Before today, we’ve never selected a state’s entire legislative agenda as the top item on our iAWFUL list of bad Internet laws, because no single state had ever made such a concerted effort to regulate, restrict and repress e-commerce.
California has always had a reputation for being pioneering.
Over the past six months, the Sacramento statehouse has unleashed a torrent of misguided, regressive bills targeted at the heart of the innovation industry that is at the heart of the economic recovery – not only in California, but across the nation.
Individually, none of these bills poses as much threat as the second item on our list – the federal Internet sales tax that topped the last iAWFUL – but taken together they not only represent a disturbing new trend of regulatory interventionism, but also a serious threat to the Internet economy.Read More
It’s Valentines Day, so Senator Durbin (D-IL) presented a box of chocolates to his colleagues in Congress – in the form of his latest iteration of the Marketplace Fairness Act. But bite into any of the chocolates in this legislation, and you’ll taste only stale rhetoric that fails to deliver on promised simplifications.
The main thing you need to know about the new Marketplace Fairness Act is that it is the same as the old Marketplace Fairness Act — including the same false promises and flaws. In the few weeks since the last Congress wisely declined to enact new Internet sales taxes, supporters have done nothing to make their scheme more appealing to businesses and consumers who’ll have to pay the taxes.
The legislation introduced today sweeps aside the decade-long “Streamlined Sales Tax” project that sought to simplify thousands of conflicting state and local tax systems. Instead, this bill would create an expensive and onerous new tax regime for any business that uses the Internet or catalogs to reach customers around the country.Read More
We see a lot of bad proposed Internet laws, but even for us it’s rare to see a bill that hits the trifecta of being bad for businesses, bad for state taxpayers and bad for the very people it’s theoretically intended to protect.
It’s hard to cram that much bad into one bill but an Indiana senator found a way.
We were back in Indianapolis earlier this week opposing SB 344, an e-mail registry designed to stop advertisements to children, but actually places them in greater danger while costing in-state businesses up to $72,000 a year.
You may remember this from our February 2012 iAWFUL list. If passed, this bill would establish stiff fines for companies that e-mail to registered minors ads for products that minors aren’t legally allowed to purchase.
As with so many bad Internet laws, it sounds ok…until you take even a moment to think about its implications.Read More
Have you ever wondered what happens to your Facebook or online email account when you die? Should your heirs get control of your digital assets?
Email services and social networks have default policies in place for handling accounts of deceased members. They are also experimenting with new ways to help users choose the fate of their accounts after they die.
For example, Facebook has a “memorialize” feature that respects a user’s privacy while letting friends and family post messages and memories. Hotmail allows next of kin to receive a DVD with the contents of the account. Some online services are attracting users because of their strong privacy protections and default data deletion policies.
So with all this innovation and choice, why do legislators think they still need to act?Read More
A Tennessee bill supported by ticketing giant TicketMaster could harm Internet users everywhere, and for some of the world’s largest and most popular online services.
Ostensibly aimed at cracking down on ticket scalpers, the proposed Fairness in Ticketing Act would prohibit websites like ESPN and Google from having Internet addresses containing trademarked terms.
ESPN.com makes it easy for fans of the University of Tennessee “Volunteers” to find the latest scores by visiting ESPN.com/Volunteers. But since “Volunteers” is trademarked, ESPN would either have to ask permission from UT or alter its website labels.Read More
Congress may have gone home to campaign, but that hasn’t stopped bad internet bills and regulations from threatening to stifle innovation and limit online choices.
To highlight some of the gravest – and most imminent – legislative and regulatory threats to e-commerce, NetChoice today unveiled a special edition of the Internet Advocates Watchlist for Ugly Laws (iAWFUL).
This latest iAWFUL focuses on measures that pose an imminent threat to the internet in 2012, ones that lawmakers want to jam through legislatures, or rules already in effect and in dire need of repeal and redress.Read More
A new set of federal regulations intended to protect kids online ironically may end up decimating kid-friendly content on the Internet.
NetChoice this week filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Our submission highlights severe flaws with the new rules, which could dramatically limit the amount of safe, constructive content available to kids online.
The biggest problem with the new rules is that they represent a unauthorized, unsupported expansion of COPPA, a law that has effectively protected kids’ personal information for more than a decade.Read More