Gus Hurwitz

Gus Hurwitz

Gus Hurwitz, a visiting fellow at AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy, is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where he teaches telecommunications law, cyber law, law and economics, and other regulation-related subjects. His research builds on his background in law, technology, and economics to consider the interface between law and technology and the role of regulation in high-tech industries. He has a particular expertise in telecommunications law and technology. He was previously the inaugural research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition, and before that was a visiting assistant professor at George Mason University Law School. He previously spent several years as a trial attorney with the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s Telecommunications and Media Enforcement Section. Hurwitz has a background in technology and worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory. During this time, his work was recognized with professional awards from organizations such as the Federal Laboratory Consortium, R&D Magazine, Los Alamos National Lab, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California. In addition, he held an Internet2 Land Speed world record with the Guinness Book of World Records. Hurwitz is a co-blogger at Truth on the Market.
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Agencies in Wonderland: Due process and enforcement at the FTC and FCC

One well-established way of making law is for those in power to publicly, and often brutally, take action against those engaging in disfavored conduct. Displaying the decapitated heads of criminals on pikes; public executions; the stockades; tarring and feathering – these all serve to establish societal norms by making clear the consequences of violating those norms. But, while well-established, these approaches are also disfavored in modern societies. The history of such disfavor is typically traced back to the Magna Carta – signed 800 years ago next month – the first modern statement that the government is not above the law and that its citizens cannot be deprived of rights without due process of the law. Unfortunately, the FTC – and it increasingly seems the FCC as well – does not feel bound by these principles of due process.

Back to the future by blocking the Comcast/TWC merger: How the government is killing competition

The big news last week was the withdrawal of the Comcast/TWC merger. Actually, no. The even bigger news was Verizon’s plans to offer “skinny bundles.” After decades of complaining, consumers will be able to pay only for the TV they want to watch. Actually, no. The biggest news is that ESPN is suing – and other programmers are threatening to sue – Verizon for offering consumers this flexibility. This is the biggest news out of last week because it reveals the power dynamics at play in the video industry. In particular, it tells us something about the relationship between programmers (the ESPNs of the world) and distributors (the Verizons and Comcasts of the world). And it tells us something about the Comcast/TWC merger, and why the government was wrong to block it.
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Chairman Wheeler and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Open Internet Order

We’ve had a few days now to digest the FCC’s Open Internet Order. While this exercise will be ongoing for the foreseeable future, one thing has become abundantly clear: the Order is worse than expected. This is particularly true when it comes to the issue of paid prioritization. The FCC’s analysis is threadbare and conclusory throughout. It cites comments selectively and without serious effort to analyze substantive concerns. It ignores and mischaracterizes evidence in the record. It bases its conclusions on irrelevant and at times self-contradictory factors. The commission plays so fast and loose with the record and draws so many clearly erroneous conclusions of fact and law that the only questions left are these: how badly is the commission going to lose, and what will the long-term impact be for the commission’s reputation?
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The historical blunders of Chairman Wheeler’s net neutrality plan

Chairman Wheeler took to the Internet on Wednesday to announce the contours of his net neutrality plan. Consummate historian that he is, he buttressed his proposal with historical anecdotes, discussing the FCC’s open access efforts in the 1960s, his own failed business efforts in the 1980s, and the history of mobile voice service in the 1990s. But the chairman gets these stories wrong, in ways that reflect the frivolity of his chosen path forward. Sadly, the more apt tale from history is one that the FCC knows all too well – walking the long road to its regulations being thrown out by the Supreme Court. The chairman’s chosen path – both here and with other decisions taken under his leadership – will certainly lead the FCC to court.
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The hidden economics of hidden city pricing: Lessons from the airline industry

You know you’re going to get negative press when you sue a 22-year-old “computer whiz” who is helping save people money. Yet that is precisely what United Airlines and Orbitz are doing: they have brought suit against the proprietor of a website that helps people find so-called “hidden city” fares. The suit certainly seems – and in many ways is – ridiculous. But it gives me a chance to talk about one of my favorite topics: airline ticket pricing. There’s a lot more going on in the pricing of airline tickets than meets the eye; understanding this complexity offers lessons about pricing in many high-tech industries.