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Digital Liberty blog

Pence and Sessions Should Oppose a Ban on Internet Gambling By Andreas Hellmann | January 12, 2017

Eight free-market groups urged Vice President-Elect Mike Pence and U.S. Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions to reject calls to ban online gambling using a pre-Internet 1961 law. 

The issue was raised on Wednesday this week by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) during the Senate confirmation hearing for Sessions.

The current action is to interpret the Federal Wire Act as creating a de facto prohibition on Internet gambling. Although prior administrations have chosen to interpret the Wire Act as creating a de facto prohibition on Internet gambling, this was clearly not the intent of Congress when it was enacted in 1961. Rather, the Wire Act only references bets and wagers on sporting events or other contests.

US Supreme Court decision not to hear DMV v Brohl is Bad Precedent for Consumer Privacy By Andreas Hellmann, Katie McAuliffe | December 14, 2016

The Direct Marketing Association's petition for certiorari, filed on August 29th, 2016, sought a reversal of the February ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which found constitutional Colorado's 2010 law imposing notice and reporting requirements on remote retailers that don't collect and remit sales and use taxes to the state.

The DMA argued Colorado's law violates the anti-discrimination doctrine of the dormant commerce clause by only requiring remote vendors to report consumer purchases to the state Department of Revenue and provide notice to purchasers of their obligation to pay Colorado's sales or use tax.

EU Study Shows IP Protection Vital to Economic Success By Daniel Savickas | November 02, 2016

A new, recently-released study found that industries dependent on intellectual property rights (IPR) had booming effects on the European Union economy.

The economic effects did not stop there, as the study estimated that these IPR-intensive industries accounted for 42% of the EU economy, a total worth a little over $6.3 trillion. This positive impact also helped the EU garner a trade surplus, as the industries accounted for most of the EU’s external trade.

The benefits of protecting intellectual property rights in the EU, US, or around the globe cannot be understated.

Katie McAuliffe appointed to a second term on the CAC By Andreas Hellmann | October 31, 2016

Today on October 31st the Consumer Advisory Committee announced the renewal of the appointment of members. Digital Liberty Executive Katie McAuliffe was appointed to a second term so serve on the committee.

The mission of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Commission regarding consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission and to facilitate the participation of consumers (including underserved populations, such as Native Americans, persons living in rural areas, older persons, people with disabilities, and persons for whom English is not their primary language) in proceedings before the Commission.  The Committee may consider issues including, but not limited to, the following topics:


Few New Regulations for Self-Driving Vehicles Required By Andreas Hellmann | October 17, 2016

On Sept. 20, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released guidelines for self-driving vehicles. The initial reaction to the guidelines was generally agreeable, but further reflection revealed a more complicated picture and more voices expressed concerns.

Usually the quickest way to stop innovation is for bureaucrats to just outlaw it. The good news is that the NHTSA appears to see the harm government can do by delaying or adding cost to the deployment of automated vehicles: keeping less-safe vehicles on the road longer could otherwise be translates to increased traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths.

FCC Privacy Proposal Latest Effort to Assert Internet Control By Daniel Savickas | October 14, 2016

The FCC is attempting another foray into Internet privacy that will harm competition, and cause unnecessary confusion for consumers across the country.

This is hardly their first intrusion into the Internet, and the Commission has been the crowned jewel of regulatory overreach over the past seven years, hampering American businesses and consumers with mind-twisting rules and regulation. This has placed an immense burden on the American economy.

The FCC is now trying to erect barriers for ISPs to prevent them from entering the online advertising market. As with other proposals, the FCC fails to set forth any definitive example of a market failure other than the fact that it can because it has authority, under the dubious Open Internet Order.

Regulations Hinder Virtual and Augmented Reality By Andreas Hellmann | October 10, 2016

There are many new virtual and augmented reality applications and programs that burst into the markets last year and fascinate its users. But what is the difference between virtual- and augmented reality? Virtual reality are computer technologies that use software to generate realistic images, sounds and other impressions that replicate a real environment or create an imaginary setting. Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented or often supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics and often supported by GPS data.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on FTC Oversight By Daniel Savickas | September 27, 2016

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Technology held a hearing today with all three Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC).

This hearing has inspired hopes that meaningful reform will come to the Commission. According to Berin Szoka, the president of TechFreedom, “Congress has not made any fundamental course corrections to the FTC since 1980. This oversight is long overdue.”

Chairman of the Committee, Senator John Thune (R-SD) started the hearing by expressing that the best solutions are often not government solutions, and that in order for the American business community needs regulatory certainty in order to stay in compliance with the law.

The subject of the hearing ranged over a variety of topics.

A prominent topic of discussion was the FTC’s guidelines on data security. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Haw.) said the Commission needs to do more to explain what is reasonable and what isn’t, and what they are doing now, “simply isn’t working.” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added, “Data security doesn’t need to be a Wild West.”

Making the Case for Free Trade By Anthony McAuliffe | September 22, 2016

A group of organizations has written an open letter to Congress to show their strong support for free trade. We are proud to be one of the organizations signing on to this letter, as it reinforces our ideals that supporting free market principles is the only way to achieve prosperity for all people in the U.S. We believe that one of the key components of free trade is the establishment of strong protection for intellectual property.