A ‘Green New Deal’ Represents a Future Without Consumer Choice

A ‘Green New Deal’ Represents a Future Without Consumer Choice

CONTACT:
Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Democratic lawmakers in Congress have unveiled the outline of a number of policies they’ve dubbed as the “Green New Deal”. The Green New Deal is a series of legislative proposals that will focus on massively transforming society in hopes of achieving a future with “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said that the Green New Deal “offers Americans a frightening future where there is no consumer choice.”

“This outline of a Green New Deal is probably one of the most extreme attacks on consumer choice that could be conceived of in written form,” said Ossowski. “We all agree with mitigating climate change is a noble and important goal, but centrally remaking the American economy and depriving millions of their ability to choose the goods and services they rely on is unfair.

“Not only does the plan enforce mandates that will likely bankrupt a host of industries and severely reduce output, but it also proposes to massively expand governmental control of which goods and services are offered to consumers, and in what form. If the goals of the outline are achieved, they will effectively eliminate the capacity of consumers to choose what type of fuels, products, food, or vehicles they can buy, and likely much more.

“Planning to eliminate vehicles that run on internal combustion engines within ten years and doing away with air travel in favor of high-speed rail is an antiquated vision that, if enforced with federal laws, would likely delay any meaningful innovations in alternative energy that consumers would otherwise be supporting in the marketplace,” said Ossowski.

“Requiring every building in America be retrofitted to an impossible environmental standard will rob consumers of the choice to determine how, within current zoning rules, they can build or maintain their properties. Unreasonable emission restrictions on small farms will likely make it impossible to maintain current levels of food production, thus depriving consumers of the thousands of food items they rely on.

“Much like the ‘shovel-ready’ jobs the ‘New Green Deal’ proposes to offer every American, we hope this proposal is shoveled as quickly as possible where it belongs: in the past,” said Ossowski.

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

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

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

What Artificial Intelligence Will Do For Consumers

Many speak of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as being a force of the future – unaware that these intelligent beings are already manifesting themselves in their daily lives. These human-like machines are undoubtedly here to stay, and they will continue to grow, become more intelligent and have a greater influence in our day-to-day lives.

However, Artificial Intelligence is not the homicidal humanoid who seeks to conquer this planet, as depicted in films and series. It is far more understated than that. AI fear-mongering and scepticism is nothing more than mere speculation, which is only natural.

As Meenajshi Nadimpalli notes, the “tension resulting from accepting aspects of artificial intelligence relates to its confusing nature,” so it also our duty to demystify what we call AI. We cannot, however, stress it enough; artificial intelligence has already cemented its authority in the digital age. In fact, you probably interact with it daily, even if it’s in its most subtle and modest form. Isn’t it, therefore, time for consumers to know what exactly AI is, and how it will affect our lives?

Herein, we will stick to a basic definition: “Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.”. In other words, these supercomputers have an incredible ability to adapt to change. Despite the popularity of AI, there is a demonstrable ‘knowledge gap’ when it comes to this new technology. In a Pegasystems study ‘What Consumers Really Think About AI: A Global Study’, which surveyed 6,000 adults, participants were asked how much they really knew about artificial intelligence; more than 70 percent of all respondents confidently said that they understood AI, while also being unable to identify some of AI’s most basic tenets. Intelligent assistants, spam email filters, search engines, online shopping recommendations are all common examples. The probability that you have interacted with AI today is almost certain.

If you are a fellow computer enthusiast, you would’ve noticed by now that the advertisements which appear on your screen are often suited to your own preferences. This is the most fundamental skill artificial intelligence has developed to influence consumer choice and behaviour. In simpler terms, “AI plays a significant role in the background, monitoring consumer sentiments on the internet and social media, ” claims Nadimpalli.

Subsequently, many marketers are now turning to artificial intelligence to transform big data flow into valuable consumer insight. As always, there are risks involved, as witnessed with Cambridge Analytica’s use of personal Facebook data for political means and the continuous allegations made against the company and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

How does AI achieve this and does it breach my privacy?

As one would expect, the line between data analytics and data privacy is admittedly a blurry one. Artificial intelligence essentially uses a variety of statistical techniques from the branch known as ‘Predictive Analysis’. Originally, advertisers have relied on methods such as market research, web analytics, and data mining to build consumer profiles for understanding and influencing needs. With AI, it is now possible to understand emerging wants and needs in real time—as consumers express them online—and build richer profiles more quickly.

The digital age is embodied by the abundance of data and information collected, stored and sold with the use of our technological gadgets. Nowadays, ‘big data’ is a fashionable subject for the tech literate. In AI terms, big data is essentially a “large volume of transaction-level data that could identify individual consumers by itself or in combination with other datasets,” as mentioned by Jin. Since data is stored and collected, it could ultimately lead to a multitude of privacy concerns in the event that the technology is placed in the hands of the wrong people. Big data storehouses are a prime target for hackers and scammers; consequently, identity theft is where consumers are most at risk.

“According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), identity theft affects 17.6 million (7 percent) of all U.S. residents age 16 and older (Harrell 2014). Consistently, identity theft is one of the biggest consumer-complaint categories – first in 2014, second in 2015 and third in 2016 (FTC 2014, 2015, 2016). In 2016, identity theft accounted for 13 percent of consumer complaints, trailing behind debt collection (28 percent) and imposter scam (13 percent), all of which could feed on lost personal data (FTC 2016).”

–Ginger Zhe Jin

We must, therefore, ask ourselves whether AI can save us from data misuse. We cannot afford to undermine the devastating consequences linked to the misuse of data. It is thus up to the rational consumer to deliberate whether he can trust AI to reap the benefits from future data use. And since firms across the world are now seeking to adopt AI algorithms for data purposes, a potential leading concern “is that firms are not fully accountable for the risk they bring to consumer privacy and data security” (Jin 2017).

According to Jin, full restoration of accountability can be achieved by overcoming three obstacles: the difficulty to observe firms’ actual action in data collection, data storage and data use; (2) the difficulty to quantify the consequence of data practice, especially before low-probability adverse events realize themselves; and (3) the difficulty to draw a causal link between a firm’s data practice and its consequence.

It’s important to note that AI deals with two different types of input data: Structured and unstructured. Structured data is more ‘traditional’ as it encompasses “standardized datasets, such as customer demographics or web-browsing history. AI, with its enormous computing power, runs complex computations on large volumes of such structured data and often produces results in real time” (Kietzmann 2018).

On the other hand, unstructured data accounts for “about 80 percent of the approximately 2.5 billion gigabytes of daily user-generated data are unstructured (Rizkallah, 2017) and provided as written texts, speech, and images. AI’s ability to process large volumes of this type of data—and to do so very quickly—is what distinguishes it from traditional computing systems” (Kietzmann 2018).

What these clever machines essentially do is ‘mine’ your data, meaning it picks supersets of information from various sources, and then clumps this information to alert you of patterns and correlations you hadn’t previously even thought of. With the help of machine learning, advertisers will be able to collect consumer data from many sources undetected, combine those data, and mine them to deliver on-the-spot consumer insights.

With all of this in mind, is there a need for advertising in a world where a machine knows exactly what you want? If you want to buy a car, you won’t have to look for one, as you can simply ask Google and it will find the perfect one for you. Consumers will ultimately be suggested superior recommendations for the things they want and have access to better products and services. This has the potential to make life healthier, more entertaining, more convenient and less stressful. In ‘What Consumers Really Think about AI: A Global Study’ (Pegasystems), the majority (38% of participants) agreed that AI can provide the same, if not better, levels of customer service than a human can.

As suggested earlier, artificial intelligence could potentially impact consumer privacy, fairness, bias, manipulation (better ads, false information). It is also stipulated that AI could, in theory, reduce the possibility of consumer purchase manipulation and vulnerability, by aiding customers on their buying experiences, ensuring that they make sensible buying choices because it allows marketing, gift selection, and virtual dressing (Nadimpalli 2017). Consumer data privacy is undoubtedly the biggest challenge AI will face in years to come. There are also many who believe that artificial intelligence can help bring sanity on matters of privacy, cybersecurity, fraud, individual financial security, etc.

Artificial Intelligence for retailers?

Customer service is an imperative part of any retailing business as it determines consumer brand loyalty. Algorithms escalate the capacity to see business suggestions and decipher results like higher sales and lower costs through customer service, item stock, and staffing. Platforms such as Facebook enable retailers to spare task costs connected to client benefit through incorporating chatbots by means of Facebook Messenger. As a result, “Artificial intelligence replaces the conventional customer service agent answering questions by sending links, images, and texts and only uses human respondents if the issue is more complicated” (Nampdilla 2017). Further, AI helps retailers in recruiting fitting contenders for contracts by evaluating their traits and execution history, which subsequently lowers hiring costs and attrition. They can likewise utilise the platform to connect more with candidates, offer customised criticism, updates, and approaching recommendation.

While AI has positively impacted online retail, traditional retail shops are in desperate need of a technological revamp. Our beloved high street retailers have seen a consistent decline in sales due to the accessibility, price, and service associated with online shopping. With the use of AI, outdated shops could restore faith in consumer attitudes towards traditional retail. For instance, shops could develop on-the-spot information via AI generated apps, which allow customers to compare and view adequately the items they wish to buy. Once a customer enters the store and opens the store app, the in-store sensors can identify and track the customer activities and behaviors.

In addition, artificial intelligence can now gain crucial customer insight. This is also known as ‘intelligent customer service’, where AI-powered automated assistants can study customer behavior and help build confidence in their purchase decision by recommending products based on the shoppers’ needs, preferences, and fit. If that isn’t enough, voice-enabled cameras can recognise and interpret facial, biometric and audible cues. Capturing shoppers’ in-the-moment emotions, reactions or interactions vis-a-vis the product can, as a result, help deliver appropriate products and recommendations. Again, this is perhaps another privacy issue which many may object to.

Despite the positive prospects associated with AI and customer service, public opinion on whether artificial intelligence devices can outperform traditional human services tend to be negative. In the Pegasystems study, only two percent more believed that AI has the potential to improve customer service. In another study, two economists from Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies concluded that consumers prefer the classical devices over the technologically advanced ones (Pelau, Ene 2018).

Conclusion

The greatest impact AI currently has – and will have – on consumer behaviour and choice will be its manipulation of advertisements and its presence in customer service. Artificial intelligence has revolutionised the way advertisers understand and guide consumers.

Despite public scepticism, we would argue that the ambivalence towards AI is simply a lack of education on the matter. Once we overcome this ‘knowledge gap’, we believe the choice to switch to AI will be a no-brainer.

It is undeniable that this fast-paced technology has the potential to make consumer lives far easier. Its journey, however, won’t be as plane sailing since it’s confronted with many challenges. New ways of consumer-generated data mining will drive consumer insight, and AI will become the ultimate test for privacy.

References:

Ene, Paul & Pelau, Corina, ‘Consumers’ perception on human-like artificial intelligence devices’ 2018

Ginger Zhe Jin, ‘Artificial Intelligence and Consumer Privacy’

Kietzmann, Treen & Paschen, ‘Artificial Intelligence in Advertising: How Marketers Can Leverage Artificial Intelligence Along the Consumer Journey’ 2018

Nadimpalli, Meenakshi, ‘Artificial Intelligence – Consumers and Industry Impact’ 2017

Pegasystems, ‘What consumers really think about AI: A global study’

FDA’s menthol ban and vaping restrictions will have consequences

CONTACT:
Jeff Stier
Senior Fellow
Consumer Choice Center
[email protected]

FDA’s menthol ban and vaping restrictions will have consequences

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced severe sales and flavor restrictions on vaping products and introduced a new ban on menthol flavors in combustible tobacco products.

Reacting to the news, Consumer Choice Center senior fellow Jeff Stier said the plan is riddled with flaws.

“Banning menthol cigarettes will lead to increased youth smoking, especially in minority communities, where a ban would spark illegal markets reminiscent of the days of alcohol prohibition,” said Stier.

Writing in USA Today, he pointed out that various civil rights and police organizations have come out united against the policy, stating that is is both discriminatory toward minority communities and would eat up precious time and resources for police officers.

“When Congress gave the FDA authority to regulate recreational lower-risk nicotine products, it was with the expectation that the FDA would be able to both discourage youth use and help adults quit smoking. Sadly, to date, the FDA has accomplished little on either front,” said Stier.

“These failures don’t justify a misplaced “crackdown” on e-cigarettes and responsible sellers. They require an aggressive effort to stop the bad actors. Accomplishing that now will require a new FDA policy. And clearly, a new commissioner,” he added.

“The FDA should instead concentrate on two primary goals: Enforce already-existing rules that ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and, as recommended by the American Cancer Society, support adult smokers who attempt to quit with e-cigarettes.”

***CCC Senior Fellow Jeff Stier is available to speak with accredited media on consumer regulations and consumer choice issues. Please send media inquiries HERE.***

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

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About Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the Consumer Choice Center.

Mr. Stier has been a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. He is a guest on over 100 radio shows a year, including on NPR and top-rated major market shows in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, and Sacramento, plus syndicated regional broadcasts.

Jeff’s op-eds have been published in top outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, Forbes, The Washington Examiner, and National Review Online.

Sens. Markey, Blumenthal receive Consumer Choice Center BAN Award for trying to make flying more expensive

U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) receive the September 2018 BAN Award for proposing to make flying more expensive by re-regulating the airline industry and forbidding certain fees for better service and options on flights.

The U.S. Senate’s version of the FAA reauthorization bill includes a provision authored by U.S. Senators Markey and Blumenthal that would regulate airline pricing. The provision, already rejected by the Dept. of Transportation, is known as the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski said: “supporters contend the FAIR Fees Act will benefit consumers, but the reality is it would force airlines to abandon the successful business model that has made commercial air travel the most affordable it has been in over 20 years.”

The award is given to highlight the Consumer Choice Center’s new#FreeSkiesAreFAIR campaign to try to protect affordable ticket prices for flyers.

“The range of new flight options, cheaper regional air carriers, and no-frills flights are making travel cheaper and better for consumers. Bringing the federal government in to set prices will only end up hurting the very consumers and constituents politicians seek to help,” said Ossowski.

“Eliminating or dramatically altering the current change fee structure would take the power of choice away from the consumer and allow the federal government to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to airline pricing. Given that consumers have very different preferences when they fly, whether with flexibility or upgrades, a uniform solution to airfare pricing does not meet the reality of what consumers demand.

Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice. This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.

Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.

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

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Minor changes could have a major positive impact on Ontario’s cannabis plan

On Aug. 13, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fideli announced the government’s plan for cannabis legalization. The keystone of the Progressive Conservatives’ policy is a reversal of the public retail monopoly model proposed by the former Liberal government, to instead opt for private retail provincewide. Although cannabis will be legal in October this year, storefronts won’t be available for consumers until at least April 1, 2019, after the government has gone through a public consultation period. In the meantime, Ontario cannabis consumers will only be able to order legal cannabis through an online outlet created by the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

Along with the private retail announcement, the government stated that municipalities would be able to “opt out” from cannabis activity, meaning that cities and towns will have the opportunity to prohibit cannabis retail outlets from being established within their municipal boundaries.

Lastly, in addition to strict age-of-purchase and impaired-driving restrictions, the PCs will enact a complete public consumption ban, similar to how alcohol is treated provincewide. This means all cannabis consumption will have to take place either in one’s home or on one’s private property.

Mr. Ford should be applauded for embracing private retail, but there are some key missteps with the plan as described. Luckily, these flaws can be easily remedied with simple policy alterations.

The move toward private retail is definitely a win for consumers, given that private retail enhances access, which helps stamp out the black market. That said, not having storefronts available on legalization day all but guarantees consumers will continue to purchase cannabis illegally until storefronts are available. Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians consume cannabis recreationally and all of them currently purchase it via illicit dealers. The thought that a government-run online outlet will be more accessible than how consumers currently purchase the product is optimistic at best, but unrealistic and destined to fail. Instead of delaying, Mr. Ford’s government should fast-track the retail permit process so that storefronts are available on Oct. 17.

Not having storefronts is just one of the major flaws with the government’s cannabis announcement. The second is the opt-out provision allowing communities to ban retail outlets within their municipal boundaries. While the desire to decentralize decision-making to local governments is understandable, all the Ford government is doing is giving cities and towns permission to recreate prohibition at the local level. This is exactly what is currently happening in California, where local retail bans are creating pockets of prohibition. Banning cannabis retail at the local level isn’t going to stop consumers from buying the product. It’s just going to prevent them from purchasing it legally, which ends up lining the pockets of organized crime.

The last significant issue with Ontario’s cannabis plan is the complete ban on public consumption. At first glance, the restriction may seem reasonable. Cannabis is an intoxicant and can be consumed in an obnoxious manner that bothers others. Despite this, banning public consumption for cannabis is heavily regressive and unfairly targets the poor. For Ontarians who rent, a growing group in today’s housing market, smoking indoors is almost always prohibited. Now, for those renters, outdoor consumption is prohibited as well. Both of those restrictions are worsened by the fact that the province currently doesn’t have any plans for indoor consumption in commercial settings. Without legal cannabis lounges, Ontarians who rent are almost entirely excluded from legal consumption, which is particularly unfortunate and cruel given that low-income neighbourhoods have historically been the ones most terrorized by the government’s faulty war on cannabis. To solve this, Mr. Ford could backpedal on the ban or simply legalize regulated consumption lounges. Mr. Ford has already shown willingness to halt the status quo with his move to suspend the progression of the Smoke Free Ontario Act. Allowing for cannabis consumption lounges would let people consume cannabis in licensed and controlled settings, where they aren’t bothering the public at large.

Even these slight changes could help ensure Ontario makes serious progress toward stamping out the black market while creating a legal cannabis market that is more equitable, just and consumer-friendly.

David Clement is the North American affairs manager at the Consumer Choice Center. Follow him on Twitter: @ClementLiberty

Original link: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-minor-changes-could-have-a-major-positive-impact-on-ontarios-cannabis/

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Cherry-picking is reality of the single market

TIMES OF LONDON: As Frederik Roeder of the free-market think tank Centre for Consumer Choice told me, the national governments are busy “cherry-picking” the proposals. Nobody is claiming that this is outrageous behaviour.

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About Fred Roeder

Fred Roder has been working in the field of grassroots activism for over eight years. He is a Health Economist from Germany and has worked in healthcare reform and market access in North America, Europe, and several former Soviet Republics. One of his passions is to analyze how disruptive industries and technologies allow consumers more choice at a lower cost.

Fred is very interested in consumer choice and regulatory trends in the following industries: FMCG, Sharing Economy, Airlines.

In 2014 he organized a protest in Berlin advocating for competition in the Taxi market.

Fred has traveled to 100 countries and is looking forward to visiting the other half of the world’s countries.

Among many op-eds and media appearances, he has been published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Die Welt, the BBC, SunTV, ABC Portland News, Montreal Gazette, Handelsblatt, Huffington Post Germany, CityAM. L’Agefi, and The Guardian.

Since 2012 he serves as an Associated Researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

City of Seattle receives BAN Award for banning plastic straws

The city of Seattle receives the August 2018 BAN Award for being the first major U.S. city to ban the use of plastic straws, threatening businesses who offer them with a fine of $250.

The Consumer Choice Center’s Deputy Director Yaël Ossowski remarked that Seattle’s efforts are no doubt well-intentioned, but they effectively punish consumers who would otherwise need them and force a change for consumers that ultimately doesn’t have any real alternatives.

“Using the full force of municipal law to ban plastic straws is a well-intentioned move that actually has negative consequences,” said Ossowski.

“To begin, many people with disabilities rely on flexible plastic straws in order to sip their drinks or eat particular meals. Paper or metal straws are not yet efficient enough and indeed are harder to use. What’s more, there aren’t yet any real alternatives that promise to reduce waste or pollution. Paper straws, for instance, use more energy in total, resulting in more trees being cut down and more pollution overall.

“Concern about plastic pollution in our oceans is indeed important for consumers and citizens, but municipal and state governments cannot ban and penalize consumers and restaurant owners on their way to a solution. We must look to innovation and the marketplace to help find the next usable product,” said Ossowski.

“By awarding Seattle with the tongue-in-cheek BAN Award we want to highlight how much the plastic straw bans are an infringement on consumer choice.”

Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice. This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.

Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.

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

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, activist, and writer. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter and chief Spanish translator at Watchdog.org, and worked at newspapers and television stations across the country. He received a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

Canada’s Transport Minister: Expanded Egypt and UAE air agreement a win for consumers

ETN: David Clement, Toronto based North American Affairs Manager of the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said that “The expanded agreement is a step in the right direction regarding air transport liberalization. That said, the next step here has to be further liberalization.”

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario.

David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights.

David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

‘It’s embarrassing’: Advocates say we’ve waited long enough for ride-hailing

NEWS 1130: David Clement with the Consumer Choice Center says he suspects ride-hailing hasn’t already been approved in B.C. because the government is under pressure to protect the status quo.

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About David Clement

David Clement is the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center and is based out of Oakville, Ontario.

David holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in International Relations from Wilfrid Laurier University. Previously, David was the Research Assistant to the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights.

David has been regularly featured on the CBC, Global News, The Toronto Star and various other major Canadian news outlets.

The case for defunding the WHO

COMMENT CENTRAL: Bill Wirtz believes there is no need for taxpayers to be continuously patronised by WHO health experts. It’s time to defund the WHO.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium.

Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish.

He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.