Internet Advocacy Group Ranks the Awful

In the latest edition of its iAWFUL list, the advocacy group NetChoice says that a move to attach internet sales tax legislation to a bill blocking taxes on internet service is the most awful bill of all.

The internet advocacy group NetChoice isn’t afraid to let its policy gripes be known.

Since June of 2009, the group has periodically released a list called iAWFUL, or Internet Advocates’ Watchlist for Ugly Laws, which highlights legislation currently being floated that leaves something of an aftertaste for its members.

The “ugly laws” in question vary in nature, from state bills to overarching federal laws, but the list tends to draw attention to lower-profile measures that may not necessarily get the public’s attention—like, say, the Stop Online Piracy Act once did.

This week, the group added a few new items to its list. Here’s what NetChoice is calling ugly this time around:

Internet sales tax legislation, which, in the U.S. Senate, has been attached to the renewal of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a bill that recently passed the House with bipartisan support. “The only thing worse than an unfair bill is an unfair bill shoved through Congress using an unfair process,” NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco said in a news release.

State laws, including one in Delaware, that allow loved ones to access private internet accounts after a person’s death. “The law reduces citizens’ privacy to zero when they die.  It even revokes express privacy choices you made while alive,” according to NetChoice says.

The European Union’s controversial “right to be forgotten” court ruling, which allows people to erase negative Google search results, as well as laws in Germany and Spain that would tax search engines for posting news excerpts. These laws, NetChoice says, should be treated as “barriers to trade” by Congress.

City and state regulations that NetChoice says would unreasonably burden or restrict the “sharing economy,” particularly ride-sharing services like Uber and vacation-rental services like Airbnb.

The advocacy group, which counts eBay, Google, and Facebook among its members, ranks the legislation on its list by the bill’s level of severity and the likelihood that it will be implemented.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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