Posts by: David

Crafting Open Government Data Policies in a Complex Era

There is broad agreement on the value of open data policies to drive government transparency, public accountability and citizen-centered services, providing valuable data resources to citizens while often enhancing the effectiveness of government.  Open government data is integral to the management of the federal government, leading not only to better decisions, but also to generation of higher quality data as government leaders learn to benefit from data-driven innovation.  As Federal CIO Suzette Kent recently put it, “data drives tomorrow’s innovation.” At the same time, the types of data that governments deal with are increasingly diverse and complex, involving cases where the government collects or licenses private sector data, and sometimes combines this data with data produced by the government.  In many cases, this private sector data is proprietary and comes with intellectual property protections, providing for use by the government but stopp ...

more

Congress Must Continue to Protect Good Samaritans that Engage in Online Content Moderation

Today, the Senate passed legislation—the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865)— that would give law enforcement and victims much-needed legal tools to prosecute online traffickers and rogue websites.  SIIA congratulates Congress for its bicameral, bipartisan effort to enable full prosecution of those involved in sex trafficking, but we remain concerned about the potential unintended outcomes of any legislation that limits critical internet speech protections provided under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230). CDA 230 enables many platforms and websites work closely with law enforcement, partner with other companies and outside groups to share signals of illegal activity, particularly acts of human trafficking.  It has also become common among large internet platforms to invest in new technologies, such as machine learning, to proactively police and moderate content.  Over decades, CDA 230 has pr ...

more

In Wake of FCC Vote, SIIA Calls for Legislative Solution for Enforceable Net Neutrality Rules

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted yesterday to repeal the Obama Administration’s net neutrality regulations, also known as the “Open Internet Order.”  That order, adopted by the FCC in 2015, reclassified broadband internet access providers as communication service providers for regulation under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, providing the FCC broad authority to regulate “common carriers” and created explicit prohibitions on broadband providers to block or throttle sites or apps or offer paid prioritization of any Internet content. The new rules put in place by the FCC, officially referred to as the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” have been touted as “light touch” regulation by Chairman Ajit Pai, whereby broadband providers will still be required to adhere to transparency requirements regarding their treatment of content, which will be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  Earlier thi ...

more

Google Implements Latest Steps to Combat Online Extremism

In the wake of the tragic violence in Charlottesville earlier this month, it’s even more evident that online extremism continues to pose serious threats to society. While battling extremism is an important step in preventing the spread of hate and violence around the world, there are many inherent challenges, including the sheer volume of daily posts, complexity of purpose for videos, and the need to adhere to free speech rights.  In spite of these challenges, industry has been committed to this effort for many years—we’ve highlighted some of this in the past, including industry efforts to cooperate with law enforcement, and formation of a partnership to fight terrorism.

more

Good News and Bad News on Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

First, the good news:  Last month, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development announced that the pending private right of action under the Canadian Anti-SPAM Law (CASL) would be delayed indefinitely—this was initially scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2017.  As many of us pointed out back when the law was enacted, unleashing the threat of frivolous litigation is likely to punish innocent companies to the tune of millions of dollars—in most cases companies that are trying to comply—while enriching trial attorneys and stifling many of the desirable email communications citizens have come to expect and appreciate. In the statement announcing the delay, Navdeep Bains, the Canadian Minister, noted that while “Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology,” the Canadian government is “committed to striking the right balance&rd ...

more

SEC and Civil Agencies Should Need a Warrant for Remotely-Stored Electronic Content

For years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  has been seeking an administrative agency exception that would enable it to use a subpoena to access email content stored remotely by third parties.  But under current legal precedent, per a 2010 Sixth Circuit decision, United States v. Warshak, it has been precedent that this material should only be accessible with a search warrant. The SEC continues to seek expanded authority, and they question the application of this warrant requirement to civil agencies.  In February, they issued a subpoena to Yahoo to access a user’s email, where the account was owned by a defendant in a securities fraud case.  Yahoo has rightly challenged this action, and the case, Securities and Exchange Commission v. North Star Finance LLC, represents a landmark dispute regarding the government efforts to obtain email content in a civil case with just a subpoena to an email service provider. Unlike a warrant based upon pro ...

more

Google Builds on Industry-Driven Ad Standards to Improve User Experience and Content Creation

Online advertising is an increasingly important source of revenue for online content creators, who include professional journalists to web developers to bloggers and provide tremendous value to the Internet ecosystem. To remain afloat, these content creators rely on effective online advertising in order to continue to provide their service or business.

more

Only Congress Can Fix Our International Legal Framework

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a petition seeking the Supreme Court to consider an ongoing legal case about access to data stored overseas.  But the courts are powerless to craft a balanced policy for law enforcement access to data stored abroad.  Only Congress can do it.

more

Alternative Data Has Proven Effective as Next-Generation Data for Mainstream Use in Credit

More than 50 million Americans don’t receive credit scores because of insufficient or nonexistent credit information. Consider what this means – nearly 15 percent of the adult population can’t get a mortgage, rent a car or use a credit card. But this barrier, which limits personal economic power and holds back our economy, is increasingly being broken-down by the use of new, alternative data sources and modeling techniques.

more