Bitcoin: Understated benefits and overstated risks

As the world’s first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin worries policymakers. Voicing concerns over this digital currency—or cryptocurrency—officials cite its potential for facilitating money-laundering, making illicit purchases, evading taxes, and financing terrorism. Less often discussed, but equally important, are the potential benefits that Bitcoin may provide.


National plan fosters broadband

For many Americans today, access to broadband Internet services has become the norm, but, while much progress has been made, millions of people here in the U.S. and around the world have yet to reap the benefits of these technologies.  There is broad-based consensus regarding the need to increase connectivity.   What has been subject to debate, to some degree, however, is the proper mechanism to increase broadband penetration.


Mark Zuckerberg 'likes' immigration reform

“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants.”

Those were the words of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he announced a new initiative started by leaders in the technology industry to promote comprehensive immigration reform. This week, Zuckerberg took his support for comprehensive immigration reform a big step further, recognizing that we need to reform our immigration policies so that all 11 million aspiring Americans have a roadmap to citizenship.


Don’t tax Internet access

One of the basic principles of an innovation-based tax policy is that government should “tax bads, not goods.” This is the idea behind proposals such as using carbon taxes to pay for an expanded research and development tax credit. So why would the government want to tax Internet access when, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet accounts for 3.8 percent of U.S. GDP?


Avoiding the mobile data traffic jam

Every weeknight around 9 p.m. local time, in each of the largest cities across the nation, there is a traffic jam.  Not on our freeways and highways, but on cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Parents are researching last minute summer vacations.  Teens are video chatting with friends from school.  People of all ages are streaming content for evening entertainment.  And, increasingly, they’re doing this on smart phones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices.


Don’t let the third-party cookie crumble

Some web browsers are rolling out Internet privacy campaigns that claim to be introducing greater privacy protection under the guise that they are responding to consumer demand. Most notably, Mozilla announced that it will proceed with plans to block the use of third-party cookies on the next version of its Firefox browser. Such action would essentially prevent interest-based advertising. Interest-based advertising simply means ads served based on consumer preferences demonstrated through Internet activity.


We are all in this together

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has spoken – online original programming and traditional television programming are on a level playing field.


Address the patent trolls, but don't ignore the patent evaders

There’s been a tremendous amount of discussion about the allegedly negative effects of “patent trolls.” While this may or may not be a real issue it has attracted considerable attention, resulting in a significant amount of anti-patent rhetoric from some in Washington, including the highest levels of government. Unfortunately, this torrent of patent system bashing has done little in terms of proposing fair and balanced means of addressing the perceived problems while protecting true innovation. Worse, the one-sided patent dialogue has served to embolden companies, many of them foreign-based, that knowingly appropriate American innovation yet refuse to license technologies and patents under any circumstance.


The national broadband goal: A technology upgrade that leaves no one behind

America’s Internet infrastructure is undergoing an historic upgrade to faster and more efficient technologies for delivering all those bits and bytes we so voraciously consume.   For most Americans, the upgrades are old news.  They have embraced broadband connectivity and are experiencing all of the worthwhile benefits that that brings.   But those coming late to the Internet or who are still dependent on their traditional landline for keeping in touch, the move to an all IP infrastructure to support their phone or broadband connection may loom as an unsettling eventuality.   For these consumers (perhaps just a quarter of the population), service providers and policymakers must find a way to minimize their fears and address their concerns.