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PFF in the News...
May 2009
  • "Reform groups to FCC: more TV content ratings, please!," ArsTechnica, May 26, 2009
    "'There has never been a time in our nation's history when parents have had more tools and methods at their disposal to help them decide what constitutes acceptable media content in their homes and in the lives of their children,' noted Adam Thierer of the Progress and Freedom Foundation in his comments on this proceeding.
    "PFF's filing is 148 pages long, but anyone leaning towards more regulation in this area should give the commentary a read. A key point is that when Congress passed the Child Safe Viewing Act in 2007—asking the FCC to advise the government on the state of content filtering devices—it authorized this inquiry and no more.
    "'Does the Commission recognize any boundaries to the oversight authority it asserts in the name of investigating "advanced blocking technologies?"' Thierer asked. 'It certainly should.'"
  • "PFF Argues Against COPPA 2.0 and Age Verification Mandates," Tech Law Journal, May 21, 2009
    "The Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) released a paper [36 pages in PDF] titled 'COPPA 2.0: The New Battle over Privacy, Age Verification, Online Safety & Free Speech.' The authors are the PFF's Berin Szoka and Adam Thierer.
    "This paper is a response to various proposals, some of which are manifested state legislative bills, to expand COPPA like regulatory regimes. The paper argues that such proposals are backdoor age verification mandates, and would raise First Amendment concerns, reduce online privacy, and conflict with the dormant commerce clause."
  • "Podcast: Could expanding privacy law harm children?," CNET News, May 22, 2009 "A new report from the Progress & Freedom Foundation says that officials in some states want to pass legislation that would extend the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) from covering children under 13 to covering teens until they're 18.
    "Expanding the law to cover teens till they're 18, according to the report, would 'require websites to obtain more information about both minors and their parents, which runs counter to the original goal of the Act: protecting the privacy of minors.' Ultimately, say the authors [Berin Szoka and Adam Thierer], 'this would actually make minors less "safe online."'"
  • "Ex-Astronaut Is Top Candidate to Run NASA," The New York Times, May 16, 2009 Berin Szoka, a fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a Washington research organization, said that if the ethics policy were consistently applied, General Bolden would recuse himself from issues that could affect Gencorp, and those would essentially include the entire Constellation program.
  • "EU hits Intel With Antitrust Fine," Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2009
    "But Ken Ferree, president of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, said European regulators were on a dangerous path.
    "'It seems like the European competition policy is "bigness is badness." If you're big, there's something suspicious about you and you must be doing something evil to either get big or stay big,' he said. 'Sometimes it's true. But in and of itself, bigness is not badness. Many of the drivers of our economy are big companies.'"
  • "EU Hits Intel with $1.45B Fine for Antitrust Violations," PC Magazine, May 13, 2009 Industry reaction was naturally polarized.
    "If you love jobs and economic growth, you have to love the companies that drive the economy and create employment demand," Ken Ferree, the president of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said in a statement. "As U.S. policymakers review the EC decision, they should think carefully before adopting a competition policy that handicaps the very companies that are the key to sustaining this country's long-term economic health. Decisions like this do nothing to illuminate the path to a vibrant and growing economy, but rather obscure it."
  • "P2P Protection Bill Could Hit Broader Internet Industry, Subcommittee Told," Washington Internet Daily, May 6, 2009
    "Self-regulation 'has failed miserably in the past and I can report that it's failing again right now,' contrary to DCIA's claims, said Tom Sydnor, senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation. As a Patent and Trademark Office adviser, he led a 2003 agency study of risks to government information from P2P software. Over 150,000 tax returns from New York alone are available on P2P networks, Sydnor said. Upgrading to LimeWire 5 from a previous version will carry over default share settings for sensitive documents, and even uninstalling an old version before installing version 5 will 'call back from the dead' the troublesome settings for most file types, he said."
  • "Stimulus Stimulates Old Fight Over Municipal Networks," Communications Daily, May 5, 2009
    "Skeptics said that's why towns should stick to sectors where they don't cut in on private enterprise. Barbara Esbin of the Progress & Freedom Foundation invoked the municipal parking lot. 'That's a business a public entity can get into without endangering private operators,' she said. 'There are no barriers to entry except acquiring the real estate. Municipal parking doesn't pose much harm compared with municipal broadband, which competes with private companies that are in business to provide a service.'"

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