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Digital Liberty blog

Blockchain is the Future of Secured Voting By Perry Burton | August 09, 2018

Blockchain technology is being explored and developed at a rapid pace in multiple distinct industries ranging from agriculture to esports. But what can the technology offer the electoral system? 

The technology was originally popularized by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. In its most basic form, blockchain technology is an immutable ledger that records and tracks transactions. This system lends itself to a task that requires the utmost security and efficiency in as simple a gesture as pressing a button. 

The reason voters mill to polling stations is because anonymous voting in person is the best way to ensure integrity and privacy. In the past digital voting systems faced issues due to the conflict between verifying voter integrity and protecting voter anonymity.  

Blockchain assuages these issues with ease. 

The EU is Bad for American Business By Perry Burton | July 31, 2018

Earlier this month the EU fined Google a record $5.1 billion for engaging in competitive market practices. This is one of the most aggressive actions the EU has taken against the US technology industry. 

So, what did Google supposedly do wrong? 

The European Commission argues that Google—which owns and develops the Android operating system—has been pushing consumers to use Google Chrome. 

Senate Provisions on Rural Broadband in the Farm Bill Should Prevail By Katie McAuliffe | July 26, 2018

Rural Broadband is always a hot topic. Unfortunately, our fervor for internet connectivity has led to wasteful spending that does not do anything for those who are actually unconnected.

There are a number of programs throughout federal and state government to increase rural connectivity, but without proper targeting and coordination those programs are wasteful. There is an opportunity to fix the targeting of some of the Rural Universal Service fund administered by the Department of Agriculture in the Farm Bill.

Currently, and area is considered unserved if 15% of the population does not have access to a broadband provider. As a result, service providers would receive RUS funds for a particular block, but rather than build out to the 15% with no access, they would concentrate their builds on the other 85% that already have service. This is one of the reasons that even though we keep throwing money at rural broadband there are still people without access.

It is important to reform the standards for grants and loans, so if there is to be money strewn about, it goes to the people it was intended to help.

McAuliffe: New T-Mobile will Ensure Its Investments are Benefiting All Its Customers By Perry Burton | July 11, 2018

Americans for Tax Reform's Katie McAuliffe, the Executive Director of Digital Liberty and federal affairs manager, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Times that emphasizes the crucial nature of the 5G race and what the T-Mobile and Sprint merger means for global competition:  

"Deployment of 5G networks across America will happen; it is only a matter of when. In order to stay competitive and provide the best services, one way to get there is through the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint into the New T-Mobile."  

The FTC is Finally Complete Again By Jonathan Cannon | April 27, 2018

At long last, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is complete with a full roster of commissioners. The Senate unanimously confirmed Chairman Joseph Simons, Commissioner Rohit Chopra , Commissioner Noah Phillips, Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, and Commissioner Christine Wilson.

The situation at the FTC was dire, with Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen pending confirmation to the United States Court of Federal Claims, and Terrell McSweeny’s resignation. These confirmations will make the FTC great again. The cop is back on the beat with a fresh set of commissioners who will hit the ground running.

In light of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the FTC has once again been tasked with protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices of both ISPs and edge providers. The order emphasized that the FTC was the best body to address the concerns of net neutrality advocates, utilizing a large body of precedent and skills to address these issues. 

The Federal Trade Commission is up to the Task for Consumer Privacy By Jonathan Cannon | April 16, 2018

The world is becoming increasingly connected. As a result more of our information is being collected online. Facebook, Google, and other websites gather petabytes of data about everyone online, whether or not you use their service. With this enormous trove of data being collected there is an increasing concern about individuals privacy.

As our digital personas grow it is imperative that consumer privacy is protected. Fortunately a federal agency exists with a strong body of precedent and experience to manage consumer privacy cases. The FTC issued a statement in March about their commitment to protect the privacy of consumers. They emphasized their enforcement tools to protect consumers against companies that do not honor their privacy promises, or engage in acts that cause substantial injury to consumers.

Coalition Sounds off to Congress: Get in Tune on the Music Modernization Act By Katie McAuliffe | April 10, 2018

Today Americans for Tax Reform, along with a number of center-right organizations, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives in support of the Music Modernization Act, which will update copyright law benefiting America’s creative community. 

The Music Modernization act ensures that music creators get paid for their work, and makes it easier for streaming services to find and compensate artists. The Act will also create protections for sound recordings that were made before 1972 that currently do not have federal copyright protection. This helps the creators of these works receive long overdue royalties. 

Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the Music Modernization Act in December. The Bill is pending in the House Committee on the Judiciary

This legislation is noteworthy as it ensures creators are properly compensated and encourages future artists to create music for us to all enjoy in the digital age. The Senate has also proposed similar legislation that has been referred to committee. 

FCC Enacts New 5G Ready Rule. By Katie McAuliffe | March 22, 2018

Today the FCC voted 3-2 to enact a rule that walks back archaic barriers to next generation networks. To get America 5G ready, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced a plan to remove a major hurdle to 5G deployment. This plan will change FCC rules to exclude small wireless facilities from the environmental and historic review procedures designed for large macrocell deployments. 

Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty had the following statement:

Digital Liberty wants to thank Commissioner Brendan Carr for his leadership in making America 5G ready. He has worked diligently to walk back unnecessary regulations that add significant costs that slowed down our infrastructure growth, adding significant costs, and reducing deployment of this critical technology.

Brendan Carr Connects the Dots for the #5GReady plan By Jonathan Cannon | March 13, 2018

There is a currently a lot of buzz revolving around 5G networks. Providers are teasing the idea of having wireless broadband available almost anywhere, with better speeds, and greater access than any fixed network currently in place. From the internet of things, self-driving cars, and more; 5G has the potential to be the biggest technological advancement of the 21st century.

To get America 5G ready, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced a plan to remove a major hurdle to 5G deployment. This plan seeks to change FCC rules to exclude small wireless facilities from the environmental and historic review procedures designed for large macrocell deployments. Commissioner Carr pioneered this plan to streamline approval of small cells by reclassifying their installation so they are no longer considered an “undertaking” under National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) or a “major federal actions” under National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). 

Senate Needs to Get Into Gear on the AV START Act By Jonathan Cannon | March 09, 2018

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Gary Peters (D-Mich) have introduced a bipartisan bill to pave the road towards highly automated vehicles (HAVs). The American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act “proposes common sense changes in law to keep pace with advances in self-driving technology.”

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee unanimously approved the AV START Act last October. This legislation should be immediately considered as it has the opportunity to save thousands of lives.

In 2016, car accidents killed 37,000 people, 94% of these fatalities were caused by human error.  Autonomous vehicles have the potential to reduce or eliminate these accidents that claim far too many American lives. The advanced vehicle technologies being developed have the potential to reduce the number of crashes, while expanding mobility for people with disabilities, seniors, and those looking for more affordable transportation.