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.

Electronic Privacy Laws: Center Stage in the 114th Congress

The Email Privacy Act and its Senate Counterpart, the ECPA Amendments Act, which regulate government access to private communications, are set to play an important role early in the 114th Congress.  

On Thursday January 22, proponents of this bill, including several large tech companies, sent a letter to both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees expressing their support for passing this legislation in its original form:

“The ECPA Amendments Act would update ECPA is one key respect, making it clear that, except in emergencies or under other existing exceptions, the government must obtain a warrant in order to compel a service provider to disclose the content of emails, texts, or other private material stored by the service provider on behalf of its users.”

The ECPA Amendments Act and its House counterpart, the Email Privacy Act, would work to ensure the protection of the Fourth Amendment, as it applies to digital data. These bills clarify the need for a warrant for content as it applies to electronic information stored by a service provider.   

Net Neutrality Does Not Equal Internet Freedom

On January 20, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee and their counterparts on the House Energy and Commerce Committee received a letter from a collection of organizations and individuals asking Congress to prevent the FCC from regulating the Internet.The letter expressed a widespread concern over the attempt made by the FCC to reclassify the internet under Title II of the Communications Act.

Internet Freedom: A Matter for Congress

Today, in a joint article for Reuters, Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton, expressed their support for the preservation of internet freedom.  Both members of Congress articulated the need for “unambiguous rules of the road that protect internet users and can help spur job creation and economic growth.”

While some have suggested utilizing Title II of the Communications Act to regulate the internet, this would be enormously expensive for taxpayers.  According to a Progressive Policy Institute report, “Using Title II could result in billions of dollars in higher government fees and taxes.”

Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason wrote an article this week on the dangers of Title II Reclassification. The article explains, “This move would make broadband subject to New Deal-era regulation, and have significant consequences for U.S. taxpayers.”

In the modern age, the issues facing internet freedom are becoming increasingly vast and it is the job of the United States Congress, not a government agency, to create solutions.   Free market participants can and should engage in the policy process that has been shut down for the past few years. 

You can read Senator Thune and Representative Upton’s article here.  

The Plea for Electronic Communication Privacy Law Reform

This week, Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty sent letters thanking members of Congress who cosponsored the Email Privacy Act during the 113th Congress.  Representatives Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 1852 in 2013. 

H.R. 1852 had bipartisan support; 272 members so-sponsored the bill, but it never came to the floor for a vote.

The Email Privacy Act aims to ensure the rights guaranteed to the American people under the Fourth Amendment extend to email and cloud documents.  Updating electronic privacy laws has growing popular and political backing. 

Digital Liberty supports the Email Privacy Act and urges members of Congress to act on this important issue during the 114thCongress. 

You can read the letter here.  

 

Industry Leaders Oppose Title II Reclassification

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent letters to the FCC, Senate, and House leadership Wednesday expressing their “strong opposition” to proposals by the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet as a Title II utility. Over 160 member organizations of these groups signed these letters against Title II reclassification.

Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty File Comments on 911 Taxes

Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty released comments to the FCC Monday regarding Alabama’s E911 fee on no-charge Lifeline customers. ATR and Digital Liberty urge the FCC to oppose this improper regulation.

Coalition Opposes Federal Ban on State-Regulated Online Gambling

WASHINGTON, DC -- As reported by the Washington Post, twelve conservative groups sent a letter to House and Senate leadership stating that states are the appropriate authority for regulating online gaming.

 

Collection of Quotes Opposing Obama Missive on Title II

After President Obama’s surprise intrusion into the independent Federal Communications Commission’s process, a number of elected officials, advocates and associations have been unmistakably clear about the negative consequences of utility regulation of broadband. 

The following is a collection of their statements urging the FCC to stand firm against the President’s habitual line stepping: