Tech at Night

Am I tired of expressing dissatisfaction with the Obama FCC and other government intrusions? Never!

Al Franken is setting up an unfalsifiable rationale for government action against Verizon and Comcast. Gotta love that, eh?

I’m sure he, the FCC, or both will try to overturn the courts who say bundling is not anticompetitive. I like bundling. It saves me money when I’m buying both things anyway. Then again, I like choices in the marketplace.

Why we want FCC subsidizing tablet makers though, I have no idea.

Chuck Grassley’s threat seems to be working at least, as FCC starts to break down on LightSquared transparency, a necessary step toward being able to confirm the President’s new appointees to the commission.

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Tech at Night

FCC reform advances in the House. Greg Walden’s FCC Process Reform Act is a needed bill, so I’m glad that it went from committee to the floor, and took minimal modification in passing. I like that it got an extra poke at FCC being more closed on FOIA requests than even CIA.

Locking in the reforms is important, and CTIA is right in saying we need a “more transparent, predictable regulatory process.”

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Tech at Night

So we already had the coming FCC battle over Verizon’s attempts to acquire the spectrum it needs, the Senate fight over ‘cybersecurity,’ and a possible Congressional fight over Internet sales taxation. But now there’s a new issue to keep track of: the FTC is taking it upon itself to regulate the Internet on the grounds of protecting privacy. Jim Harper seems thinks it’s nothing new, but under the Obama administration, I’m more concerned. Still Adam Thierer also says it could have been worse, though, but also mentions those dirty words ‘personal responsibility.’ Can’t have that.

Democrats are eager to empower the Obama administration, of course. That’s why we need a Republican Senate to go with a Republican House.

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Tech at Night

Ah, the FCC. If The FCC wanted to do incentive auctions to free up spectrum for wireless Internet, they could just do it. They wouldn’t need to set up a task force to talk about the National Broad band Plan to consider it, while instead getting involved in unrelated things like making its own security rules. We need FCC reform. Just say yes to Coase.

Remember when they said that an AT&T/T-Mobile merger would cost us jobs, as only after the merger would there be layoffs? Oops, the FCC and Holder DOJ cost us jobs, instead.

Of course, we also need Senate reform, better known as electing Republicans.

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Tech at Night

Previously on Tech at Night I linked to a story that suggested there was a split between Darrell Issa and Chuck Grassley on FCC transparency. It turns out the story I relied on, had it wrong. Oversight wasn’t grading transparency itself; the committee was grading the management of FOIA requests, and FCC did relatively well by having established processes for dealing with FOIA. and tracking the requests in a systematic way.

The Oversight committee was not saying that the FCC is open. Because, in fact as pointed out by Mario Diaz-Balart, FCC rejects more FOIA requests than CIA, amazingly enough. That’s a serious transparency problem.

Speaking of transparency, Eric Cantor is soliciting citizen co-sponsorship of the DATA Act which would try to get more data about government out into the open, where the public can apply oversight.

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LTE is fast: iPad edition

On March 21, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens
Speed Test

I don’t know if Verizon has done some upgrades nearby since I tested on my LTE USB modem or what, but the iPad is getting even better results than that did.

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If this is real… I’m impressed.

On March 21, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens
Cat bat

Cat catches bat out of the air.

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Tech at Night

The House is doing anything but shirking its responsibility to apply oversight to the Obama administration. The FCC in particular is getting the attention it needs. “Regulatory hubris” in picking winners and losers is part of the problem, says Commissioner Robert McDowell. He should know, as he’s on the inside.

Darrell Issa and Chuck Grassley disagree on the FCC’s transparency though. Issa gives them a good grade, oddly enough, even as they continue to stonewall Grassley.

And so it’s good that Jo Ann Emerson questions the FCC’s hypocritical and questionable demand for senseless record keeping in others.

Though it’d be nice if somebody asked “Senator” Wendy’s questions about Free Press, in relation to the FCC.

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Tech at Night

The FCC may yet get what’s coming to it. It’s been going out of its way to get headlines as it tries to pick winners and losers in industry, but now the attention is coming from the House as the Appropriations Committee will discuss the FCC’s budget. Prepare for hysterical shouting on the order of the SimCity 2000 Transportation advisor if the Republicans threaten to cut funding.

Also, we’re back to discussing the Marketplace Fairness Act. As we’ve discussed before, this is a bill that would give Congressional approval to an interstate compact between the states to collect sales tax across state lines, requires member states to harmonize their tax rules to fit in with the interstate system. The bill is gaining Congressional support this time around. In theory I’m fine with this. It’s Constitutional and it’s reasonable. I disagree with Overstock.com’s complaints of complexity, because the compact imposes restrictions on the way the states can tax items, and also creates mechanisms to ease collection of the taxes.

All I would ask is that we get some safeguards in that make it impossible to include any sort of national sales tax in the system. We don’t want Canada-style taxation through the back door.

Also, Tech at Night is sending a raspberry to Rick Santorum for his Internet censorship plans. Are there legitimate social reasons to restrict pornography? Yes, just like there are legitimate social reasons to restrict alcohol. But regulating vice is not a Constitutional role of the national government. Keep it local, I say. If we can have dry counties then we can have clean counties. But the last thing we want is to empower the next Eric Holder to regulate Internet content, thank you very much.

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Tech at Night

Apologies, but I’m going to be a bit brief tonight. I have a lot going on this week, and starting Tech at Night at midnight my time just isn’t good. Sorry!

Chuck Grassley’s continuing the fight against the runaway FCC, leaving open the option of continuing after initial investigations. Good on him. Don’t foreclose options needlessly.

But even as Republicans attempt to keep government from being a problem, the administration is trying to keep pesky job creation from popping up. Merger review has become a monster. So have the ever-multiplying facets of spectrum review.

The more the administration does, the more we need Congressional oversight.

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