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So far The App Coalition has created 4 blog entries.

App Coalition Calls for Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Conduct Oversight Hearing to Protect Open Technology Fund

2020-07-10T14:50:37-04:00July 9th, 2020|

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July 9, 2020

Honorable James E. Risch
Chairman
Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
423 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Honorable Bob Menendez
Chairman
Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
423 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Risch and Ranking Member Menendez:

The App Coalition, whose mission is to promote the global app economy and ensure that the more than three billion users around the globe have unfettered access to the content of their choosing, is deeply concerned by recent decisions by the new CEO of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) that seem to undermine the Open Technology Fund (OTF). Today, hundreds of millions of app users across all nations benefit from the work and open-source technology supported by the OTF. Specifically, we are very concerned with USAGM CEO Michael Pack’s decision to remove key personnel at the OTF. As the Committee with jurisdiction over USAGM, we urge you to convene an oversight hearing to have Mr. Pack provide answers to the questions and concerns that numerous members of Congress have expressed regarding his actions. The future of the exemplary work of OTF is at risk.

Freedom of speech and expression are essential to establishing and maintaining a functioning democracy. Since its establishment, the OTF has been instrumental in fostering democracy by providing tools to help those living under authoritarian regimes access the internet and communicate with one another without fear of retribution from those governments. Its funding provides essential resources for the development of open-source security tools to protect citizens living under these regimes whose activities are perceived as threatening.

OTF’s work demands that its staff and board have an understanding of both policy and technology to further its efforts. With the recent firings, that ability has been called into question. To ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted, that the lives of those that rely on OTF’s technology are not put at risk, and that the app economy, an increasingly core component of free speech globally, continues to flourish, we respectfully request the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to exercise its oversight function by calling Mr. Pack to testify on the rationale behind these actions and the plan forward for OTF.

Regards,

Eric Silverberg
President, App Coalition

App Coalition Calls for House Foreign Affairs Committee to Conduct Oversight Hearing to Protect Open Technology Fund

2020-07-10T14:41:49-04:00July 9th, 2020|

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July 9, 2020

Honorable Elliot Engel
Chairman
Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Michael McCaul
Ranking Member
Committee on Foreign Affairs
United States House of Representatives
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul:

We write to express our very deep concerns with the recent firings actions taken by the new CEO of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) against the Open Technology Fund (OTF).  A the committees with jurisdiction over USAGM, we urge you to convene an oversight hearing in which CEO Michael Pack answers for the actions he took and to provide answers to the questions and concerns that a number of members of Congress have expressed regarding them.  At risk here is the future of the incredible work of OTF.

Freedom of speech and expression are essential to establishing and maintaining a functioning democracy. Since its establishment, the OTF has been instrumental in fostering democracy by providing tools to help those living under authoritarian regimes access the internet and communicate with one another without fear of retribution from those governments. Its funding provides essential resources for the development of open-source security tools to protect citizens living under these regimes whose activities are perceived as threatening.

OTF’s work demands that its staff and board have an understanding of both policy and technology to further its efforts. With the recent firings, that ability has been called into question. To ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted, that the lives of those that rely on OTF’s technology are not put at risk, and that the app economy, an increasingly core component of free speech globally, continues to flourish, we respectfully request the House Foreign Affairs Committee exercise its oversight function by calling Mr. Pack to testify on the rationale behind these actions and the plan forward for OTF.

Regards,

Eric Silverberg
President, App Coalition

App Coalition Statement on the EARN IT Act

2020-06-25T15:05:30-04:00June 25th, 2020|

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: press@appcoalition.org

WASHINGTON, DC – June 25, 2020 – The App Coalition, a new technology industry coalition promoting the global App Economy, voiced significant concern today regarding the EARN IT Act, which was postponed for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We are glad that Chairman Graham and his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee have delayed the Committee’s consideration of the EARN IT Act.  The App Coalition believes that while the bill stated objective is to support efforts to remove child sex abuse material (CSAM) from the Internet, it duplicates existing law without furthering that objective,” said Michael Drobac, Director of the App Coalition. “Further, the EARN IT Act, as introduced, targets protections given to distributors of user-generated content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), thus exposing small- and medium-sized businesses that provide critical services, news and community to frivolous lawsuits and overeager trial lawyers.”

Instead, the App Coalition favors bipartisan efforts to make necessary funding available to federal and state agencies to properly enable enforcement of existing laws against purveyors of CSAM through investigations and prosecutions. Proper resources and enforcement of existing laws would dramatically curb the availability of CSAM and provide meaningful remedies for those harmed by these materials, without endangering the protections from Section 230.

Drobac reiterated that the EARN IT Act targets protections afforded to distributors of user-generated content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). However, Section 230 already clarifies that no protections are available for violations of federal criminal statutes. This includes the possession, distribution, selling, receiving, accessing, and importing of CSAM. In other words, existing law already addresses the very issue that the EARN IT Act seeks to remedy.

The App Coalition will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure government agencies are provided with the resources needed to enforce existing law rather than create duplicative law and regulations that shift responsibility to the private sector.

The App Coalition strongly supports Section 230 and urges Congress to focus its efforts on seeking to provide law enforcement and other government agencies the resources they need to address and prevent the spread of CSAM.

For more about the App Coalition, visit www.appcoalition.org, follow @app_coalition, or email press@appcoalition.org.

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App Coalition Aims at Protecting Consumer Choice

2020-04-29T09:13:22-04:00April 29th, 2020|

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PRESS RELEASE
04/29/2020
Contact: Greg Guice, gguice@mwcllc.com

Washington, D.C. — Leading application companies (apps) across a range of technology sectors launched the App Coalition today, the first organization to solely focus on developing regulatory policies and legislation to ensure unfettered consumer access to apps and digital content.

While the Coalition has broader, longer term policy goals, the Covid-19 pandemic has added another area of focus for the app economy as consumers use apps to stay connected to content, news, services and community. While overall app usage has surged in recent weeks among numerous technology verticals as most Americans have adapted to shelter-in-place, social distancing and quarantine orders, in other verticals, such as travel and hospitality, usage has dramatically declined.

As Congress reconvenes this week, App Coalition members are seeking legislation to modify Small Business Administration (SBA) industry size standards for software developers and the affiliation rules to better reflect the way app developers start and grow their businesses.

“A dynamic app economy is critical to consumers who rely on apps as their primary means of accessing digital content and information,” said Eric Silverberg, CEO of Perry Street Software. “It’s important that Congress recognizes that the multi-billion dollar app ecosystem remains vital as part of the overall efforts to restart and rebuild the economy.”

The broader objective of the Coalition is to promote a market where consumers have unimpeded access to the content of their choosing on their devices through apps. The App Coalition is working with several ranking members of Congress, and has provided congressional committee testimony and responses to several regulatory agency inquiries as part of its goals to develop policies and legislation relating to content moderation, privacy, access, and other elements of a functioning app economy.

“The App Coalition is distinct in that it represents independent app companies that are driving innovation across a range of verticals, unlike other organizations that focus on issues relevant to a single company or vertical,” said Greg Guice, Executive Director of the App Coalition and Senior Vice President at McGuireWoods Consulting.

Further, the Coalition is planning its first App Economy Virtual Summit in June 2020, which will include current and prospective members, members of Congress, regulatory agencies, academics, and developers. The summit will provide participants a forum to discuss policies, outline goals, and network with each other on topics including privacy, data security, content moderation, access, Covid-19 relief, and other topics relevant to a thriving and growing app economy.

App Economy Key Stats

Consumer Preference Has Shifted to Apps

  • Consumers spend an average of 69% of digital media time on smartphone and tablet apps and only 23% on desktops – a 12% increase over the previous year (Comscore 2019 App Usage Report)
  • The average user downloads two apps a month
  • App usage is heavier among younger users, but all age groups, including those over 65, spend the majority of their time in apps, rather than on websites

The App Market Provides Diverse Options to Meet Consumer Demand

  • More than 7,000 app development companies are in the United States (Software World Report)
  • App revenue is more than $71 billion and growing (Sensor Tower App Revenue)
  • More than 4 million apps are available to consumers representing a range of audiences (App Annie)
  • Consumers downloaded 194 billion apps worldwide in 2018 (App Annie)

About The App Coalition

The App Coalition is a member-led organization devoted to developing policies to promote the global app economy and protect consumers who increasingly rely upon their mobile apps, rather than websites, to manage their daily lives. The Coalition’s longer term mission is focused on:

  • A market free from control by artificial barriers, such as those created by gatekeepers;
  • Support for content moderation policies that reflect the customer relationship between an app and its customer, not third-party interference; and
  • A set of uniform privacy laws and data security practices reflective of consumer expectations.

For more information about the App Coalition and the upcoming App Economy Virtual Summit, visit www.appcoalition.org or follow @appcoalition on Twitter.

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