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

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.
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.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Speeches & Presentations

Expert Commentary

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.
Feb 26, 2015

The Federal Communications Commission today voted, 3-2, that the Internet will be subject to many of the Title II regulatory provisions of the 1934 Communications Act. Applying Title II laws to broadband means regulating the Internet as a common carrier, akin to the telephone network, and gives significant control of the Internet to the FCC, lobbyists, and industry players.
Feb 26, 2015

For those who know where to look, virtual worlds contain many riches indeed, from in-game currencies to Amazon coins to frequent flyer rewards. For bureaucrats and those who love them, there may be no reassuring answer to the question of how the state can credibly manage the threat of stateless digital exchanges. The virtual money revolution will not just transform the economy; it will undermine the government's control of it.
Feb 23, 2015

The government would be mistaken to discourage monetary competition on the grounds that some bitcoin users will purchase illicit goods or avoid paying taxes. It would also be hypocritical, for the dollar is still the criminal’s currency of choice. So long as the United States continues to produce cash — and $100 bills, in particular — it has no business regulating bitcoin.
Feb 23, 2015

Brent Skorup debunks five myths surrounding net neutrality: the Internet has always been neutral; net neutrality regulations are the only way to promote an open Internet; net neutrality regulations improve broadband competition; all prioritized Internet services are harmful to users; net neutrality rules will make broadband cheaper and Internet services like Netflix faster.
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.

Charts

This week’s charts use data from the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office to display total federal cybersecurity spending required by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) with the total number of reported information security incidents of federal systems from 2006 to 2013.

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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