Monthly Archives: July 2015

July 20, 2015 | News, Press Releases

Comment on BIS Proposed Rule on Wassenaar Arrangement

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association called for revisions to proposed Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) rules that would make it more difficult for Internet companies to improve network security. In public comments submitted to the BIS, the Internet Association explains that the proposed rules, while well intentioned, should be rewritten as narrowly as possible to avoid unintended consequences on global Internet security research.

“Internet companies work tirelessly to protect their networks and end user data from outside attacks,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “To that end, it is important that legal frameworks promote legitimate security research. The proposed rules will have the opposite effect, making it more difficult, not less, to fortify networks and protect end user data,” Beckerman concluded.

The comments outline how Internet Association member companies conduct security research, and raise a number of concerns with the proposed rules, including:

  • There is no intra-company exemption built into the proposed rules. As a result, companies may run afoul of the rules simply by sharing software or tools that leverage exploits for testing and validation purposes within their own teams.
  • The proposed rules are broad, ambiguous, and open to interpretation. Rules should be written as narrowly as possible, with the goal of minimizing their adverse impact on legitimate security research and testing.
  • In areas where the proposed rules are clearer, they create a significant regulatory burden. Any organization that wants to develop tools that would be controlled under the proposed rules will need to implement new or updated export control processes, which will incur additional costs and increase time to market. In addition, the proposed rules create complex hurdles for individual researchers who might otherwise be able to make meaningful impact on overall security.

The comments also recommend steps to bring the proposed rules in line with the harm Internet companies believe they are meant to target, including:

  • Introduce an intra-company exception.
  • Focus on exfiltration and the use of cybersecurity items for unauthorized activities, not the items’ technical capabilities.
  • Maximize clarity around acceptable uses that do not require a license.

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July 16, 2015 | News, Statements

Statement on the Interconnection Condition of the Charter Merger

Washington, D.C. – Today, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on the interconnection provision of the Charter Merger:

“The Internet industry strongly supports competition, choice, and abundance in the broadband access market. Open and efficient interconnection practices ensure that users have the fast and affordable Internet access necessary for the Internet to continue to flourish.”

“Against this backdrop, interconnection should not be used as a choke point to artificially slow Internet traffic.  While the Internet Association takes no position on the proposed merger itself, open interconnection policies, like the one Charter has offered as a merger condition, are good for the Internet’s users and the broader ecosystem.”

 

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July 16, 2015 | News, Press Releases

Internet Chairmen and CEOs Send Letter Urging Congress To Pass Strong Patent Reform Legislation

Letter: “A flawed patent system remains one of the biggest threats to our companies, and frivolous patent lawsuits are at all-time highs.”

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chairmen and CEOs of America’s leading Internet companies submitted a letter to Congressional House Leadership, urging them to support the Innovation Act, a bill that creates more protections for our nation’s patent holders, while removing the threat of frivolous patent troll litigation.

“If enacted, the Innovation Act will enable innovators like us to get back to the business of doing what we do best, namely creating the jobs and services that help run our economy,” the letter states. “A flawed patent system remains one of the biggest threats to our companies, and frivolous patent lawsuits are at all-time highs.”

The letter calls attention to emerging trends in 2015 that further signal the need for a legislative solution to our unwieldy patent system. In 2013, patent troll litigation reached a record high, up 13 percent over 2012, with more than a tenfold increase over the past decade. More recently, in the first quarter of 2015, lawsuits brought by patent trolls rose 42 percent from the end of 2014, costing billions of dollars that could otherwise be put toward further innovation and job creation.

“Though innovation has long been a critical hallmark of the American enterprise system, the recent uptick in patent troll litigation is undermining the jobs and economic growth made possible by our nation’s greatest innovators,” said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association. “The passage of the Innovation Act would be a positive step to address the current flaws of our existing patent system, protecting innovators from frivolous litigation down the road. Comprehensive patent reform is long overdue and must be enacted by Congress as soon as possible to prevent further economic damage.”

Signatories of the letter are: Chad Dickerson – Etsy; Michelle Peluso – Gilt; Kevin Ryan – Gilt, MongoDB, Business Insider, Zola; Eric Schmidt – Google; Jeff Weiner – LinkedIn; Ben Silbermann – Pinterest; Taylor Rhodes – Rackspace; Stephen Kaufer – TripAdvisor; Jack Dorsey – Twitter; Marissa Mayer – Yahoo; Jeremy Stoppelman – Yelp.

The full letter can be viewed here.

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July 14, 2015 | Letters, News, Press Releases

Internet Industry Calls For Rejection of New York City Council Anti-Innovation Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urging him to reject anti-tech legislation pending in the New York City Council. The bills threaten the growth of technology-driven companies and reduce competition, consumer choice, and serve no public policy interest other than protecting incumbent industries.

The proposed legislation (Bills 842 and 847, sponsored by Council members Ydanis Rodriguez and Steve Levin) would place a cap on new for-hire licenses issued to ridesharing services, protecting the interests of taxis and setting a precedent that could discourage innovative companies from making New York City their home.

“The restrictions proposed by the City Council’s legislation are contradictory to New York City’s longstanding reputation as a leading innovation hub,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “New York City should be a place where innovation is supported and new ideas can prosper.”

Additionally, the letter calls attention to the importance of services like Lyft Line, UberPool, and Sidecar Shared Rides, which have facilitated more than one million carpool trips in New York City alone. Though proponents of the legislation may claim that capping these licenses will help quell the problem of traffic congestion, singling out the platforms that are doing the most to tackle that issue isn’t the solution.

“Unequivocal protection of special interests is not in the best interest of New York City’s consumers. They should be afforded the opportunity of choice, instead of being forced to pay higher prices for inferior services. Technological innovations can and should be part of the solution to 21st Century problems, not misleadingly labeled as the problem themselves,” concluded Beckerman.

The full letter can be viewed here.

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July 13, 2015 | News, Statements

Internet Association Responds To Hillary Clinton’s Comments On Sharing Economy

Washington, D.C. – Today, Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association, issued the following statement in response to Hillary Clinton’s comments regarding the sharing economy made during a speech on her presidential campaign’s economic policy platform:

“The sharing economy empowers people to determine when, where, and how they want to live and work in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. It is important to remember that innovation in the sharing economy has led to unprecedented independence, flexibility, and autonomy that expands choices for all Americans.”

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July 8, 2015 | News, Statements

Statement on Senate Judiciary Committee Encryption Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Abigail Slater, Internet Association Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Policy, issued the following statement on today’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, Going Dark: Encryption, Technology, and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy:

“Today’s Senate hearing on encryption raises important issues for the future of the Internet. Proposals to mandate weakened encryption would undermine security and end user confidence in the Internet without any clear national security benefits. Strong encryption protects billions of global end users from countless privacy threats ranging from financial fraud to repressive governments stifling speech and democracy. Instead of forcing companies to lower their security standards, policymakers should promote and protect the wide adoption of strong encryption technology.”

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July 1, 2015 | News, Press Releases

VIDEO: The Internet Association and Rep. McMorris Rodgers Highlight Importance of the Internet for Spokane Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association was recently in Spokane, Washington along with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) to talk with local small business leaders about the important role the Internet has played in expanding Spokane’s economy.

During their tour through downtown Spokane, three business owners took time to describe the different ways the Internet enabled their businesses to grow and better serve customers at home and around the country.

Stops along the small business “crawl” included Seven2, Sweet Frostings Blissful Bakeshop, Uncle’s Games Puzzles & More, and the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

“What really inspires me is that the Internet opens up a whole other world of opportunities for people,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the video. “As their representative in government, I want them to imagine what’s possible. I want them to recognize that there are tremendous opportunities out there. I want to be their champion in believing that the American Dream is alive and go out there and see what they can do.”

“The Internet allows people to find us and for us to be able to market ourselves and connect with customers, with new businesses, and with expanding industries that we can talk to about why we think this is a great place for them to be,” said Steve Stevens, CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated.

“Our tour of Spokane’s small businesses highlighted the importance of the Internet and its role in driving growth in Washington,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “In today’s globalized economy, no matter how big or small the shop, the Internet is essential to building a sustainable business. The Internet opens windows of opportunity and connects small businesses to customers around the world.”

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Latest News

Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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