In the past four years, Google has seen a 203% increase in the number of demands received from law enforcement agencies in the United States. Between the latter half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, the total number of demands received by Google increased by 29%, rising from 8,438 to 10,918 respectively.
The report, in addition to others from Internet companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! all support the notion that the volume of government requests for user data is growing significantly.
While our member companies support law enforcement’s mission to protect citizens, we also support protecting users’ online privacy. Since its inception, The Internet Association has long-supported reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, a law intended to protect Americans’ privacy in electronic communications for telephone calls as well as electronically stored data.
Here are some of our arguments:
A law enacted over 25 years ago needs to be updated to reflect existing technologies.
Americans increasingly store their personal documents not in their home office but in their virtual office, because of the convenience and accessibility of cloud services and web-based email services.
The same 4th Amendment protections afforded to citizens’ to safeguard their personal effects from governmental searches should be extended to their online presence.
The Internet Association continues to support Senators Leahy and Lee’s ECPA reform bill, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013, which would update the current law to require the government to obtain search warrants before accessing Internet users’ content stored online.
Enacting this bill into law is critical to protecting users’ online privacy. We must act now on ECPA reform.
CHAIRMAN GOODLATTE’S INNOVATION ACT WILL REDUCE ABUSIVE PATENT LITIGATION
The Internet Association applauds Chairman Goodlatte’s bipartisan introduction of The Innovation Act. This bill will reduce the unfair advantages and incentives that patent trolls rely on to target businesses of all sizes and sectors, costing our economy $80 billion per year. With minor but necessary improvements, this bill will help all hard-working American businesses and improve our patent system.
By making patent litigation more efficient, transparent, and balanced, this legislation will discourage many patent trolls from exploiting low quality patents to sue innocent startups, retailers, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, charities, municipalities, and both large and small businesses.
We also welcome the focus on addressing low quality patents by amending the PTO’s Covered Business Method program so that companies have an effective and less expensive alternative to litigation. The Internet Association and its member companies appreciate the work of the Chairman and his staff that led to the introduction of this bipartisan legislation and will continue working with the Chairman, members of the House Judiciary Committee, and their counterparts in the Senate on passage of legislation that reduces abusive patent litigation and improves patent quality.
To learn more, visit: www.stopbadpatents.com
As the U.S. struggles to make a full economic recovery, many Americans are seeking out opportunities for additional income and ways to save money. To find these opportunities, people are turning to the Internet. From empowering individuals to engaging in global commerce to facilitating the ‘sharing economy,’ the Internet continues to be a useful resource during these challenging economic times.
One new segment of the U.S. economy that the Internet enables is part-time businesses. Rather than waiting to take on traditional positions, Americans are taking matters into their own hands and are creating their own opportunities via online, part-time businesses. So, what is the impact of Internet-enabled part-time businesses on the U.S. economy? What industries or sectors rely extensively on the Internet? These are some questions that The Internet Association investigates in its recent economic study, Internet Enabled Part-Time Small Businesses Bolster the U.S. Economy.
Here are some key findings:
- The Internet drives nearly all part-time businesses, a growing segment of the economy, and is essential to their owners.
- Internet enabled part-time businesses contributed $141B to the overall US economy and employ 6.6M employees and pay $797M in wages.
- Part-time Internet enabled businesses allow owners to chart their own course and enjoy a level of freedom and flexibility not typically found in a traditional work environment.
- A diverse array of part-time small businesses utilize the Internet (i.e., collector, craft, technical consultant, music, baking/cooking, web design, teaching, construction).
The Internet Association held its first Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 24 at Rackspace in San Francisco, CA. Member companies of The IA and the greater Internet community gathered for a networking breakfast, a presentation on The Internet Association’s policy priorities and grassroots outreach, a deep dive policy panel, and a discussion on the political landscape in Washington, DC.
The Internet Association’s President & CEO, Michael Beckerman, kicked off the annual meeting with a general overview of The IA, highlighting the ever-growing need for a unified Internet voice, both in Washington, DC and Silicon Valley. Michael showed a video highlighting the mission of The IA.
The policy panel included representatives from The IA member companies that focused on public policy issues important to the Internet community such as patent trolls, immigration reform, international trade, copyright, and privacy. Closing out the annual meeting was a discussion with Richard Wolffe, executive editor of MSNBC.com and an MSNBC political analyst. Richard provided an overview of the political state of play in Washington as well as his predictions for the 2014 and 2016 elections.