ITIF Welcomes Final Approval of Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act and Judicial Redress Act

Getting these two bills to the president’s desk is an important step forward on reaching agreement on other important tech issues. But more must be done.

February 11, 2016

WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) today released the followed statement from Daniel Castro, ITIF vice president, welcoming final approval of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act and Judicial Redress Act:

We are happy to see policymakers coming together to pass commonsense legislation like the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act and Judicial Redress Act.

The cost, speed, and availability of broadband Internet access should continue to be a national priority, and by making the Internet Tax Freedom Act permanent, we can boost the growth of the Internet and the economic and societal benefits that come with it.

Furthermore, the flow of data across borders is essential for digital commerce in the 21st century, and passage of the Judicial Redress Act was necessary to keep our vital economic relationship with Europe intact.

Getting these two bills to the president’s desk is an important step forward on reaching agreement on other important tech issues. But more must be done, including passing ECPA reform, the Marketplace Fairness Act, and data breach notification. These are all examples of low-hanging legislative fruit. Lawmakers should move quickly to pass them and then move on to more difficult issues like improving cybersecurity, addressing digital piracy, and paving the way for emerging technologies like drones, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things. We hope today’s success signals a newfound cooperation to address many of the country’s challenges.

ITIF Welcomes Introduction of the ENCRYPT Act

The United States needs a uniform policy that encourages the use of encryption, not a patchwork of state policies trying to limit it.

February 10, 2016

WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) today released a statement from Daniel Castro, ITIF vice president, welcoming the introduction of the ENCRYPT Act:

We commend Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) for introducing the ENCRYPT Act, which would ban states and localities from mandating that companies tamper with the security of their products and services so that government can get access to encrypted user data. The United States needs a uniform policy that encourages the use of encryption, not a patchwork of state policies trying to limit it. The digital economy transcends state lines, and U.S. policy should as well. If states go their own way on encryption policy, it would fragment the U.S. market and interfere with digital commerce. This has to be a national issue.

Advancements in encryption will undoubtedly impact how the government fights crime and terrorism, but attempts to limit encryption domestically are impractical, create new cyber security vulnerabilities, and make it more difficult for U.S. companies to compete abroad. The United States should be embracing strong encryption, not trying to cripple it. 

On Anniversary of Barlow’s Cyberspace ‘Declaration of Independence,’ ITIF Renews Alternate Call for Interdependence in Governing Internet

ITIF calls for symbiotic relationship between sovereign nations & citizens to oversee cyberspace.

February 5, 2016

WASHINGTON—Ahead of Monday’s 20-year anniversary of John Perry Barlow’s “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a statement from Daniel Castro, ITIF vice president:

Monday will mark 20 years since John Perry Barlow issued “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” a manifesto that still serves as the lodestar for the many digital anarchists who believe governments have no moral standing or just authority to interfere with anything anyone may do on the Internet.

We at ITIF disagree. Three years ago, we released our own document, “A Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace,” which argues for a symbiotic relationship between sovereign nations and their citizens to oversee cyberspace in a way that protects rights for all individuals, not just the loudest voices.

What we said three years ago still stands:

“The Internet has no elected government, nor is it likely to have one, but this does not mean it is not governed. The Internet is ruled, as are all technologies, not only by the norms and beliefs of its users, but also by the laws and values of the societies in which they live.

“We do not want an Internet controlled by the nations of the world, but neither do we want an Internet divorced from government. We seek a balance that recognizes both the rights of the individual and the benefits to the community of well-ordered systems.

“We reject your declaration of independence and take up a new call for interdependence among sovereign nations and peoples. We will work together in common cause so that no one can arrest our progress.”

Barlow’s original declaration that the Internet and activity on it cannot and should not be governed has proved false time and again. Even he has backed away from his statements, as the potential negative consequences of turning the Internet over to Anonymous, 4chan, ISIL, and other online miscreants have become clear. It is time to recognize that all stakeholders on the Internet, including governments, should work together to protect the rights, dignity, and property of all individuals in our society.

Read ITIF’s “A Declaration of the Interdependence of Cyberspace.”

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