Monthly Archives: April 2017

April 26, 2017 | News, Statements

Statement on FCC Chairman Pai’s Proposed Net Neutrality Plan

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement in response to the net neutrality plan announced today by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

“The current FCC net neutrality rules are working and these consumer protections should not be changed. Consumers pay for access to the entire internet free from blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. The existing 2015 Open Internet Order protects consumers from ISPs looking to play gatekeeper or prioritize their own content at the expense of competition online. Rolling back these rules or reducing the legal sustainability of the Order will result in a worse internet for consumers and less innovation online.

“The internet industry remains united and focused on outcomes. Net neutrality must be a bipartisan issue because it facilitates and fosters long term certainty, investment, and competition online. Robust net neutrality rules benefit all players in the ecosystem by attracting more people to the web and increasing demand for internet connections.

“The internet industry is continuing our efforts to defend the existing rules on the books at the FCC. It is also important for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to ensure rules survive long term with strong FCC enforcement. The internet industry will work with all stakeholders to guarantee that consumers continue to benefit from strong net neutrality rules.”

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April 17, 2017 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Files Amicus Brief With California Supreme Court In Support Of Intermediary Liability Protections

BECKERMAN: “Protecting users’ right to free speech online is essential to preserving a dynamic economy, a free and open internet, and our First Amendment rights.”

 

Washington, DC – Today, Internet Association, along with the Consumer Technology Association, filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in Hassel v. Bird in support of Yelp and other online platforms and service providers. The brief endorses arguments made by Yelp, and offers a robust defense of intermediary liability protections that are critical to the existence of all online platforms.

The brief urges the California Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling, which currently stands in violation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), and would chill free speech and public expression online if upheld. Section 230 is a cornerstone of intermediary liability protection as it exempts online platforms from being held liable for user-generated content posted to their websites. Without these legal protections, open platforms would be forced to police their users, severely curtailing free expression online.

“There are few things more important to the historic and continued success of the internet than the intermediary liability protections enshrined in CDA 230,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of Internet Association. “Protecting users’ right to free speech online is essential to preserving a dynamic economy, a free and open internet, and our First Amendment rights.”

The online platforms protected under Section 230 of the CDA provide for the common good by enabling public expression under the First Amendment. Internet Association’s brief advocates for the free flow of information, which enables commerce and furthers political discussion. A ruling circumventing Section 230 would effectively annul protections to online platforms and open a floodgate for abusive litigation that could force many websites to shut down entirely.

In large part thanks to the CDA, the internet sector contributes 6 percent to GDP and nearly 3 million jobs. Without these protections, that growth would not have been possible.

From the brief:

“Online platforms that thrive under the protection of the CDA’s immunities facilitate important activities among third-party consumers and businesses including the exchange of information, communications and commercial transactions. They connect customers with other providers of goods, services and information. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a platform does not have any special relationship with providers of information or other users that would give rise to liability under traditional principles: there is no partnership, and no employment or agency relationship; the platform is not itself a party to any particular transaction; and it does not control the actions of parties to a transaction and lacks any practical ability to do so. The CDA immunities have been critical to the growth and sustainability of these platforms.”

Click here to read the full brief.

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April 14, 2017 | News, Videos

Michael Beckerman Appears On Bloomberg Technology To Discuss Net Neutrality

IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman appeared on Bloomberg Technology yesterday to outline the internet industry’s position on net neutrality.  In the segment Beckerman defended the 2015 open internet order, which created strong, enforceable net neutrality rules. These rules promote competition, protect consumers, and preserve the free and open internet. You can watch the full clip above or on Bloomberg.com.

April 12, 2017 | News, Statements

Internet Association FCC Ex Parte Filing

By ECFS

Ms. Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC  20554

4/11/2017

Re: Notice of Ex Parte Presentation, GN Docket No. 14-28, WC Docket No. 16-106; CG Docket No. 02-278

Dear Ms. Dortch:

Michael Beckerman, President and CEO, and Abigail Slater, General Counsel, of the Internet Association (IA) met with Chairman Pai, Matthew Berry, Rachael Bender, and Jay Schwarz from the Chairman’s office on April 11th to discuss the Chairman’s agenda with respect to the 2015 Open Internet Order, the FCC’s recently nullified broadband consumer privacy rules, and the FCC’s rules implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Although not all issues were subject to the FCC’s ex parte rules, IA wishes to file in order to facilitate transparency.

At the meeting, IA representatives made the following points with respect to the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order (“the OI Order”):

  • IA continues its vigorous support of the FCC’s OI Order, which is a vital component of the free and open internet.  The internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online.  In other words, existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact.
  • The OI Order is working well and has been upheld by a DC Circuit panel.  Further, IA preliminary economic research suggests that the OI Order did not have a negative impact on broadband internet access service (BIAS) investment.
  • IA focuses its net neutrality advocacy on real world outcomes for consumers and internet companies.  Consumers want and need their internet experience preserved and protected, regardless of the legal or regulatory mechanism. While IA continues its work to protect consumers by maintaining existing FCC rules, its primary focus is on the end result – meaningful net neutrality rules that withstand the test of time.
  • From a first principles standpoint:
  • IA supports light-touch rules that protect the open internet.  The rules should be ex-ante and enforced by the expert agency, namely the FCC.
    • The rules must prohibit BIAS providers from charging for prioritized access.
    • The rules should apply regardless of whether a user accesses the internet from a wireline, fixed wireless, or mobile broadband provider.
    • Interconnection should not be used as a choke point to artificially slow traffic or extract unreasonable tolls from over-the-top providers.
  • Finally, IA also emphasized that the details of any net neutrality framework are important to our members.

With respect to the recently nullified FCC broadband privacy rules:

  • Although IA member companies were not subject to the broadband privacy rulemaking (and are not in an enforcement gap post-CRA) IA members nonetheless viewed this as an important issue for the internet ecosystem.
  • IA filed several comments with the Commission throughout the broadband privacy proceeding.
  • In those filings:
    • IA agreed with the agency’s position that edge providers were not subject to the proposed rules since edge companies were and remain subject to Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) jurisdiction with respect to privacy and data security.
    • IA outlined why any continued departure from the FTC’s framework should be grounded exclusively in the regulatory, policy, and economic factors that actually distinguish ISP and edge provider markets.
    • The relevant factors include higher financial, legal, and technical market entry barriers as well as high customer switching costs when compared to edge provider markets.
    • IA further noted that “edge providers have more limited visibility into online practices and consumer information” than BIAS providers, a conclusion the FTC agreed with in 2012, explaining that BIAS providers are “in a position to develop highly detailed and comprehensive profiles of their customers – and to do so in a manner that may be completely invisible.”

IA representatives made the following points with respect to the TCPA:

  • IA fully supports the original Congressional intent behind the TCPA, namely stopping unwanted and unwarranted calls into consumers’ homes.
  • However, IA members increasingly are subject to TCPA class action lawsuits in contexts where companies are sending wanted communications to consumers.
  • The FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order presented an opportunity for the Commission to provide clarity and legal certainty on key TCPA provisions e.g. reassigned numbers.
  • Unfortunately, the FCC denied a number of petitions aimed at reforming TCPA and the FCC’s order was appealed to the DC Circuit.  IA filed an amicus brief in support of this appeal.

If and when the DC Circuit remands the appeal to the FCC, IA will seek to engage with the FCC on this important issue for our members.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael Beckerman
President & CEO
Internet Association

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April 9, 2017 | News, Statements

Statement On The Newly Announced New York State Budget Deal

Internet Association New York State Executive Director John Olsen released the following statement on the newly announced New York State budget deal:

“Today is a great day for innovation, consumers, and entrepreneurial spirits here in New York. By opening the entire state to ridesharing and rejecting an unprecedented and burdesome online marketplace tax, Albany is sending a clear message that New York State is open for business . We applaud Governor Cuomo, Leader Flanagan, and Speaker Heastie for embracing the future while standing up for middle class families and small businesses fighting to thrive in today’s economy.”

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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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