Tech Policy

Tech Policy

Research

Adam Thierer | Feb 18, 2015
This paper highlights some of the opportunities presented by the rise of the so-called “Internet of Things” and wearable technology in particular, and encourages policymakers to allow these technologies to develop in a relatively unabated fashion. As with other new and highly disruptive digital technologies, however, the Internet of Things and wearable tech will challenge existing social, economic, and legal norms.
Jerry Brito, Houman Shadab, Andrea Castillo | Jan 15, 2015
In this article we survey the type of financial instruments and transactions that will most likely be of interest to regulators, including traditional securities and derivatives, new bitcoin-denominated instruments, and completely decentralized markets and exchanges.
Christopher Koopman, Matthew Mitchell, Adam Thierer | Dec 08, 2014
When market circumstances change dramatically—or when new technology or competition alleviates the need for regulation—then public policy should evolve and adapt to accommodate these realities. This paper concludes with some proposals for further research in this area, and a call for a more informed regulatory approach that accounts for the innovations of the sharing economy.
Avery E. Holton, Sean Lawson, Cynthia D. Love | Dec 06, 2014
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as “drones,” have gained media attention over the last several years with much of the focus centering on their military uses and their emerging role in newsgathering. News organizations, journalists, and private citizens have employed UAVs to capture and share breaking news, to provide glimpses of natural disasters that would otherwise be too hazardous for journalists to obtain, and to offer unique perspectives that enrich news storytelling.
Adam Thierer | Nov 19, 2014
This paper highlights some of the opportunities presented by the rise of the so-called Internet of Things in general and wearable technology in particular and encourages policymakers to allow these technologies to develop in a relatively unabated fashion. As with other new and highly disruptive digital technologies, however, the Internet of Things and wearable technology will challenge existing social, economic, and legal norms.
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.

Testimony & Comments

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.
Adam Thierer | Feb 11, 2015
We should remain patient and continue to embrace permissionless innovation to ensure that the Internet of Things thrives and American consumers and companies continue to be global leaders in the digital economy.
Brent Skorup | Jan 22, 2015
The focus of the committee’s white paper on how to “foster” various television distributors, while understandable, was nonetheless misguided. Such an inquiry will likely lead to harmful rules that favor some companies and programmers over others, based on political whims. Congress and the FCC should get out of “fostering” the video distribution markets completely. A light-touch regulatory approach will prevent the damaging effects of lobbying for privilege and will ensure the primacy of consumer choice.
Adam Thierer, Ryan Hagemann | Sep 23, 2014
As part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA), Congress ordered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UASs)—sometimes referred to as drones—into the National Airspace System by September 2015. As part of that effort, the FAA is currently accepting comments on its “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft” (Section 336 of the FMRA) and the FAA’s enforcement authority over model aircraft as affirmed by the statute.
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.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Speeches & Presentations

Expert Commentary

Apr 06, 2015

Last week marked another historic, continent wide expedition, although this time the Delphi Automotive team's traveling companion wasn't a dog, but a robot chauffer. A driverless car, starting from the Golden Gate Bridge, safely traveled the intervening 3,500 miles to arrive just in time for the New York International Auto Show.
Mar 31, 2015

Regulators recently announced they are injecting themselves into the Internet’s development by, among other things, requiring that tech and communications companies seek permission before turning out new Internet services and business models. In response, this week Internet providers – both small and large – sued to strike down the rules for transgressions of administrative and constitutional law.
Mar 11, 2015

Adam Thierer provides his insight on the proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: "The bill aims to convert fair information practice principles, which have traditionally been flexible, voluntary guidelines, into a more formal set of federal regulatory edicts. Many of the principles found in the administration’s draft proposal are quite sensible as best practices for private-sector digital innovators, but the danger here is that they would be transformed into a heavy-handed, bureaucratized regulatory regime for America’s dynamic, data-driven economy."
Mar 03, 2015

Today's robots may lack emotions, but they have quite a knack for rousing heated passions within their prevailing meaty overlords. Ray Kurzweil and his devotees daydream of a singularity rapture, when benevolent machine intelligence will overtake human knowledge to saturate and awaken the universe. On the gloomier side of the existential spectrum, Elon Musk recently donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute to fight the rise of killer robots. Either way, these thinking machines are expected to be a pretty big deal. But we can hardly wait for cosmic horror or transhumanist actualization to start asking the tough questions: Will the robots take our jobs?
Mar 03, 2015

Robophobia exists on a continuum. At the extreme end are reactionaries who indiscriminately look to stifle all that goes beep in the night. They call for swift and pre-emptive regulations to address any imagined safety or privacy concerns, however unlikely. To the extent that they can enact their ideas, their mind-set is guaranteed to slow the pace of innovation, resulting in countless lost opportunities for economic and social progress—and, yes, even consumer safety and privacy. You'd almost suspect that this is their unstated goal.
Feb 27, 2015

The Obama Administration has just released a draft “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015.” Generally speaking, the bill aims to translate fair information practice principles (FIPPs) — which have traditionally been flexible and voluntary guidelines — into a formal set of industry best practices that would be federally enforced on private sector digital innovators. This includes federally-mandated Privacy Review Boards, approved by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency that will be primarily responsible for enforcing the new regulatory regime.

Charts

This week’s chart uses data from federal websites and budget documents to display the federal offices whose missions are directly dedicated to cybersecurity monitoring, provision, and preparedness. Information in a 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “Cybersecurity: National Strategy, Roles, and Responsibilities Need to Be Better Defined and More Effectively Implemented,” provided the names of several agencies and high offices tasked with coordinating both internal federal cybersecurity and public-private coordination.

Experts

Podcasts

Brent Skorup | February 26, 2015
Brent Skorup Discusses Net Neutrality on NPR

Recent Events

This program will: provide an introduction to net neutrality and briefly explain the history of the debate, lay out the arguments for and against net neutrality, and discuss mechanisms to ensure the Internet remains a vibrantly free conduit and tool for ideas, innovation and economic growth.

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, Christopher Koopman | Jan 25, 2015
This excerpt originally appeared in Wall Street Journal.
Eli Dourado | Sep 06, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in The Hill.
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.
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