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Government-Held Spectrum Necessary for Wireless Broadband Growth

July 29, 2015 - Freeing up more federal government spectrum - potentially the largest source of additional spectrum for wireless broadband - requires a combination of administrative/budgetary and market mechanisms, stated Thomas Lenard in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for the hearing, "Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy." In addition, he noted, spectrum licensed for mobile satellite services (MMS) is the largest block of available spectrum in the short run.

TPI Aspen Forum Panel - Creative Destruction in the Creative Industries: How Technology is Changing Content Business Models

July 24, 2015 - Technology has affected almost every aspect of the entertainment industries. It has reduced costs to produce some types of content, changed established release strategies, and introduced new distribution channels. While much discussion has focused on the extent to which new distribution methods like streaming may displace more traditional methods, less discussion has focused on how a range of new technologies together might affect the balance of power in the creative industries. For example, Netflix is using its ability to learn detailed preferences about its subscribers to develop its own content that might not have succeeded on other platforms. Superstar powerhouse Taylor Swift is able to selectively pull her work from platforms whose business models she doesn't like. Are these harbingers of a shift in market power among the different groups of creative industries? The panel "Creative Destruction in the Creative Industries: How Technology is Changing Content Business Models" at the 2015 TPI Aspen Forum will bring together industry leaders to talk about these changes and their impact on the business of entertainment.

TPI Aspen Forum Panel: Congress and the FCC after Title II

July 22, 2015 - Once upon a time, opinions on telecommunications policy, while divisive, did not generally split along political party lines. That has been steadily changing, as best exemplified by the FCC's Open Internet Order. But as one analyst recently observed, "we would all be well served to engage these questions [of net neutrality and Title II reclassification] as questions of economics rather than morality plays about good and evil." So what do the economics imply about these issues and why do policymakers draw different conclusions from economic analysis? Will Congress be satisfied to wait until the courts render their verdicts on the Order, or is there a sense that Congress no longer believes the agency reflects its general preferences and therefore will force changes? Participants in the panel "Congress and the FCC after Title II" will discuss these and other issues at the 2015 TPI Aspen Forum.

Has Uber Forced Taxi Drivers to Step Up Their Game?

July 16, 2015 - During a taxi ride late one night a few years ago, a cabbie started berating me for asking him to drive the 25 minutes from downtown D.C. to my home in Maryland. At the time, I thought to myself, At least he took me. In the past, some drivers had simply refused. And, like many other cab riders, I came to expect that his cab's credit-card machine would be mysteriously "broken" when it came time to pay.

TPI Aspen Forum Panel Universal Service: Towards Broadband, Efficiency and Equity

July 14, 2015 - The Universal Service Fund, originally intended to subsidize voice communications for rural and low-income consumers, is steadily transitioning to focus on broadband. In 2011, the High-Cost Fund became the "Connect America" Fund and began to subsidize rural broadband. This year, the White House announced the "ConnectED" program, which increased funding to the Schools and Libraries E-Rate program. And the FCC is currently considering how the Lifeline program can subsidize broadband, rather than voice, connections for low-income people and whether to make subsidies available to even more rural providers.

Free Markets and Rural Universal Service

July 6, 2015 - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai raised an important issue when he decried the incomprehensible state of our rural universal service funding in a speech and op-ed article in Nebraska. However, despite claiming that "The Internet is the greatest free-market innovation in history"... Pai eschews free-market principles in his proposal to modernize the rural universal service subsidy program to promote broadband Internet access.

Aspen Forum Registration Discount Extended through July 4th Weekend

June 30, 2015 - Discounted registration for the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum has been extended through Tuesday, July 7th to accommodate the upcoming holiday weekend. The discount of $500 off the regular registration fee is available for industry and trade association attendees.

TPI Aspen Forum Panel: Whose Rules? Internet Regulations in a Global Economy

June 25, 2015 - With virtually every country, regional group, and intergovernmental organization focusing on promoting and regulating aspects of the Internet, the tech industry is often faced with differing rules and attitudes towards privacy, antitrust, net neutrality and other regulatory issues affecting internet platforms. Will the results be the death of the internet economy by a thousand, well-intentioned governmental acts, or a safer, more globally accepted internet world? The discussion panel "Whose Rules? Internet Regulations in a Global Economy" at the 2015 TPI Aspen Forum, will focus on the practical issues facing companies, governments, and others trying to work in or regulate an environment with constantly changing technologies and services, as well as increasingly complex and often conflicting rules and policies.

TPI Aspen Forum: Updated Agenda Now Available

June 24, 2015 - An updated agenda is available for the Technology Policy Institute's 2015 Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 16 - 18. Registration for the signature event can be performed on the TPI website and reduced fees are offered until July 1.

TPI Aspen Forum Opening Panel: Fall and Rise of the Regulatory State

June 17, 2015 - Today's policymakers, particularly in the technology space, seem to favor preemptive interventions consistent with the "precautionary principle" of regulation. This holds that it is better to prevent problems before they happen but eschews cost-benefit analysis when creating rules. In contrast, previous academic research documenting regulatory costs led to a loosening of regulatory regimes. What accounts for the newfound infatuation with the regulatory state? An all-star panel of academics will discuss this shift in attitudes towards the regulatory state and its possible consequences during the opening session: "Fall and Rise of the Regulatory State" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum.

Event Video Now Available: Innovation, Regulation, and the EU's Digital Single Market Strategy

June 12, 2015 - Video of the June 11th event, "Innovation, Regulation, and the EU's Digital Single Market Strategy" is now available on the TPI website.

Event - Innovation, Regulation, and the EU's Digital Single Market Strategy

June 9, 2015 - The European Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy is intended to break down the numerous barriers to cross-border online activity that currently exist in the European Union. The proposal covers a broad array of policies, including harmonizing EU rules for online purchases of goods, improving cross-border parcel delivery, integrating telecommunications regulation, and reducing burdens of different VAT regimes. While many of these proposals do not seem controversial - at least on this side of the Atlantic - some require closer scrutiny. For example, the strategy document includes a section on online platforms, reflecting the support of some officials for a general regulatory framework for "essential digital platforms." In addition, the Commission is launching in tandem with the Digital Single Market Strategy a competition law inquiry in the e-commerce area.

TPI Aspen Forum: Working Agenda Now Available

June 5, 2015 - A working agenda is now available for the Technology Policy Institute's 2015 Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 16 - 18. Registration for the signature event can be performed on the TPI website and reduced fees are offered until July 1.

Ridesharing Services Improve Traditional Taxi Service

June 2, 2015 - Competition introduced by the rising popularity of ridesharing services, such as Uber, is improving the consumer experience of both ridesharing and traditional taxicabs users, explains Scott Wallsten in "The Competitive Effects of the Sharing Economy: How is Uber Changing Taxis?" released today by the Technology Policy Institute.

Should Absence of Harm be Sufficient for Merger Approval?

May 28, 2015 - After Charter and Time Warner Cable announced their intention to merge, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler released a statement noting that "an absence of harm is not sufficient" to approve a merger. But it should be. Why would the government block a merger it believes isn't bad?

Nomi Enforcement will Not Improve Consumer Welfare

May 26, 2015 - "From a public policy perspective, the goal of the FTC's enforcement actions should be to maximize net social benefits," explains Thomas Lenard, Technology Policy Institute President and Senior Fellow, in comments filed today with the Federal Trade Commission. "In the case of Nomi Technologies, the Commission failed to show that its Consent Agreement will yield any net benefits. Indeed, it is questionable whether the Agreement will yield any benefits at all."

Event - Innovation, Regulation, and the EU's Digital Single Market Strategy

May 15, 2015 - The European Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy is intended to break down the numerous barriers to cross-border online activity that currently exist in the European Union. The proposal covers a broad array of policies, including harmonizing EU rules for online purchases of goods, improving cross-border parcel delivery, integrating telecommunications regulation, and reducing burdens of different VAT regimes. While many of these proposals do not seem controversial - at least on this side of the Atlantic - some require closer scrutiny. For example, the strategy document includes a section on online platforms, reflecting the support of some officials for a general regulatory framework for "essential digital platforms." In addition, the Commission is launching an inquiry in tandem with the Digital Single Market Strategy on the application of competition law in the e-commerce area.

TPI Aspen Forum: Agenda Preview

May 1, 2015 - Planning is underway for the Technology Policy Institute's 2015 Aspen Forum, and an agenda preview is now available. Registration for the signature event can be performed on the TPI website and reduced registration fees are offered until July 1st. This year's Forum is scheduled for August 16 - 18.

In Google Case, do what's Best for Consumers

April 22, 2015 - Europe's new top antitrust official, Margrethe Vestager, last week moved forward with a major antitrust suit against Google. At issue is the same "search bias" question that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated for two years. The FTC, however, closed its investigation due to lack of evidence of an antitrust violation and any feasible remedy likely to benefit consumers. The European Commission disagrees and is accusing Google of abusing its dominant position in search by favoring its own products, particularly its online shopping service.

Event Video Now Available - Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?

April 10, 2015 - Video of the February 11th event, "Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?" is now available on the TPI website.

Event Reminder- Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?

April 3, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for Congress. Competing bills introduced this year take different approaches to improving the patent litigation system. Will these proposals, ranging from heightened pleading standards to changing the standard for fee shifting, strengthen or weaken the patent system? What will be the effect on innovation? Panelists at "Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?" hosted by the Technology Policy Institute, will attempt to disentangle some of the conflicting data and research.

Event - Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?

March 30, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for Congress. Competing bills introduced this year take different approaches to improving the patent litigation system. Will these proposals, ranging from heightened pleading standards to changing the standard for fee shifting, strengthen or weaken the patent system? What will be the effect on innovation? Panelists at "Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?" hosted by the Technology Policy Institute, will attempt to disentangle some of the conflicting data and research.

Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?

March 17, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for Congress. Competing bills introduced this year take different approaches to improving the patent litigation system. Will these proposals, ranging from heightened pleading standards to changing the standard for fee shifting, strengthen or weaken the patent system? What will be the effect on innovation? Panelists at "Patent Reform and the 114th Congress: What does the Evidence Show?" hosted by the Technology Policy Institute, will attempt to disentangle some of the conflicting data and research. More details regarding the panel will be announced in upcoming weeks.

An Opportunity to Make Transparency the Norm at the FCC

March 5, 2015 - On Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate Internet service providers under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, but the public still isn't allowed to see the text of the decision. Such secrecy has quickly led to a firestorm of conspiracy talk.

Administration's Privacy Proposal is Next Step in Regulating Internet

March 4, 2015 - The Obama administration apparently wants its legacy to be that of regulating the Internet, notwithstanding the Internet's remarkable success in the United States under what has been a generally light-handed regulatory regime.

FCC Effort to Regulate Internet Ignores History of Past Failures

February 25, 2015 - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Tom Wheeler claims that his plan to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act is "rooted in long-standing regulatory principles."

Registration Now Open for TPI Aspen Forum

February 24, 2015 - Online registration is now open for the 2015 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled this year for August 16 - 18.

Event Video Now Available Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform

February 12, 2015 - Video of the February 11th event, "Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform" is now available on the TPI website. Panel presentations have also been posted.

Delays in Release of FCC Orders Illustrate Transparency Issues

February 10, 2015 - The Federal Communications Commission's unique custom of voting on orders not yet released to the public, and granting "editorial privileges" after approval, raises obvious transparency concerns, explains Scott Wallsten in "Administrative Procedures, Bureaucracy, and Transparency: Why Does the FCC Vote on Secret Texts?" released today by the Technology Policy Institute. Moreover, an analysis of delays in publication in the federal register after the vote suggests that edits made after the approval of an order go beyond simple copy editing and are probably of a more substantive nature.

Event - Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform

February 10, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for the upcoming Congress. Proponents of reform claim the current system produces excessive litigation, particularly on the part of "patent assertion entities," imposing costs on entrepreneurs and others and deterring innovation. Those on the other side suggest that the litigation explosion is overstated and that patent reform efforts will weaken intellectual property protections to the detriment of innovation. Complicating this issue is that the effects of the America Invents Act, recent court decisions, as well as changes at USPTO are still unfolding.

The FTC Report on the 'Internet of Things'

February 5, 2015 - The new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff report on the "Internet of Things" resembles previous commission privacy reports in being almost entirely bereft of new data or analysis. Commissioner Joshua Wright's dissenting statement is the best summary: "the Workshop Report includes a lengthy discussion of industry best practices and recommendations for broad-based privacy legislation without analytical support to establish the likelihood that those practices and recommendations, if adopted, would improve consumer welfare."

Event - Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform

February 3, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for the upcoming Congress. Proponents of reform claim the current system produces excessive litigation, particularly on the part of "patent assertion entities," imposing costs on entrepreneurs and others and deterring innovation. Those on the other side suggest that the litigation explosion is overstated and that patent reform efforts will weaken intellectual property protections to the detriment of innovation. Complicating this issue is that the effects of the America Invents Act, recent court decisions, as well as changes at USPTO are still unfolding.

We Don't Need to Define Broadband

February 2, 2015 - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided in its January open meeting that a data connection must offer at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to be considered "broadband." That was a mistake. It would also have been a mistake to adopt a lower standard preferred by Internet service providers (ISPs). Even the 4 Mbps standard the FCC adopted in 2010 was unnecessary.

New Study of Broadband Stimulus is not so Independent

January 23, 2015 - The National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) recently released a study evaluating its implementation of the $4.7 billion broadband stimulus program (the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP). The NTIA paid ASR Analytics $5 million to do the study, which it touts as "independent."

Event - Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform

January 12, 2015 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for the upcoming Congress. Proponents of reform claim the current system produces excessive litigation, particularly on the part of "patent assertion entities," imposing costs on entrepreneurs and others and deterring innovation. Those on the other side suggest that the litigation explosion is overstated and that patent reform efforts will weaken intellectual property protections to the detriment of innovation. Complicating this issue is that the effects of the America Invents Act, recent court decisions, as well as changes at USPTO are still unfolding.

Will Title II reduce investment? Who's asking?

January 6, 2015 - The debate over whether and how to regulate broadband has been a vicious, no-holds-barred throwdown. It is expected to come to a head with a vote at the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) next month. Appropriately, much of the debate has focused on how broadband and its uses will develop under different regulatory approaches. One of the biggest disputes is how classifying broadband under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act is likely to affect investment.

Save the Date: Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform

December 18, 2014 - Patent reform is high on the agenda for the upcoming Congress. Proponents of reform claim the current system produces excessive litigation, particularly on the part of "patent assertion entities," imposing costs on entrepreneurs and others and deterring innovation. Those on the other side suggest that the litigation explosion is overstated and that patent reform efforts will weaken intellectual property protections to the detriment of innovation. Complicating this issue is that the effects of the America Invents Act, recent court decisions, as well as changes at USPTO are still unknown.

Event Video Now Available - OTT Video: The End of Bundles?

November 18, 2014 - Video of the November 14th event, "OTT Video: The End of Bundles?" is now available on the TPI website.

Independence, the President and the FCC

November 17, 2014 - Independent regulatory agencies are strange creatures. They are part of the government, yet not immediately accountable to elected officials. Whenever an independent agency makes an unpopular decision, opponents complain about "unelected officials" making important public policy decisions, just as they do when courts reach decisions they don't like.

Geographic gTLD Proposal Politicizes Domain Name System

November 12, 2014 - A proposal to require applicants to secure approval for new geographic area gTLDs would "insert governments into the operation of ICANN in an unprecedented way", explains Thomas Lenard in comments filed today with ICANN's Government Advisory Committee (GAC). Granting governments a veto power over a potentially large class of new gTLDs would politicize the domain name system and is inconsistent with the market-oriented approach that allocates TLDs to their most highly valued uses. The comments were filed in response to the ICANN GAC draft document, "The protection of geographic names in the new gTLDs process"

Statement of Thomas Lenard on Title II Announcement

November 10, 2014 - This morning the White House released a statement asserting support for the reclassification of consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

Event - OTT Video: The End of Bundles?

November 6, 2014 - Recent announcements by HBO and CBS for pure over-the-top video services -- no cable subscription required - and a recent proposal to apply multichannel video programming distributor rules to OTT video providers have put the future of video markets back in the news. With these announcements, and other content providers watching carefully to decide whether to offer their own subscription OTT service, have we finally reached a tipping point away from bundles? What are the potential implications of stand-alone OTT services on the economics of video content creation and distribution? Do they have implications for pending mergers? How will the FCC's recent proposed rule affect OTT and traditional video services? A panel of experts representing all players in the video space will discuss these and other issues at the upcoming event, "OTT Video: The End of Bundles?" hosted by the Technology Policy Institute.

A Light-Handed Approach to the Internet, not Regulation

October 17, 2014 - I had thought that, at the end of the day, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would pull back from subjecting broadband to public utility-type regulation by reclassifying it as a Title II telecommunications service. I couldn't imagine that Chairman Tom Wheeler and his colleagues would want regulating the Internet to be their legacy.

A Better Way to Govern the Internet

October 14, 2014 - A previously obscure nonprofit corporation that essentially governs the Internet - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - has featured prominently in recent news stories due to the U.S. Department of Commerce's plan to relinquish its key oversight role. Details of this transition will be high on the agenda as ICANN stakeholders meet in Los Angeles this week. Many observers fear that ICANN could soon be subject to the heavy-handed influences of governments that do not share the values that have led to the innovation, flexibility and openness that has hitherto characterized the Internet.

ICANN Chair Responds to TPI's ICANN Accountability Concerns

August 26, 2014 - Point-by-point response by ICANN Chair Steve Crocker to "Internet governance in transition: What's the destination?" published in The Hill. The opinion piece was authored TPI President Thomas Lenard and Larry White, Professor of Economics at NYU's Stern School of Business.

Regulators Should Weigh Expected Benefits of Merger against Risk of Anticompetitive Harms

August 25, 2014 - Scott Wallsten, TPI Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow has filed the previously released paper, "An Economic Analysis of the Proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger" with the Federal Communications Commission in response to their request for comments to inform the examination of the proposed merger.

TPI Aspen Forum Videos Now Available

August 20, 2014 - Videos of the panels and keynotes at the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum are now available.

TPI Aspen Forum Kicks Off Next Weekend

August 8, 2014 - The 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum begins next Sunday, August 17 and runs through August 19. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3) will give opening remarks at this year's Forum and is expected to discuss the government's role in furthering progress in the technology sector. Prominent economist Tim Bresnahan from Stanford University will give a keynote address on entrepreneurship and economic growth and the featured Monday night dinner speaker will be David Cohen, Executive Vice President at Comcast. The event will also feature a special luncheon conversation with the authors of the landmark book "Information Rules," Carl Shapiro of the University of California, Berkeley and Hal Varian, Chief Economist of Google.

Aspen Breakout Sessions Address Key Policy Issues

August 6, 2014 - The Technology Policy Institute has confirmed presenters for the 2014 Aspen Forum breakout sessions. The three informal, off-the-record breakout sessions will cover the pertinent topics of net neutrality, innovation and patents, and spectrum sharing. The Aspen Forum is scheduled for August 17 - 19 and registration can still be performed online.

White House Privacy Reports Challenge Privacy Bill of Rights

August 5, 2014 - The recent White House big data reports are inconsistent with the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights proposed by the White House in 2012, states Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard in comments filed with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The reports, by a group led by Counselor John Podesta (the Big Data Report) and a complementary report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST Report), suggest privacy policy should focus on specific harmful uses of information, as opposed to policies limiting collection and use as described in the Privacy Bill of Rights

Can the AT&T-DirecTV Merger End the Universal Service High-Cost Fund?

August 4, 2014 - The fate of the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger will be decided largely on the basis of antitrust principles: What are the effects of the merger on competition and consumers, and do improved efficiencies outweigh any likely anticompetitive harms? One indirect benefit of the merger that has so far received no attention is the possibility that the merger might make it possible to do away with the Universal Service Fund's Connect America Fund (nee High Cost Fund).

Aspen Panel - Data and Trade

August 1, 2014 - Digital goods and services represent an increasingly large part of the U.S. and global economies and are only just beginning to be considered in the context of international trade. While digital trade can be an important component of economic growth, a thriving future is not guaranteed. Policies like data localization laws, internet governance rules that affect how data flows around the globe, and potential mistrust created by intrusive government surveillance, to name a few, can all act as digital trade barriers. The panel "Data and Trade" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum assembles a group of experts on trade and data flows to explore these issues and the future of digital trade.

Welcome to the Roadkill Cafe

July 29, 2014 - Notwithstanding Texas politician Jim Hightower's observation (courtesy of Commissioner Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission) that "there is nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos," it is a time-honored government tradition to frame an issue so that the preferred option is the one in the middle. This appears to be what Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has in mind as he navigates the open Internet minefield. However, the middle ground is not as safe as it might seem.

Big Data Benefits Consumers

July 28, 2014 - There is no evidence that big data results in discrimination against particular groups, states Technology Policy Institute President Thomas Lenard in comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission. The use of big data instead actually benefits lower-income consumers and helps companies make more accurate decisions. The comments are in response to a call for input on issues related to the upcoming workshop, "Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?"

Aspen Panel - Copyright Protection: Government vs. Voluntary Arrangements

July 22, 2014 - Attempts to mitigate the harms associated with digital piracy have yielded a variety of approaches, including legal digital sales channels, government intervention (such as the shutdown of Megaupload), and voluntary industry-level cooperation (such as the Copyright Alert System in the U.S.). Participants on the panel "Copyright Protection: Government vs. Voluntary Arrangements" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will discuss empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these initiatives, and legal and policy theories regarding the appropriateness of these initiatives to serve the interests of the creative industries, the technology industries, and society.

Aspen Panel: Political Economy of Telecom Reform

July 17, 2014 - Calls for a new Telecommunications Act have been growing, with proponents citing problems with the FCC's "siloed" structure in light of the increasing convergence of industries that compete in each other's markets. However, similar concerns motivated the 1996 legislation. How has the political landscape changed since the 1996 Act, and can new legislation be successful? Participants on the panel, "Political Economy of Telecom Reform" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will discuss such questions as: what, beyond market and technological changes, is motivating calls for telecom reform now; how can the process surrounding the 1996 Act inform development of a new Act today; what interest groups are involved, what are their incentives, and how have these groups and their interests changed since 1996?

FCC Again Fails to Justify Network Neutrality Rules

July 14, 2014 - In the most recent attempt to draft network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission has again failed to provide the data or analysis needed to show the proposed rules are necessary, would help consumers, or pass a cost-benefit test, states Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard in comments sent today to the FCC. In addition, the three proposed provisions are either unnecessary or potentially harmful.

Aspen Panel: Targeting a Secure Future

July 11, 2014 - No government agency or private corporation is immune today from cyber-attack, network penetration and loss of sensitive data. The panel "Targeting a Secure Future" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will examine whether the current approach to cyber-security is making any headway against this epidemic. Panelists, including key federal policymakers and private sector experts, will explore the government's responsibility to protect the private sector as well as companies' obligations (and abilities) to protect their own networks. Given that an effective public-private partnership is broadly viewed as necessary to advance cybersecurity, the panelists will also address whether treating companies that have been hacked as culprits, rather than victims, is sound public policy.

Aspen Forum Registration Discount Extended through July 7

June 30, 2014 - Discounted registration for the Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum has been extended through Monday, July 7st. The discount of $500 off the regular registration fee is available for industry and trade association attendees.

Aspen Panel - Internet Governance in Transition: What's the Destination?

June 25, 2014 - The U.S. government's decision to relinquish its historic role in Internet governance has raised questions regarding what's next for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and, more generally, who will be making policy decisions about the future of the Internet. The panel "Internet Governance in Transition: What's the Destination?" at the Technology Policy Institute's 2014 Aspen Forum, will bring together a diverse group of experts to discuss critical internet governance issues.

Undermining Transparency at the FCC

June 19, 2014 - Nancy Pelosi famously said about the Affordable Care Act, "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it." That would be a generous description of business-as-usual at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It can take weeks, and sometimes months, for the Commission to release an order they voted on. Even worse, the published and enforceable order is not what the commissioners voted on, but some version of it that hasn't seen sunlight until the day it shows up in the Federal Register.

Aspen Panel: Innovation and Privacy in the Era of Big Data

June 19, 2014 - Advances in the ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data is revolutionizing the way data are used in both the both the public and private sectors. In the past year, both the White House and the Federal Trade Commission have released reports on this issue, both touting the benefits of big data while warning of possible consumer harms. Participants on the panel "Innovation and Privacy in the Era of Big Data" at this year's TPI Aspen Forum will address questions related to big data.

Internet governance in transition: What's the destination?

June 17, 2014 - The U.S. government's decision to relinquish its historic role in Internet governance has set in motion a transition with no clear resolution. The Department of Commerce has asked the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to "convene stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan," but where this will lead is anyone's guess. What is clear is that the transition provides both the opportunity for, and the necessity of, undertaking a fundamental reevaluation of ICANN's accountability mechanisms.

Event - Reforming the Tax Code: A Transatlantic Perspective

June 17, 2014 - The Technology Policy Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute will host a luncheon discussion on tax reform on June 18th from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Tax reform is on the legislative agenda in the United States and abroad. But too often reform proposals miss the mark. Join the Technology Policy Institute (TPI) and the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) for a discussion of the benefits of, and political obstacles to tax reform in the U.S., particularly as they pertain to small business, and what we can learn from the United Kingdom.

TPI Aspen Forum Updated Agenda Now Available

June 11, 2014 - An updated preliminary agenda is now available online for the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19 in Aspen, Colorado. Registration for the event can be performed on the TPI website and reduced fees are still available until July 1st.

The FTC's Data Broker Report: Waiting for Godot?

June 4, 2014 - The FTC's recently released report on data brokers is, by my count, the fourth major government report in the last two years to propose new policy remedies for privacy "harms." Yet, like its predecessors, it fails to actually find these harms. The best the Commission can do in the most recent report is point to "potential risks" from data brokers, advertising that "some consumers may find troubling," and marketing classifications that "may be disconcerting." Although the report describes in detail many benefits from data brokers, evidence of actual harms due to their activities is apparently difficult to uncover or, more likely, nonexistent.

For Food Trucks, Social Media Matters

June 3, 2014 - Despite the widespread use of social media by entrepreneurs and small businesses, little analysis has been performed regarding its effectiveness, state Technology Policy Institute's Scott Wallsten and Corwin Rhyan in "Social Media and Entrepreneurship: The Case of Food Trucks." To help shed light on this issue, the authors examine the relationship between the use of social media and internet services by mobile food truck operators and the truck's ability to stay in business.

Comcast's David L. Cohen to Speak at TPI Aspen Forum

May 29, 2014 - David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, will be the featured dinner speaker at the Technology Policy Institute's 2014 Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19. Cohen will share his observations on key policy issues shaping the communications sector.

ICANN Should Increase External Accountability

May 27, 2014 - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' lack of accountability urgently needs to be addressed in light of the proposed transition away from limited oversight by the U.S. Department of Commerce, state Thomas Lenard and Lawrence White in comments filed today with ICANN. "Although ICANN has functioned reasonably well, we cannot assume that an organization that is essentially accountable to itself, with no meaningful external controls, can continue to do so indefinitely," they warn. Moreover, "notwithstanding the fact that U.S. oversight has been quite light-handed, the diminished U.S. role will create a void that other governments are anxious to fill."

"Familiar" Privacy Remedies Not Suited for Big Data

May 13, 2014 - The "familiar" privacy remedies that would limit the re-use and sharing of data are inconsistent with the ways in which big data are being used, according to a new paper, "Big Data, Privacy and the Familiar Solutions," by Technology Policy Institute's Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin. Moreover, there is no evidence that the privacy and security threats often cited by privacy advocates are actually occurring.

TPI Aspen Forum Preview Agenda Now Available

May 12, 2014 - A preview agenda is now available for the 2014 Technology Policy Institute Aspen Forum, scheduled for August 17 - 19. Registration can be performed on the TPI website, and reduced registration fees are offered until July 1st.

Event Videos now Available

May 9, 2014 - Videos of the May 5th event, "Internet Economics in a Changing Video and Data Environment," and videos and presentations from "The Evolving Media Landscape: What do the Data Show," held May 8th, are now available on the TPI website.

Regulators Should Weigh Expected Benefits of Merger against Risk of Anticompetitive Harms

May 7, 2014 - Despite the controversy surrounding the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, "the question regulators and antitrust authorities must answer is the same as it is for any merger," explains Scott Wallsten in "An Economic Analysis of the Proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger," released today by the Technology Policy Institute. Regulators must determine if "expected benefits that flow from increased efficiencies outweigh the chances that the merger could increase the incentive and ability of the combined firm to behave in anticompetitive behavior and the magnitude of those effects."

Event - The Evolving Media Landscape: What do the Data Show?

May 5, 2014 - Digital channels for distribution create new opportunities for artists and content owners, but also new challenges in enforcing copyright and reducing piracy. How much of an impact does piracy have on the creative industries? Have past efforts to curb piracy been effective? This panel discussion will highlight findings from recent empirical research analyzing the impact of piracy on sales of copyrighted products and quantifying the effectiveness of both policy-based and market-based strategies for fighting piracy.

Event - Internet Economics in a Changing Video and Data Environment

April 29, 2014 - Not many years ago policy debates focused almost exclusively on the "last-mile" broadband connection to consumers' homes. Recent public disputes between Netflix and ISPs Comcast and Verizon, however, have highlighted the importance to the consumer's online experience of peering arrangements, content delivery networks (CDNs), and other inner workings of the Internet. At the same time, the need to continue investing in the network to keep up with increasing demand has not diminished. This event will focus on the economics underlying the current controversies and how the web of peering agreements, CDNs, last-mile and backbone networks interact to keep both money and content flowing to where it is most needed.

Aspen Forum 2015