FTC's bid for more power tops list of worst internet laws

The Federal Trade Commission's request for more regulatory powers tops the 2010 list of worst internet legislation ranked by e-commerce coalition NetChoice.

The iAwful list (Internet Advocates' Watchlist for Ugly Laws) also includes state bills aiming to restrict free trial offers in Maine and Oregon, a bid to expand internet sales taxes, and efforts in Colorado, Indiana and Wyoming to tax digital downloads.

“States are increasingly trying to expand internet sales taxes, by forcing online retailers to become tax collectors and by imposing new taxes on online services” said NetChoice executive director Steve DelBianco. “Tax collectors’ creativity knows no bounds when it comes to designing new schemes for extracting cash from large and small businesses.”

The year-old list ranks the top 10 pieces of state and federal legislation that threaten e-commerce and internet use. NetChoice uses the list to generate publicity for the laws that are sometimes not well known to internet users. Find details of the last iAwful list here.

The FTC's recent request for more authority goes too far, NetChoice says, by removing congressionally imposed safeguards meant to temper the FTC's broad jurisdiction over the internet industry. NetChoice says online services and content providers are still experimenting with new models for advertising and distribution, and too much regulation will stunt the growth of new business models.

The FTC is quite interested in enacting online advertising rules to allow consumers to opt-in to behavioral-targeted advertising. NetChoice says that will drastically reduce the effectiveness and financial viability of online advertising.

Find the full list here.