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.

ECPA Reformers Say They Have The Most Popular Bill

FIRST IN MT: ECPA REFORMERS SAY THEY HAVE MOST POPULAR BILL — There’s no bill yet to see House actions with more cosponsors than the one from Reps. Kevin Yoder and Jared Polis to update the nation’s email privacy laws, reform proponents are telling House leadership in a new letter. “there is an extraordinary consensus around ECPA reform — one unmatched by any other technology and privacy issue,” the Digital 4th Coalition writes. Read it here: http://bit.ly/1J8N1C0 

The Future of Internet Governance

On May 13th, the Subcommittee on Electronics and Technology of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss the future of internet governance.  IANA’s current contract gives stewardship to the United States via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  Come September, the US government may concede control of IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), over to ICANN (an acronym standing for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based nonprofit).  

Proposed Internet Sales Tax Bill Threatens Return of Taxation Without Representation

With the introduction of the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) continues the war on Internet freedom. Digital Liberty strongly opposes this piece of legislation, and has joined a coalition consisting of leading internet freedom advocates to fight RTPA. The coalition has penned an open letter to the U.S. House of Representatives explaining the gross injustice of the proposed legislation.

Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty, released this statement regarding the bill:

Forcing unfair taxes on groups that have no recourse through the ballot office, allows politicians to keep their constituents happy at the cost of others. Internet retail, with its naturally complex web of interactions between physical locations, provides an ideal pathway for justifying this age-old attack on Federalism. Our policy needs to be directed at preserving the physical presence standard that has dictated taxation nexus for the entirety of our nation’s history. This bill moves in the exact opposite direction, and embodies the very tax policy that our nation must avoid, if we wish to remain true to our founding principle of no taxation without representation.”

RTPA cannot pass, and we encourage our readers to contact their representative to ensure this bill does not desecrate American Federalism.

DOTCOM Act Breezes Through Committee

Washington, D.C. - Recently the House Energy and Commerce committee approved the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, H.R. 805, by voice vote. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) with strong support from the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee Fred Upton (R-Mich.), enjoys immense bipartisan support, and has been lauded as a prudent and necessary step for examining the IANA transition.

Mr. Shimkus (R-Ill.) released this statement highlighting the necessity of this bill:

The DOTCOM Act is our best way forward to ensure Congress can exercise a meaningful and appropriate oversight role in the IANA stewardship transition. This is an important moment for the Internet but there’s no moving back into mom and dad’s basement if it doesn’t work out. We only have one chance to get this right.

Echoing Mr. Shimkus’ sentiment, Rep. Pallone (D-N.J.) had this to say:

The DOTCOM Act continues the long-standing congressional support for the global, open Internet while appropriately conduction oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. I believe our bill provides the necessary safeguards for the timely transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was established by the United States as a means of regulating domain names on the Internet. Since its inception in 1988 IANA has maintained a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The United States government has elected to relinquish this contract in favor of a multi-stakeholder model for oversight of IANA and the company it regulates, ICANN.

 

D.C. Appellate Court Denies Stay on FCC’s Broadband Reclassification

Washington, D.C.-- Yesterday in the D.C. appellate court a panel of three judges denied the petition to stay the implementation of the new rules from the FCC’s open internet order.

The court decided the cable and teleco ISPs failed to “satisfy the stringent requirements” necessary to block the implementation of rules while awaiting the results of underlying lawsuits. Central to the court’s decision was the belief that denying the stay would not result in egregious nor irreversible damage. The court also stated that they would expedite the net neutrality lawsuit, which, according to industry leaders, means oral arguments may be heard as early as December.

The following statement regarding the courts decision can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

“While the promise of moving these challenges through the court quickly can possibly mitigate uncertainty; a stay would have avoided unnecessary and egregious harm to the industry during the lawsuits litigation period.  Only an activist court, not an unbiased judiciary could possibly have denied a stay un till the existing seven court challenges had been heard." 

Courts Should Grant a Stay of FCC Rules

With the court decision on whether or not there will be a stay of the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order, there is is a significant amount of uncertainty brewing in the entire industry.

Mr. Wheeler would have you believe that these rules create clear easy to follow regulations - they do not.

Seven lawsuits have already been filed against the FCC over it's "Net Neutrality" rules. There is likely more opposition to come.  On June 8th, TechFreedom, along with others, filed a motion seeking to intervene in support of US TeleComm and other petitioners who have filed lawsuit against the FCC for proposing considerable broader rules than what the FCC originally proposed. This will lead to years of uncertainty in the court system. 

The new order does not provide a clear picture of how new innovative services will be regulated.  Requiring advance FCC approval of new services will dissuade providers from offering new services in the first place and slow down the speed at which those services enter the marketplace.

Deceptions:

The new FCC rules have settled the internet regulation dispute “once and for all.” ~ FCC Chairman Wheeler

The new order “is a positive … for network operators who now have regulatory certainty with no impact on their consumer revenue streams.” ~ FCC Chairman Wheeler

Fact:

The dispute is just getting started, with years of lawsuits already piling up.  Without hearing these cases before the rules are implemented in June, uncertainty can only increase. 

Deception:

“The FCC’s new rules will be upheld by the courts.” – FCC Chairman Wheeler. ~ FCC Chairman Wheeler

Fact:

There has been glaring disregard for Congress and for existing law. Only an activist court, not an unbiased judiciary, could possibly refuse to grant a stay of the new rules.

Do You Want Video Streaming? The Internet Takeover WIll Slow You Down

Despite being one of the most vocal advocates for net neutrality rules, Netflix was unhappy with the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband under Title II regulations: “Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not. We were hoping there would be a non-regulated solution,” said Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells at a Morgan Stanley media and technology conference.  In reality, the FCC’s regulatory overreach is bound to catch edge providers in its web of regulation and innovation-diminishing micromanagement.

 

Consumers Do Have Choices

According to USTelecom, citing National Telecommunications and Information Administration statistics, as of the end of 2013, 96 percent of U.S. households have at least one wired broadband provider and at least 88 percent have a choice of two or more.  

Even though the FCC decries mobile broadband as ‘not a full substitute’, consumers believe otherwise and are adopting mobile broadband technologies at a rapid rate.    According to the FCC’s own records, 97 percent of Americans have their choice of at least three mobile broadband providers, 93 percent of consumers can choose from among four and almost 81 percent can choose from different providers.