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PFF in the News...
July 2009
  • "New Technologies," Communications Daily, July 31, 2009
    "Applicants for new generic top-level domains may try to game the system by filing trademark applications for everyday words such as '.music,' Progress & Freedom Foundation Adjunct Fellow Michael Palage said Thursday."
    "ICANN's failure to address the issue before finalizing the new gTLDs could end up fracturing the unique domain name system root, he said."
    "Palage urged ICANN to address the front-running issue by raising global awareness among trademark offices and practitioners, engaging in constructive dialogue with the trademark community, and changing the draft applicant guidebook and registry template agreement accordingly."
  • "Persistent Problem of File Sharing," ABC News, July 30, 2009
    "In his opening statement before the committee, Thomas Sydnor II, director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property, stated that since preteens and teenage children comprised many of the users of file-sharing programs, inadvertent sharing often effects entire families and the employers of family members."
  • "Towns to Call Attention to Peer-to-Peer Network Issues," CongressDaily, July 29, 2009
    "LimeWire's features remain 'horribly dangerous' and 'the option of relying upon good faith and voluntary self-regulation isn't viable,' Sydnor said in an interview. He said it may be time for the Justice Department and state attorneys general to clamp down."
  • "P2P Ban Plan for Government Gets Mixed Response," Network World, July 31, 2009
    "The idea is an 'excellent' one, said Thomas Sydnor, a director at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a Washington based think-tank. 'The real questions are over how it gets implemented and by whom,' Sydnor said.
    "Over the past few years there has been some debate in Washington over the need to regulate use of P2P software on government networks, because of data leak fears, he said."
    "The difference right now is that if a federal agency is not complying with the OMB directive it remains an executive branch concern. 'The debate is whether it should be done by law or by directive,' he said.
    "Either way, the time has come for greater oversight over the use of file-sharing tools on government and contractor networks, especially because more government workers are logging into to work from home, these days Sydnor said. Care needs to be taken to ensure that any law that is crafted not 'sweep in' useful file-sharing technologies as well, he added."
  • "FTC May Urge Virtual Age Verification," Tech Daily Dose, July 28, 2009
    "The FTC will likely recommend in an upcoming report that virtual worlds like Second Life incorporate some sort of age-verification technology to keep youngsters away from inappropriate content, Progress and Freedom Foundation senior fellow Berin Szoka said at a Monday briefing on online child safety."
  • "FCC's Broadband Czar Unmoved By First Comment Round To Agency," Multichannel News, July 27, 2009
    "Former FCC Media Bureau chief Ken Ferree, now president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, which filed comments on the plan, said he sympathized with Levin.
    "'I think the reality is that the commission often gets a lot of comments that are not particularly helpful — that's the nature of public input,' Ferree said. 'I think it is particularly asking a lot if you think you are going to get really targeted suggestions in response to [a notice of inquiry] that was as general as this one was. If you want specific answers, you had generally better ask specific questions.'
    "But Levin will have plenty of data and suggestions to work with, Ferree said.
    "'In the end, it's not like Moses is going to come down from the mount with answers already carved in stone for you,' Ferree said."
  • "US Residents Call for Net-Neutrality Rules," New York Times, July 21, 2009
    "With so many U.S. residents having access to broadband, any new regulations should be narrowly targeted, added Kenneth Ferree, president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank.
    "'Fortunately, the sky is not falling and reports of our national broadband demise have been greatly exaggerated,' Ferree wrote in comments to the FCC. 'As a factual matter, all evidence suggests that, in the case of broadband markets, people do seek variety and they do use different platforms and services to satisfy different market demands. If anything, the broadband market is not behaving like a market in failure, but rather one that is characterized by rapid development, frequent service improvements, and widespread consumer satisfaction'"
  • "Locked In," Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette, July 21, 2009
    "Smaller wireless carriers can compete without negotiating an exclusive handset deal, said Barbara Esbin, senior fellow and director of the Center for Communications and Competition Policy at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a Washington think tank. Lowering rates, improving service or offering strong reception also could help carriers build a customer base.
    "Exclusive deals in the cell phone industry are no different from other retail marketing arrangements, Esbin said. The partnerships are similar to Kmart's line of Martha Stewart products."
  • "House Whip: Recovery Package Must Not Leave Rural Areas Behind,",  July 15, 2009
    "Barbara Esbin, senior fellow and director of the Center for Communications and Competition Policy at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said that the FCC's national broadband plan 'will look like a larger framework with plans for other plans' and that 'if the plan calls for legislation that plan will be in the future.'
    "Although what the NTIA and RUS have been able to do is 'admirable,' many of the projects funded will end up as 'case studies,' she said."
  • "Behavioral Targeting's Value -- and Myths -- Must Be Explained Better, PFF Hears," Washington Internet Daily, July 13, 2009
    "The so-called long tail of Internet content can't survive on advertising without behavioral targeting of some kind, speakers told a Progress & Freedom Foundation event on Capitol Hill Friday"
    "Survey data are 'very ambiguous' as to the value Internet users place on relevant ads, with users responding most strongly to a glut of any form of advertising, [visiting PFF fellow Mark Adams] said. Berin Szoka, director of the foundation's Center for Internet Freedom, pointed to 'experimental data' showing that targeted ads have click through rates three to seven times higher than non-targeted ads, which 'gives us a pretty strong indication' of users' actual views."
  • "Safety Report Promotes Education for Parents, Teachers, Kids," Washington Internet Daily, July 09, 2009
    "Education and self-regulation remain the options of choice for keeping children safe online, according to a new task force report. The Point Smart Click Safe report, developed by a group of industry, children's advocacy and health research organizations, presented a set of best practices intended to help children have positive online experiences. Task force member Adam Thierer of the Progress & Freedom Foundation said the report builds on collected wisdom of past reports, but offers concrete best practices recommendations that set new benchmarks for industry.
    "Thierer said he's optimistic about the report's influence on Congress -- just two years ago, a bill that would have banned social networking sites in publicly funded schools and libraries got 415 votes in the House, he said."
  • "Telecom Deals Under Scrutiny," The Seattle Times, July 8, 2009
    "The major carriers and their supporters, such as the libertarian-leaning Progress and Freedom Foundation, counter that exclusivity deals actually enhance competition. When one carrier has exclusive rights to a particular phone, competing carriers and manufacturers are encouraged to offer other phones with equal or greater capabilities. The iPhone spurred the development and launch of both the BlackBerry Storm and the Palm Pre, they argue."
  • "Comcast, Cox Contribute to Internet Safety Report," Ced Magazine, July 8, 2009
    "Adam Thierer, senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, said the working group found that 'there is no single 'silver-bullet' solution to child safety concerns. Instead, we need a holistic approach based on education, empowerment, and sensible industry self-regulation. The best practices outlined in this report will set a new benchmark for online operators going forward to ensure that they have policies in place to keep kids and parents educated and informed about how to stay safe online."
  • "Pick Your Handset or a Network, Not Both," Boston Globe, July 8, 2009
    "'I think a rule prohibiting exclusives would sacrifice the greater good of all consumers,' said Barbara Esbin, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market-oriented think tank.
    Esbin said the iPhone's popularity has spawned a host of advanced handsets like the Pre, the Storm, the G1 Android phone from HTC Corp., and many others, resulting in more choices for consumers.
    She added that exclusive deals are common in business; for example, TV personality Martha Stewart's has an exclusive deal to sell household items at K Mart stores. 'I would find it extraordinary if the government told Martha Stewart you have to sell at Target,' Esbin said."
  • "A New Signal from the FCC," Business Week, July 6, 2009
    "Genachowski, 46, declined to be interviewed and has so far offered few specifics about his regulatory philosophy. But he seems to share with Obama, a former Harvard Law School classmate, a conviction that U.S. communications policy needs to be dragged into the 21st century. 'Julius and the President are passionate about technology. You might even say they are techno-geeks,' says Ken Ferree, [President of The Progress & Freedom Foundation and] former top FCC official. 'They know how important it is to make technology as accessible to as many people as possible. That passion will make a huge difference.'"
  •  "Media, Marketing Groups Offer Self-Regulation to Address Behavioral Advertising Concerns," TR Daily, July 6, 2009
    "'During a time of economic recession, and as traditional media like newspapers struggle to make the transition from print to the Internet, it's more important than ever that policy-makers allow self-regulation to evolve,' said Berin Szoka, fellow and director of the Progress & Freedom Foundation's Center for Internet Freedom. 'These principles do much to empower Americans to make their own decisions about privacy. This is a vastly superior approach to imposing preemptive regulations based on the elitist presumption that people won't make the "right" decision.'"
  • "Cyberbullying Report Opposes Regulation," Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2009 "'Hopefully we put the cyber-predation bogeyman to bed for a while,' said Adam Thierer, a fellow at the [the Progress & Freedom Foundation ] who authored the report, 'and finally gotten parents and policymakers to focus on the more serious threat that kids face today of peer-on-peer bullying.'" "Cyberbullying, when practiced by kids against other kids, is significant, growing and potentially more damaging than its offline counterparts. 'People are more likely to say more hurtful things online and behind the veil of anonymity,' said Berin Szoka, the other co-author, 'and that's both because they're not physically present with the person they're harassing, and also because they're less likely to be caught.'"
    "Messrs. Szoka and Thierer say, however, that [Rep. Sánchez's] bill creates a worrisome different standard for bullying online. 'If the statements made in the Lori Drew case were made on a playground, the perpetrator might face a stern conversation with the principal and possibly suspension,' they write. 'But if the same comment were sent via email or posted on a social networking site, such a bully would be subject to potential federal prosecution under [the] bill.'
    "They instead argue that Congress should be pushing educational, rather than regulatory, efforts, such as the 'School and Family Education About the Internet Act,' [which] proposes a grant program that could go toward Internet safety training for teachers, public-education programs and more education for parents around Internet risks."

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