From Mike Hitchen Online Let's Hear You! presents selected news and information from non profit organizations and individuals promoting community or rights oriented issues.
Items are selected from a wide range of sources and are not confined to major or international issues. Submissions from individuals or organizations (large or small) are welcome.
On Wednesday, NetChoice announced the 2014
Internet Advocates Watchlist of Ugly Laws (iAWFUL) list, a collection of
legislation that has the potential to undermine key elements of
Internet freedom and commerce.
year's list is full of legislative efforts run amok. As legislators and
regulators fall over themselves in a race to regulate Internet
services, many are doing more harm than good.
breaches and privacy concerns have whipped elected officials into
action, but as the 2014 iAWFUL list finds, elected officials are making
things worse," said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice. "When consumers are harmed by misguided legislation it's time to sit up and take notice."
proposals that would eliminate free services and require businesses to
cry wolf over data breaches top the latest iAWFUL.
Eliminating Free Services
users are accustomed to free and easy access to a wide variety of
resources for everything from networking with friends, to booking travel
to checking the weather. Advertisers, who pay to show ads to
interested audiences, support all of these services.
Legislation introduced in California, Virginia and Missouri
intended to protect consumer privacy would instead make it much harder
for advertisers to pay for free online services and content. If these
proposals are enacted they will reduce the value of advertising for
online marketers and ultimately reduce resources for free online
services. With reduced funding, free services consumers take for granted
today may shut down or require consumers to pay out of their own
Requiring Businesses to Cry Wolf
Recent, high profile data breaches from large retailers have grabbed the attention of lawmakers.
is understandable that action should be taken to protect consumers from
harm, but once again, rushed legislation may be more harmful than the
status quo," said DelBianco.
legislators in ten states are considering legislation that would force
businesses to issue broad and rushed notices that will impede ongoing
investigations. Even worse, the increased quantity of notices will
desensitize consumers to situations that truly merit an immediate
consumers with notices of a potential risk before there is meaningful
action will derail the important conversations that must take place
after a serious data breach. Furthermore, the discrepancies among each
state's proposal will create a patchwork of conflicting rules that
invites lawsuits and missteps.
remainder of the iAWFUL list identifies a wide variety of misguided
efforts including attempts to tax the Internet, limit innovation in
education, and impose new taxes on online businesses everywhere.
The full iAWFUL list for Spring 2014 is available below and at www.iAWFUL.com
1. Making it harder to get advertisers to pay for free online services and content. States
are considering laws to restrict interest-based advertising that today
supports free online services and content. This would drive websites
into showing a higher volume of low quality ads to make up lost revenue.
If this trend continues, expect to see more pay walls in front of
previously free websites.
2. Data breach notification - Following
high profile hacking of data held by Target, states are rushing to pass
new data breach notice laws. However, forcing businesses to issue
broad and rushed notices could impede investigations. Increasing the
quantity of notices will also desensitize consumers to situations where a
notice truly does merit their immediate attention. Moreover, the
divergence among state laws is creating an impossible patchwork for
businesses that have customers in multiple states.
3. Discouraging teens from thinking before they post - So-called
'eraser button' bills may actually encourage teens to be careless about
posting inappropriate content because they mislead teens to think they
can erase what others have posted too.
4. Limiting innovation in education – Schools
should focus on safety, security and educational innovation
while protecting student privacy protection from actual threats. But
state legislation would make it harder for service providers to:
identify students having difficulty learning; inform parents and
teachers about bullying in school; and flag students that might pose
harm to themselves or others.
5. Internet Sales Tax -
The ongoing threat of federal legislation would give new tax and audit
powers to state tax collectors, threatening online businesses
6. Requiring teens to get parental permission to use online services like maps and weather - Proposed
bills would require parental consent before a seventeen-year old could
use basic resources like Google Maps or Yahoo Weather.
7. Empowering courts over consumers - Allowing
a court-appointed executor to counter your express wishes about how
your online accounts are handled when you die does not respect consumer
8. Scaring stores away from embracing pro-consumer mobile technologies. Some
state lawmakers want to mandate warning signs in stores that use new
technology do analyze shopping habits and deliver discounts. These
warning signs will alarm consumers and suppress adoption of new
technology that helps stores send deals to returning customers -- even
where the customer downloaded an app for that very purpose.
9. New limits on First Amendment rights - New
bills limiting digital photos of license plates would violate the first
amendment and impair law enforcement investigations that save lives and
10. Putting children's privacy at risk with email registries – Bills
creating a do-not-email registry jeopardizes the privacy of minors
while imposing new fees on markets and restaurants using email
is a public policy advocacy organization that promotes Internet
innovation and fights threats to online commerce at state, federal and
international level. See www.netchoice.org.
The iAWFUL reflects the editorial views of the Executive Director of
NetChoice and does not necessarily reflect the views of all NetChoice