Showing 6 of 15 Publications by Tom Struble

Comments, Big Data and Consumer Privacy in the Internet Economy

Regulatory Comments "...A serious assessment of the need for new privacy legislation, and the right way to frame it, would not begin by assuming the premise that a particular framework is necessary..."

Summary

“…A serious assessment of the need for new privacy legislation, and the right way to frame it, would not begin by assuming the premise that a particular framework is necessary.
Specifically, before recommending any new legislation, the NTIA should do – or ensure that someone does – what the Federal Trade Commission has steadfastly refused to do: carefully
assess what is and is not already covered by existing U.S. laws…”

“Existing laws might well be inadequate to deal with some of the specific the challenges raised by Big Data. But until they are more carefully examined, we will not know where the
gaps are. Even those who might insist that there would be no harm to redundancy should agree that we must learn from the lessons of past experience with these laws. Moreover, it
is essential to understand what existing law covers because either (a) it will co-exist with any future privacy law, in which case companies will have potentially conflicting…”

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Data Security & Privacy

Policy Comments, Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, FCC

Regulatory Comments "No one’s against an open Internet. The notion that anyone can put up a virtual shingle—and that the good ideas will rise to the top—is a bedrock principle with broad support; it has made the Internet essential to modern life..."

Summary

“No one’s against an open Internet. The notion that anyone can put up a virtual shingle—and that the good ideas will rise to the top—is a bedrock principle with broad support; it has made the Internet essential to modern life. Key to Internet openness is the freedom to innovate. A truly open Internet would preserve for all players the right to experiment with innovative content delivery methods and business models.

In the face of rapid technological advance, evolving consumer demand and Internet usage, demonstrated investment incentives and the dearth of demonstrated neutrality problems, the best approach would be to maintain the “Hands off the Net” approach that has otherwise prevailed for 20 years. That means a general presumption that innovative business models and other forms of “prioritization” are legal. The Internet doesn’t need a host of new prescriptive rules and prior restraints on innovation. What it needs is humility about the limits of central planning: The FCC should take an error-cost approach, carefully and rigorously evaluating the tradeoffs from intervention, recognizing that the unintended consequences of over-inclusive rules may be far worse than the demonstrably successful status quo…”

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Telecommunications & Regulated Utilities

Legal Comments, Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, FCC

Regulatory Comments "In its proposed rules, the FCC is essentially proposing to do what can only properly be done by Congress: invent a new legal regime for broadband..."

Summary

“In its proposed rules, the FCC is essentially proposing to do what can only properly be done by Congress: invent a new legal regime for broadband. Each of the options the FCC
proposes to justify this — common carrier reclassification, and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act — is deeply problematic. If the FCC believes regulation is necessary, it should better develop its case through more careful economic analysis, and then make that case to Congress in a request for new legislation. In the meantime, the FCC could play a valuable role in helping to convene a multistakeholder process to produce a code of conduct that would be enforceable—if not by the FCC, then by the Federal Trade Commission—above and beyond enforcement of existing antitrust and consumer protection laws.”

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Telecommunications & Regulated Utilities

Comments, Communications Act Rewrite, House Energy & Commerce Committee

Written Testimonies & Filings "Twenty years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need to refocus communications competition policy on promoting competition in an era of convergence, focusing on effects rather than formalism..."

Summary

“Twenty years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need to refocus communications competition policy on promoting competition in an era of convergence, focusing on effects rather than formalism. Unfortunately, that focus was lost in the sausage-making process of legislation – and the FCC has been increasingly adrift ever since. The FCC has not waited for Congress to act, and has instead found creative ways to sidestep the formalist structure of the Act. It is high time for Congress to reassert its authority and to craft a new act focused on the effects of competition as a durable basis for regulation.

The antitrust statutes have not been fundamentally modified in over a century because Congress has not needed to do so: antitrust law has evolved on top of them through a mix of court decisions and doctrinal development articulated by the antitrust agencies. At the heart of this evolution of common law has been one guiding concern: effects on consumer welfare, seen through the lens of law and economics. The same concern and same analytical lens should guide the re-write of the Communications Act that is, by now, two decades overdue.

While refocusing competition regulation on effects, Congress should give equal focus to minimizing remaining barriers to competition. In particular, that means minimizing regulatory uncertainty (and, in particular, avoiding any return to mostly archaic Title II regulations); maximizing the amount of spectrum available; simplifying the construction and upgrading of wireless towers to maximize the capacity of wireless broadband; and promoting infrastructure policy at all levels of government that makes deployment cost-effective….”

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Telecommunications & Regulated Utilities

Comments, Fourth Communications Act Update White Paper

Written Testimonies & Filings "The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been outdated since the moment it was signed into law, and we applaud the Committee for taking up the task of bringing it up to date..."

Summary

“The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been outdated since the moment it was signed into law, and we applaud the Committee for taking up the task of bringing it up to date. The Act’s siloed approach reflects the assumptions of the pre-Internet era, and is completely out of sync with the market it now governs. The sooner it is replaced with a technologically neutral act focused on how regulated conduct affects consumer welfare, the better, as we argued in our earlier comments in this ongoing inquiry…”

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Telecommunications & Regulated Utilities

Comments, Third Communications Act Update White Paper

Written Testimonies & Filings "Twenty years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need to refocus communications competition policy on promoting competition in an era of convergence, focusing on effects rather than formalism..."

Summary

“Twenty years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need to refocus communications competition policy on promoting competition in an era of convergence, focusing on effects rather than formalism. Unfortunately, that focus was lost in the sausage-making process of legislation – and the FCC has been increasingly adrift ever since. The FCC has not waited for Congress to act, and has instead found creative ways to sidestep the formalist structure of the Act. It is high time for Congress to reassert its authority and to craft a new act focused on the effects of competition as a durable basis for regulation.

The antitrust statutes have not been fundamentally modified in over a century because Congress has not needed to do so: antitrust law has evolved on top of them through a mix of court decisions and doctrinal development articulated by the antitrust agencies. At the heart of this evolution of common law has been one guiding concern: effects on consumer welfare, seen through the lens of law and economics. The same concern and same analytical lens should guide the re-write of the Communications Act that is, by now, two decades overdue.

While refocusing competition regulation on effects, Congress should give equal focus to minimizing remaining barriers to competition. In particular, that means minimizing regulatory uncertainty (and, in particular, avoiding any return to mostly archaic Title II regulations); maximizing the amount of spectrum available; simplifying the construction and upgrading of wireless towers to maximize the capacity of wireless broadband; and promoting infrastructure policy at all levels of government that makes deployment cost-effective…”

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Telecommunications & Regulated Utilities