Larry Downes has previously warned about the unintended consequences of the Senate's Protect IP Act, noting "its provisions would only harm innocent foreign Web sites, since truly rogue Web sites could easily engineer around all of its provisions." Here, Downes complains that, rather than fixing these problems, the House has responded with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a law "with no real boundaries." "Rather than give up on the idea of legislating a fast-changing Internet," Downes continues, "the House authors have instead built in as many alternative definitions, open-ended requirements, and undefined terms as they could."
On Forbes, Berin Szoka responds to Scott Cleland's lack of skepticism about SOPA's unintended consequences.
A new study authored by Joshua Wright, also a Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, tests assertions Google systematically biases its search results. By replicating and extending the same empirical methodology used in an in earlier report by Ben Edelman and Benjamin Lockwood, Josh finds no evidence to support claims underpinning the case for "search neutrality" or antitrust regulation of Google's search results. Read both sides on search neutrality in TechFreedom's free book The Next Digital Decade: Essays on the Future of the Internet.
Berin Szoka reminds pessimists that people are the "ultimate resource," as the great economist Julian Simon taught. "Adding more people causes problems,” Simon acknowledged, “but people are also the means to solve these problems.” Berin concludes: "these problems can only be solved by more and better technologies generated by more minds working in larger, better markets. Neither minds nor markets can flourish without freedom to experiment with new ideas, technologies and business models." In short, prosperity depends on "tech freedom."
Remember, Commissioners, "the First Amendment was intended to be a shield against government meddling, not a sword for regulatory activism." Given the free speech values affected by essentially everything the FCC does, and the rapid change wrought by the Digital Revolution, Berin outlines five key questions the FCC should ask, and explicitly answer, whenever considering the need for new, or existing, regulations.
Adam Marcus explains the FCC just doesn't get open government: Mandating disclosure can be a less restrictive alternative to prescriptive regulation, but to be meaningful, the data needs to be accessible—i.e., available in machine-readable formats. In the case of broadcasters' public files, smart disclosure would empower researchers to "compare data across stations and/or across time to identify larger trends."
- TechFreedom celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by calling on Americans to sign the Not Without a Warrant petition. TechFreedom's Charlie Kennedy joined a CATO panel on ECPA reform.
- Berin Szoka defended the AT&T/T-Mobile merger in a panel at George Washington Law school. Watch the Watch the video!
- Now online: Video from TechFreedom's recent event with the Family Online Safety Institute, Revising COPPA: A Discussion of the FTC's Proposals, including the FTC's Phyllis Marcus, Jim Dunstan, and Berin Szoka.