National Consumers League

From the Experts Blog

NCL staff is hard at work for you playing watchdog on a variety of issues. Get to know the latest From the Experts!

‘Innovation’ = airline speak for finding new ways to gouge consumers

Brian YoungIf you have been listening to the airline industry, you may think that now is one of the best times to fly. According to its lobbyists, fares are down, and the airlines are working overtime to provide their customers with new and innovative products. However, in reality, if you have spent any time shopping around for a ticket, you are probably intimately aware that all of this “innovation” serves one purpose: to stifle what little competition remains in the airline marketplace and to implement new and creative ways to gouge consumers.

Read More →


Carpenter v. United States: Impacts on privacy legislation

The U.S. Supreme Court decision last week in Carpenter v. United States will shape the relationship consumers have with their wireless devices and the services they use every day for years to come. In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that by obtaining cell-site records, the U.S. government performed a search. By doing so without a warrant, this search was judged unconstitutional, violating petitioner Timothy Carpenter’s Fourth Amendment rights and reversing two previous decisions.

Read More →


Automobile industry ignoring safety packages

NCL Public Policy Intern Melissa Cuddington contributed to this post.

In November 22, 2004, Automotive News, the publication that covers the auto industry, ran one of my favorite editorials of all time:

“All safety related devices should become standard equipment on all vehicles. No choice. It’s not an economic decision; it’s a moral decision. When the choice becomes profit vs. lives, the decision should be simple.”

Read More →


The differential impact of tariffs on Chinese tech

Earlier this spring, the Trump Administration announced plans to follow up its tariffs on imported steel and aluminum with 25 percent tariffs on approximately $60 billion worth of imports from China. News about a potential “hold” notwithstanding, one area that hasn’t gotten enough attention is the impact of these potential tariffs on the digital divide generally, and low-income consumers and communities of color specifically.

Read More →


The promise and peril of always-on ad filtering

Last year, we examined whether the growth of ad blocking was partly a logical response to consumers’ desire to reduce their data security risk. The catalyst for that blog post was Google’s announcement that it intended to include ad filtering-by-default in its Chrome browser, the most popular browser on the market. Earlier this year, that promise became a reality as Google rolled out an update to Chrome that included the ad filtering function.

Read More →