Tag Archives: Tech Policy

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Airport Noise And The Tyranny Of The Minority

Recently, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a short study on airport noise complaints. In the study, Eli Dourado and Raymond Russell examined data released by several U.S. airports with dedicated hotlines for these public complaints. They found that in almost all of the airports examined, a vast majority of the complaints were voiced by one or two people. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cannot allow this vocal minority to dictate the regulation they impose on the aviation industry.

In 2015, Reagan National Airport received more than 8,700 complaints. Of those complaints, almost 7,000 were traced back to only two individuals who lived in the same house in Northwest D.C., more than 5 miles away from the airport. That’s almost 80% of the noise complaints recorded that year. On average, this means that those two people called the airport 19 times per day for the entire year. Assuming these individuals sleep for eight hours per night, they would have had to call Reagan National once every 50 minutes of their waking lives last year!

This is not unique. Many large airports around the country have to deal with the same person calling over and over. In Seattle, hotline operators got so tired of hearing from the same caller that they stopped creating transcripts of her complaints as they did for other calls. They simply tallied up her calls at the end of each month and added a note saying, “Same complaint over and over. Records a/c flying over.”

Continue reading at Forbes.

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New Jersey to Embrace Only Part of Telemedicine’s Promise

Telemedicine is projected to exponentially grow through 2020, according to a recent report from Jackson Healthcare. But only if local governments allow it. Fortunately, New Jersey has begun to embrace telehealth services, though not without caveats.

The New Jersey Senate’s health committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill late last month that would allow the growth of telemedicine, that is, the use of technology to provide healthcare remotely. According to the American Telemedicine Association, while New Jersey residents already use telemedicine, the state has no laws specific to the service. The legislation would rectify this and expand telemedicine’s use by laying the framework for how it must be practiced and compensated. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee will be next to review the bill, and they need to keep the parts of the bill that will make telemedicine accessible while amending the bill to take advantage of the service’s other promise: affordability.

The bill would allow patients to establish relationships with doctors remotely, eliminating the need for an in-person examination under most circumstances. The major exception would be when doctors need to prescribe “controlled dangerous substances”.

Further, the bill defines the originating site in comprehensive enough terms for patients to use telemedicine in home settings. That’s a big deal since some states such as Arkansas narrowly define the “originating site” and limit patients to receiving telemedicine in a healthcare setting.

Continue reading at RealClearHealth.

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Copyright law needs an update

Copyright laws are supposed to promote innovation by allowing the originators of bold ideas to harvest the fruits of their ingenuity. However, the current set of copyright laws designed are ill-equipped for the digital age. Far from stimulating innovation, they are now hampering it. If copyright law is to continue fulfilling its purpose, it must be updated.

For any law to be effective, it must be understood by the people it applies to. Copyright law is hard enough to understand for large tech companies with hefty legal departments. For small businesses–particularly tech startups—the current copyright law is virtually unintelligible. This leads many small businesses to avoid certain areas altogether.

For example, while many startups would relish the opportunity to invest in a platform wherein users upload original content, many are scared away by the high costs of accidental copyright infringement.

In 2008, copyright law was clarified slightly when the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in Cartoon Network, LP v. CSC Holdings Inc (Cablevision). The court found that a television recording service made available to customers did not constitute copyright infringement.

The results were remarkable. Over the two-and-a-half-years following the ruling, venture capital investment in cloud computing businesses surged by an estimated $728 million to $1.3 billion, and quarterly investment in the same sector rose by around 41 per cent.

Read the full article at CapX.

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The International Trade Commission should not control the flow of data

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. ITC. The hearing addressed a 2014 ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a case brought by Align Technology.

Align Technology contended that ClearCorrect had illegally imported digital files used for the production of invisible teeth aligners, for which they hold patents.

The ITC ruled in favor of Align, asserting that its regulatory powers extend to “electronic transmission of digital data”. This should cause great concern.

Some organizations, such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), support the ITC’s argument. These organizations focusing on the intellectual-property component of the case, have  argued that deference is due the ITC, because it is “one of the most open, inclusive and fair bodies in our government.”

But this is not just an intellectual property issue. The implications are far broader.

Despite what supporters of the ruling maintain, the ITC was never meant to have jurisdiction over the transmission of digital data.

Read the rest at The Hill here.