Other Group

Digital Liberty

Website:

digitalliberty.net

Location:

Washington, DC

Project of::

Americans for Tax Reform

Digital Liberty is a project of Americans for Tax Reform that advocates for free-market technology, telecommunications, and media policy. [1]

A conservative-leaning group, Digital Liberty has opposed Republican efforts to regulate large technology firms through changes to antitrust laws and advocates for doing away with restrictions on media ownership. [2] [3]

Background

Digital Liberty advocates for free-market technology, telecommunications, and media policy. It is a project of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group that supports lower taxes and limited regulation. [4]

Digital Liberty contends consumer choice should determine the technology and media landscape. The group opposes taxation of the Internet, telecommunications, video games, and media. [5]

Digital Liberty also opposes existing and longstanding regulation of technology that it contends are antiquated. [6]

Tech and Media Advocacy

In 2021, Digital Liberty joined a coalition of conservative groups warning Republican Senators against backing Democratic legislation to regulate technology companies under new antitrust legislation. Although some Republicans have voiced concern about technology companies’ censorship of conservative voices, the coalition warned that three Democratic bills would increase regulation and make censorship of conservative voices more likely. The proposed bills would make it easier for the government to break up certain companies and to prohibit mergers between tech giants. [7]

Digital Liberty also advocates for the Federal Communications Commission to lift restrictions on common ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers. It says this rule is based on a 1970s media environment when newspapers were a dominant media and there were only three broadcast stations. [8]

In 2017, Digital Liberty opposed local governments operating Internet service as a public utility, noting that cities that have tried to provide Internet service as a public utility historically fail to generate enough revenue to keep providing the service. [9]

In 2020, Digital Liberty argued that the best path to expand high-speed Internet to rural America is cost-sharing between the broadband companies and utility companies, calling for Congress or the Federal Communications Commission to act. The group notes that about 18 million Americans in rural areas lack high-speed Internet despite the federal government spending $43.7 million over a decade to extend the service to these consumers, with much of that cost eaten up by removing old utility poles. [10]

Other Advocacy

In 2021, Digital Liberty joined a coalition of other conservative-leaning organizations in opposing a federal paid-leave entitlement program under consideration in Congress. The coalition argued that this new entitlement would be unfair to low-income workers; undermine existing benefit programs; subsidize big businesses that did not need help; undermine opportunities for women, and reduce workers’ income. [11]

Digital Liberty also opposed the tax increases proposed in the large spending bill dubbed Build Back Better proposed by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration. [12]

Digital Liberty backed the bipartisan EQUAL Act, which aims to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine users. EQUAL is an acronym for “eliminating a quantifiably unjust application of the law.” [13]

Leadership

Katie McAuliffe is the executive director for Digital Liberty. She is also the federal affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform. Her job is focused on research and advocacy efforts on telecom/technology issues, such as spectrum allocation, internet taxation, electronic communications privacy reform, and tech/telecom reform. McAuliffe previously worked for Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL). [14]

References

  1. “About.” Digital Liberty. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.digitalliberty.net/about/ ^
  2. “Coalition Urges Senate Republicans To Reject Democrat Antitrust Trap.” Independent Women’s Forum. October 8, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/2021/10/08/coalition-urges-senate-republicans-to-reject-democrat-antitrust-trap/ ^
  3. “Digital Liberty Memo to Assistant Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division on Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop.” Department of Justice. June 14, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2021.  https://www.justice.gov/atr/page/file/1201521/download ^
  4. “About.” Digital Liberty. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.digitalliberty.net/about/ ^
  5. “About.” Digital Liberty. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.digitalliberty.net/about/ ^
  6. “About.” Digital Liberty. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.digitalliberty.net/about/ ^
  7. “Coalition Urges Senate Republicans To Reject Democrat Antitrust Trap.” Independent Women’s Forum. October 8, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/2021/10/08/coalition-urges-senate-republicans-to-reject-democrat-antitrust-trap/ ^
  8. “Digital Liberty Memo to Assistant Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division on Competition in Television and Digital Advertising Workshop.” Department of Justice. June 14, 2016. Accessed December 4, 2021.  https://www.justice.gov/atr/page/file/1201521/download ^
  9. McAuliffe, Katie. “The false promise of ‘municipal broadband’ networks.” The Hill. June 23, 2017. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/technology/339232-the-false-promise-of-municipal-broadband-networks ^
  10. McAuliffe, Katie. “How to expand rural broadband, fast and affordably.” The Hill. October 19, 2020. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/521351-how-to-expand-rural-broadband-fast-and-affordably ^
  11. “Coalition Letter In Opposition To A Federal Paid Leave Entitlement Program.” Independent Women’s Forum. October 1, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/2021/10/01/coalition-letter-in-opposition-to-a-federal-paid-leave-entitlement-program/ ^
  12. “Letter Opposing Raising Taxes On America Families And Businesses.” Independent Women’s Forum. September 10, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.iwf.org/2021/09/10/letter-opposing-raising-taxes-on-america-families-and-businesses/ ^
  13. Press Release. “Portman, Senate Co-Sponsors Laud House Passage of EQUAL Act.” September 28, 2021. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://www.portman.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/portman-senate-co-sponsors-laud-house-passage-equal-act ^
  14. Katie McAuliffe.” Federalist Society. Accessed December 4, 2021. https://fedsoc.org/contributors/katie-mcauliffe ^
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Digital Liberty

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