Leading experts discuss the pros and cons of government regulations and explain how they affect everyday life for Americans.

The Price of Privacy: A Debate over Corporate Surveillance

September 16, 2020

Data is being collected on each of us every day by the apps that we use, the websites that we visit, and the services we subscribe to. How is this data used by companies and organizations? What is the difference between data security and data privacy? Where should the balance be struck between privacy and the benefits of increased data collection? This video will discuss these questions and more.

Watch this video

When Do Low Prices Hurt Competition?

August 17, 2020

Lower prices are generally assumed to benefit consumers. However, predatory pricing – which artificially lowers prices and eliminates competition – is a bad thing for the consumer in the long run. In Brooke Group, the Supreme Court established guidelines for courts to determine when lower pricing is actually predatory pricing. In this video, Charlie Beller discusses the Brooke Group case and its impact on our digitized economy, which is increasingly dominated by free or zero-priced services.

Watch this video

Should Congress Close the “Streaming Loophole”?

August 4, 2020

Copyright infringement laws dictate serious penalties for digital works that have been reproduced and downloaded. However, streaming has become the new method of choice for illegal piracy. “Display and public performances” laws – which cover streaming – only carry trivial penalties. This is called the “streaming loophole.” Copyright advocates say that new laws must be passed to close the loophole, while internet freedom advocates insist that new laws could harm consumers.

Kevin Madigan is VP, Legal Policy and Copyright Counsel at the Copyright Alliance.

Watch this video

Washington or the States: Who Has the Authority to Regulate Commercial Drone Flights?

July 15, 2020

Commercial drone services are evolving rapidly but who regulates how and where they operate? The Federal Aviation Administration is authorized to oversee “navigable airspace.” On the other hand, drones fly low to the ground which would implicate property rights, which are governed by state laws. How might these regulatory issues be assessed and resolved, and how could they affect the future of drone technology and usage?

Brent Skorup is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Watch this video

FTC Rulemaking: Underutilized Tool or National Nanny Renewed?

July 13, 2020

This expert panel examined recent calls for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to engage in substantive rulemaking under the competition and consumer-protection prongs of Section 5 of the FTC Act. How far does FTC statutory authority under 6(g) extend? Is rulemaking appropriate as a matter of policy? How has FTC rulemaking fared in the past and what guideposts should apply?

FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips gave honorary introductory remarks.

Watch this video

California’s AB-5 Law: Who can be considered an “independent contractor”?

June 30, 2020

In 2019, California passed AB-5, a law that mandates that most workers should be considered “employees” rather than “independent contractors.” Advocates claim that this law will offer more protection for all workers. Opponents state that this law will stifle innovation and deprive workers of the independence to structure their own relationships.

Alida Kass of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute explores how the California law compares to other states and the issues that it may raise for workers.

Watch this video

Do Certificate of Need Laws Help Control Healthcare Costs?

June 4, 2020

Certificate of need laws are state regulations designed to control medical costs. New medical facilities must be assessed and approved by a state board which determines whether such a facility is needed by the community.

Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute explores whether such laws have successfully controlled costs or if they have hindered the competition required to balance healthcare prices.

Watch this video

Government Surveillance: The National Security Perspective

May 26, 2020

Many national security experts argue that lawful surveillance activities, such as those authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

In this Fourth Branch video, Matthew Heiman takes a deep dive into this issue from the national security perspective.

Watch this video

FTC Hot Topics with Commissioner Christine Wilson: Regulatory Reform, Privacy, Antitrust, & Beyond

May 21, 2020

On May 18, the Regulatory Transparency Project hosted a virtual fireside chat discussion on the Federal Trade Commission’s regulatory reform efforts, federal privacy legislation, and the future of antitrust law.

Watch this video

FDA Regulation of Diagnostic Testing and COVID-19

May 11, 2020

Did Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations hamper the fight against COVID-19 at a critical juncture? In this short video narrated by Roger Klein, we explore the relationship between the FDA and the CDC in regulating and conducting diagnostic tests.

In 2016, in response to the Zika virus, the FDA designated the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the country’s only diagnostic test manufacturer. In early February 2020, the CDC was ordered to distribute tests for COVID-19 which were faulty and had to have results verified by the CDC laboratory. Only in mid-March 2020, did the CDC loosen regulations which then allowed private hospitals and labs to develop and conduct their own tests.

Could more have been known about the disease at an earlier date if private testing and treatment had been allowed and encouraged? Should the COVID-19 emergency force us to reevaluate the purpose and use of public health regulations and policies?

Watch this video