End Discriminatory Wireless Taxes!

Taxes on cell phone and wireless services have skyrocketed to fund state budgets and federal subsidy programs. Today, the average consumer pays a whopping 17 percent in taxes on their wireless bill. Write your member of Congress and call for a tax time-out.

Dish Network a Small Business? Will the FCC "Fix" These Rules?

After the uproar over Dish Network's gaming of the Federal Communications Commission's Designated Entity rules, which are intended to help small businesses compete in spectrum auctions, Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that changes are warranted for the program, and he has been reported to be circulating draft rules.
 
Commissioner Ajit Pai's out spoken criticism of Dish's clever manipulations brought the Designated Entity Program into the spot light.

Justice Kennedy wants to raise your taxes

Justice Kennedy used a Supreme Court ruling that limits states ability to tax beyond their borders to say that he think states should have taxing authority as broad as the Internet. 
 
In 2010 the Colorado legislature passed a law that would require out of state retailers to file annual reports with the Colorado Department of Revenue that would include Colorado customer names, addresses, and the amount of goods they purchased during the previous year. 
 
Besides this law being a massive invasion of privacy that could likely force companies to violate their terms of service agreements with their customers, it was yet another attempt by a state to expand its taxation authority beyond its physical borders.

Patent Reform Will Protect Innovation and Free Markets

On March 12, 2015 a number of organizations sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging patent reform in the 114th Congress.   On February 5, 2015, House Judiciary Chairman Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) introduced H.R. 9, The Innovation Act.   This bill would protect innovation in America by adjusting litigation practices in patent lawsuits.
 
The Innovation Act supports innovation and free markets by deterring predatory litigation.  In doing so, this legislation would protect intellectual property rights.  The Progress Clause in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution establishes a patent system, first and foremost, with a mandate to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
 
In the 113th Congress, identical legislation passed the House by an overwhelming margin of 325-91.  The 114th Congress is the time to act to protect intellectual property rights by strengthening America’s patent system.  
 
Digital Liberty and Americans for Tax Reform support Patent Reform and The Innovation Act.  
 
You can read the letter in its entirety here.  
 

Digital Liberty Opposes S. 698, the Marketplace Fairness Act

On March 10, 2015, Senator Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced S. 698, the Marketplace Fairness Act.  The text of the bill claims it will “restore States' sovereign rights to enforce State and local sales and use tax laws, and for other purposes,” S. 698 dismantles a Constitutional principle.  Namely, “states must not be allowed to extend their taxation and regulatory authorities beyond their borders.”
 
Digital Liberty, along with 17 other organizations, signed onto a letter to the Senate on March 12 urging members to protect the states from this jurisdictional over reach by all the 50 states and their localities.  The Marketplace Fairness disregards geographical tax authority and discourages tax competition.  This bill, in its current form, will create unnecessarily complex standards while damaging the principle of interstate commerce.
 
You can read the full letter here.  
 

Tech Experts Agree: A Strong Copyright System Protects Free Speech

Over 1500 supporters of free expression signed onto letters though either Copyright Alliance or Creative Future asking Congress to uphold a strong copyright system.  These letters urged Congress to protect intellectual property rights.
 
At their core, intellectual property rights are a protection of free speech, which is awarded to Americans under the First Amendment.  Lorenzo Montanari of Property Rights Alliance writes:
 
"The Internet is an incredible platform for innovation, creativity and commerce, however the Internet has also created new avenues for piracy and counterfeit goods to thrive."

Digital Liberty´s Katie McAuliffe Supports Bipartisan Solution to ECPA Reform

In a political environment where it seems difficult to find common ground, Electronic Communications Privacy Reform is an issue politicians on both sides of the aisle can agree on.  In an article published in Utah's Deseret News on Wednesday, March 4, Katie McAuliffe, Director of Digital Liberty makes the case for ECPA reform in the 114th Congress.  McAuliffe explains:
 
"In this era of gridlock, protecting our right to keep private the things we communicate and store online is one of the few issues that seems to unite people of all political leanings and interests."
 
Because the Electronic Privacy Act was enacted nearly 30 years ago, the language does not protect modern forms of communication.  Under the current statute, all of our electronic communications, including E-mails, Facebook messages, and even financial records can be obtained by the government without a warrant from your email or cloud service provider if the information has been kept for longer than six months.  This is a clear violation of every American's Fourth Amendment rights against, "unreasonable searches and seizures" of our "persons, houses, papers, and personal effects." 
 

Tech Experts to Discuss ECPA Reform at Panel

Digital4th will host a briefing on Wednesday March 11th at 11: 30 in SVC-200 emphasizing the need for Electronic Privacy Communications Privacy Reform.  
 
Tech Policy experts, including Digital Liberty’s Executive Director Katie McAuliffe, will discuss the growing concern over electronic privacy in the Digital Age.  
 
Even though technology seems to change every single say, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act has not been updated in nearly three decades. ECPA reform is a bipartisan initiative with numerous supporters in both the House and the Senate.   
 
Other speakers include, Chris Calabrese, Senior Policy Director, Center for Democracy and Technology , Will Carty,Director of Public Policy for U.S. & Canada, Twitter, David Lieber, Senior Privacy Policy Counsel, Google, and Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union. 
 
Read more about the briefing here.  
 

Future of Internet Freedom at Risk Over Potential American Surrender of ICANN

In March, the United States Department of Commerce released a statement, which indicated the organization would begin to relinquish its longstanding role as safe keeper of internet freedom.   If the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) surrenders this governance, Internet freedom will be at risk on a global scale.

During the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) convened by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations (UN), America stated clearly that proposals, which would tax those who send data, limit free speech, and implement territorial borders around the Internet, is unacceptable. These ideas proposed at the WCIT would make it harder to communicate across borders, develop pro-consumer network management, and limit entrepreneurs' ability to manage data storage.