March 29, 2017

Overwhelming Majority of Consumers Feel Lawsuits Should Not “Regulate” Technology

WASHINGTON, D.C.— A new survey from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) finds that, contrary to assertions from the plaintiffs’ bar, more than 82 percent of consumers believe that lawsuits and lawyers are not the best way to regulate emerging technologies, such as cars that operate without a driver.

This finding will be released as part of an event entitled Emerging Technologies and Torts of the Future, which features keynote remarks from The Honorable Sean D. Reyes, Attorney General for the State of Utah. In conjunction with the event, ILR released a paper, Torts of the Future: Addressing the Liability and Regulatory Implications of Emerging Technologies, that examines how courts and policymakers can address legitimate safety and privacy concerns around emerging technologies without derailing or delaying progress.

“Groundbreaking technologies have the ability to change lives,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “The plaintiffs’ bar believes that filing lawsuits is the best way to regulate the new economy. But ‘regulation through litigation’ is not what the public wants.” According to ILR’s most recent opinion survey, 77 percent of consumers believe that lawsuits aimed at emerging technologies, such as cars that operate without drivers, will impede—not advance—innovation.

Rickard said that it is essential advancements are not thwarted by over-zealous plaintiffs’ lawyers rushing to the courthouse.

“Startups and small tech businesses have enough on their plate without having to worry about overregulation and frivolous lawsuits,” said The Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) President Tim Day. “C_TEC represents businesses of all sizes to ensure that innovation is protected and emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous vehicles, have a legal and regulatory environment that promotes technology rather than stifles it.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

C_TEC promotes the role of technology in our economy and advocates for rational policy solutions that drive economic growth, spur innovation, and create jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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