Press Statements

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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. 

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.”

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.”

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.”

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. 

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”