Tech Policy

Tech Policy

Research

Cynthia D. Love, Sean Lawson, Avery E. Holton | Sep 19, 2014
Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), commonly referred to as drones, have rocketed to public attention in the last decade, largely as a result of the U.S. military’s use of this technology in the“War on Terror.” As UASs have come home and have been put to a growing number of uses in domestic airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration has attempted to ban their commercial use.
Adam Thierer, Ryan Hagemann | Sep 17, 2014
This paper addresses some of the early policy concerns about “connected cars” and driverless vehicles and promotes “bottom-up” solutions to ensure that innovation continues to flourish in this space.
Eli Dourado | Sep 08, 2014
Libertarians intuitively understand the case for patents: just as other property rights internalize the social benefits of improvements to land, automobile maintenance, or business investment, patents incentivize the creation of new inventions, which might otherwise be undersupplied.
Roslyn Layton , Michael Horney | Aug 12, 2014
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Roslyn Layton and Michael Horney survey broadband in America and compare broadband costs around the world. They find that the United States is a global leader in broadband, as measured by the level of broadband-enabled economic activity, the number of Internet-based companies, the level of digital exports, and the level of Internet-enabled employment.
Eli Dourado, Ian Robinson | Aug 06, 2014
In the past two years, a spate of misleading reports on intellectual property has sought to convince policymakers and the public that implausibly high proportions of US output and employment depend on expansive intellectual property (IP) rights. These reports provide no theoretical or empirical evidence to support such a claim, but instead simply assume that the existence of intellectual property in an industry creates the jobs in that industry.
Eli Dourado, Jerry Brito | Jul 01, 2014
This article explains what cryptocurrency is and begins to answer the new questions that it raises. To understand why cryptocurrency has the characteristics it has, it is important to understand the problem that is being solved. For this reason, we start with the problems that have plagued digital cash in the past and the technical advance that makes cryptocurrency possible. Once this foundation is laid, we discuss the unique economic questions that the solution raises.

Testimony & Comments

Brent Skorup | Sep 15, 2014
Though an effective rallying cry, there is no consensus about what “net neutrality” or the “open Internet” means when it comes to putting rules on paper. Professor Barbara van Schewick has said, “If there is no rule against blocking in a proposal, it’s not a network neutrality proposal.
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.
Brent Skorup | Jul 24, 2014
From time to time the FCC must reexamine the justifications for its rules. In light of the many industry changes since these rules were promulgated, the FCC should repeal these rules and others. The FCC cannot fix all of the regulatory distortions in the video marketplace, but repealing network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules is an excellent first step.
Brent Skorup | Jun 20, 2014
Notwithstanding the DACA recommendations for a reconstituted communications competition agency, Congress should also consider alternatives such as abolishing the FCC entirely and relying on antitrust agencies or merging the FCC’s responsibilities with the Federal Trade Commission.
Brent Skorup | Apr 25, 2014
Former senior Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials Gerald Faulhaber and David Farber noted without irony that US spectrum policy resembles GOSPLAN, the Soviet planning agency that distributed scarce inputs to producers in every sector of the Soviet economy. The woeful inefficiencies and waste resulting from the current system of regulatory allocation are predictable, yet avoidable.
Jerry Brito | Apr 02, 2014
Online virtual currencies are nothing new. They have existed for decades—from World of Warcraft Gold to Facebook Credits to e-gold. Neither are online payments systems new. PayPal, Visa, and Western Union Pay are all examples. So what is it about Bitcoin that makes it unique? Bitcoin is the world’s first completely decentralized digital currency. Its decentralized nature results in lower transactions costs, making it particularly attractive to small businesses. It could also be an attractive electronic payments option for consumers, including the unbanked and underbanked. Risks include volatility and security, but these are not problems inherent in Bitcoin’s design.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Speeches & Presentations

Expert Commentary

Sep 16, 2014

Even when mergers don't make sense, the market does a better job than regulators of sorting the good from the bad. Remember AOL-Time Warner's 2000 marriage? Their shareholders certainly don't want you to.
Aug 22, 2014

On the heels of more than 1.1 million Americans recently submitting comments to the Federal Communications Commission on Internet openness, the FCC has announced that it will hold a series of "open Internet roundtable discussions" with the aim of clarifying to what extent communications law should be reinterpreted.
Jul 17, 2014

The New York Department of Financial Services released a draft proposal today for licensing and regulating virtual currency businesses, like Bitcoin. Mercatus scholar Jerry Brito reacts to their “BitLicense” proposal at The Technology Liberation Front, noting that while New York is on the right track, there is room for improvement.
Jul 14, 2014

A more plausible argument is that while displaying a photo may be protected, a prohibition on taking photos would not be a prohibition on "speech." This is because unlike displaying photos, when taking a picture one is not speaking to an audience—there is no message being conveyed. So does that mean we can prohibit the capture of images without the subject's consent?
Jul 08, 2014

Washington, D.C. cabbies recently put together a slow-moving taxi caravan in protest of disruptive transportation services Uber and Lyft, claiming that existing transportation regulations need to be applied to these novel services.
Jul 06, 2014

Regulators at Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission should be happy that the market is adapting and that companies like Uber and Lyft are solving the asymmetric information problem. Instead of congratulating these companies, however, the PUC has pre-emptively banned these services.

Charts

Experts

Podcasts

Adam Thierer | June 02, 2014
Adam Thierer Discusses Permissionless Innovation on Real Clear Radio Hour

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

Please join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and Senior Research Fellow Adam Thierer for a Capitol Hill Campus program exploring emerging technologies and the freedom, or lack thereof, to innovate.

Books

Tom W. Bell | Apr 29, 2014
Intellectual Privilege reveals copyright as a statutory privilege that threatens our natural and constitutional rights. From this fresh perspective comes fresh solutions to copyright’s problems.

Media Clippings

Adam Thierer | Jul 03, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Real Clear Policy.
Jerry Brito | Jun 02, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Yahoo News.
Jerry Brito | May 29, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Advertising Age.
Adam Thierer | May 16, 2014
Adam Thierer quoted at Tech News World.
Adam Thierer | May 04, 2014
Adam Thierer new book, "Permissionless Innovation" cited in the Wall Street Journal.
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