The Economic Standard: Congress Misses the Mark on the INFORM Act

On March 23, 2021, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM Consumers) Act. If the INFORM Act becomes law, it would “direct online retail marketplaces…to authenticate the identity of “high-volume third-party sellers” and “ensure that consumers […]

Real Clear Policy: Use a Wi-Fi Router at Home? You’re Probably at Risk for Cybercrime

If you use a Wi-Fi router in your home, there’s a good chance you’re at risk for cyberattack, according to a new study. The American Consumer Institute (ACI) analyzed 186 devices from 14 different manufacturers and found that 83 percent of routers sold in the United States have security vulnerabilities — that’s 5 of 6 […]

Google’s Encryption Campaign and Hackers Use of Certificates

Google’s Chrome browser will warn you about any website you visit that is not connected to you over an encrypted link. Specifically, Chrome will soon flag a conventional HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) connection as “insecure.” That will worry some consumers and being called insecure will embarrass some website operators who have not yet obtained a […]

Recent Commercial and Nation State Cyber Breaches

In late June, the Little Red Hen Restaurant suffered a commercial attack that diverted visitors away from its website. The Red Hen website was subjected neither to graffiti nor to political criticism. Instead, the breach altered the website so that it sent visitors to a reproductive health products site. It appears the Red Hen’s recent […]

Posturing on Consumer Privacy

Facebook is suffering from regular beatdowns in TV, print and in internet media. Public irritation with Facebook’s loose securing of consumer personal data has been festering for years. Despite having more newly critical friends than he needs, Mark Zuckerberg chose to refresh Facebook’s black eye by pushing back against Tim Cook’s “I wouldn’t be in […]

FOSTA – Another Nose Under the Free Speech Tent

A new piece of legislation with the cumbersome name, The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA) is an example of Congress imposing punishment on one type of speech that it finds offensive.  “This bill expresses the sense of Congress that Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 […]

The Amazon Juggernaut Accumulates Competitive Risks

Amazon started in 1994, initially as a catalog-based bookseller.  The Internet allowed for improvements in reaching customers and Amazon developed a strong platform for electronic commerce, along with a fast delivery service.  That platform now allows for a wider merchandise range that incudes apparel, electronics, books, recordings, sports and outdoor equipment, and auto parts. Amazon […]

A Brewing Clash with Dominant Players in Digital Advertising

For reasons that make little sense today, advertisers in the Internet’s digital marketplace are not monitored by a common federal agency. The multiple agencies involved have peculiar regulatory outlooks and lack authority to holistically monitor the marketplace. This has led to an incomplete view of how dominance is growing and of how competitors are interacting. […]

When Can We Agree on What Online Security Means?

We repeatedly confront the gulf between law enforcement’s and civilians’ understanding of what online security is and whom it is meant to protect.  Well-meaning law enforcement officials and earnest public advocates talk past each other because they harbor different understandings of online security. Law enforcement works hard to protect the public.  In its quest to […]

Letter to Congress Supporting Online Consumer Reviews

ACI signed on with R-Street and the Institute for Liberty to send a letter to the Senate in support of consumer rights to provide online reviews and feedback — on restaurants, hotels and local providers — without the threat of being sued.  Consumers benefit from these reviews and such opinions should not be stifled by […]