Tech at Night

Update on ECPA reform: Last time I commented that it was problematic to give such strong protections to terrorist emails on American corporate-run servers. Well, it turns out ECPA reform backers are listening, and have pointed out to me that FISA will work just fine in those cases. Fair point. I still don’t think the law makes sense, but at least it’s not too terribly harmful.

This tutorial to “NSA-proof your email” is all wrong. All wrong. You NSA-proof your email by using end-to-end encryption, not by using transport level encryption. Hosing your own email is a great idea, mind you (it makes the ECPA-related issues moot), but NSA can still spy on you all they want if you follow that webpage’s instructions.

How do anarchist morons at Anonymous protest being portrayed as a criminal, hostile organization? By attacking government web servers, of course. It’s as idiotic as that famous “DEATH TO THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM” sign.

Here we go again. A college student steals other students’ computer accounts, in order to win some stupid school election, so now he’s going to jail. Here come the anarchists saying it shouldn’t be a crime to steal people’s identities and break into their accounts to commit fraud.

Aereo wins on appeal to avoid an injunction. Aereo, you may recall, is a service that sets up broadcast television antennas for people, and gives you access over the Internet to the stations your antenna picks up. Networks were bothered by this, because it threatens the model of getting people to pay for cable TV access to free over the air broadcasts, and does so in an innovative but legal way. I’m glad innovation hasn’t been crushed to protect a threatened business model.

Speaking of using government to try to act as a subsidy by regulation, Pandora’s attempts to change the rules in its favor continue to be called out as selfish and hostile to copyright holders.

Turns out I’m apparently with Arthur Laffer on internet sales taxes. They’re already owed. Collect them. If you don’t like your state’s sales taxes, get them reduced or repealed, or just move! Let the states compete.

Remember when I said any problem related to cable competition was the fault of local government, not national consolidation? Looks like the TechFreedom gang agrees.

Ajit Pai is at it again. The great, new FCC commissioner is addressing reform of government subsidies for school Internet access, programs which in practice are being abused terribly. I’m going to write more on this at a later date, but for now I’ll say this: in a perfect world we might want to repeal these programs, but the fact is they do exist. If we can take good, productive steps on the regulatory side, completely bypassing or even preempting bad legislative attempts driven by the White House and the Senate, then we must try such “E-Rate” reform.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.