • Defies the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act
  • Violates New York State privacy laws

“New York’s fight against their own residents has lead them to defy the constitution and violate the rights of New Yorkers,” continued Szabo. “New York’s Southern District Court should protect the rights of NYC homeowners. The city’s anti-home sharing laws are dysfunctional and to enforce them New York is trampling residents’ right to privacy.”

Law360 – 9 States Face Remote Sales Tax Collection In Uncertain Waters

Law360 – 9 States Face Remote Sales Tax Collection In Uncertain Waters

“This won’t be much of a milestone for states, who will add less than 1 percent to their total tax revenue,” said Steve DelBianco, CEO of retail trade group Netchoice. “But these new tax collection burdens will be a millstone around the necks of small businesses who go online to reach customers around the country.”

Global Travel Industry News - Thousands Will Be Decimated in the US Capital by Proposed Bill

also reported at Luis Alberto Benshimol Chonchol

“Washington DC already gives millions in tax breaks to big hotels, and Council should not give hotels another handout by curtailing the property rights of District home owners,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel of NetChoice.

“This legislation has been marred by misinformation and process problems and should not be rammed through in the closing days of this year’s final Council session. This issue deserves a robust public discussion and economic impact analysis,”

NetChoice Calls on Senate Committee to Resist Heavy-Handed Regulation

Washington D.C., September 25 – Today, NetChoice called on members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transport Committee to resist imposing heavy-handed regulations on online platforms. The hearing, “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy” will take place on Wednesday, September 24th. New polling from NetChoice and Zogby Analytics shows Americans have little appetite for heavy-handed government regulation of tech platforms.

“Congress should listen to Americans and resist the temptation to overregulate tech platforms,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “The vast majority (71%) of Americans prefer that advertising continues to pay for their free online services. Heavy-handed regulation could undermine the business models Americans want and would lead to fewer services and more paywalls.”

Polling shows 4 out of 5 Americans with an opinion think new regulations on internet services would harm choice and freedom online. Polling also showed that Americans are not locked-in to existing platforms. 43% have stopped using a social media platform at some point, but less than 1% did so because of a change in privacy policy.

“Don’t interrupt the online experiences and innovation that Americans enjoy,” continued DelBianco. “Americans have no appetite for heavy-handed government regulations, and Congress should listen to them.”

*About the Survey: From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%. More information can be found at netchoice.org/TechLashPoll.

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses who share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

Anti-Home Sharing Bill Would Hurt Thousands in the District

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2018 – A newly proposed ordinance would decimate DC’s robust short-term rental market, depriving home-owners of their property rights and hurting neighborhood restaurants and small businesses that benefit from short-term rentals in the District.

The proposed restrictions on short-term rentals, to be released later today, are accompanied by a half-million-dollar ad campaign funded by the big hotel chains – who want to eliminate competition from short-term rentals.   LaSalle Hotel Properties’s CEO told investors that a law curtailing short-term rental services would allow hotels to boost their room rates.

“Washington DC already gives millions in tax breaks to big hotels, and Council should not give hotels another handout by curtailing the property rights of District home owners,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel of NetChoice.

Short-term rentals provide much-needed income to hundreds of DC residents.  Over 52 percent of short-term rental hosts nationwide live in low-to-moderate income households. And almost half of the income hosts earn through short-term rentals helps them cover household expenses.  Moreover, there are hundreds of local restaurants, shops, and cleaning services that benefit from the activity of short-term rentals.

“This legislation has been marred by misinformation and process problems and should not be rammed through in the closing days of this year’s final Council session.   This issue deserves a robust public discussion and economic impact analysis,” continued Szabo.

“This bill will harm thousands of DC residents who rely on short-term rentals, not just home owners, but small businesses that benefit from the economic boost created by short term renting.”

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses who share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

President Trump & Attorney General Sessions Lack Support for Breaking Up Tech, New Netchoice Survey Finds

Just 5% of Americans Want Antitrust Focus on Tech

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2018 – Americans overwhelmingly value the contributions of the technology industry and do not support antitrust enforcement, despite aggressive rhetoric from President Trump, a new NetChoice survey* of 1,200 U.S. consumers found.

President Trump has placed America’s largest tech platforms in the crosshairs of U.S. antitrust authorities.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also holding a meeting with several State Attorneys General today to discuss accusations of social media bias. But Americans don’t support an antitrust crack down on America’s most innovative businesses.

New polling shows that only about 5% of Americans (on both sides of the political aisles) say the federal government should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. Further, just 1 in 5 Americans say the break-up of big tech would most benefit consumers.

The value of tech to consumers and businesses is clear.

Over 70% of Americans say that digital advertising platforms like Google and Facebook are valuable to both small businesses and the national economy. Just 13% say that they have had a negative experience with large Internet platforms and 72% say that services like Facebook, Google, and Amazon make it easier for them to connect with people in their community.

“President Trump’s fixation on breaking up tech platforms lacks support from Americans,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Antitrust policy needs to be guided by facts, not emotional outbursts. The government cannot violate the First Amendment by forcing Internet platforms to suppress negative news. Internet platforms are a boon for American consumers, businesses, and, in turn, the U.S. economy. The President should listen to regular Americans and allow U.S. tech companies to continue to thrive and innovate.”

*About the Survey: From August 6-8, 2018 Zogby Analytics conducted an interactive survey of 1,222 adults focused on consumer attitudes toward Internet platforms and government regulation. The survey, commissioned by NetChoice, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.  It is available at NetChoice.org/TechlashPoll

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

State Tax Notes – States and Online Marketers Set Date for Post-Wayfair Dialogue

State Tax Notes – States and Online Marketers Set Date for Post-Wayfair Dialogue

George Isaacson of Brann & Isaacson, Steve DelBianco of NetChoice, and Hamilton Davison of the American Catalog Mailers Association laid the groundwork for such discussions in July when they met with the Multistate Tax Commission’s executive committee in Boston.

Gas & Electricity – U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the internet

Gas & Electricity – U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the internet

“It’s inconceivable that ICANN can be accountable to the whole world. That’s the equivalent of being accountable to no one,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade group representing major Internet commerce businesses.

The Boston Globe – The Mass. taxman cometh — for online retailers

The Boston Globe – The Mass. taxman cometh — for online retailers

Many states adopted tax-collection rules that would take effect next month, or later. But the DOR is sticking to its story: We started taxing you last fall. NetChoice, a trade group for online retailers, calls this retroactive taxation, and complains that companies are being unfairly hit up for the nearly nine months before the landmark ruling. DOR says it’s just doing its job.

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: Illinois ‘Amorphous,’ Attempting to Streamline

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: Illinois ‘Amorphous,’ Attempting to Streamline

During the July meeting, post-Wayfairsimplification measures were passed along to state groups by George Isaacson, a senior partner at Brann & Isaacson LLP in Lewiston, Maine, who represented e-retailers before the high court in Wayfair; Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association representing e-commerce businesses and online consumers; and Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association in Providence, R.I.

Bloomberg BNA – Online Tax Bill Will See Action This Year, Rep. Sensenbrenner Says

Bloomberg BNA – Online Tax Bill Will See Action This Year, Rep. Sensenbrenner Says

Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, an e-commerce trade organization, defended Sensenbrenner’s bill, arguing that in the event the bill became law, any sales tax retained by a state before Jan. 1, 2019, could be retained to satisfy use taxes owed.

Use tax is a sales tax on purchases made outside one’s state of residence for taxable items that will be used, stored, or consumed in one’s state of residence and on which no tax was collected in the state of purchase, according to investopedia.

“Use taxes are the flip side of the coin, it’s the same tax, if you don’t owe sales tax you still owe use tax,” DelBianco told Bloomberg Tax. “The real intention of Sensenbrenner’s bill is to relieve businesses of far-too-soon state implementation dates. It’s a small thing to ask for states to wait until January.”

Michigan Residents Back Legislation to Secure Ticket Rights – “I bought it, I own it”

80% support the right of ticket holders to resell, give away or donate their tickets

68% of Michigan Fans SUPPORT legislation like HB 4224 – allowing fans to resell at prices they choose

September 19 – New polling released by NetChoice shows that both Michigan voters support ticket resale rights and want to be able to resell their tickets for a price they choose.

According to a survey of more than 600 Michiganders conducted by Zogby Analytics and commissioned by NetChoice, 80% support the right of ticket holders to resell, give away, or donate their tickets. 62% say that Michigan law needs to change so consumers can decide what price to sell their tickets – 68% of Michigan Fans support legislation like HB 4224 allowing fans to resell at prices they choose. Read more

NetChoice Commends Sensenbrenner Bill Protecting Small Businesses From SCOTUS Internet Sales Tax Decision

Washington, D.C., September 14 – This afternoon, Reps. Reps. Sensenbrenner, Eshoo, Duncan, and Lofgren introduced the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018. This legislation is a response to the chaos caused by the June-2018 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

The Court overturned decades of legal precedent and put small business owners at the mercy of all out-of-state sales tax collectors, covering more than 12,000 local tax jurisdictions.

Below, please find a statement from Steve DelBianco of NetChoice regarding the introduction of HR 6824 this afternoon:

“The U.S. Congress has the Constitutional role of protecting interstate commerce.  Reps. Sensenbrenner, Eshoo, Duncan, and Lofgren are to be commended for stepping into the breach created when the U.S. Supreme Court erased 60 years of settled law that restrained state tax collectors from reaching across their borders.

America’s small businesses cannot survive under the complex burdens and audit risks from 46 different state sales tax regimes. HR 6824 incentivizes all states to significantly simplify their sales tax systems.”

Small Business Advocate – Consumers Think the Tech Industry Should Be Left Alone

Consumers Think the Tech Industry Should Be Left Alone

Steve DelBianco joins Jim Blasingame to report that only single digit responses from 1200 consumers polled indicate they want government restrictions on the activities of tech firms.

Steve DelBianco joins Jim Blasingame to report on a recent Zogby survey of consumers’ sentiment regarding government regulation of big technology companies.

American Consumers Reject Government Intervention in Tech:  “Let Us Pick Internet Platform Winners and Losers,” New NetChoice Research Finds

AMERICAN CONSUMERS REJECT GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN TECH:  “LET US PICK INTERNET PLATFORM WINNERS AND LOSERS,” NEW NETCHOICE RESEARCH FINDS

Just 5% Say Regulators Should Focus Anti-Competitive Enforcement on Tech

Americans Prefer Interest-Based Ads Over Paying for Content By a 3-1 Margin

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018, Washington, DC – State and federal legislators on both sides of the aisle have called for more regulation of the technology industry. However, new research from NetChoice shows that Americans want a light regulatory touch for tech companies, believing that consumer spending and online surfing habits should be the ultimate means of ensuring competition and consumer choice.

According to a survey* of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers conducted by Zogby Analytics, only 5% said that regulators should focus anti-competitive enforcement on the tech industry. Only 10% think the government should prevent successful online businesses from acquiring other companies.

“There is a disconnect between American consumers and the anti-tech community,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Americans prefer to make their own decisions rather than having a heavy-handed government determine what is ‘best’ for them.” Read more

Politico – Takeaways from tech’s marathon hearings

Politico – Takeaways from tech’s marathon hearings

Carl Szabo, general counsel of the trade group NetChoice, added: “Conservative values are centered around the idea that businesses should be allowed to do what they think is best for their customers, and that’s exactly what these companies are doing.”

Politico – Sessions throws DOJ’s weight into social media bias complaints

Politico – Sessions throws DOJ’s weight into social media bias complaints

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the trade association NetChoice, said that his fellow conservatives’ push for more oversight of digital platforms is ill-conceived.

“Conservative values are centered around the idea that businesses should be allowed to do what they think is best for their customers, and that’s exactly what these companies are doing,” said Szabo. Facebook and Google are members of NetChoice.

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: First Look at South Dakota Bills

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: First Look at South Dakota Bills

The state sued Wayfair, Newegg, and others in July 2017 right after its South Dakota-style law went on the books, inviting a countersuit by the e-commerce industry. The American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice said the Quill physical presence standard blocked Wyoming from forcing out-of-state vendors to collect and remit sales and use taxes.

Bloomberg BNA – South Dakota Special Session to Decide Future of Online Sales Tax (1)

Bloomberg BNA – South Dakota Special Session to Decide Future of Online Sales Tax

Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, told Bloomberg Tax Aug. 29 that its lawsuit in Tennessee is “still pending and we have scheduled discussions.” But regardless of the outcome, the Legislature has to act before collections can be required from remote sellers operating in that state, which won’t happen before January 2019, he said. The Tennessee Legislature is scheduled to reconvene Jan. 8, 2019.

Indiana Business Journal – State settles sales tax lawsuit with four online retailers

Indiana Business Journal – State settles sales tax lawsuit with four online retailers

American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice initially filed the lawsuit against the state in June 2017, and Wayfair Inc. and Overstock.com joined the suit in August 2017.

Specifically, in the settlement with the American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice, the state agreed to provide sales tax administration software for free and cover the costs of any errors caused by that software.

Midland Paper – ACMA’s Davison & Attorney Isaacson to Provide Further Wayfair/Quill Guidance at Sept. 13th NEMOA Summit

Midland Paper – ACMA’s Davison & Attorney Isaacson to Provide Further Wayfair/Quill Guidance at Sept. 13th NEMOA Summit

As you may recall, last month the ACMA held a conference call with Brann & Isaacson attorneys George Isaacson and Martin Eisenstein, ACMA President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison, and NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco, the replay of which is still available by clicking here.

President Trump’s Heat on Tech Industry Not in Sync with Americans and His Base

President Trump’s Heat on Tech Industry Not in Sync with Americans and His Base

New Polling Shows by a 7-to-1 margin Republicans believe online regulation would harm consumer freedom and choice on the internet

Washington, D.C., August 29, 2018 – President Trump’s attack on America’s most popular online search provider Google along with regulatory threats from White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow are not supported by most Americans, according to new research from NetChoice.

NetChoice found that by a 7-to-1 margin, Republicans agree, rather than disagree, with the idea that online regulation would harm consumer freedom and choice on the internet.

“When the Administration says they are “taking a look” at regulating Google Search results, they really mean that they plan on regulating political speech,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice.

“Forcing Google to demote critical news about President Trump blatantly conflicts with the first amendment and endangers all forms of online expression. Businesses must be allowed to do what is best for their users.

The basic tenets of capitalism need to hold true on the Internet. Consumers pick winners and losers, not bureaucrats.”

To see NetChoice’s view on conservative concerns about social media content moderation, see here and here.

About the Polling

NetChoice commissioned research firm Zogby Analytics to conduct an interactive survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers from Aug. 6-8. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%. The entire survey will be publicly available in September.

The Hill – Tech’s road to economic demise is paved with good intentions

The Hill – Tech’s road to economic demise is paved with good intentions

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) recently laid out his plan to “solve” modern day tech issues. But despite his good intentions, he has proposed policies that would break down our greatest economic engine – the tech industry.

The 20-page white paper call “Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms” represents noble ideas that would result in knee-capping American innovation, promoting increased market consolidation, and undermining privacy – all while leaving the problems the paper seeks to solve unaddressed.

Law360 – States Should Think Twice About Acting On Wayfair Windfall

Law360 – States Should Think Twice About Acting On Wayfair Windfall

“To call Wayfair a ‘windfall’ is a double insult to state taxpayers,” said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, a trade group that represents e-commerce businesses and online consumers. “First, every tax dollar comes from state taxpayer pockets, so there is no windfall of new money coming into the state.”

Second, DelBianco points to a GAO estimate that said new tax revenue from remote sellers would amount to less than 1 percent of total state and local tax revenue.

“So this windfall isn’t going to refill a state’s coffers,” DelBianco said.

Small Business Advocate – Steve DelBianco Joins Jim Blasingame to Discuss the Wayfair ruling, the Techlash, and the “Tech Paradox”

Small Business Advocate – Steve DelBianco Joins Jim Blasingame to Discuss the Wayfair ruling, the Techlash, and the “Tech Paradox”

The Techlash Segment

Steve DelBianco joins Jim Blasingame to report on the negative press the large tech companies are receiving, and to try to reveal some of their counter balancing benefits.

Steve DelBianco joins Jim Blasingame to reveal that for every advantage and benefit we get from technological innovations, also likely comes a paradoxical element that is less attractive, like getting free stuff on the Internet.

Wayfair Ruling Segment

Steve DelBianco joins Jim Blasingame to continue his reporting on how small businesses are being impacted by the Supreme Court ruling permitting every state and local government to require small businesses to remit sales tax for online sales.

Buzzfeed – Thousands Of Stores Will Soon Use Facial Recognition, And They Won’t Need Your Consent

Buzzfeed – Thousands Of Stores Will Soon Use Facial Recognition, And They Won’t Need Your Consent

Also reported in PakUpdates, RTDS Site News, and Sritutorials

“It’s really curtailing innovation,” Carl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice, an internet trade group that represents companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, told BuzzFeed News. ”It’s making Illinois a technology desert.”

In Comments on FTC Workshops NetChoice Warns about Following Anti-tech Rhetoric

Today, NetChoice filed responses to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for comments for upcoming workshops.  NetChoice responded on several topics, such as “The Consumer Welfare Implications Associated with The Use of Algorithmic Decision Tools, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics” and “Evaluating the Competitive Effects of Corporate Acquisitions and Mergers”. The full list of responses are supplied at the bottom of this statement.

“Contrary to the claims of anti-tech advocates, self-regulation is working. Consumers today have access to a smorgasbord of products, services, and information thanks to the internet,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “There is no dearth of competition. The market has never been more competitive.” Read more

INTA Members Bulletin – INTA Members Advocate for Trademarks at ICANN 62

INTA Members Bulletin – INTA Members Advocate for Trademarks at ICANN 62

The highlight of the day was the closing panel, which addressed the topic titled “Should the U.S. Opt In to Europe’s Privacy Regime?” moderated by Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the Internet. The debate featured many of the questions that INTA members face as they find ways to increase their brand value and customer experience across a variety of media.

Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Content moderation can be controversial, as demonstrated earlier this week when leading online platforms removed content and accounts posted by Alex Jones and his media property “Infowars.”

Many conservatives contend that the removal of Alex Jones’s content violated his freedom of speech. Ironically, these are often the same people that argue private businesses should be able to operate the way they want.

Private entities, including online platforms, are not bound by the first amendment, which applies only to action by the government. Private actors are bound by corporate policies and market forces…

Read More at the Daily Caller

The Daily Caller – REMOVING ALEX JONES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT

The Daily Caller – Removing Alex Jones from Social Media Isn’t About the First Amendment

Content moderation can be controversial, as demonstrated earlier this week when leading online platforms removed content and accounts posted by Alex Jones and his media property “Infowars.”

Many conservatives contend that the removal of Alex Jones’s content violated his freedom of speech. Ironically, these are often the same people that argue private businesses should be able to operate the way they want.

Private entities, including online platforms, are not bound by the first amendment, which applies only to action by the government. Private actors are bound by corporate policies and market forces.

Brookeville Times – US Top Court Lets States Force Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

Brookeville Times – US Top Court Lets States Force Online Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

On the other hand, small internet businesses will lose out because of the increased compliance costs, said Chris Cox, a lawyer for e-commerce industry group NetChoice.

Bloomberg BNA – State Tax Bogeyman Real or Overhyped After Online Tax Ruling?

Bloomberg BNA – State Tax Bogeyman Real or Overhyped After Online Tax Ruling?

Alongside retroactivity, e-retailers and trade association representing e-commerce, such as Washington-based NetChoice have openly decried Oct. 1 start dates for sales tax collections. Currently, nine states have announced an Oct. 1 implementation date for their South Dakota-esque online tax regimes.

Avalara – Call for Sales Tax Simplification

Avalara – Call for Sales Tax Simplification

The ecommerce association NetChoice wants sales tax compliance for businesses to be simpler. As a founding member of the coalition for True Simplification of Taxation (TruST), this hardly comes as a surprise. But its calls for simplification have grown louder since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can require out-of-state businesses to collect and remit sales tax. Prior to the court’s ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., a state could impose a tax collection obligation only on businesses with a physical presence in the state.

On July 24, the House Judiciary Committee met to discuss the ramifications of the Wayfair decision. NetChoice was not among the witnesses. Nonetheless, the organization’s president Steve DelBianco submitted an 11-page statement to the hearing’s written record. It suggests Congress “use its constitutional authority to protect interstate commerce by restoring the physical presence rule.”

Should Congress allow the taxation of remote sales to persist, NetChoice asks Congress to allow states to impose sales tax on remote businesses — “but only if states adopt minimum simplifications stipulated by Congress.”

Bloomberg BNA – New Digital Tax Bill in Wings at Congress: State Official

Bloomberg BNA – New Digital Tax Bill in Wings at Congress: State Official

State and industry groups like NetChoice Inc. held a roundtable July 26 at the MTC’s annual meeting in Boston, and MTC executive director Greg Matson said that later this week that the commission, the Federation of Tax Administrators, and the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Governing Board Inc. would have a forward-looking discussion with the National Governors Association and the NCSL.

NetChoice Releases Policy Note on Car Rental Handouts

Last week, alongside the publishing of this article on The Drive, NetChoice released a new policy note, examining the large handouts big rental car companies receive.

The note shows that car rental companies receive a national yearly total of over $3 billion in tax breaks.

The note also provides data showing how much rental car companies received in sales tax exemptions in 2016.

Unlike car rental companies, people who use apps like Turo to lease out their cars do not enjoy these tax breaks

Ignoring this multi-billion dollar tax break, car rental companies claim that peer-to-peer car sharing platforms like Turo are the same as car rental companies.  Big car rental companies are using “level playing field” rhetoric to justify calls for stiff regulations onto peer-to-peer car platforms designed to skew in favor of big rental.

Read the full policy note here, and take a look at press coverage on its findings by Reason Magazine and The Drive.

Route Fifty – A Taxing Issue for State Legislators

Route Fifty – A Taxing Issue for State Legislators (NetChoice Op-ed)

This week, lawmakers from across the country convene in Los Angeles for the National Conference of State Legislatures, where they will hopefully attend to threats to America’s small businesses and consumers from an onslaught of new internet sales tax obligations.

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: Tax Groups to Hold Huddle on High Court Ruling

Bloomberg BNA – State of Wayfair: Tax Groups to Hold Huddle on High Court Ruling

The states groups and those representing online sellers like NetChoice, Inc. are pushing to clarify the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair—which tossed out Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the court’s 1992 physical presence threshold for when states could tax remote sales. States are expected to become even more active in taxing online sales after the ruling, and retail groups have been urging states and conformity-focused groups like the MTC to consider simplifying their schemes and approaching implementation cautiously.

The MTC will also be considering simplification measures suggested by Isaacson; Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association representing e-commerce businesses and online consumers; and Hamilton Davison, president and executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) in Providence, R.I.

Brookville Times – US court backs states over web sales tax

Brookville Times – US court backs states over web sales tax

But NetChoice, a trade association for e-commerce firms, warned small businesses would have trouble complying with the different tax requirements in each state.

The group described the decision as a “body blow” to customers and small online businesses.

“Consumers will quickly feel the negative effects as those businesses dry up or are forced into the arms of Internet giants,” said Chris Cox, NetChoice outside counsel.

Multi Channel Merchant – Merchant, State Groups Look to Come to Terms in Wake of Wayfair Decision

Multi Channel Merchant – Merchant, State Groups Look to Come to Terms in Wake of Wayfair Decision

Representatives from the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), NetChoice – representing ecommerce sellers – and the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) met in Boston on July 25 at MTC’s annual meeting to begin a dialog about a way forward that ensures an equitable, fair and efficient process for out-of-state tax imposition and collection.

Bloomberg BNA – Oct. 1 Online Sales Tax Deadline Unrealistic: E-Commerce Rep

Bloomberg BNA – Oct. 1 Online Sales Tax Deadline Unrealistic: E-Commerce Rep

States enforcing new deadlines of July 1 and even Oct. 1 in the wake of a decision involving Wayfair, Inc. will “drive a groundswell of demand to go get a moratorium” from Congress, Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, a Washington-based trade association representing e-commerce businesses and online consumers, said July 26.

Isaacson, who represented Wayfair in the U.S. Supreme Court case, said he was speaking as counsel for the ACMA and Netchoice, among several groups that have been involved in much of states’ litigation against online sales tax regimes. He presented a list of 20 “suggested simplification measures” for states to take as they move forward.

Bloomberg BNA – Retail Advocates to Talk Digital Tax Future With Multistate Group

Bloomberg BNA – Retail Advocates to Talk Digital Tax Future With Multistate Group

Issacson, who also represented the Data & Marketing Association in earlier cases about state online sales tax schemes that ended up before the U.S. high court, said he will be joined by the presidents of the American Catalog Mailers Association and NetChoice at a session on the agenda of the MTC Executive Committee during its July 26 meeting in Boston.

NetChoice, an industry association for e-commerce, has been at the heart of many of the lawsuits designed to stop states’ online sales taxation efforts. And the group is pushing Congress to act to limit states’ authority, which it joined others in doing at a July 24 House Judiciary Committee hearing on the post- Wayfair landscape.

Bloomberg BNA – Wait, Wait: Congress Eyes State Digital Taxes, Wayfair Mulls Settlement (2)

Bloomberg BNA – Wait, Wait: Congress Eyes State Digital Taxes, Wayfair Mulls Settlement (2)

It’s unclear which of those will be on the table at the Judiciary Committee hearing, but “the committee is tuning-in to the growing chorus of state tax collectors demanding back taxes, interest, and penalties,” Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice Inc., told Bloomberg Tax. “There’s enough noise here for Congress to step in and say, stop the music.”

DelBianco said in a statement late July 23 that “because of Wayfair, businesses have no clear test to determine whether they are obligated to pay a foreign state’s sales tax.

“The Commerce Clause is just as necessary now as when the constitution was written, and Congress must protect interstate commerce in the digital age,” DelBianco continued. “The time to act is now, and the longer Congress leaves the state tax playpen unsupervised, the worse the mess will be for American small businesses and consumers.”

He said the U.S. Supreme Court in Wayfair “misunderstood the true audit liability faced by America’s small businesses and there’s no guarantee that tax software services will be paid for by the states.”

NetChoice to Congress: Protect Interstate Commerce

Without the physical presence rule, American businesses and consumers are put at risk by state-based internet taxes

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2018 – Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Examining the Wayfair decision and its Ramifications for Consumers and Small Businesses”. The hearing is the first step for Congress to prevent damage being done by last month’s Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

“Because of Wayfair, businesses have no clear test to determine whether they are obligated to pay a foreign state’s sales tax,” said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice. “Sellers are left with a dilemma to either collect tax that they may not owe at significant expense, or risk later being held responsible for uncollected taxes plus interest and penalties.”

“The Commerce Clause is just as necessary now as when the constitution was written, and Congress must protect interstate commerce in the digital age,” continued DelBianco. “The time to act is now, and the longer Congress leaves the state tax playpen unsupervised, the worse the mess will be for American small businesses and consumers.”

“The court misunderstood the true audit liability faced by America’s small businesses and there’s no guarantee that tax software services will be paid for by the states.”

NetChoice has supplied a written statement for the record available here.

Politico - Morning Tech

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment on Trump’s comment, and three trade groups representing the tech giant — the Information Technology Industry Council, the Internet Association and NetChoice — had no comment.

Bloomberg BNA – House Judiciary Schedules Hearing on State Online Sales Taxes

Bloomberg BNA – House Judiciary Schedules Hearing on State Online Sales Taxes

It’s unclear which of those will be on the table at the Judiciary hearing, but “the committee is tuning-in to the growing chorus of state tax collectors demanding back taxes, interest, and penalties,” Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice Inc., told Bloomberg Tax. “There’s enough noise here for Congress to step in and say, stop the music.”

NetChoice, an industry association for e-commerce, has been at the heart of many of the lawsuits designed to stop states’ online sales taxation efforts.

New York City Passes Short-Term Rental Bill, Outsourcing Legal Enforcement Burden to Internet Platforms Like Airbnb, Homeaway & VRBO

Rules Will Imperil Short-Term Renters from Springfield Gardens to Hell’s Kitchen

NEW YORK, July 18, 2018 – The future of short-term rentals (STRs) throughout New York City was put at risk today by New York City Council’s passing of Int. 9081 placing legal enforcement responsibilities on Internet home sharing platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

The proposal would:

  • place a minimum fine of $1,500 on STR platforms every time a property owner makes inaccurate claims on a short-term rental post regardless of intention;
  • require platforms to obtain, manage and certify that every property owner is abiding by local jurisdiction or homeowners association rules;
  • require short-term rental platforms to share all private transaction data, such as bank account numbers, with government agencies.

“New York City risks the sensitive financial data of its residents and tourists by forcing them to hand over bank account numbers to government agencies,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice.

“The city’s latest anti-tech action threatens New Yorkers’ privacy and financial security, forcing many to choose between protecting their financial information and paying their mortgage.”

“New York is once again going after short-term rentals by mandating hefty requirements on platforms, many of which could be illegal,” continued Szabo. “The City Council’s proposed rules would burden New Yorkers who use STR platforms to help make ends meet.”

About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce and online businesses that share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.

Maybe Brett Kavanaugh Can Save Conservative Supreme Court Justices From Their Judicial Activism

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s consideration for the bench could pull Supreme Court’s conservatives back from their recent lurch into judicial activism. Nowhere else was this judicial activism by Conservative judges more apparent than in last month’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair.

This decision exposed countless small businesses to tax collectors from 46 states. In doing so, the court struck down a key Supreme Court precedent that required a business to be physically present in a state before it can be forced to collect tax there.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

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