Eli Dourado

Eli Dourado

  • Director of Technology Policy Program
  • Research Fellow

Eli Dourado is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of its Technology Policy Program. He specializes in Internet governance, intellectual property, cryptocurrency, Internet security, and the economics of technology. His popular writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostForeign PolicyThe GuardianArs Technica, and Wired, among other outlets.

Dourado is a member of the State Department’s International Telecommunication Advisory Committee and has served on several U.S. delegations to UN treaty and policy conferences. In 2013, he won an IP3 award from Public Knowledge for the creation of WCITLeaks.org, a transparency website focused on the UN’s International Telecommunication Union.

Dourado is a PhD candidate in economics at George Mason University and received his BA in economics and political science from Furman University.

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Published Research

Working Papers


Policy Briefs

Testimony & Comments

Eli Dourado, Samuel Hammond | Nov 06, 2015
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing to implement a national registration system for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), the details of which are to be recom- mended by a task force no later than November 20. The stated aim of the registry is to assist in identifying owners and operators of UASs that violate the law and endanger safety, thereby closing a perceived gap in enforcement. This comment highlights several major procedural concerns, followed by an examination of whether the safety benefits of a registry are likely to outweigh the societal and budgetary costs.
Eli Dourado, Ryan Hagemann, Adam Thierer | Apr 24, 2015
The FAA must carefully consider the potential effect of UASs on the US economy. If it does not, innovation and technological advancement in the commercial UAS space will find a home elsewhere in the world. Many of the most innovative UAS advances are already happening abroad, not in the United States. If the United States is to be a leader in the development of UAS technologies, the FAA must open the American skies to innovation.
Jerry Brito, Eli Dourado | Aug 14, 2014
As the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has found, certain virtual currency businesses are money service businesses. Typically such money service businesses engage in money transmission and as a result must acquire a money transmitter license in each state in which they do business.
Eli Dourado | Mar 10, 2014
That many nongovernmental stakeholder communities are electing to participate in Internet governance processes on their own account implies that governments lack the consent necessary to legitimately exercise a primary role.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Nov 12, 2015

Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration estimate that up to a million drones will be sold this holiday season, and it's making them very nervous. Let's face it: Some of these drone recipients — possibly even a few Vox readers — are likely to do something stupid with their new toys in the next few months.
Oct 20, 2015

As of Oct. 1, Comcast customers in a few small markets are now subject to metered data use. Households that use more than 300 gigabytes of data per month will have the choice to pay $10 for an extra 50 gigabytes or $30 per month for unlimited service. The cable giant joins the No. 4 player in the industry, Cox Communications, in offering tiers that vary in price depending on data use.
Aug 17, 2015

As Bitcoin has grown, so has the debate about whether limiting the size of the blockchain – which records Bitcoin transactions – is truly sustainable. Recently, some Bitcoin developers have suggested creating a fork, meaning the underlying network would split and and create two incompatible blockchains. The Mercatus Center’s Eli Dourado and Andrea Castillo share their thoughts on this latest development.
Feb 05, 2015

FCC Commissioner Wheeler announced his intention to propose new “Net Neutrality” rules this month which will be voted on by the FCC on February 26. The Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program scholars have weighed in heavily on this issue, including Public Comment to the FCC, commentary in the press, and a study on mobile Net Neutrality, “Innovations in Mobile Broadband Pricing.” In addition to these resources, below are highlights from Mercatus scholars on Net Neutrality.
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