Month: October 2022

Where is the FTC’s privacy report?

Data privacy is a fundamental liberal democratic principle for citizens + consumers.

In December 2020, the Federal Trade Commission ordered security and privacy data from Big Tech firms to inform potential future rules that would impact all consumers.

It’s nearly November 2022 but we still have NO report. Why?

We know that our interactions with companies and government involve privacy trade-offs that we must weigh individually. That’s what informed consumer choice is all about, and why we fight for smart data and privacy rules

Enough with data leaks/hacks!

We need smart data and privacy rules that can:
💡Champion Innovation
🛡Defend Portability
📲Allow Interoperability
👨‍💻Embrace Technological Neutrality
👩‍⚖️Avoid patchwork legislation
🔒Promote strong encryption

Learn more! 👇

Originally tweeted by Consumer Choice Center (@ConsumerChoiceC) on April 21, 2021.

The FTC began its 2020 investigation into data practices from major tech companies to try to understand their algorithms, data collection, and monetization. Tech firms provided this within 45 days.

But still no FTC report.

In August 2022, FTC called for public comments on commercial data practices and surveillance by tech firms, presumably informed by the data they collected and analyzed in their report.

But still no FTC report.

Maybe that’s why the deadline was pushed from October 20 to November 21, the week of Thanksgiving…

By then, will American consumers and citizens have access to the FCC report?

The FTC is asking for citizen comments on the data practices of tech firms, we deserve to know what’s in the report they’ve been cooking up for nearly 2 years.

As Joel Thayer writes, it’s an absolute failure that a major agency has fallen behind on this task, especially considering their ream of lawsuits and actions against these same tech companies.

If the FTC wants to empower consumers and provide a framework that we can debate, it needs to prove it. While data and consumer privacy are vital for consumers and innovators, we know this FTC chair has an agenda that will have sweeping ramifications.

FTC Chair Lina Khan has aimed to stop mergers and acquisitions and issued record fines on tech companies against the advice of her own staff. If FTC wants to invoke consumer privacy as another regulatory hammer, consumers deserve a say.

In our view, consumer and data privacy rules must provide balance and protection:

  • Champion Innovation
  • Defend Portability
  • Allow Interoperability
  • Embrace Technological Neutrality
  • Avoid patchwork legislation
  • Promote and allow strong encryption

Anyone who wants to submit a comment to the FTC on their “Trade Regulation Rule on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security” — even without the report — should submit one here.

Consumer Group Warns Regulators of FTX CEO’s influence on Upcoming Cryptocurrency Regulations

Washington, D.C. – Today the Consumer Choice Center sent a letter to Senators and Representatives involved in crafting and approving future cryptocurrency regulations, warning them of the substance of regulatory recommendations made by FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, which he made in a recent company blog post.

Bankman-Fried has, in recent years, become a primary player in American domestic politics, pledging to spend up to $1 billion to fund the Democratic Party’s 2024 efforts, and a notable figure promoting cryptocurrency regulatory policy — much of which would benefit his company and properties.

Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center, said “The reason for cautioning lawmakers is that the decentralization that powers the entire crypto ecosystem is at stake if they only hear from vested interests from oscillating agendas that won’t necessarily favor consumers.

“For those of us with a significant consumer interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — protocols designed to be decentralized — to see so much capital and control vested in one person who has a major influence in crafting legislation to impact millions is a warning sign,” added Ossowski.

“Users of decentralized technologies do not need an industry approach to regulation. Regulations exist to set the rules of the game, not to chart the leaders of the game. The main caution we invoke is that many proposed regulations aim to cement existing industry players and lockout innovative upstarts, while at the same time requiring the same restrictive rules that caused many people to explore cryptocurrencies in the first place.

“Recent comments and suggestions by FTX CEO and noted Democratic Party fundraiser Sam Bankman-Fried, especially, leave us concerned. If rules on crypto and its customers help solidify the financial portfolios, positions, and stock prices of only a select few companies, this will drive innovation away from American shores. While many proposals laid out by Mr. Bankman-Fried do address consumer needs — especially as it relates to hacks, scams, and protection of funds — his recommendations for a highly licensed regime on all sides of digital transactions, especially Decentralized Finance (DeFi), go against the spirit of why cryptocurrencies were created in the first place,” he said.

“Last year, my colleagues and I at the Consumer Choice Center released our Principles for Smart Crypto Regulationunderscoring the need for preventing fraud, pursuing technological neutrality, reasonably low taxation, and legal certainty and transparency, which we believe will be a better framework for future regulation.

“It would benefit us all if future rules help empower consumers and the firms they interact with, punish fraud, abuse, and insider trading, and provide financial transparency.  The whims of a select few industry players, however successful they may be, cannot be the guiding light for the future of decentralized digital money,” concluded Ossowski.

***CCC Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries to yael@consumerchoicecenter.org.***

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Washington, Ottawa, Brussels, Geneva, and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org.

Unleash the potential of vaping: lack of knowledge on vaping holds back smoking cessation

The Consumer Choice Center, together with World Vapers’ Alliance, recently presented a new survey conducted with 30 general practitioners and over 800 smokers in Germany and France – with an initial piece of good news: more than half of respondents want to quit smoking!

Awareness of the health effects of smoking tobacco has grown exponentially over the last decades, prompting policy-makers to make rules to curb usage. However, just like any vice that carries risk, prohibitive and strict measures have not yielded the desired results.

Standard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is recognised, observed, and covered by social security systems, despite showing very limited effects in the efforts of helping those who choose to quit, do so. Vaping has presented consumers with the opportunity to satisfy the need for nicotine, all while posing a fraction of the harm. Vaping is 95% less harmful than using conventional cigarettes, and is simultaneously the most successful smoking cessation tool.

Knowing all this, we can say that vaping is to nicotine use what seatbelts are to driving or what condoms are to sexual encounters: while it may be safer to not use nicotine at all, not drive a car, or not have sex, it is crucial to apply harm reduction. Since the invention of the first e-cigarette in 2003, vaping has come a long way in offering a choice to smokers who wish to quit, and has done so with far less risks involved than cigarettes.

Unfortunately, accurate reporting on vaping is sometimes hard to find. A lot of readers might recall the spike in EVALI (E-cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use Associated Lung Injury) cases in the United States in 2019, which was blamed on vaping. To this day, these cases have disincentivised smokers from switching, even though it has been shownthat affected users had been consuming THC-containing e-liquids from the illicit market. Unbeknownst to buyers at the time, vitamin E acetate had been added to those liquids, with fatal consequences for those who consumed them. All the story really did was underline the importance of a regulated and legal market for vaping products, which prevents leaving the market to bootleggers.

When advocating for harm reduction, organisations such as ours don’t just run into media scare stories, but also into widespread misconceptions. The CCC/WVA survey showed that 33% of smokers in France and 43% in Germany believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes. The erroneous beliefs on nicotine stretch even further: 69% of smokers in France and 74% of smokers in Germany believe nicotine causes cancer, which is far removed from the scientific evidence. Experts on nicotine have long known this, yet the information has not permeated to the public, to politicians, or to general practitioners.

Doctors are essential change-makers when it comes to the unhealthy habits of their patients. However, our survey has shown that too many doctors share ill-informed views on nicotine, or aren’t even aware of the concept of harm reduction. As a result, most doctors do not recommend vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Their views on nicotine (they often believe it causes lung damage) is also fundamentally incoherent: if nicotine were to cause lung damage, why would doctors recommend NRTs, all of which contain nicotine?

Tobacco harm reduction has a long way to go before reaching the ambitious targets of large-scale smoking cessation. Information is therefore crucial: the demonisation of the most successful harm reduction tool needs to stop, and so do punitive rules and regulations. Vaping ought to be at the core of any upcoming policy changes designed to curb tobacco consumption, instead of being the target of overtaxation.

Originally published here

The study reveals 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking

The study commissioned by Consumer Choice Center and written in cooperation with the World Vapers’ Alliance reveals several misconceptions about nicotine and harm reduction among healthcare practitioners and consumers.

The survey on Perceptions on Tobacco Harm Reduction and Nicotine in France and Germany was conducted to gain a greater insight into the impact of misperceptions about vaping among general practitioners, smokers, and policymakers, on the future harm reduction policy in Europe. The survey features 30 interviews with general practitioners and a quantitative survey of 862 French and German smokers.

Key findings:

  • Only three out of 15 doctors in Germany say they know the term harm reduction.
  • 33% of smokers in France and 43% in Germany wrongly believe vaping is as harmful or more harmful than cigarettes.
  • 69% of smokers in France and 74% of smokers in Germany wrongly believe nicotine causes cancer.
  • 62% of smokers in France and 53% in Germany believe anti-smoking policies ignore how difficult it is to stop smoking.

Read the full text here


Quand l’Etat choisit les gagnants et les perdants sur le marché, cela ne se termine jamais bien.

Certaines personnes partageront cet article sur les réseaux sociaux, ce qui augmentera le trafic vers le site de La Chronique Agora. Plus de trafic sur un site web signifie qu’un nombre plus important d’utilisateurs seront susceptibles de cliquer sur le contenu de ce même site, ce qui génère des revenus publicitaires.

En ce sens, Facebook ou Twitter agissent comme des multiplicateurs d’exposition pour les entreprises médiatiques. Toutefois, les législateurs en Europe, aux Etats-Unis et ailleurs, ne voient pas les choses de cette façon.

La sénatrice démocrate Amy Klobuchar a par exemple proposé le « Journalism Competition and Preservation Act » de 2021 (JCPA), qui prétend protéger les médias locaux en permettant aux diffuseurs de se regrouper pour négocier les conditions de distribution du contenu. En substance, cette législation permettrait aux entreprises médiatiques de coordonner les prix sur quelque chose dont elles bénéficient – les réseaux sociaux permettant aux utilisateurs de partager des liens.

Une concurrence pas vraiment libre

Le projet de loi exempte les entreprises de médias des lois « antitrust » pendant quatre ans, même si les entreprises des réseaux continueraient d’être concernées par ces lois. Selon Mme Klobuchar, cela permettrait de détourner les bénéfices des géants du net vers les entreprises de médias qui ont connu des difficultés au cours des dernières décennies – notamment en raison de leur incapacité à s’adapter au modèle en ligne.

Le projet de loi de Klobuchar ne va pas tout à fait aussi loin que ce qu’auraient souhaité certains responsables de la réglementation en Europe. En 2018, la Commission européenne a proposé une nouvelle législation sur le droit d’auteur qui imposerait une « taxe sur les liens ». Celle-ci obligerait les plateformes à payer l’éditeur pour l’utilisation de « snippets » (image et courts extraits de texte, comme ce qui s’affiche dans les résultats d’une recherche sur Google) ou à ne pas autoriser du tout la publication du lien.

Cette proposition a suscité des protestations à grande échelle dans toute l’Europe, au motif qu’elle réduirait l’accès à l’information, limiterait la liberté d’expression et favoriserait les « fake news ». Finalement, l’UE a édulcoré la proposition et, à ce jour, de nombreux pays membres de l’UE traînent les pieds pour mettre en œuvre certains aspects de la réforme du droit d’auteur.

Le JCPA est un argument moins élaboré que l’approche européenne du droit d’auteur. Pour Amy Klobuchar, il s’agit simplement de redistribuer les moyens financiers d’un acteur économique à un autre, non pas par le biais de la fiscalité, mais par la création de cartels. Cela créerait une myriade de problèmes.

Exempter un secteur économique des règles antitrust crée un précédent auquel d’autres secteurs feront pression pour accéder. Après tout, si les entreprises de médias peuvent s’unir pour combattre Meta et Twitter, pourquoi les conglomérats hôteliers ne peuvent-ils pas s’entendre pour limiter l’offre d’Airbnb ?

Quand l’Etat choisit les gagnants et les perdants sur le marché, cela ne se termine jamais bien et expose en l’occurrence les législateurs à une influence indue. En fin de compte, la question pourrait très bien être : Amy Klobuchar ne cherche-t-elle pas à bénéficier d’une couverture médiatique positive à travers ce projet de loi et ses effets ?

Mauvaise nouvelle pour les citoyens

Ceux qui s’inquiètent de la concentration du marché dans le domaine des médias devraient considérer ce projet de loi d’un œil très critique. Si certains peuvent bénéficier des cartels, ce n’est jamais le cas des citoyens et des consommateurs.

Il est également peu probable que ce projet de loi aide efficacement les entreprises médiatiques en difficulté. De nombreuses plateformes médiatiques génèrent déjà la majorité du trafic de leur site web, et donc de leurs revenus, par le biais des clics sur les réseaux sociaux – ainsi, une taxe sur les liens devrait être beaucoup trop élevée pour produire des résultats.

Cela pourrait conduire les réseaux sociaux à bloquer purement et simplement le partage de liens vers certains sites d’information, comme cela s’est produit en Australie lorsqu’une législation similaire a été mise en œuvre. Lorsque l’Espagne a tenté de mettre en place une taxe sur les liens, Google News a fermé ses services dans le pays (et ne les a rouvert que récemment, après que l’UE a atténué la législation locale).

Les prémisses sous-jacentes de ce projet de loi aux Etats-Unis, ou des législations qui ont été considérées par l’Union européenne, sont doubles.

D’une part, elles supposent que la situation critique des entreprises journalistiques est due aux géants des réseaux sociaux comme Meta ou Twitter. Le fait que Facebook ait fermé le partage de liens d’actualité en Australie l’année dernière prouve que la plateforme n’a pas besoin de contenu d’actualité pour survivre ; les médias ont besoin de Facebook bien plus que Facebook n’a besoin d’eux.

L’autre hypothèse est que l’économie est statique. Facebook et Twitter, à moins qu’ils n’innovent, ont peu de chances de rester les acteurs les plus importants dans le domaine des réseaux sociaux. Ils savent mieux que quiconque dans quelle mesure ils peuvent devenir superflus aux yeux de leurs utilisateurs : pensez à MySpace.

Si nous acceptons cette situation pour les réseaux sociaux, nous n’appliquons pas le même raisonnement à l’espace médiatique. Pourquoi les journaux et les diffuseurs ne pourraient-ils pas s’adapter à l’espace numérique d’une manière financièrement viable, sans l’intervention de l’Etat ?

Farsalinos: “La sigaretta elettronica deve entrare in ogni programma di lotta al fumo”

Presentato oggi alla stampa uno studio sulla percezione di sigaretta elettronica e riduzione del danno condotto in Francia e Germania.

l 33% dei fumatori francesi e il 43% di quelli tedeschi crede, sbagliando, che la sigaretta elettronica sia dannosa come quella di tabacco o addirittura di più. Il 69% dei fumatori in Francia e il 74% in Germania ritiene erroneamente che la nicotina causi il cancro. Solo tre medici tedeschi su quindici affermano di conoscere il termine “riduzione del danno” e forse è anche per questo che nei due Paesi la maggioranza dei tabagisti (69% in Francia, 74% in Germania) è convinto che le politiche antifumo non tengano conto di quanto sia difficile smettere di fumare. Sono questi i principali risultati di un’indagine commissionata alla società di ricerca Info Sapiens dal Consumer Choice Center in collaborazione con la rete internazionale di associazioni dei consumatori di e-cigarette World Vapers Alliance (WVA).

Read the full text here

Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 dan Optimisme Industri Vape di Indonesia

Rokok elektrik atau vape saat ini merupakan salah satu produk yang memiliki konsumen yang semakin meningkat. Kita, khususnya yang tinggal di daerah urban dan perkotaan besar, pasti bisa dengan mudah menemukan berbagai pengguna vape di sekitar kita, dan juga berbagai tempat yang menjual produk-produk tersebut.

Bagi sebagian kalangan, vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan bagian dari keseharian. Tentunya, dengan semakin banyak dan meluasnya jumah pengguna vape atau rokok elektrik di seluruh dunia, termasuk juga di Indonesia, ada berbagai faktor yang menyebabkan seseorang untuk memilih untuk menggunakan vape sebagai bagian dari keseharian mereka.

Salah satu faktor yang paling umum yang menjadi penyebab seseorang untuk menggunakan vape adalah menjadikan rokok elektrik sebagai produk pengganti rokok konvensional yang dibakar, yang sebelumnya mereka gunakan sehari-hari. 

Dengan kata lain, mereka menggunakan produk-produk vape dan rokok elektrik sebagai cara untuk membantu mereka berhenti merokok (health.detik.com, 24/12/2018).

Menggunakan produk-produk vape atau rokok elektrik sebagai salah satu cara untuk membantu seseorang berhenti merokok memang saat ini menjadi langkah yang diambil oleh banyak orang. 

Hal ini dikarenakan, berdasarkan laporan berbagai lembaga medis, vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan produk yang jauh lebih tidak berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Salah satu dari lembaga kesehatan yang mengeluarkan laporan tersebut adalah lembaga kesehatan publik asal Inggris, Public Health England (PHE). Dalam laporannya tahun 2015 lalu, menyatakan bahwa vape atau rokok elektrik merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih tidak berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional (gov.uk, 19/8/2015).

Selain itu, faktor lain yang menyebabkan tidak sedikit orang yang beralih untuk menggunakan vape atau rokok elektrik adalah rasanya yang lebih variatif, dan juga harganya yang cenderung lebih murah secara total bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional. Hal ini tentu merupakan beebrapa faktor yang penting yang dapat membuat banyak konsumen untuk tertarik mengganti rokok konvensional yang mereka gunakan dalam keseharian ke rokok elektrik (health.detik.com, 24/12/2018).

Semakin meningkatnya pengguna vape di Indonesia, juga tentunya memunculkan banyak event dan berbagai acara yang bertemakan mengenai vape atau rokok elektrik. 

Acara-acara tersebut umumnya diadakan, selain untuk tujuan marketing berbagai produsen rokok elektrik untuk memperkenalkan produk-produk mereka, juga diikuti dengan berbagai program-program kompetisi dan juga sebagai sarana untuk menampung aspirasi para pengguna vape, yang didominasi oleh kaangan muda

Salah satu perhelatan vape dan rokok elektrik terbesar yang diadakan di Indonesia adalah Vape Fair Indonesia 2022, yang diadakan di ibukota Jakarta pada tanggal 24-25 September lalu. Acara ini sendiri merupakan acara rutin yang diadakan setiap tahun (vapemagz.co.id, 27/9/2022).

Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 merupakan event vape terbesar di Asia Tenggara, dan dipenuhi bukan hanya dengan pameran berbagai produk vape dan rokok elektrik, tetapi juga diisi berbagai kegiatan lainnya. Beberapa diantaranya adalah kegiatan kompetisi seperti competisi trik asap, kompetisi seni, dan lain sebagainya (vapemagz.co.id, 27/9/2022).

Selain itu, para tenant yang menjadi peserta dari ajang ini juga bukan hanya dari Indonesia saja, tetapi juga dari berbagai negara lainnya, diantaranya adalah Malaysia, China, dan juga Amerika Serikat. 

Acara ini sendiri sudah berkembang dengan pesat dan signifikan, dibandingkan ketika event ini diadakan pertama kalinya 8 tahun lalu pada tahun 2014, ketika acara tersebut hanya dihadiri beberapa tenant dari dalam negeri. Tidak kurang juga acara ini diramaikan oleh banyak artis dan selebrti papan atas dari Indonesia.

Suksesnya acara Vape Fair Indonesia 2022 ini sendiri juga merupakan salah satu bukti mengenai optimisme dari para pelaku industri rokok elektrik yang ada di Indonesia. 

Dan juga, acara pameran ini juga berpotensi besar bukan hanya memperkenalkan berbagai produk-produk vape kepada konsumen, tetapi juga bisa menjadi tempat bagi konsumen untuk mencari tahu info-info seputar vape dan rokok elektrik, seperti kandungan dan pengaruhnya bagi kesehatan, dan lain sebagainya.

Dengan demikian, industri rokok elektrik dapat semakin berkembang di Indonesia, yang tentunya akan semakin banyak membuka lapangan kerja bagi banyak tenaga kerja di negara kita. 

Selain itu, dengan semakin berkembangnya industri vape dan rokok elektrik, diharapkan hal ini akan membuat semakin mengurangi jumlah konsumen rokok konvensional yang dibakar yang ada di Indonesia, yang tentunya akan membawa dampak yang positif terhadap kesehatan publik, dan juga akan mengurangi tingkat berbagai penyakit kronis yang disebabkan oleh rokok konvensional di Indonesia.

Sebagai penutup, berhasil diadakannya acara perhelatan bertema vape terbesar di Asia Tenggara tahun ini di Indonesia merupakan salah satu pertanda optimisme industri vape yang ada di Indonesia. 

Semoga, melalui semakin berkembangnya industri vape dan rokok elektrik di Indonesia, akan dapat membawa manfaat bagi konsumen dan juga tenaga kerja di negara kita.

Originally published here

Regulators and Politicians Are Coming for the App Store

New legislation and an antitrust lawsuit threaten Apple’s monopoly over its App Store. The Department of Justice recently joined Fortnite developer Epic Games in appealing the latter’s failed 2020 lawsuit against Apple. Epic alleges that the tech giant’s exorbitant 30 percent commission on in-app transactions, which users are forced to conduct through the App Store, violates competition laws and harms consumers. 

Meanwhile, Congress could soon pass the Open App Markets Act (OAMA), a bipartisan bill that would stop app platforms from monopolizing payment systems for in-app transactions, restrict them from preferencing their own apps over competitors’ in-store, and require them to permit “sideloading” — the installation of unverified third-party apps outside of official app marketplaces.

This could give smartphone users access to more apps while increasing competition between developers. Lower entry barriers into the lucrative iPhone app market of more than 118 million Americans could spur innovation in apps that may not have been viable before. It would also encourage investment in developer start-ups and could lower prices for in-app purchases, including for emerging technologies like NFTs, by allowing developers to circumvent Apple’s commissions through alternative digital payment methods.

But is there more to the story?

Users aren’t likely to abandon their iPhones for competitors over costly in-app fees and a sideloading ban once locked in. Conversely, they may see this as a trade-off for better app vetting and data security and privacy controls that Apple promises. Android phones don’t levy 30 percent commissions on in-app transactions, but Google collects and monetizes user data for targeted advertising to a greater degree with fewer controls. 

Though conversely, analysts note that Apple’s own data collection and monetization also fuels its growing ad business, which is expected to grow to $20 billion/year in revenues by 2025. Sideloading outside the App store certainly threatens this segment of Apple’s business.

As for security, discerning adults can trust themselves in navigating less restrictive app marketplaces or in taking precautions if they sideload unverified apps. But the same can’t be said for vulnerable demographics like children or the elderly.

Though the OAMA permits smartphone operating systems to restrict or remove apps over legitimate security and privacy concerns, this may be difficult to implement regarding sideloading. A 2020 Nokia cybersecurity reportblamed sideloading, which is already possible on Android devices, for 15 to 47 times higher rates of malware infection on those devices relative to iPhones.

In any case, Google and Apple’s alternative business models have resulted in a split smartphone market. Apple holds 59 percent of the American market, while the global market is dominated by Android, whose share is 72.2 percent. Both companies face competition from alternative smartphone manufacturers like Huawei and non-smartphone app marketplaces, including gaming consoles like the Xbox, which are exempt from the OAMA.

In a competitive market where users already choose what they value, is a legislative or court mandate limiting companies’ abilities to tailor platforms to their user base necessary or desirable? The ability to monetize the app marketplace funds capital-intensive investment in platform and app ecosystem development. Stymying this ability could harm consumers by discouraging innovation and competition between platforms.

And if Target or Walmart’s ability to “self-preference” by placing home brand products in prime locations relative to competing alternatives is an accepted business practice that isn’t seen as “anti-competitive,” then how is self-preferencing on digital platforms different? Consumers already discern between brands and often choose alternatives for reasons other than cost or product placement — whether online or at brick-and-mortar stores. Placing limitations on self-preferencing may result in stores or platforms levying higher prices from consumers elsewhere or offering fewer choices.

The OAMA is likely to yield greater choices in apps for Apple customers and greater opportunities for developers. But there could still be some adverse long-term consequences. At the very least, provisions that restrict self-preferencing should be reconsidered as they won’t meaningfully increase choices consumers already face.

Originally published here

Nobody needs a car trade war

Brussels, BE: In recent comments, French president Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the European Union should use protectionist measures to defend Europe’s electric car industry. Macron pointed to the fact that rental car companies are buying Chinese electric vehicles and voiced the view that Europe does not have adequate means to protect its manufacturers. Commenting on the statements by the French president, Consumer Choice Center’s Senior Policy Analyst Bill Wirtz says that protectionism is ill-advised:

“If countries such as the United States or China are suspected of unfairly favouring their industries, then France needs to take this up at the WTO level, not trying to emulate their policies within the European Union”, says Wirtz.

“Protectionism is often sold to us as a duty to protect our industries when in reality, it hurts consumers on all sides alike. Consumers need choices on the marketplace to make informed decisions for their own comfort and their pocketbooks. Reducing the number of competitors will only make things worse.”

“Emmanuel Macron’s notion of European sovereignty ought to be about creating a business environment that favours innovation, not the stepping stone for another trade war”, concludes Wirtz.

September 2022

Throughout September, the CCC team has been avidly defending consumer choice across the world. Here’s a recap of some of our accomplishments from this past month!

The trouble with King Charles’ unorthodox views on modern farming

While the House of Commons is considering a bill that would allow genetic engineering in crops, the new King seems to be fond of organic farming. The policies that Charles III supports would fundamentally damage the global farming system. Adopting organic practices would increase carbon dioxide emissions. Bill suggests the influential monarch abandon his unfounded views on modern agriculture and not stand in the way of helping farmers and consumers alike. 

Yael called for the waiver and then repeal of the Jones Act!

In the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, a ship containing 300,000 barrels of much-needed diesel fuel wasn’t able to dock due to the 1920 Jones Act that mandates only US ships can ship goods between US ports. Yael called for an immediate waiver of the Jones act to speed up rescue operations in Puerto Rico and along America’s coasts. He stressed that “In a time of economic uncertainty, high gas prices, and rising inflation, the Biden Administration and its agencies should be more focused on protecting citizens in need rather than their labor union constituents.” Thankfully, Jones Act has been waived, but now it’s time to repeal it altogether. 

Generation End Game – Malaysia Edition

Malaysian government recently announced quite an ambitious public health plan Generation End Game (GEG), that would ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products for those born after 2007. In response to this, our team member from Malaysia, Tarmizi, organised a webinar called Ending Generation End Game, Rules of Law and the Constitution, where it was stressed that “Consumers need to be given the right to choose and that right cannot be taken away by the government in any way”On a good note, more than 700,000 people have signed the petition to reject GEG, so hopefully, this plan will not be moving forward.

Free up the cannabis market

Even though cannabis has been legal in Canada for a couple of years now, the legal market only accounts for 59% of all cannabis consumed. In his latest op-ed, David suggests steps that would lead to more people purchasing their products through the legal market, the first of which would be removing CBD products from the Cannabis Act. 

Some more addition to our team!

The CCC team is growing! We are happy to announce our newest members, Dr. Emil Panzaru and Zoltan Kesz. Emil, a recent King’s College London graduate with a PhD in Political Economy, will be leading our team’s research efforts. Zoltan Kesz, a former Hungarian MP, has joined us as a Government Affairs Manager and will help us broaden our political network to achieve more policy goals. Please join us in welcoming them!

Coming Soon – Sharing Economy Index 2022

The long-awaited Global Sharing economy Index 2022 is almost out!  Last year we had Tallinn and Tbilisi share first place; let’s see what has changed in the sharing economy world since then. Keep an eye on our social media for the release of our latest research piece!

P.S. In the meantime, take a look at last year’s index
That’s a wrap for this month! Make sure to follow us on our social media channels to get all the updates we couldn’t fit in here! See you next month
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