Steven Titch

Three Early Lessons From the Equifax Hack

It’s been almost two weeks since Equifax reported the hack of 143 million consumer records. Already, we are getting a picture of how the public reacts to a …

The Equifax Hack: Time to get serious about consumer data protection

What’s said about money can be said about data: No one treats other people’s information the way they treat their own. This week, Equifax—one of the "big three" consumer …

FTC vs. Qualcomm: No license, no chips

It's not every day that the government and the tech industry agree on intellectual property policy, but both interests are united in their opposition to San Diego-based Qualcomm …

Senate to FCC: Privacy regulation is not your job

The U.S. Senate narrowly passed a resolution Thursday that would halt Federal Communications Commission efforts to create rules for the way internet service providers use their customers’ personal …

The ‘Dig Once’ bill could bring better broadband to rural areas

Telephone and cable companies are routinely slammed for being slow to build infrastructure in rural areas. Critics wrongly attribute delays to "market failure," claiming that because rural service …

Thank you for killing PBS funding, President Trump

The hue and cry from critics protesting the proposed cuts to the Public Broadcasting System made in President Trump’s budget makes clear those same critics haven’t looked at …

Zero rating in a competitive broadband market

Zero rating—that is, not charging end users for some categories of data use—represents the response of a functioning telecommunications market to consumer demand for broadband content. Unfortunately, not …

Why the FCC should wait on privacy rules

Chairman Ajit Pai wants an emergency vote this week by the Federal Communications Commission to halt implementation of new rules on how internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon …

CBS show ‘Hunted’ spotlights our surveillance nation

I'm no fan of reality TV, but I was sufficiently intrigued by the premise of CBS' "Hunted," which promises $250,000 to any of nine teams of contestants who …

Don’t demonize bitcoin, blockchain, Tor and other online privacy tools

“Can bitcoin be used for good?” read the headline of an April article in The Atlantic. It’s not just a headline writer’s attempt at provocative rhetoric. The phrases “darkest …

January promises an end to FCC’s zero rating attack

There’s a quote posted in the guidance counselor’s office at my son’s middle school: “Fairness isn’t everyone gets the same.” Unfortunately, that is how outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman …

Time for a reset breath on tech antitrust

Just as the Senate was holding hearings on the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger last week, an interesting tidbit of information crossed my tablet: a story finding that …

What’s the outlook for legal sports betting in the Trump era?

With the state-level battles over daily fantasy sports (DFS) largely settled, the online gambling industry, along with professional and recreational sports bettors, are speculating how the incoming Trump …

Will the Trump administration revisit net neutrality and zero rating?

Network neutrality, the most significant piece of internet regulation championed by the Obama administration, might be yet another casualty of the coming Donald Trump presidency. That wouldn’t be …

After it works too well, NYC scraps free web access

For years, the primary argument for municipal broadband has been about the need to bridge the digital divide. Government-run wireless networks, we’ve been told, are needed bring the …

DFS and the right to gamble – even a little bit

With football season two weeks away, we can expect an uptick in interest in fantasy-sports leagues and their controversial offshoot, daily fantasy sports (DFS). The kerfuffle over DFS speaks …

The EU’s misguided call to ban zero rating

The net neutrality debate has come to Europe. Following a go-ahead European Parliament in October 2015, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is writing the …

The gig economy could defy regulation

Austin, Texas, has been taking a lot of heat after passing a proposition that essentially regulated Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies out of town. This is unfortunate …

Is privacy possible in the Internet of Things?

In past policy reports, I’ve supported the right of private-sector companies to collect personal information on individuals who voluntarily agree to disclose it. Whether it was Google, Facebook, …

FCC targets cable set-top boxes — why now?

  With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 …

YouTube Kids is not a regulatory problem

Google has continued to fine-tune its YouTube Kids application amid complaints that the family-friendly interface, a free download for smartphone and tablets, is not as family-friendly as claimed. The …

Cities, states keep piling on the Internet taxes

The City of Chicago has the dubious distinction of becoming the first jurisdiction to apply a sweeping tax to "cloud-based" services, ranging from streaming video to tax preparation. Beginning …

Progressives turn their backs on the sharing economy

Santa Monica, Calif., is now spending $410,000 a year investigating, ticketing and fining residents who sublet their houses and apartments on Airbnb. In Key West, Fla., a new city …

TV regulation in the age of digital downloads

Television viewing must now be added to the long list of activities the Internet has changed. The time when audiences across the country simultaneously experienced a televised event—such …

Muni broadband: sanity in Seattle, questions in Council Bluffs

The mayor of Seattle has shelved a plan to use city funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network after a feasibility study projected the cost could be as …

Daily fantasy sports and the case for legal online gambling

If daily online fantasy sports contests are legal, why aren’t online poker or other casino-type gambling games? I’m not against the idea of playing fantasy sports for money, I …

Lawsuit over cable and satellite sports packages may be a bad play for fans

As major league baseball teams ready for the start of the new season this weekend, a federal court in New York is considering whether to grant class-action status …

The myth of the child poker player

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations is scheduled hold hearings today on a federal bill aimed at stopping states from legalized online gambling. The Restoration …

Don’t let the FCC muck up on-demand TV

Apple’s Web TV plan spotlights the opportunities and challenges ahead in what will be the most dramatic shift in the distribution of television content since the advent of …

The inevitability of the sharing economy

Uber, AirBnB and other companies that mine the so-called “sharing economy” continue to face legal and regulatory challenges, both in the United States and internationally. At heart, these services …

Muni broadband: Even dumber in 2015 than 2005

Ahead of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama went to Cedar Falls, Iowa to tout municipal broadband. Despite a landscape littered with missed goals, incomplete …

Will San Antonio welcome or reject ridesharing?

When talk turns to cultivating a local high-tech economy, Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tend to come to mind. Certainly these companies …

Network neutrality and a dubious leap of faith

The latest wrinkle in the ongoing debate over network neutrality comes from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who suggests …

FCC’s Wheeler likes the ‘idea’ of muni broadband

Speaking at the recent National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors annual meeting, Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler endorsed Lafayette, La.’s municipal fiber optic system—or more specifically, he …

LEADS Act: another small step toward digital privacy

It may take incremental steps to ensure due process against government seizure of online data, but step-by-step protections are better than no protections at all. The Law Enforcement Access …

Alternatives to government broadband

  Universal access to high-speed broadband is a desirable social goal. There is no question that broadband brings incalculable utility and value to individuals, businesses and organizations. Because broadband …

R Street testimony to Houston City Council on ridesharing

      Remarks by Steven Titch Associate Fellow, R Street Institute Re: Legalization of ride-sharing services Houston City Council meeting Aug. 5, 2014 Good Afternoon, I would like to thank the City Council for the opportunity …

Uber, Lyft and Houston’s policy leadership

Under the guise of needing to review a list of new amendments, the Houston City Council this week once again delayed a vote on granting legal status to …

Letter to Houston City Council on transportation network companies

    Houston City Council City Hall Annex 900 Bagby Street First Floor Houston, TX 77002 July 31, 2014 Dear Honorable Council Members, By approving the proposal to allow vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft to operate, …

NAF report quantifies cost of NSA snooping

In the year since Edward Snowden began disclosing the scope of National Security Agency's programs to use cell phone networks, the Internet and various commercial websites to spy …

The national security social contract

Of all the news outlets that covered the mysterious replacement of the U.S. flags on one of the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge, only the New York Post …

Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel launches online gambling in California

In the spirit of the adage that it's better to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission, the Native American Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Calif., has launched …

Despite setback in Senate, there’s no reason to give up on patent reform

The last few weeks have brought both good and bad news to supporters of patent reform looking to reduce system abuse. Hopes for legislative action were dashed when a …

Paper puts cost of patent trolling at $22B

A new research paper has calculated that frequent lawsuits by patent assertion entities—or patent trolls as they are known pejoratively—has scared off some $22 billion in venture capital …

Utah residents may be charged $20 a month to bail out UTOPIA

Residents of 11 Utah cities would be billed as much as $20 a month, as part of a plan to salvage the state's once-heralded UTOPIA fiber optic network. UTOPIA, …

Muni broadband: The gift that keeps on taking

LUS Fiber, the municipal broadband system in Lafayette, La., last month received another warning from city auditors, an advisory that appears to have become an annual thing. Although losses …

Five reasons why online poker is here to stay

The annual World Series of Poker got underway in Las Vegas Tuesday. Poker enthusiasts are looking to see if legalization of online poker has an impact on the …

Patent reform will benefit Utah business

Utah's technology-dependent economy makes current efforts in Washington to reform patent policies all the more important to the state's future, and our elected leaders are among the most …

Memo to EU: There is no ‘right to be forgotten’

The European Union's highest court has ruled that Internet search engines must give serious consideration to users who request they remove links to any content or article that …

The net neutrality end-game

This Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to decide whether the network neutrality principle is feasible in a world where on any given evening, Netflix and YouTube …

Pushing the White House toward digital privacy

President Barack Obama is scheduled to review federal policies regarding both the corporate and governmental collection, use and retention of citizens' personal data. While this "big data" review could …

Four principles for effective cybersecurity law and policy

Cybercrime is in the news again. The Heartbleed security flaw has damaged the reputation of open source computing—a situation only made worse by reports that the government exploited …

Uber and Lyft prepare for Houston showdown

When Uber entered the Houston market in February it provoked the same outcry from the city's only two cab companies. The city code does prohibit drivers without livery …

Virginia takes lead in patent reform

As awareness builds about the cost in dollars and innovation that patent trolling extracts from the economy, Virginia has been among the states that have responded with legislation …

Congress must put a clamp on the ‘patent trolls’

The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to vote on a bill soon aimed at addressing patent demand letters from entities frequently referred to as "patent trolls." Clearly, the momentum …

A day to fight back

Hoping to capture the same grassroots outcry that successfully blocked ham-handed anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA two years ago, a number of organizations on both the left and …

NSA surveillance should not be the new normal

It's saying something when National Security Agency data collection becomes a reference point in the sports pages. In an article in this morning's Houston Chronicle, reporter Roy Bragg begins …

It’s time to protect data in the cloud

Tuesday’s State of the Union address affords President Barack Obama another opportunity to address the government’s massive overreach in collecting data about ordinary Americans in the name of …

Has the NSA poisoned the cloud?

The U.S. technology industry enters 2014 facing a backlash to its perceived role as accomplice to a series of National Security Agency surveillance programs, each making extensive use …

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