Press

Washington’s new tone: Help us, Silicon Valley

Politico

“We’re starting to see that when the chips are down, tech is riding toward the danger and helping us to address the problems that we’re facing,” said Carl Szabo, the vice president of NetChoice, a trade group that staunchly defends the industry. “It’s a little hard to argue the tech industry only does stuff for their own benefit when you look at what they’ve done over the last couple of days.”

NetChoice Opposes Draft Executive Order on Drone Usage

NetChoice Opposes Draft Executive Order on Drone Usage

Today, NetChoice announced its opposition to a potential Executive Order that would ban the use of foreign-made drones by all federal departments and agencies.

“When securing data created using drones, what matters is where that data is stored not where the drone was made,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “The determining factor should be whether drone manufacturers store data on American servers and comply with appropriate security standards, not the drone’s country of origin.”

“Banning foreign-made drones won’t protect government from malicious hackers. We need cybersecurity standards for drones that apply to all manufacturers, enabling greater competition and security.”

Bipartisan Privacy Talks Split With Second Senate GOP Bill (1)

Bloomberg Government

The tech industry anxiously awaits a federal bill as more state pass piecemeal privacy measures that will drive up business compliance costs, Carl Szabo, vice president and general council of tech trade group NetChoice, said in an interview.

“Starting with a non-starter just doesn’t make sense. And stuff like a private right of action or no preemption are just non-starters,” he said. “It almost makes me think that there is not a legitimate interest in creating a privacy bill, but creating the appearance of interest.”

Szabo said he’s “cautiously optimistic” a bill can get done. “As more business feel the pain, they’re going to turn to Congress to address the situation.”

NetChoice Pushes Back on the Anti-Encryption EARN IT Act

Today, NetChoice pushed back on the Anti-Encryption EARN IT Act at the Senate Judiciary Hearing “The EARN IT Act: Holding the Tech Industry Accountable in the Fight Against Online Child Sexual Exploitation.

“By attacking encryption, the EARN IT Act undermines children’s online safety, while doing little to help law enforcement tackle child exploitation,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel. “The tech industry sent over 17 million child exploitation tips to NCMEC in 2018. The problem is not that cases are not being reported, it’s that reported cases are not being prosecuted.”

“Fourth Amendment concerns in the EARN IT Act could endanger existing efforts by online platforms to help in the fight against child exploitation.”

“It would make it harder for law enforcement to track and tackle child exploitation while failing to solve the backlog at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and as a result does nothing to improve prosecution rates for child exploitation.”

U.S. Legislation Will Restrain Online Child Abuse

HNGN

The bill was assailed by Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, he said in a quote,” “The EARN IT Act creates a false choice between protecting children and supporting strong encryption protections.”

BROADBAND ROUNDUPTech Industry Pushes Back Against EARNIT, Microsoft on Digital Divide, Satellite Analyzer-in-the-cloud

Broadband Breakfast

CCIA President Matt Schruers had the following to say about EARNIT:

“Technology providers need the flexibility to make digital products and services safer and more secure. Law enforcement needs the resources and direction to prioritize prosecuting bad actors.

“Everyone has a role to play in meeting our shared goal of reducing crime online. Unfortunately, creating a new federal commission to second-guess how private Internet companies manage content and secure their users is not the best way to fight crime,” Schruers said.

The other associations signing on to the letter were the Consumer Technology Association, the Internet Association, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, and NetChoice.

The CyberWire Daily Briefing

The CyberWire

NetChoice Announces Opposition to Sen. Graham’s EARN IT Act (NetChoice) Today, Sen. Graham (R-SC) introduced the EARN IT Act, a bill with good intentions to tackle child exploitation yet falls short in addressing the underlying issues while creating new vulnerabilities…

Encryption clash: Executive branch, Congress vs. tech, civil liberties groups

Politico

The industry organizations: The Computer & Communications Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association, Internet Association, Internet Infrastructure Coalition and NetChoice signed a joint letter to bill sponsors Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the Judiciary chairman, and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) emphasizing the encryption risks.

“Strong encryption is critical for national security, a vibrant and competitive digital economy, and the online and physical safety of individuals, including children,” the organizations wrote. “Creating a false choice between encryption and intermediary protections would exacerbate threats to these technology users, placing those most vulnerable Americans at greatest risk.” 

CCIA, 4 Associations Send Letter Warning Of Encryption, Safety Risks Of New Bill

Computer and Communication Industry Association

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association sent a letter signed by 4 other associations warning Congress of the collateral dangers of altering the law that gives internet companies legal certainty to remove nefarious content. Under current law companies are granted liability protections which enable them to remove offensive content.

Now several Senators are proposing the “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies” (EARNIT) Act, which would create a government-funded commission charged with specifying private sector practices for online monitoring and content removal. In the letter, CCIA, Consumer Technology Association, Internet Association, Internet Infrastructure Coalition, and NetChoice explain that internet companies are constantly updating proactive measures to remove harmful content online, including child exploitation and child sexual abuse material. The letter also notes the bill could have implications for online security measures companies are implementing.

U.S. legislation targets online child sexual abuse; threatens encryption on Facebook, Google

Reuters, New York Times

Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel, NetChoice

“The EARN IT Act creates a false choice between protecting children and supporting strong encryption protections,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice – a group that counts Facebook, Google, Twitter among its members.

EARN IT Act: Instant Reaction

Morning Consult

Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel, NetChoice

“What you’re seeing is a misunderstanding of what Section 230 is, what it does and its necessity,” Szabo said. “None of the sponsors of this act have supported existing congressional efforts to explore the unintended consequences of SESTA,” a bill passed in 2018 that amends Section 230 to include provisions waiving liability protections for online platforms that host illegal sexual content. “They seem unwilling to recognize that SESTA has harmed the very victims it has tried to help. Until we understand the harm of the only other amendment to Section 230, it is premature to consider this legislation.”  

NetChoice Announces Opposition to Sen. Graham’s EARN IT Act

Today, Sen. Graham (R-SC) introduced the EARN IT Act, a bill with good intentions to tackle child exploitation yet falls short in addressing the underlying issues while creating new vulnerabilities for children at risk.  By hinging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for online services on complying with rules set by a new committee, online services may be forced to weaken encryption protocols and subsequently create a “backdoor” for criminals to access personal documents and images stored by families in online platforms. 

“The EARN IT Act creates a false choice between protecting children and supporting strong encryption protections,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “The real challenge is funding. Online services work with law enforcement to report millions of instances of illegal content and child exploitation every year but law enforcement is only able to produce convictions on a small percentage of leads.”

“Sen. Graham’s bill would make it easier for criminals and foreign agents to attack victims by weakening vital encryption technology intended to protect users,” continued Szabo.

“FOSTA, the only amendment to Section 230, and its unintended consequences hurt the very victims it was designed to help — and Sen. Graham’s bill would do the same. By weakening encryption, the EARN IT Act would put children at risk by making phones, family photo storage, and internet-connected baby monitors more vulnerable to predators.”

“Law enforcement has a backlog of actionable cases on child exploitation due to a dearth of resources. Sen. Graham’s bill does nothing to address the underfunding of NCMEC and other funding for law enforcement’s fight against child exploitation.”

Lindsey Graham to Big Tech: Police Content or Lose Immunity

Bloomberg

Nonetheless, companies and groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Prosperity, International Business Machines Corp., NetChoice and the Internet Association either raised concerns about the bill or opposed it outright.

Consumer Advocates, Boss Act Co-Author Praise House Investigation

Ticket News

NetChoice, a D.C.-based trade association of businesses, shared similar sentiments. The organization minced no words when it came to the hearing’s oversight into Ticketmaster having been an outspoken opponent of its practices. Netchoice also called for further investigations into Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation.

“Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices present an opportunity for antitrust enforcement that would be both popular and necessary,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel. “This hearing showed that now is the time for an antitrust investigation of Ticketmaster and LiveNation. Investigating Ticketmaster for anti-consumer behavior would produce a slam-dunk case for the DOJ and FTC, proving both are well-prepared to protect consumers in the 2020s. Ticketmaster has been denying fans choice and convenience by using anti-competitive and dark practices. We look forward to further government action including the passage of the BOSS Act to protect consumers.”

NetChoice Commends House Subcommittee for Live Event Ticketing Hearing

Today, NetChoice commended the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for holding a hearing into the anti-consumer practices of Ticketmaster.

“Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices present an opportunity for antitrust enforcement that would be both popular and necessary,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel. “We commend the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for holding this important hearing.”

“This hearing showed that now is the time for an antitrust investigation of Ticketmaster and LiveNation. Investigating Ticketmaster for anti-consumer behavior would produce a slam-dunk case for the DOJ and FTC, proving both are well-prepared to protect consumers in the 2020s.”

“Ticketmaster has been denying fans choice and convenience by using anti-competitive and dark practices. We look forward to further government action including the passage of the BOSS Act to protect consumers.”

Section 230 under siege: A guide to all the ways the law could be gutted

Protocol

“All I’ve heard about have been problems. I haven’t heard of a single benefit,” says Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, a trade association representing Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies. Szabo will be at the DOJ workshop next week.

Nationalist Josh Hawley’s FTC overhaul plan is a socialist’s dream

The Strident Conservative

This Orwellian outcome to Hawley’s plan is the primary reason it is opposed by NetChoice, a trade association representing Facebook, Google, and Twitter. “Sen. Hawley’s proposals would place the entirety of FTC authority under the control of a single director, giving that person the sole power to dictate the future of American business,” vice president Carl Szabo said in a statement. (emphasis mine)

Sen Josh Hawley proposes putting the FTC under DOJ control

Great Today News

“Rather than protecting the agency from regulatory capture, Sen. Hawley’s proposals would make political abuse more likely — right when concerns are growing over politically motivated antitrust actions,” NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo said in a statement.

For the tech world, New Hampshire is anyone’s race

Politico Morning Tech

— “Having two federal agencies in charge of enforcing antitrust law makes as much sense as having two popes,” Lee told MT in an emailed statement. “This is an issue we’ve had hearings on in the Judiciary Committee and I think Sen. Hawley has identified a productive and constitutionally sound way forward.” (Hawley’s proposal swiftly drew pushback from one industry group, NetChoice, which said it “would make political abuse more likely.”)

NetChoice Announces Opposition to Sen. Hawley’s Antitrust Proposals

Today, NetChoice announced its opposition to new plans from Sen. Hawley that would overhaul and politicize American antitrust law.

“Sen. Hawley’s proposals would place the entirety of FTC authority under the control of a single director, giving that person the sole power to dictate the future of American business,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“Rather than protecting the agency from regulatory capture, Sen. Hawley’s proposals would make political abuse more likely — right when concerns are growing over politically motivated antitrust actions.”

“Sen. Hawley’s desire to follow the EU’s approach on antitrust is an abandonment of conservative principles in favor of big government populism,” continued Szabo.
“Contrary to Sen. Hawley’s claims, the FTC is working hard to ensure markets benefit American consumers — allowing tech services to flourish under light-touch regulation that has made them some of the most popular brands in the country.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with the Protecting the Right to Organize Act

Today, NetChoice pushed Congress to reject the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act because it threatens workers’ livelihoods within the growing peer-to-peer economy.

“Workers join the peer-to-peer economy because they’re looking for a flexible way to make a living. The PRO Act would restrict the right of self-employment, deny workers’ choice of when and how they want to work, and make it harder for Americans to find work that best serves their family,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“The internet enabled a surge in self-employment through online services like Lyft and Thumbtack, while the PRO Act would wrest control and opportunity away from workers.”

Rental Car Companies Collect $4 Billion in Special Treatment While Complaining That Their Competitors Get Special Treatment

Reason Magazine

The biggest of those loopholes is the simple fact that rental car companies are exempt from paying sales tax when they buy new vehicles. According to a report published this week by NetChoice, that sale tax exemption saved rental car companies more than $3.5 billion last year. In California, where other residents have to pay a 7.25 percent tax on the price of a new car, that tax break saved rental car companies more than $676 million in 2019.

That sweet deal isn’t available to users of Turo or GetAround. Good luck telling your state that the reason you didn’t pay your vehicle sales tax bill is because you plan to rent the car as a side hustle.

“State governments hand out billions to companies like Enterprise and Hertz, providing them an unfair advantage over competitors, like peer-to-peer car-sharing services,” says Steve DelBianco, NetChoice’s president.

The NetChoice report also examines the so-called “vehicle license fees” tacked onto the cost of renting a car through traditional platforms such as Enterprise or Hertz. Consumers probably don’t think about that fee as anything different than a tax—but in reality, it simply provides additional revenue for the rental car platform and does not go to local or state governments.

Ticket transfer bill dead; issue not

The Journal Gazette

Carl Szabo, vice president for NetChoice – a trade association for businesses promoting free enterprise on the internet – said he was utterly amazed at the opposition to the bill.

“I feel like my head is about to explode,” he said. “Everyone is saying it’s unnecessary. But you don’t send the senior VP of Live Nation for a bill that’s unnecessary. Clearly they have a lot more planned for Indiana consumers than meets the eye.”

He was referring to Tom Mendenhall of Live Nation – one of the largest events promoters and venue operators in the world – who attended the hearing on the bill. Live Nation owns a number of venues in central Indiana.

NetChoice Releases Research on Tax Subsidies to Big Car Rental Industry

Study Exposes Unfair Tax Benefits for Car Rental Industry that are not available to  Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Link to Report

WASHINGTON – NetChoice, a trade association fighting for free enterprise and free expression online, today released a report on the unfair benefits the Big Car Rental industry receives at the expense of taxpayers and consumers. 

Despite consistent revenue growth and profitability, the rental-car industry, including big companies like Enterprise and Hertz, receives tax benefits costing over $4 billion to U.S. taxpayers and consumers annually, the report shows.

“Our study highlights the extraordinary government favors granted to the car rental industry,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“The tax breaks, loopholes, and subsidies analyzed in our report are a boon for big car rental companies, who receive over $4 billion in state-sanctioned benefits annually.  State governments hand out billions to companies like Enterprise and Hertz, providing them an unfair advantage over competitors, like peer-to-peer car sharing services.”

According to the NetChoice study, the car rental industry receives:

  • A sales tax loophole costing taxpayers $3.5 billion every year
  • A vehicle registration fee subsidy costing customers $650 million each year

Key analysis in the report shows:

Passing-on Vehicle License Fees is intentionally misleading to consumers

  • The fee, placed next to sales tax on a car rental bill, leads consumers to think that money is being given directly to the state, when it goes directly to the car rental company’s bottom line
  • The only example of somewhat similar fees is in highly regulated public-utility companies — very different than the car rental industry

Big Rental is asking government to help eliminate competition from peer-to-peer car sharing service

  • A recent survey of rental-car operators revealed that “competition from peer-to-peer networks” ranked as one of the top self-reported threats in 2020
  • These peer-to-peer car sharing services don’t receive the same state-granted benefits as the car rental industry
  • The car rental industry is lobbying the government to regulate peer-to-peer car sharing like traditional car rental companies, even though they would not receive the same state-granted benefits

The full report can be found here.


About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association fighting to protect free expression and free enterprise online. Described by Politico as “Silicon Valley’s most aggressive lobbying presence in Washington,” we advocate at the local, state, national, and international levels, working with the tech industry, lawmakers, and academia. 

Big Tech likes rules, so long as it writes them

The Times (UK)

Carl Szabo is general counsel of NetChoice, one of tech’s most aggressive lobbyists, whose members include Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. He spends most of his time beating back two arguments: that tech companies are too big and should be broken up, and that section 230 — the “liability shield” that has fuelled their rise — needs to be scrapped.

Szabo, however, said that this logic was faulty. Section 230, he said, simply codifies another concept, known as “conduit immunity”, which he argued had been established through decades of court cases. If section 230 goes away, Big Tech is prepared to claim that they are protected by conduit immunity instead.

“At the end of the day, section 230 produces the most good with the least harm,” said Szabo, because it empowers companies to police their content — Facebook, for example has 30,000 post moderators — without fear of legal reprisals.

This is shaping up to be a key battleground. Szabo said the industry would “stand in unison” against efforts to touch section 230. Farid, who testified in Congress on Big Tech’s failings last year, said: “Industry lobbyists can say what they want, but there is bipartisan support for reforming 230. Everybody acknowledges that this is absurd.”

According to industry sources, American politicians are considering borrowing from Britain, where a law set to go into effect this year would impose a “duty of care” on platforms, even allowing for civil suits if companies failed to protect users from a list of harms ranging from pornography to cyber-bullying.

The other area of focus for Szabo is the call to break up Big Tech. The giants’ power was on full display last week. Facebook hit record profits and revealed that an astounding 2.9 billion people used its apps every month. Amazon reported its best three months ever. So did Apple. Amazon’s zooming stock price added $13bn to Bezos’s fortune in a day.

For Szabo, the eye-catching figures are distractions from the reality: none of these companies fits the legal definition of a monopoly, which in America means a company that uses its power to harm consumers. Facebook, for example, has less than a quarter of the global advertising market. Google has about a third. Amazon accounts for roughly half of e-commerce transactions but is lapped by Walmart in overall sales. Apple is one of many in a crowded smartphone market, with about 15% of global sales.

“From an analytical perspective, when you look at whether there is a case to be made for antitrust, it fails every time, aside from the declaration of, ‘They’re too big’,” said Szabo. “When you actually look at the facts, there’s no ‘they’ there.”

NetChoice Raises concerns with Rep. Castor’s COPPA Bill

Today, Rep. Castor introduced legislation to expand COPPA. Here is NetChoice’s statement:

“Rep. Castor’s bill would further distract COPPA from focusing on its original goal – to protect children from online predators,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “By removing the ability for young people to receive content tailored to their interests, Rep. Castor’s bill will undermine the online experiences of young people.”

The Biggest Tech Companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – Have Nowhere to Go But Down, Say Panelists

Broadband Breakfast

Steve DelBianco, CEO of NetChoice, said that Warren’s fellow Democratic Party presidential candidates weren’t really concerned about the corporate power of Silicon Valley. Rather, he said, the issues they raised at the October presidential debate were election interference, disinformation, privacy and the censorship of controversial conservative speech.

“None of the concerns they raised have a single thing to do with antitrust,” said DelBianco, whose group was active in opposing the antitrust case against Microsoft in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Tik Tok Time Bomb: App Poses Potential Security Threat

The Gavel

Despite this growing distrust of TikTok in the United States, ByteDance has been working to rebuild its public image. Recently, TikTok joined NetChoice, a trade association that has been aggressive in pushing back on critics of tech companies and has begun to enhance its lobbying efforts in the U.S. 

Streaming Shakeout, Platform Outlook Examined at SOTN2020

Multichannel News

Steve DelBianco, president/CEO of NetChoice, warned that antitrust actions could affect innovation, since small companies often build strategies with expec​t​ations of being acquired by a major provider, such as the platform companies.

DelBianco also predicted that by 2030, “Government will still be trying to figure out how to regulate artificial intelligence,” which will continue to be a major initiative of all the platform providers.

House Bill Would Allow Suits Over Kids’ Privacy Violations

Bloomberg Government

“Empowering the plaintiff’s bar to go after every business is the surest way to eliminate age appropriate content for young people,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, a trade group whose membership includes Google and Twitter. “Just as COPPA was responsible for decimating innovative content for children, a private right of action will do the same for young people.”

Media Cheered AB5 Law Now Causing Media Layoffs

Wall Street Journal

Your editorial “California Runs Off the Road” (Jan. 24) highlights the many problems California’s new AB5 law has caused for employees across the state. The overregulation of independent contractors, resulting in the persecution of freelance journalism in the state, has led to hundreds of journalist layoffs. Lower advertising dollars or decreased readership isn’t the cause.

Though the editorial notes that the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association are both challenging the law for abridging free speech, many journalists and media entities initially celebrated the passage of AB5. News sites like Vox Media celebrated that independent contractors in California will “get basic labor rights for the first time” under AB5. Then a mere three months later, Vox Media announced the layoff of hundreds of freelance journalists due to AB5’s additional costs of using freelance reporters in the Golden State.

While some blame tech for destroying America’s press industry, tech actually made it easier for freelancers to become journalists and news photographers. Perhaps a better cause of the decimation of journalism is the anticontractor activists, the demonization of where and when a person can work and laws like AB5 that are decimating local journalism.

NetChoice Voices Concerns with Dept. of Interior Restrictions on Drone Usage

Today, NetChoice voiced concerns with plans released by the Department of the Interior to formally ban non-emergency use of foreign-made drones.

“Drone restrictions based on nationality rather than security standards won’t protect our nation from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Discrimination against foreign-made drones means our country won’t have access to the best technologies,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“What we really need are cybersecurity standards for drones that apply to all manufacturers, enabling greater competition and security.”

Feds Ground 800 Drones Over Fears About Chinese-Made Tech

Reason Magazine

“Drone restrictions based on nationality rather than security standards won’t protect our nation from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Discrimination against foreign-made drones means our country won’t have access to the best technologies,” says Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, which advocates for free markets in technology. “What we really need are cybersecurity standards for drones that apply to all manufacturers, enabling greater competition and security.”

The House Democrat Taking On Silicon Valley

Politico

“You can’t just ignore facts that don’t prove your presupposed conclusions. That’s not how ‘investigations’ work,” says Carl Szabo. “Especially from the Judiciary Committee? We should be better than that.”

On a warm Friday in October, sun streamed in the window of Szabo’s K Street offices, decorated with thick books on telecommunications law, a LEGO R2-D2 and framed mock patent applications of heavy machinery from the “Star Wars” universe. Szabo is the outspoken vice president and top lawyer for Silicon Valley’s most aggressivelobbying presence in Washington: a group called NetChoice, which counts Facebook and Google among its members.

Szabo’s job is to say what the tech companies don’t want to be seen saying themselves, which, in this case, is that Cicilline is unfairly targeting them. That he isn’t after going after bad corporate behavior but simply taking scalps from some of the highest profile companies in the world. That, despite his declarations that he is keeping an open mind, the result of his investigation is a foregone conclusion. Cicilline, the argument goes, is convinced there’s no competition left in the tech industry. Says Szabo, ever heard of TikTok?

Cicilline’s investigation won’t add up to much of anything, Szabo insists, because there’s no there there. The worry, though, is that he adds his powerful voice to the “cacophony of people complaining about technology”—many of whom, Szabo argues, are motivated, somewhat perversely, by the desire to get their name in headlines smack up against mentions of Facebook, Google and the rest. “I think the whole reason we’re even talking about these groups is because of SEO,” or search engine optimization, Szabo said.

Senate impasse on Huawei

Politico Morning Tech

2020 tech watchers are still reeling, meanwhile, from surprise support from Democratic front-runner Joe Biden for nixing the online liability protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Tech trade group NetChoice rushed to slam Biden’s comments, saying that scrapping the prized provision “would prevent online services from effectively curating content created by users, meaning Biden’s proposal would accomplish the complete opposite of its goal.”

Truth and lies: Social media political ads

Carl Szabo is with the internet industry trade group, Net Choice.  

“Senator Warren has said her health care plan will not increase taxes on the middle class. Many studies have said this is impossible. President Trump announced the border wall will be paid for entirely by Mexico. Should those types of statements be removed?” Szabo said. 

Szabo says social media companies usually defer to free speech on their platforms and oppose legislation to put limits on political ads.

“Allow the voters to be the ones to decide whether a statement is true or false,” Szabo said.

Szabo says as the 2020 campaign approaches, he expects calls to regulate political ads to get louder.

A Tech Stakeholder Group Is Solidifying Its Presence in the Scooter Regulatory Arena

Morning Consult

NetChoice eyes restrictive markets for advocacy work as it releases new e-scooter guidelines.

After publishing its first white paper examining regulations of dockless e-scooters, a Washington e-commerce group representing the likes of Google, Lyft Inc. and Airbnb Inc. said it expects to lean more into micromobility issues in 2020.

NetChoice, which also includes e-scooter company Lime among its members, will release its guidelines Tuesday on how city officials should approach e-scooters, including proposals related to scooter curfews, speed limits and geofencing. The proposal makes NetChoice one of the few Washington tech groups focusing on a space typically saturated by transportation advocacy groups and city officials.

California lawmakers push for data privacy protection

Nexstar

Carl Szabo, the vice president of NetChoice, said stricter rules on data collection could hurt online business and consumers.  “We’re seeing a fracturing of the internet,” Szabo said. “There are going to be unintended consequences. People are going to see an increase in prices, or fewer offerings of stuff they really enjoy having.”

Even so, Szabo said Congress should act to make privacy laws consistent nationwide.

Short-term rental ‘avengers’ seek fair regulation with new playbook

Shorttermrentalz.com

NetChoice president Steve DelBianco said: “If homeowners want to host paying guests, they need to understand concerns raised by neighbours and local government officials, and be ready to respond with real data and smart policy solutions. That’s why this playbook is an indispensable resource.”

Streamlined Tax Pact OKs Nonmember Participation Model Bill

Law360

The model statute would require states to identify where their tax codes deviate from the agreement. However, Steve DelBianco, president of the online business trade group NetChoice, told Law360 that he didn’t believe the measure went far enough to satisfy the full Streamlined agreement that the justices referred to in Wayfair.

“This new model bill falls well short of the real [agreement] since it lets any new state simply explain how it ‘deviates from those requirements,’” DelBianco said.

Nonmember states, he said, “should have no illusions that this model bill puts them in full conformance with Wayfair.”

Deepfakes And Beyond: Who Wins If Social Media Platforms Are Regulated?

Forbes

Conservatives fixated on social media bias are reluctant to appreciate the immeasurable benefit they receive from Section 230. It was never a subsidy to anyone; it applied equally to all (publishers like newspapers get to have websites too). Even if biases on the part of some platforms are deemed valid (in an elemental sense, bias should not be denied and big tech needs to defend it), there is no precedent for the reach conservatives enjoy now. Those who complain of bias on YouTube, for example, pay nothing for the hosting that can reach millions, and stand to profit instead. Some do get “deplatformed,” of course; but if improperly so, that may be a violation of terms by the host resolvable in ways other than altering Sec. 230 with a sledgehammer.

Ring Hacking Lawsuit Boosts Amazon Security Device Scrutiny

Bloomberg Law

However, Orange may have a hard time achieving standing to sue because he fails to allege specific harm, Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, said. “There isn’t a single actual harm identified,” Szabo said.

Most Voters Say Congress Should Make Privacy Legislation a Priority Next Year

Morning Consult

While it’s predicted that few federal legislative items will move in 2020 because of ongoing impeachment proceedings and the U.S. presidential election, Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of industry group NetChoice, said he expects the election to “help move this forward” anyway.

“Once everyone realizes the unconstitutional nature of a lot of these state privacy laws, and the conflicts between them, lawmakers are going to run on a platform that provides consistent privacy protections for all Americans,” said Szabo, whose group advocates for the pre-emption of state laws. 

Szabo also predicts someone filing a preliminary injunction that would prevent the CCPA from being enacted Jan. 1, which would “spur congressional activity,” leaving Congress with a clean slate to determine privacy protections. 

NetChoice Voices Support for the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act

Today, NetChoice voiced support for the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, introduced by Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Wyden (D-OR) and by Reps. Khanna (D-CA) and Lee (D-CA). The Act would trigger an investigation into the unintended consequences of SESTA/FOSTA.

SESTA/FOSTA amended Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and undermined sensible limits on liability for online services that host user-created content.

“SESTA/FOSTA has harmed vulnerable women across the country, the very community it was crafted to help,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “SESTA/FOSTA is the first and only amendment to Section 230, so Congress must understand how much damage SESTA/FOSTA caused before it considers further amendments to Section 230.”

Top 5 Tech Policy Predictions for 2020

Morning Consult

But Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of industry group NetChoice, which typically doesn’t support antitrust actions against large tech companies, sees the continued interest in antitrust as more of a political tool, saying that once someone pulls back the layers of an argument for breaking up big tech companies, there’s nothing substantial there. 

“Once you take more than a knee-jerk analysis of the digital landscape, you realize that there are a lot of competitors out there, that choice is robust and there is no consumer harm,” he said.

Rand Paul vs. Google and Facebook

National Review

Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, a trade association whose members include Google and Facebook, panned the bill as a “special handout” to the news industry and argued that the legislation, despite its intent, could still leave smaller newspapers “out in the cold.”

“What’s concerning about legislation like this is it’s pretty much designed to empower large newspaper conglomerates to circumvent existing anti-trust law,” Szabo tells National Review. “Today, businesses regardless of what industry they’re in are subject to the same rules when it comes to concerns about size and anti-trust. This [bill] is giving a special handout to the news industry, and it’s hard to argue that Rupert Murdoch needs yet another handout.”

Although the 500-word bill states that the negotiations that news companies engage in with Google and Facebook must “pertain to terms that would be available to all news content creators,” Szabo suggested it could still benefit big papers over small ones: “Let’s presume I’m an online company [such as Google or Facebook], and I have to cut this nice sweetheart deal because the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the LA Times have decided to get together and hard bargain negotiated rates. Let’s say the Kansas City Tribune [sic] wants to enjoy that. The online service provider might say, ‘Look, I won’t carry your content because it’s just not going to be worth it to me.’”

Meet the scholar who recognized ‘surveillance capitalism’

New Paper 24

Not everybody agrees with the Zuboff prescription, to place it mildly. Vice President Carl Szabo of the e-commerce commerce group NetChoice, whose members embody Fb and Google, mentioned her e-book “paints a typical dystopian image of expertise, dismissing the exceptional advantages of on-line platforms and information evaluation.”

The Technology 202: Facebook defends encryption push as lawmakers raise child exploitation concerns

Washington Post

“It is unfortunate that the Sect. 230 language was not taken out,” Rick Lane, a longtime technology policy adviser who has supported overhauling Section 230 told me. “But at least for those of us who believe that changes to CDA Sect. 230 are necessary can take solace in knowing that organizations like CTA and NetChoice have stated unequivocally that inclusion of Section 230 language in trade agreements does not stop the [United States] from changing the law in the future should it choose to do so.”

Tech world’s USMCA win

Politico Morning Tech

The Internet Association, Information Technology Industry Council, Semiconductor Industry Association, Computer & Communications Industry Association, BSA | The Software Alliance, the Computing Technology Industry Association, the Consumer Technology Association, NetChoice and TechNet were among the many (many!) industry groups to praise the agreement Tuesday. Amazon also applauded the deal, tweeting that it “breaks new ground on digital trade and cuts red tape for Amazon customers and sellers.”

NetChoice Praises the Advancing of USMCA

Today, NetChoice reiterated support for the USMCA and pushed the U.S. House of Representatives to pass it.

“USMCA will empower America’s tech industry to compete on the world stage, at a time when international competition is fierce,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“USMCA is a trade agreement well suited for the digital age. USMCA is a template to ensure future trade agreements stand the test of time.” 

NetChoice Praises Section 230 Language Included in USMCA

Today, NetChoice reiterated support for the inclusion of Section 230 language in President Trump’s North American trade agreement, USMCA.

“Speaker Pelosi fights on behalf of vulnerable communities, yet it is these very communities throughout North America that benefit most from access to social media and online marketplaces,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“The inclusion of Section 230 language in the USMCA is a win-win for all signatories. Consumers gain access to an abundance of online content, and businesses can connect directly to customers using e-commerce marketplaces and social media marketing.”

NetChoice has also published a piece titled “Section 230 Should be in Our Trade Agreements. Here’s Why.” which covers the various reasons that inclusion of digital intermediary liability protections are vital for modern trade agreements. 

Pelosi Reportedly Wants To Strip Online Free Speech Protections From Trade Deal

Reason Magazine

“The inclusion of Section 230 language in the USMCA is a win-win for all signatories,” says Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice, an advocacy group that favors the inclusion of online liability protections in trade deals. “Consumers gain access to an abundance of online content, and businesses can connect directly to customers using e-commerce marketplaces and social media marketing.”

ATI speakers address tax incentives, business attraction

Idaho Press

O’Cooper was followed by Steve DelBianco of NetChoice, a trade association, who is pushing for a tax incentive for data centers. “They deserve the same tax treatment that you’ve always allowed under the production equipment that goes into mining, ranching and farming,” he said. He contended that extending Idaho’s production exemption from sales taxes to billion-dollar data centers “costs you nothing” because no major data centers have located in the state thus far. Contradicting the previous speaker, he said, “Absent these exemptions, these hyper-scale data centers will not come to Idaho. … If Idaho does not offer it, these businesses will very likely locate elsewhere.”

NetChoice Commends Sen. Wicker’s Draft Privacy Legislation

“This draft bill is a solid compromise between businesses and privacy advocates,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice. “By eliminating a patchwork of differing and potentially conflicting state laws Sen. Wicker’s bill protects citizens’ privacy while helping America’s small businesses.”

“While there are parts of the bill that should be improved before it becomes law, Sen. Wicker’s bill presents the best opportunity to turn years of congressional debate on privacy into action.”

“Like GDPR, this bill applies privacy laws to all data collectors — aiding privacy and security across the board. Unlike CCPA, Sen. Wicker’s bill is more comprehensive and doesn’t have carve outs for special interests.”

NetChoice Applauds the USTR Action Against French Digital Services Tax

Today NetChoice applauded the US Trade Representative’s threatened imposition of tariffs of up to $2.4 billion on French goods in response to France’s taxation of the digital services performed by American businesses.

“The administration saw France’s taxes for the trade barriers they are and the US responded in kind,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.  “The administration took important steps to stand against foreign trade barriers and protect America’s technological innovations.”  

“France shouldn’t be surprised by this response to its illegal tax on American businesses,” continued DelBianco.

“France’s digital taxes stank and the administration’s response was right on the nose,” said DelBianco.

The U.K.’s Facebook-fueled sprint to election day

Politico Morning Tech

NetChoice President Steve DelBianco called the new taxes “a desperate bid to help French companies compete,” he said. “Just a month after President Macron promised to grow France’s flailing tech industry, his government imposed these taxes to knee-cap American competitors.”

NetChoice Applauds the USTR Investigation of France’s Digital Services Tax

Today NetChoice applauded the US Trade Representative for investigating and considering action against the French Digital Services Tax (DST), which would impose a 3% tax on gross revenue from businesses with annual revenue of $830 million globally. 

“In a desperate bid to help French companies compete, France designed new taxes to penalize America’s online leaders,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“France flaunted OECD policies when it imposed this discriminatory new tax,” continued DelBianco.  “Just a month after President Macron promised to grow France’s flailing tech industry, his government imposed these taxes to knee-cap American competitors.”

“The USTR is standing-up for American businesses by investigating France’s discriminatory tax. Our government needs to show foreign powers that they will pay a price for targeting America’s online leaders for discriminatory taxes.”

“The DST is doubly discriminatory, by targeting American online business while steering clear of most French companies and sparing ad revenue earned by broadcast and print media.”

NetChoice Applauds the USTR Investigation of France’s Digital Services Tax

Today NetChoice applauded the US Trade Representative for investigating and considering action against the French Digital Services Tax (DST), which would impose a 3% tax on gross revenue from businesses with annual revenue of $830 million globally. 

“In a desperate bid to help French companies compete, France designed new taxes to penalize America’s online leaders,” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice.

“France flaunted OECD policies when it imposed this discriminatory new tax,” continued DelBianco.  “Just a month after President Macron promised to grow France’s flailing tech industry, his government imposed these taxes to knee-cap American competitors.”

“The USTR is standing-up for American businesses by investigating France’s discriminatory tax. Our government needs to show foreign powers that they will pay a price for targeting America’s online leaders for discriminatory taxes.”

“The DST is doubly discriminatory, by targeting American online business while steering clear of most French companies and sparing ad revenue earned by broadcast and print media.”

NetChoice Raises Concerns with the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act

Today, NetChoice raised concerns with the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act introduced by Sen. Cantwell. The bill creates a private right of action with statutory damages, harms America’s mid-size businesses, and fails to provide a comprehensive privacy law for the country.

“America’s mid-size businesses face a Sophie’s choice about whether to live with today’s patchwork of state privacy laws, or support this bill that would unleash a tsunami of class action lawsuits,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President & General Counsel for NetChoice.

“The “right to delete” rules in this bill would help bad actors hide their past transgressions, as some have done using Europe’s “Right To Be Forgotten.” Of the total removal requests made using that law in the UK and Ireland, 31% were related to frauds and scams, 20% were violent or serious criminal arrests, and 12% were child pornography arrests.”

“Far from being comprehensive about consumer privacy, this bill does not apply to personal data collected by non-profits, banks, and healthcare providers.”

Democratic Privacy Bill Allows Lawsuits Over Data Violations (1)

Bloomberg Government

“This bill is creating a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for America’s mid-sized businesses,” said Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, a right-leaning tech trade association that counts Alphabet Inc.‘s Google and Facebook as members. “Do they want a patchwork of state laws or a tsunami of class action lawsuits?”

Szabo’s group has been among those looking to congressional legislation to overrule state laws.

“There’s no point in doing a federal privacy bill unless it creates a standard, nationwide law and eliminates the patchwork problem,” Szabo said. “We don’t need a 51st privacy law.”

NetChoice Applauds the Announcement of an Investigation Into Failures in The Concert Ticket Market

Ten years ago, the Department of Justice approved the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation via a 10-year consent decree that expires in 2020. This approved vertical merger allowed the dominant ticketing platform to merge with the largest promoter of concerts but we are now seeing how this dominance is being abused to harm consumers.

“Since the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger approval, Ticketmaster grew to dominate the primary ticket sales market, obtaining a 70-80% market share,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Investigations have found sizeable holdbacks of tickets from public sales allowing Ticketmaster to abuse its market position to unfairly raise prices for fans.”

“Ticketmaster, not content with dominating the primary ticket sales market is using its market power to monopolize the ticket resale market too,” continued Szabo. “Ticketmaster is trying to force consumers to giveaway or sell tickets only through Ticketmaster’s own platform so Ticketmaster can collect yet another service fee.”

“The DOJ must engage in a deep review of anti-competitive practices by Ticketmaster and make the concert ticket market serve consumers once again.”

Bokhari: Google’s Swamp Creatures Take Aim at Josh Hawley’s Big Tech Bill

Breitbart

This argument is one of the top lines NetChoice, a D.C-based, conservative-focused lobby group that counts Google, Facebook, and Twitter among its clients.  In January, NetChoice VP Carl Szabo testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about why online platforms shouldn’t be subject to antitrust investigations — and the Fairness Doctrine comparison was at the forefront of his argument.

Tik Tok Boosts U.S. Lobbying Amid New Censorship Claims

China Digital Times

ByteDance has tried to build its relationships in Washington amid the growing scrutiny. TikTok has joined NetChoice, a trade association that has been aggressive in pushing back on critics of tech companies. One of Bytedance’s own staff members registered to lobby for the company this summer. The company also hired the powerful corporate law firm Covington & Burling — whose clients include Facebook, among others — to advocate on its behalf.

NetChoice Response to Andrew Yang’s Tech Proposals

Today, Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang released a slew of tech proposals, covering four main issues:

  • Privacy and Consumer Data
  • The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People
  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
  • Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice pushed back on Yang’s proposals:

Privacy and Consumer Data

“The current online advertising model enables consumers to access high quality content and sophisticated services for free. Yang’s policy would create more paywalls around content and diminish the presence of free services.”

“On Yang’s internet we will have more paywalls and less content.”

“Americans support the current market structure. By a 3-to-1 margin Americans prefer online services to be funded by targeted advertising rather than paying for them directly.”

The Use of Technology, Especially by Young People

“The surge in access to technology and the internet in the 21st Century benefits us all every day – that’s why tech is so prevalent in society today.”

“For a candidate who claims to focus on “evidence-based policy,” Yang’s most outlandish claims lack evidence.”

“Rather than proposing knee-jerk policy responses to perceived problems, Yang should wait for more evidence on tech’s impact on children and not ignore a recent study that found no link between social media usage and negative impacts on mental health in teens.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

“We must dispel with this myth that because online services moderate user-created content, they are equivalent to the New York Times or the Washington Post. Unlike the journalists at the New York Times or Washington Post, Facebook doesn’t write posts and Twitter doesn’t write tweets — users do.

“The New York Times and the Washington Post’s comment section benefits from the same legal structure and protections as social media businesses.”

“Social media services moderate content to reduce the presence of hate speech, scams, and spam. Yang’s proposal to amend Section 230 would likely increase the amount of hate speech and terrorist content online.”

“Yang incorrectly claims a “publisher vs. platform grey area.” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not categorize online services. Section 230 enables services that host user-created content to remove content without assuming liability.”

Antitrust Enforcement and Tech

“We welcome Yang’s recognition that breaking up tech businesses wouldn’t benefit consumers. The role of antitrust and regulation in the U.S. is to protect consumers, not competitors of successful businesses.”

Andrew Yang Proposes Making Social Media Algorithms Subject to Federal Approval

Reason Magazine

“Social media services moderate content to reduce the presence of hate speech, scams, and spam,” Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at the trade organization NetChoice, said in a statement. “Yang’s proposal to amend Section 230 would likely increase the amount of hate speech and terrorist content online.”

It’s possible that Yang misunderstands the very core of the law. “We must address once and for all the publisher vs. platform grey area that tech companies have lived in for years,” he writes. But that dichotomy is a fiction.

“Yang incorrectly claims a ‘publisher vs. platform grey area.’ Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not categorize online services,” Szabo says. “Section 230 enables services that host user-created content to remove content without assuming liability.”

Yang Proposes Tax on Digital Ads in Swipe at Facebook, Google

Bloomberg

NetChoice, a lobbying group that counts Facebook and Google as members, criticized Yang’s proposal.

“The current online advertising model enables consumers to access high quality content and sophisticated services for free,” NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo said in a statement. “Yang’s policy would create more paywalls around content and diminish the presence of free services.”

Joe Biden Has Officially Joined the Misguided Crusade Against Online Free Speech

Reason Magazine

“Holding Facebook liable for a user’s false statement is like holding CNN liable if candidate Biden made a false statement on their Town Hall last night,” says Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice, a nonprofit that favors digital free speech.

NetChoice Criticizes Candidate Biden’s Call to Hold Online Platforms Liable for False Statements by Users

Today, NetChoice criticized the problematic statement made by presidential candidate Joe Biden last night that platforms should be responsible for false posts by their users.

“Candidate Joe Biden suggests we should suppress free speech and make Facebook and Google the arbiters of truth,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice.

“Holding Facebook liable for a user’s false statement is like holding CNN liable if candidate Biden made a false statement on their Town Hall last night.”

“I wonder if Biden thinks TV stations and newspapers should be liable for false claims in political ads they are paid to show, especially since these mediums are the majority of political ad spending.”

Judge to PragerU: You Do Not Have a Free Speech Claim Against YouTube

Reason Magazine

Prager’s First Amendment claims come amid the nonprofit’s repeated assertion that Google is biased against conservative groups. But as Robert Winterton of the trade association NetChoice points out, the tech giant restricts videos by left-leaning organizations too—and often more than Prager’s 20 percent. Fifty-four percent of The Daily Show‘s videos are hidden, as is 71 percent of content from The Young Turks.

NetChoice Raises Concerns with The Filter Bubble Transparency Act


Yesterday, Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), unveiled The Filter Bubble Transparency Act. It’s a law that would force large websites to notify users if algorithms determine the order or origin of content the user sees. The bill would also mandate that these online services provide an alternative unsorted version of their news feeds.

“This bill would undermine efforts by platforms to stop the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and other harmful news and views — just as we’re going into an election year,” said Carl Szabo, General Counsel at NetChoice. “This bill could reverse progress made by platforms in response to concerns about online misinformation during our last election.”

“Algorithms are the latest boogey-man for tech critics, but algorithms are how websites determine the origin and order of content shown to users, based on interests shown by that user and others they may friend and follow.”

“Congress should let tech businesses determine how to best serve their users.”

TikTok Said to Be Under National Security Review

The New York Times

ByteDance has tried to build its relationships in Washington amid the growing scrutiny. TikTok has joined NetChoice, a trade association that has been aggressive in pushing back on critics of tech companies. One of Bytedance’s own staff members registered to lobby for the company this summer. The company also hired the powerful corporate law firm Covington & Burling — whose clients include Facebook, among others — to advocate on its behalf.

Critics fear Michigan is promising the moon to land cloud data storage firms

Bridge Michigan

Less than a decade later, Loudoun County, Virginia has become the data center capital of the world, said Comstock, who is now an adviser for the NetChoice lobbying group. Property taxes, income taxes and other revenues related to the centers have been a “cash cow” for her region, she told legislators. 

Why SIA Opposes Massachusetts’ Far-Reaching Facial Recognition Technology Prohibition Bill

Security Industry Association

In an August poll of Massachusetts residents, 66 percent said law enforcement should not be precluded from using new technologies such as facial recognition, 64 percent believed facial recognition technology has the potential to enhance safety and only 15 percent would limit law enforcement’s use of the technology at the expense of public safety.

U.S. senators want social media users to be able to take their data with them

Reuters, New York Times, US News and World Report

The trade group NetChoice, which counts Google and Facebook among its members, said that the bill would do little to protect consumers.

“Data portability will inevitably endanger data security,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel at NetChoice. “Online hackers and criminals looking to steal consumer data will benefit.”

Lawmakers push tax breaks for data centers, critics worry about school funds

Michigan Advance

Steve DelBianco, CEO of NetChoice, a Virginia-based trade association of online and tech businesses, testified Thursday at the committee meeting on behalf of the data center market. He says that large data centers won’t even consider opening up shop in Michigan until there is data center-friendly legislation.

“We encourage Michigan, in this respect, to accommodate this view toward data centers that will either be here or not be here. And that hinges on whether or not the state recognizes the production equipment of a data center is production equipment that should qualify for sales tax exemptions,” DelBianco testified to the committee. “Over the last five years, not a single large enterprise data center is located in a state that has imposed its full sales tax on the data center servers.”

Should the government break up Big Tech?

AL.com, SI Live, Penn Live Patriot News, Cleveland.com, NJ.com, Mass Live, The Oregonian

Carl Szabo, vice president of the free-market tech trade group NetChoice, said in a statement that the “proposal would increase prices for consumers, make search and maps less useful, and raise costs to small businesses that advertise online.” Szabo, whose group counts Google and Facebook as members, said that consumers have never “had more access to goods, services, and opportunities online.”

SIA Advocates for Facial Recognition in Letter to US Lawmakers

Find Biometrics

The IBIA also signed the recent letter to Congress alongside the SIA. The other organizations backing the letter include the North American branch of the Airports Council International, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Consumer Technology Association, the Global Business Travel Association, the Identification Technology Association, NetChoice and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

US senators need social media customers to have the ability to take their information with them

New Paper 24

he commerce group NetChoice, which counts Google and Fb amongst its members, stated that the invoice would do little to guard customers.

Information portability will inevitably endanger information safety,” stated Carl Szabo, basic counsel at NetChoice. “On-line hackers and criminals trying to steal client information will profit.”

NetChoice Raises Consumer Privacy Concerns about the ACCESS Act

Today, NetChoice raised concerns about the ACCESS Act, introduced today by Sen. Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Warner (D-VA), and Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) that the bill is more focused on attacking big tech than protecting and empowering consumers.

“As presented in the ACCESS Act, data portability will inevitably endanger data security,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “Online hackers and criminals looking to steal consumer data will benefit from the ACCESS Act.” 

“These government imposed data portability requirements would make consumer data more vulnerable to abuse.”

The bill could also undermine efforts by market leaders including Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, to introduce data portability in a way that empowers consumers without undermining privacy or data security.

The ACCESS Act only aims to regulate large tech businesses with over 100,000,000 active monthly users in the U.S. It also fails to include preemption.

 “By only impacting the largest American businesses, the ACCESS Act is clearly focused more on attacking large tech innovators rather than creating a safe and secure portability system,” continued Szabo.

Gongwer – Big Tech Companies Under The Microscope In Field Hearing

Gongwer – Big Tech Companies Under The Microscope In Field Hearing

But Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice, told members of the panel that large online platforms help America’s small businesses.

“For America’s small and mid-size businesses, the bigger the platform the better for reaching larger audiences. Consider the local custom furniture store. Just 15 years ago businesses like this could barely afford to place an ad in a local newspaper, let alone on TV or radio. Thanks to large online platforms, for less than $10 a small business can reach thousands of potential customers and target them more accurately than ever,” he said.

“Large online platforms have given new growth opportunities to America’s small businesses via app stores on the Apple and Android platforms. Software distribution used to require significant outlays for advertising, marketing, and logistics. But app stores allow even small software developers to reach millions of customers at minimal investment.”

Democratic divisions emerge over tackling Big Tech

The Hill

Steve DelBianco, the president of tech trade group NetChoice, called the criticisms “predictable.”

“It plays to their base to show that they’re standing up to big companies and that they care about election security, privacy, violent and extreme content.” 

2020 candidates escalate fight against Big Tech

Politico Morning Tech

 “We are concerned that a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies would be premature and have unintended consequences not only for innovation, safety, and security but for the continued improvement of the technology’s accuracy and effectiveness,” wrote the Consumer Technology Association, NetChoice, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups, one day ahead of a Senate Commerce Committee hearing likely to touch on the use of facial recognition technology for aviation security. “Instead, we urge Congress to collaborate with all stakeholders to address concerns raised by facial recognition technology and provide a consistent set of rules across the United States.”

MLive - Michigan bill aims to restrict what internet companies could ban from their sites

MLive – Michigan bill aims to restrict what internet companies could ban from their sites

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for the trade association Net Choice, told lawmakers the legislation is rife with “constitutional infirmities” and could lead to a number of unintended consequences, including incentivizing companies to content moderation in order to avoid liability.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization, which says it represents businesses “promoting free speech and free enterprise on the net” on its website, opposes the bill.

“Because the term neutrality is so amorphous and so subject to the eye of the beholder, it’s not going to pass constitutional muster,” Szabo said of the bill. “In order to survive a First Amendment challenge, you have to be a compelling government interest, narrowly tailored and least restrictive. This bill fails all three prongs.”

Read More

Group defends face recognition use in Massachusetts

Planet Biometrics

NetChoice, a trade association committed to the use of technology that fosters free enterprise and free expression, today launched a campaign to protect the use of new technologies, such as facial recognition, for law enforcement in Massachusetts.

On Policing Content, Social Media Companies Face a Trust Gap With Users

Morning Consult

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of internet trade association NetChoice, which advocates for Section 230, said that part of the issue is the sheer amount of content that filters through the platforms. For example, Facebook’s moderators review more than 2 million pieces of content daily, according to a spokesperson, who also said by email that the company has tripled the number of people working on safety and security issues since 2016. 

California bans facial recognition on police body cameras as Massachusetts urged not to follow

Biometric Update

A similar restriction on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition could be enacted in Massachusetts, but trade association NetChoice has launched a campaign urging state lawmakers to reject a proposed moratorium.

poll conducted by Savanta for NetChoice in August shows that 64 percent of Massachusetts residents believe facial recognition can make society safer, and 66 percent are against denying law enforcement the use of new technologies to fight crime. When asked if facial recognition should be limited even at the expense of public safety, 46 percent disagreed, while 34 percent agreed. In each case responses are split between “somewhat” and “strong” agreement and disagreement. Asked if they would support a politician that votes to prevent the use of facial recognition and other technologies by law enforcement, 22 percent said they would be more likely to, while 41 percent said they would be less likely to do so.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows a majority of U.S. adults trust law enforcement to use facial recognition.

NetChoice has launched a petition calling on the proposal to be rejected as part of its campaign.

“Every day facial recognition technologies help law enforcement to generate leads in cases, such as homicide, rape, armed robbery and other violent crime, as well as for non-enforcement reasons, including identifying elderly persons stricken with dementia, finding lost and missing children, identifying homeless persons with mental illness and identifying deceased persons,” said NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo in a statement by the organization.

“A moratorium on facial recognition technology not only goes against what Bay Staters want, it denies law enforcement tools needed to help keep our communities safe.”

Szabo has previously expressed at least tentative support for regulation aimed at increasing transparency around business use of facial biometrics in New York City.

Europe’s Margrethe Vestager in the hot seat

Politico

THE FIGHT FOR FACIAL RECOGNITION — Tech trade group NetChoice launched an offensive in Massachusetts challenging a proposal to block state law enforcement from using facial recognition software. The technology has come under fire by privacy and civil liberties advocates who’ve raised alarm about potential flaws in facial recognition software and algorithmic biases that put minorities at a disadvantage. NetChoice and other industry groups have argued that the technology is central to law enforcement efforts to keep the public safe. (San Francisco in May became the first major American city to ban police and municipal agencies from using facial recognition.)

Industry Group Launches Defense of Facial Recognition Technology

Meritalk

NetChoice, a business trade group focused on promoting free speech and free enterprise on the internet, launched a public campaign on Oct. 7 to defend law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology, and is taking aim at anti-facial recognition effort in Massachusetts.

“Every day facial recognition technologies help law enforcement to generate leads in cases, such as homicide, rape, armed robbery, and other violent crime, as well as for non-enforcement reasons, including identifying elderly persons stricken with dementia, finding lost and missing children, identifying homeless persons with mental illness and identifying deceased persons,” said Carl Szabo, the group’s vice president and general counsel.

NetChoice’s stance on the issue stands in opposition to an ongoing push from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Massachusetts.

POLITICO - 'Populist mobs' vs. the Kochs: Tech probes split the GOP

POLITICO – ‘Populist mobs’ vs. the Kochs: Tech probes split the GOP

“It comes down to the question of: Do you see government as the solution to a perceived problem? Or do you believe that the market is in the best position?” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, a right-leaning industry trade group whose members include Google and Facebook.

“It is one thing to say you believe in the free market, it’s another thing to actually do what you say,” he said.

NetChoice Launches Campaign to Protect Law Enforcement’s Use of Facial Recognition Technology to Promote Public Safety

Petition Urges State Lawmakers to Reject the Proposed Moratorium on Facial Recognition

WASHINGTON – NetChoice, a trade association committed to the use of technology that fosters free enterprise and free expression, today launched a campaign to protect the use of new technologies, such as facial recognition, for law enforcement in Massachusetts.

The campaign is powered by new survey data to educate Massachusetts residents and political stakeholders about these technologies: how they enable law enforcement to maintain public safety, and that most of the public oppose an all-out ban on the use of this technology by law enforcement.

NetChoice is inviting stakeholders, community leaders, and members of the public to sign a petition urging Massachusetts state lawmakers to reject the proposed moratorium on facial recognition use for law enforcement.

“Every day facial recognition technologies help law enforcement to generate leads in cases, such as homicide, rape, armed robbery and other violent crime, as well as for non-enforcement reasons, including identifying elderly persons stricken with dementia, finding lost and missing children, identifying homeless persons with mental illness and identifying deceased persons,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice.

“A moratorium on facial recognition technology not only goes against what Bay Staters want, it denies law enforcement tools needed to help keep our communities safe.”

Survey data from Pew also shows a majority of Americans (56 percent) trust law enforcement to use facial recognition technology responsibly.  

A new poll by Savanta found Massachusetts residents are more supportive of allowing law enforcement to use facial recognition technology responsibly than the general population.

 The Savanta survey of Massachusetts residents shows:

●      66 percent of Bay Staters say we should not deny law enforcement from using new technologies, such as facial recognition, to fight and deter crime.

●      64 percent of Bay Staters agreed facial recognition technology has the potential to make communities safer.

●      46 percent of Bay Staters said government should not strictly limit the use of facial recognition technology if it comes at the expense of the public’s safety.

Szabo added, “The survey results confirm that despite calls by some for a moratorium in Massachusetts, people across the state value this technology to keep their communities safe and help law enforcement do their jobs more effectively.”

Full survey data can be found here. For more information, please email rwinterton@netchoice.org.  


About NetChoice

NetChoice is a trade association fighting to protect free speech and free enterprise online. 

NetChoice Criticizes European Court of Justice Ruling that Harms Free Speech Online

Today, NetChoice criticized a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that threatens free speech around the world.

The ruling would aim to force Facebook to remove content on its platform worldwide if it’s found to be illegal in Europe, regardless of whether the content is legal elsewhere.

“This ruling sets a dangerous precedent enabling illiberal countries to enforce anti-free speech laws beyond their borders,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. 

“As some foreign governments stifle free expression on internet platforms, it becomes even more important for the United States to protect and advance laws like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.” 

“I’m glad the United States respects the right of citizens to criticize its leaders. Our founders knew such freedoms of speech are necessary to create a stable democracy.” 

“Freedom of expression is core to Western, liberal democracies. Today’s EJC decision embraces the China-model of a closed internet, the model heralded by authoritarian governments.”

Washington Free Beacon - Warren Attacks Facebook as Her Campaign Continues to Use Its Tools

Washington Free Beacon – Warren Attacks Facebook as Her Campaign Continues to Use Its Tools

NetChoice, a coalition of tech companies that includes Facebook, pointed to Warren’s use of the platform’s tools as an example of “political hypocrisy.”

“This is a perfect example of Sen. Warren using Facebook for her own personal gain while railing against it publicly,” said Carl Szabo, the coalition’s vice president and general counsel.

“Candidates continue to lean heavily on the connectivity social platforms provide, yet still use them as a political tool to get a headline or deliver a talking point,” Szabo said. “It’s evident Facebook and other platforms provide a vital service to campaigns and voters, and Warren’s campaign utilizing social platforms to reach voters is a perfect example of this fact.”

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More retailers found charging wrong Sandy Springs sales tax; experts see no easy fix

Reporter Newspaper

The problems have compounded in the era of online sales, which are taxed based on the customer’s delivery address, resulting in a complicated sales tax system whose flaws raise the ire of local governments and retailers alike. “If Home Depot is having trouble with sales tax complexities, imagine the troubles that small businesses are confronting all over the country,” says Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice, a trade association of online and tech businesses.

The Case for Not Banning Stuff

Hillicon Valley

A coalition of tech groups on Thursday sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to reject calls to ban facial recognition technology, arguing the sensitive software can help law enforcement “keep communities safe.” 

The groups — led by tech-backed think tank, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — wrote the industry “disagree[s] that a ban is the best option to move forward.”

“We are writing to encourage you to consider many of the viable alternatives to bans so that law enforcement can use facial recognition technology safely, accurately, and effectively,” the letter reads. “These alternatives may include expanding testing and performance standards, the development of best practices and guidance for law enforcement, and additional training for different uses of the technology.”

Other signatories include the Computing Technology Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association and NetChoice as well as the National Police Foundation.

Tech trade groups rally against congressional calls to ban facial recognition technology

The Hill

“We are writing to encourage you to consider many of the viable alternatives to bans so that law enforcement can use facial recognition technology safely, accurately, and effectively,” the letter reads. “These alternatives may include expanding testing and performance standards, the development of best practices and guidance for law enforcement, and additional training for different uses of the technology.”

Other signatories include the Computing Technology Industry Association, Consumer Technology Association and NetChoice as well as the National Police Foundation.