NetChoice: promoting online convenience, choice, and commerce
NetChoice is a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the net.Learn More
As Congress continues to wrestle with the idea of unleashing sales tax collectors across state borders, a lot of buzzwords are recycled. All of them attempt to make a huge and complex tax system look as if it’s benign and beneficial:
But nothing could be further from the truth. In my testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee, I described why proposals like the Marketplace Equity Act will do far more harm than good and act as a drag on online commerce.Read More
We’ve come to expect all kinds of theatrics during policy debates here in Washington. Now Amazon.com has taken to the stage with an act that’s all sleight-of-hand and misdirection, telling Congress that small businesses are the real problem when it comes to uncollected sales taxes on e-commerce.
Amazon wants Congress to force any small business with revenue of $150,000 to collect and file sales taxes for states where they have no presence whatsoever, claiming that, “a $150,000 exception would exempt 99% of online sellers from any collection responsibility on remote sales.”
To arrive at their 99 percent trick, Amazon counted even the most casual online seller as numerically equivalent to, well, Amazon.com. By this measure, you need only find 99 people who sold a baseball card through eBay or a dinner plate through Etsy as the statistical counterweight to every large seller like Amazon, Walmart.com, and Bestbuy.com.
A clever trick, especially since counting the number of sellers distracts attention from the uncollected dollars that state tax collectors are really going after.
Steve was interviewed on CNN’s Situation Room on online sales tax collection.
Last week in Prague, the GAC (Government Advisory Committee) relentlessly hammered ICANN over a range of issues relating to the new gTLD program. And while their criticisms were legitimate, one has to wonder to what extent governments were punishing ICANN for past offenses.
At the same time, the ICANN board and management seem to have finally — much belatedly — figured out how important it is to maintain a constructive and positive relationship with governments. ICANN representatives approached the GAC deferentially during Prague meetings, explaining issues with new gTLDs and being flexible about timing for objections to new gTLD applications.Read More
Dear Mr. Chehadé,
Congratulations on your appointment as the next CEO of ICANN, and welcome to our little rogues’ gallery. Some denizens of this domain (your humble author included) may strike you as a little odd at first, but we’re mostly harmless.
We usually steer first-timers onto the Newcomers track, but in your case, that may be… inadequate. And while we would never presume to tell you how to do your job — which may be one of the world’s hardest — we thought we might offer a few pieces of friendly advice, based on our time here.Read More
Today a key committee in the US Congress approved a resolution opposing United Nations “control over the Internet.” While some in the Internet community have dismissed the bipartisan effort as mere political grandstanding, recent actions by some UN Member States show that lawmakers have good reason to be worried.
Last month, UN voting member Ethiopia made it a crime — punishable by 15 years in prison — to make calls over the Internet. The Ethiopian government cited national security concerns, but also made it clear that it wants to protect the revenues of the state-owned telecom monopoly. (those guys really hate it when people use free Internet calling services like Skype and Google Talk)
The news out of Ethiopia is just the latest indication that many UN members don’t think too highly of the free and open Internet, or of its multi-stakeholder governance model.Read More
Yesterday, New Hampshire Governor Lynch vetoed SB 175 and pulled the state back from creating a law that is so broadly written that it threatened to undermine a number of currently legal, popular, and valuable services.
But it’s not over yet as the Senate could ignore the Governor’s lead and instead vote to override the veto.
SB 175 was written, in part, because the heir to the estate of New Hampshire resident JD Salinger complained that he was not contacted before his dad’s likeness appeared on coffee mugs and t-shirts. Riding on this understanding of the bill, SB 175 passed the legislature despite warnings of the unintended harms it would bring to New Hampshire’s online businesses.
Fortunately, Governor Lynch saw past the rhetoric, understood the harm to New Hampsire citizens, and vetoed the bill.Read More
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal pulled the ostrich’s head out of the sand. They reported that Facebook is considering whether and how to accommodate users under the age of 13. It’s generating a flurry of coverage, but is anyone truly surprised?
Several independent surveys have concluded that not only are children under the age of 13 using Facebook, but that their parents are helping them do it — by lying about their date of birth when setting-up an account.
Of course this isn’t unique to Facebook. How many pre-teens have faked their age to get a gmail account, or to view movie and video game trailers? Kids are always going places where they’re not allowed and in all honestly, we’ve been here before…Read More