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Digital Liberty blog

Americans Against Government Run Internet By Katie McAuliffe | July 12, 2017

If you’ve heard anything about the “net neutrality” debate, the media would have you think the public is in favor of backbreaking Title II utility style regulations for the internet.

The liberal media won’t tell you that already the overwhelming message coming through in the Federal Communications Commission comment proceeding is “get the government out of my internet.” Of about 5 million comments submitted thus far, well over 3 million of the comments submitted support repealing Obama’s regulatory takeover.

By analyzing language found in common form letters and slogans used on comments submitted to the FCC, a CASE study found that around 65% of the docket is in support of repealing Title II regulations – again, that’s more than 3 million comments out of over 5 million filed.

Unleash the Promise of Artificial Intelligence By Daniel Savickas | June 29, 2017

It’s been the plot of many science-fiction novels and films over time. The story is always more or less the same. Well-intentioned scientists create a revolutionary machine, only to see said machine gain a mind of its own and overrun the human race. While compelling, it is important to remember that these plots are still, in fact, fiction.

However, many are still trying to apply these fictions to reality. To them, innovation, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) represent the technological menaces that overruns the human race, or, in this case, the job market. They sound the alarm bells, and try to use policy to stop this threat.

Again, fiction.

AI means more than simply the creation of robots to do jobs that humans would ordinarily do. This is a gross oversimplification. What it actually means is utilizing technology to be able to assess any given environment, and provide information and assistance to make any goal more easily achievable.

The Future of Self-Driving Cars By Demri Scott | June 27, 2017

Nobody’s perfect, no driver is perfect. In recent years, automotive companies have begun initial deployment of smart driving technologies that aid a driver in dangerous situations. A once unforeseeable future of a car stopping itself to prevent a deadly accident is now a common reality in many new cars today. Now that we are moving into the future of the automotive industry it is clear that with rapidly changing technology, the future of self-driving cars (SDC) is on the horizon. But despite the promising future of automotive technology, many in the automotive industry agree that the current state of regulations hinders the growth of SDC. Congress soon wants to change that.

Today, the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, led by Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), held a hearing on the regulatory state of SDC, introducing a 14 bill package in an effort to end the patchwork of state by state regulations that hinder innovation in SDC and the automotive industry.

#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.