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Digital Liberty blog

#TechWeek: The Economic Cost of Title II By Katie McAuliffe and Demri Scott | June 22, 2017

There is a growing conversation about investment in the internet during the Title II era. While proponents of Title II argue that investment increased under Title II, in evaluating the economic impact of Title II the question is not if investment increased or decreased through time. Rather, economists ask if projected investment would have been more or less if Title II was not imposed on ISPs. By comparing the projected investment levels to real investment that occurred, economists are able to find the true economic impact of Title II regulations.

Through this “but for regulations” approach, George Ford of Phoenix Center finds that between 2011 and 2015, fear of regulations on ISPs reduced telecommunications investment from projected investment levels by 20% to 30%, costing about $30 to $40 billion in investment. Other estimates produced by Ford find that since 2010, Obama Era policies on the internet--including uncertainty caused by Title II-- cost the US over $100 billion in investment.

Good News: Fake Comments Don’t Matter By Demri Scott | June 09, 2017

The public commenting period on repealing Title II regulations is in full swing and the Bots are on a roll. Here’s the good news: the commenting process is not a popularity contest.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) found that more than 465,322 pro-Title II comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission FCC were duplicates or filed with fraudulent names. Experts at the NLPC also found that between May 24th and May 30th, thousands of comments were submitted from French, German and Russian email addresses. Many of the comments “appear to have been generated using fake email addresses, fake international physical addresses, and likely fake names.”

IRS should not trample on bitcoin users By Celeste Arenas | March 16, 2017

Bitcoin users face increasing pressure from the IRS to disclose private information unrelated to taxation purposes. This follows a recent IRS summons against the Bitcoin trader Coinbase, calling for the mandatory collection of detailed customer data.

In 2015, the IRS concluded that bitcoin holders “may fail, or may have failed, to comply with one or more provisions of the internal revenue laws” and that the solution was to demand all US user records from 2013 - 2015 from Coinbase that include transaction history, IP addresses and transcripts with customer support.

Fintech: Reformer or Revolutionary? By Celeste Arenas | March 13, 2017

The accelerating impact of technology in banking begs the question: will fintech overthrow traditional finance as we know it? The short answer is no. Instead of replacing banks, fintech is improving them with better outcomes for investors, customers and businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

Innovators have described the role of fintech to “make financial services compelling again” for the industry, injecting competitive and collaborative elements that provoke lenders to “stop cost cutting downward spirals” and “start creating powerful visions for the future.” 

Digital Liberty supports reconfirmation of Ajit Pai as FCC Chairman By Celeste Arenas | March 09, 2017

Digital Liberty Executive Director Katie McAuliffe made the following statement in relation to Ajit Pai’s confirmation as FCC Chairman:

"Confirming Ajit Pai as Chairman to the FCC is a welcome decision from the Trump Administration. Since assuming leadership, Chairman Pai has been essential towards restoring sound bipartisan leadership to the Commission. Chairman Pai’s extensive expertise in telecommunications law has directed the FCC away from outdated practices and into modern approaches that benefit American consumers and taxpayers alike."

False Privacy Rules Must Go By Katie McAuliffe | March 09, 2017

Senator Jeff Flake's (R-Ariz.) resolution to undo false broadband privacy rules will restore consumer choice and online competition in the marketplace for internet service providers.

The resolution, introduced through the Congressional Review Act (CRA ), has 34 co-sponsors, who realize that just because a rule includes privacy in the headline, doesn't mean the privacy protections are real. The FCC's narrow view on what constitutes privacy protection, make its rules counterproductive to actual consumer privacy protections.

Intellectual Property is the key to innovation, economic growth By Celeste Arenas | March 02, 2017

The last 200 years have demonstrated that innovation is the blueprint for a prosperous society. Entrepreneurs and inventors who commercialize brilliant ideas create unprecedented opportunities for improving customer experience with better products and services. This has built the compounded economic impact of advanced technological progression in the 21st century, fostered by and through sound patent protection.


Digital Liberty Joins Coalition Supporting IP By Celeste Arenas, Katie McAuliffe | February 21, 2017

Digital Liberty supports intellectual property rights, and recognizes the importance of IP in creating economic growth and fostering world-class innovation. In 2017 the United States continued to rank No.1 for global intellectual property standards, yet our administration can do much more to embed intellectual property in law and practice. 

Dollars GON down the drain By Katie McAuliffe, Celeste Arenas | February 17, 2017

The experiment of government owned broadband networks (GONs) is over.  The experiment failed.  A failed experiment isn't a failure if we use the information to pursue another path. Continuing down a path of wasted dollars, however, is a failure.

Over 450 municipal broadband networks spread across the states have not delivered effective broadband for unserved Americans and they continue to lose taxpayer dollars. Four hundred and fifty is a more than adequate sample size to judge the ineffectiveness of GONs.