Events

With news today that the Department of Justice is [extending its probe](http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/158909-justice-department-extends-atat-probe) of the AT&T – T-Mobile merger, and that the FCC [has received](http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-tech/post/consumers_give_fcc_an_earful_on_atandt_bid_to_buy_t_mobile/2011/05/02/AFX0VScF_blog.html) thousands of comments on the issue, the FCC’s hopefully soon to be release Wireless Competition Report is taking on even greater importance.

Last year’s report was [the first in 15 years not to find the market “effectively competitive.”](http://techliberation.com/2010/05/21/the-underlying-desperation-at-the-fcc/) As a result, expectations are high for the new annual report. How it determines the state of competition in the wireless market could affect regulatory policy and how the Commission looks at mergers.

Join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University’s [Technology Policy Program](http://mercatus.org/technology-policy-program) for a discussion of these issues, including:

– What does a proper analysis of wireless competition look like?
– What should we expect from the FCC’s report this year?
– How should the FCC address competition in the future?

Our panel will feature [**Thomas W. Hazlett**](http://mason.gmu.edu/~thazlett/), Professor of Law & Economics, George Mason University School of Law; [**Joshua D. Wright**](http://mason.gmu.edu/~jwrightg/), Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law; [**Robert M. Frieden**](http://comm.psu.edu/people/rmf5), Professor of Telecommunications & Law, Penn State University; and [**Harold Feld**](http://www.publicknowledge.org/user/1540), Legal Director, Public Knowledge

**When:** Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 4 – 5:30 p.m. (with a reception to follow)

**Where:** George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, just ten minutes from downtown Washington. (Founders Hall, Room 111, 3351 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA)

To RSVP for yourself and your guests, please contact Megan Gandee at 703-993-4967 or [mmahan@gmu.edu](mailto:mmahan@gmu.edu) no later than May 16, 2011. If you can’t make it to the Mercatus Center, you can watch this discussion live online at mercatus.org.

Every year since 1995, the Federal Communications Commission has released a report on the state of competition in the wireless market, and it will soon release the fifteenth. Last year’s report was [the first not to find the market “effectively competitive.”](http://techliberation.com/2010/05/21/the-underlying-desperation-at-the-fcc/) As a result, expectations are high for the new annual report. How it determines the state of competition in the wireless market could affect regulatory policy and how the Commission looks at proposed mergers

Join the Mercatus Center at George Mason University’s [Technology Policy Program](http://mercatus.org/technology-policy-program) for a discussion of these issues, including:

– What does a proper analysis of wireless competition look like?
– What should we expect from the FCC’s report this year?
– How should the FCC address competition in the future?

Our panel will feature [**Thomas W. Hazlett**](http://mason.gmu.edu/~thazlett/), Professor of Law & Economics, George Mason University School of Law; [**Joshua D. Wright**](http://mason.gmu.edu/~jwrightg/), Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law; [**Robert M. Frieden**](http://comm.psu.edu/people/rmf5), Professor of Telecommunications & Law, Penn State University; and [**Harold Feld**](http://www.publicknowledge.org/user/1540), Legal Director, Public Knowledge

**When:** Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 4 – 5:30 p.m. (with a reception to follow)

**Where:** George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, just ten minutes from downtown Washington. (Founders Hall, Room 111, 3351 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA)

To RSVP for yourself and your guests, please contact Megan Gandee at 703-993-4967 or [mmahan@gmu.edu](mailto:mmahan@gmu.edu) no later than May 16, 2011. If you can’t make it to the Mercatus Center, you can watch this discussion live online at mercatus.org.

“Global Internet Governance: Research and Public Policy Challenges for the Next Decade” is the title for a conference event held May 5 and 6 at the American University School of International Service in Washington. See the full program here.

Featured will be a keynote by the NTIA head, Assistant Secretary for Commerce Lawrence Strickling. TLF-ers may be especially interested in the panel on the market for IP version 4 addresses that is emerging as the Regional Internet Registries and ICANN have depleted their free pool of IP addresses. The panel “Scarcity in IPv4 addresses” will feature representatives of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and Addrex/Depository, Inc., the new company that brokered the deal between Nortel and Microsoft. There will also be debates about Wikileaks and the future of the Internet Governance Forum. Academic research papers on ICANN’s Affirmation of Commitments, the role of the national governments in ICANN, the role of social media in the Middle East/North Africa revolutions, and other topics will be presented on the second day. The event was put together by the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet). Attendance is free of charge but you are asked to register in advance.

This week I will be attending two terrific conferences on Sec. 230 and Internet intermediary liability issues. On Thursday, the Stanford Technology Law Review hosts an all-day event on “Secondary and Intermediary Liability on the Internet” at the Stanford Law School. It includes 3 major panels on intermediary liability as it pertains to copyright, trademark, and privacy. On Friday, the amazing Eric Goldman and his colleagues at the Santa Clara Law School’s High Tech Law Institute host an all-star event on “47 U.S.C. § 230: a 15 Year Retrospective.”  Berin Szoka and Jim Harper will also be attending both events (Harper is speaking at Stanford event) and Larry Downes will be at the Santa Clara event.  So if you also plan to attend, come say ‘Hi’ to us.  We don’t bite! (We have, however, been known to snarl.)

In the meantime, down below, I just thought I would post a few links to the many things we have said about Section 230 and online intermediary liability issues here on the TLF in the past as well as this graphic depicting some of the emerging threats to Sec. 230 from various proposals to “deputize the online middleman.”  As we’ve noted here many times before, Sec. 230 is the “cornerstone of Internet freedom” that has allowed a “utopia of utopias” to develop online.  It would be a shame if lawmakers rolled back its protections and opted for an onerous new legal/regulatory approach to handling online concerns. Generally speaking, education and empowerment should trump regulation and punishing liability.

Deputization of the Middleman

Continue reading →

That will be the subject of a Cato on Campus session this afternoon entitled: “The Internet and Social Media: Tools of Freedom or Tools of Oppression?” Watch live online at the link starting at 3:30 p.m., or attend in person. A reception follows.

The delight that so many felt to see protesters in Iran using social media has given way to delight about the use of Facebook to organize for freedom in Egypt. But this serial enthusiasm omits that the “Twitter revolution” in Iran did not succeed. The fiercest skeptics even suggest that the Tweeting during Iran’s suppressed uprising was mostly Iranian ex-pats goosing excitable westerners and not any organizing force within Iran itself. Coming to terms with the Internet, dictatorships are learning to use it for surveillance and control, possibly with help from American tech companies.

So is the cause of freedom better off with the Internet? Or is social media a shiny bauble that distracts from the long, heavy slog of liberating the people of the world?

Joining the discussion will be Chris Preble, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at Cato; Alex Howard, Government 2.0 Correspondent for O’Reilly Media; and Tim Karr, Campaign Director at Free Press. More info here.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) will kick off this event with remarks on the Net Neutrality order before TechFreedom Adjunct Fellow Larry Downes presents his analysis of the FCC’s recent Open Internet Report & Order (which he recently delivered as testimony to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition & the Internet). A panel of leading experts will offer their reactions.

What: “Decoding the FCC’s Net Neutrality Order” — A TechFreedom Capitol Hill briefing
When: Tuesday, March 1
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Top of the Hill Banquet & Conference Center (Reserve Officers Association)
One Constitution Ave, NE
Washington DC 20002
Who:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Larry Downes, TechFreedom
Markham Erickson, Open Internet Coalition
Dave Farber, Carnegie Mellon University
Harold Feld, Public Knowledge
Link Hoewing, Verizon
Randy May, Free State Foundation
Eliza Krigman, Politico (moderator)

Please join us after this event, at 5:30, for a reception just across the street co-sponsored by TechFreedom and the Institute for Policy Innovation in honor of IPI’s Third Annual Communications Summit, which will take place the next day. The reception runs untill 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center, Congressional Meeting Room South 217 (CVC 217).

Register here today!

Hosted by SMU’s Guildhall video game law graduate program, the Game::Business::Law summit is the leading conference in the field. Follow the discussion on the #GBL2011 hashtag. Here’s the make-up of my privacy panel:

Moderator

Professor Xuan-Thao Nguyen, SMU Dedman School of Law

Speakers
Jennifer Archie, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLP

Andrew S. Ehmke, Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP

Dr. Joshua Fairfield, Washington & Lee School of Law

Berin Szoka, Founder, TechFreedom

This is an all-star cast. Prof. Nguyen is a big name in video game law field; I had the privilege to work with Jennifer Archie on Internet law when I practiced at Latham; and Josh Fairfield is one of the few law professors I find myself in perfect philosophical harmony with. Check out this summary of his excellent 2009 paper Virtual Parentalism. I only met Andy last night at the reception, but he’s a solid thinker on the law of gaming. As they say on postcards: Wish you were here!

The DCBar’s  Computer and Telecommunications Law Section section, on whose Steering Committee I sit, is co-hosting a fascinating brown bag lunch on February 22, 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m at the District of Columbia Bar, 1101 K Street N.W., Conference Center, Washington D.C. 20005.

Online content on your television and your mobile handset; cord cutting; televisions that surf the web and store your family photos…. Are we there?  Do we want to be there?  This panel will explore the latest marketplace developments as well as the legal and policy challenges surrounding this convergence of formerly distinct realms.  Among other issues, the panelists will discuss:  how consumers today are experiencing video and how they are likely to do so in the near future; what technical and legal issues will affect these ongoing marketplace developments; and what actions the FCC is likely to take – and should or should not take – to facilitate competition and choice for consumers, including its planned “AllVid” rulemaking. Continue reading →

Today we’re launching both TechFreedom, a new digital policy think tank, and its first publication, The Next Digital Decade: Essays on the Future of the Internet—after the conclusion of the State of the Net conference. Watch the livestream below—12:45-5:30 pm Eastern / 9:45 am – 2:30 Pacific:

Please join the conversation about the book by tweeting about the event using the #NDD hashtag. And follow us at @Tech_Freedom & @Digital_Decade! Check out the agenda below. Continue reading →

If you’re in for the State of the Net conference this week (or happen to live here), join us for a happy hour among tech policy peeps Tuesday afternoon at 6pm at Johnny’s Half Shell (400 N Capitol St).

We’ll also toast the launch of TechFreedom, the new digital policy think tank we’re launching Wednesday with a half-day symposium for TechFreedom’s first publication: The Next Digital Decade: Essays on the Future of the Internet.

RSVP on Facebook here! (We need an accurate headcount.)