The Internet of Things Needs Public Policy Decisions


The Internet of Things (IoT) is the collection of internet-connected devices that receive or send information, even without a human directing what they do.  The nearly 5 billion already-interconnected things include the Apple Watch, bank ATMs, remote weather stations, traffic cameras, street security cameras, home security systems, baby monitors, parking meters, pipeline flow monitors, factory-floor […]

Privacy, Safety and Encryption

computer spy

In the abstract, consumers welcome privacy but we also acknowledge that real-world tradeoffs may be inevitable between privacy and safety.  Most of us are at peace with surveillance of telephone and electronic records of suspected criminals or foreign spies.  If law enforcement lacks the information needed to target and halt unlawful threats, the public can […]

Encryption for Social Media and Email

computer spy

Social media and email services are drifting toward the encryption of their clients’ information.  Consumers will prefer encryption for some of the information stored in their smartphones, laptops and tablets. US retail consumers’ attitude toward privacy is shaped by the belief that some in law enforcement snoop and by our loathing of hackers. A milder […]

Forbes: One Reform the FCC Should Avoid

television remote

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler has been calling for the FCC to reconsider the broadcaster exclusivity rule. At first blush, getting rid of rules sounds like a good idea. Who doesn’t want more deregulation?  The problem is this isn’t the comprehensive video market reform that would unwind 70 years of video regulation in […]

Balance the Public Interest and Privacy of Location

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One of the tools that law enforcement uses to locate individuals is a fake cell-tower that makes cellphones to announce their presence. One popular model of these cell tower simulators is called the Stingray. From a Stingray’s roster of cellphone’s telephone number and their associated International Mobile Equipment Identification (IMEI) numbers, police can determine whether […]

Choose Quality of Results for Consumers, Not Equality of Outcomes for Competitors


From the outside, antitrust prosecutions appear to seek competitive behaviors that are scrupulously “fair” among competitors. But no two competing companies have identical assets, experience, intellectual property, employee and leader skills, customers, or even identical goals. Their path forward depends on how well their strategy anticipates the live marketplace and on their skill in adapting […]

The European Advantage from Hiding The Past

computer spy

The “Right to be Forgotten” (RTBF) is a newly minted “human right” within the European Union. It allows individuals to demand the suppression of Internet search results that mentions them in earlier events, such as court proceedings, speeches, and news coverage. This selective editing of history would be of peculiar value to those obligated to […]

ACI in Forbes: Keeping Up With The Latest Medical Science

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Being an economist, you don’t want me to play medical doctor in order to save you money.  Likewise, when doctors write an economic cost study that concludes that doctors do not need to keep up with the latest medical research, I can’t help but think of the potential for intellectual malpractice. There has been a […]

Fair Play: Just Another Song And Dance


As sales of music records and other physical recordings have steadily been replaced by digital copies downloaded to computers and to other electronic devices, there has been a push to increase the royalties that radio stations pay for the use of copyrighted music. The latest push is the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act of 2015 […]