Monthly Archives: July 2016

July 20, 2016 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Releases National Internet 2016 Election Policy Platform

Beckerman: “Our policy platform is drafted as a go-to blueprint for candidates and their campaigns, regardless of party affiliation…support for the continued growth of the internet is good for America and cuts across party lines.”

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association released its 2016 Election Policy Platform, offering candidates an in-depth breakdown of the policies needed to create a regulatory environment that fosters and promotes innovation and growth across the internet ecosystem. The platform highlights the internet’s importance to the U.S. economy, including 6 percent of GDP in 2014 and nearly 3 million jobs.

“Our policy platform is drafted as a go-to blueprint for candidates and their campaigns, regardless of party affiliation,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “While candidates may disagree on any number of issues, support for the continued growth of the internet is good for America and cuts across party lines. Our goal is to give candidates from all parties, regions, and levels of government the tools and information they need to advocate on behalf of their constituents who benefit from a free, open, and growing internet.”

The platform addresses nine specific issue areas, from copyright to trade, and focuses on ways to maintain a free and open internet, safeguard user information, and foster economic growth.

Platform highlights include:

  • From its inception, the internet was built on an open architecture that lowers barriers to entry, fosters innovation, and empowers user choice. The internet should be free from censorship. It should be protected by simple and enforceable rules that ensure consumers’ unfettered access to the content they want, without holding internet platforms liable for user behavior online.
  • The internet industry is deeply committed to providing innovative products and services while maintaining user privacy and safety online. From standardizing data security and breach notification, to protecting encryption standards across digital technologies, candidates must recognize the importance of ensuring the internet remains a place where people can share their information and ideas without fear of it falling into the wrong hands.
  • Approximately 8 trillion dollars are exchanged through e-commerce each year, and the internet accounted for 21 percent of GDP growth in advanced economies over the past five years. It is critical to support continued growth of the internet as a global medium for innovation.

To read the full platform, click here.

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July 18, 2016 | News, Statements

Statement on the USTR Digital Trade Working Group

Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement in support of the new Digital Trade Working Group within the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR):

“The internet industry applauds the creation of a Digital Trade Working Group within USTR. With over 3 billion internet users connected worldwide and the internet sector representing 6 percent of the U.S. economy, trade policy should reflect the dynamic nature of our industry and help protect the free and open internet.

“We look forward to working with USTR to promote policies that encourage the free flow of information and data, create a balanced copyright framework that unleashes opportunities for creators and innovators, and includes clear intermediary liability protections that enable internet services to provide frictionless access to global marketplaces for businesses of all sizes.

“Establishing the Digital Trade Working Group will provide the internet community needed transparency and a voice in the process as USTR negotiates, implements, and enforces digital trade policies around the world.”

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July 12, 2016 | News, Statements

Statement on the EU Commission Adoption of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on the EU Commission Adoption of the EU-US Privacy Shield:

“The Internet industry welcomes the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield represents a positive outcome and a win for consumers, innovation, and growth both here and in the EU. We commend the U.S. government and the European Commission for taking the necessary steps to ensure information and data will continue to flow freely across the Atlantic and give businesses – large and small – legal certainty as they engage in digital trade between the U.S. and EU.”

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July 5, 2016 | News, Press Releases

Legal Opinion: Hawaii’s Short-Term Rental Regulation Preempted By Federal Law

FORMER AG DAVID LOUIE: “There are grave concerns about the legality of 2015’s Act 204…”

 

Honolulu, HI – Today, former state attorney general David Louie issued a letter on behalf of the Internet Association highlighting legal concerns regarding 2015’s Act 204 and urging Governor David Ige to allow HB 1850 to become law.  HB 1850 is a bill that would allow Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey and other interested home sharing platforms to collect and remit taxes on behalf of their user community in Hawaii.

“The Internet industry strongly supports the passage of HB 1850, which provides significant public benefits through higher compliance rates and tax revenues. Short-term rentals allow Hawaii’s residents to earn needed income from their homes, provides a boost to the local economy, and can generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association.

“There are grave concerns about the legality of 2015’s Act 204, which may conflict with federal law responsible for the success of the internet. It is our hope that Governor Ige will allow HB 1850 to become law as it will be a more effective means of maximizing tax revenue from the short-term rental industry,” said David Louie, attorney for the Internet Association.

The letter highlights the numerous benefits of HB 1850, a bill supported by the Governor’s own tax department, including streamlined collection of tax revenue for short-term rentals on home sharing platforms and important legal problems in implementing Act 204 from the 2015 legislative session.  It raises concerns that, without the implementation of HB 1850, significant portions of Act 204 remain in conflict with CDA Section 230 of federal law, which protects internet platforms from liability for user generated content.

“Significant portions of Act 204 conflict with and are likely preempted by Section 230,” the letter states.  “For example, if a third-party user fails to post any of the required information on a listing, liability would automatically attach to the website operator. As a result, the statute imposes liability on both websites and newspapers by treating them as the ‘publisher or speaker’ of the information (or lack thereof) provided by another in direct contravention of Section 230. This impermissible conflict makes Act 204 likely unenforceable and invalid.”

“The intermediary liability protections in Section 230 have allowed the internet to scale and spurred unprecedented innovation and economic growth,” Beckerman concluded.  “HB 1850 provides Hawaii streamlined mechanisms for revenue collection and averts an expensive and lengthy legal challenge.”

To read the full letter, click here.

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July 5, 2016 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Files Response To European Union e-Privacy Directive

Slater: “Internet companies respect the process, authority, and intent behind the creation of the e-Privacy Directive, but it has been superseded by a number of new legal instruments over time…As the EU Commission considers reforms, it should carefully assess the e-Privacy Directive’s continued relevance.”

 

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association, an association of nearly 40 leading internet companies, announced today that it filed a response to the European Union’s e-Privacy Directive consultation. The Internet Association argues in its response that – for internet intermediaries – the e-Privacy Directive is duplicative of both existing and superseding EU laws, principally the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Furthermore, the e-Privacy Directive creates a fragmented privacy regime between laws and regulations on the books in member states, the GDPR, and ambiguity in the e-Privacy Directive itself.

“Internet companies respect the process, authority, and intent behind the creation of the e-Privacy Directive, but it has been superseded by a number of new legal instruments over time,” said Abigail Slater, General Counsel of the Internet Association. “The co-existence of the e-Privacy Directive and regimes like the General Data Protection Regulation results in duplicative rules with ambiguous implications. As the EU Commission considers reforms, it should carefully assess the e-Privacy Directive’s continued relevance.”

The Internet Association’s response supported data protection policies that protect the right of individual consumers to secure electronic communications and devices through encryption and other mechanisms without backdoors for law enforcement. Strong encryption is the bedrock of modern internet privacy and security, and the Internet industry renewed its calls for governments worldwide to support its ubiquitous adoption.

“Backdoors weaken our collective ability to secure communications from unauthorized access,” Slater continued. “Encryption and security measures protect EU consumers and networks from countless daily attacks by those looking to do harm, including hackers, identity thieves, and foreign governments. Secure communications provide an important tool for achieving the goals of both privacy and law enforcement, and are compatible with the aims of both.”

To read the filing, click here.

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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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