The 10 worst proposed Internet laws?

Washington advocacy group counting AOL, eBay, VeriSign, and Yahoo as members highlights worst Internet laws, with ad restrictions topping the list.

Declan McCullagh Former Senior Writer
Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.
Declan McCullagh
2 min read

The latest list of the 10 worst Internet laws is out, and topping it are proposals to restrict targeted online advertising.

NetChoice, a Washington, D.C. coalition that includes AOL, eBay, VeriSign, and Yahoo as members, today released its updated "iAWFUL" list of misguided, nutty, or simply counterproductive laws.

Topping them is a bill introduced last month by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), which would require the Federal Trade Commission to regulate targeted Internet ads. Last year's iAWFUL list was led by proposals to regulate the data collection and use practices of many Web sites.

"Their favorite target this year is targeted advertising," says Steve DelBianco, NetChoice's executive director. He calls the list an exercise in "creating new regulations that only law-abiding companies will follow."

Speier's press release endorsing the legislation said: "Consumers have a right to determine what if any of their information is shared with big corporations and the federal government must have the authority and tools to enforce reasonable protections." (She cited a USA Today/Gallup poll suggesting that many Google and Facebook users were concerned about their privacy, but neglected to mention it didn't mention the word "advertising.")

If a Web site like CNET displayed local advertisements to readers based on their Internet Protocol addresses, DelBianco said, that could "be a violation" of Speier's proposal.

Other iAWFUL finalists:

• "California (SB 242) and Tennessee (SB 487) are considering new laws to regulate online activity of minors, including all those 16 and 17 years olds who use social networking services today."

• "States across the country are mistakenly turning to advertising nexus taxes to force out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax from in-state consumers." Proposals are pending in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Texas; Amazon.com has sued to overturn New York's.

• "A bill under consideration by the New Hampshire legislation (HB 445) would deny advertisers the right to offer incentives to consumers for sharing location information."