Tech at Night: Just what are Snowden and Putin up to?

On July 29, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Last time in Tech at Night I linked to stories about Edward Snowden and Russia in suspicious and/or hostile positions with respect to the Online Privacy crowd that celebrates Snowden.

The hits just keep on coming though, so at this point we have to ask: Just what are Snowden and his paymaster Putin up to?

Over the weekend I did point out that Russia was offering cash to break Tor even as it turns out that Snowden’s recommended privacy tool was insecure.

Well, it’s beginning to be clear that Russia is dead serious about giving a $114,000-equivalent bounty to break open Tor, The Onion Router.

Tor in America is most notable for being used by drug dealers (including the late Silk Road), child pornographers, and other criminal scum. They use Tor and Bitcoin to try to hide their identities. But Tor is also used by people in places like Russia and China to break their laws, some of which include laws against free speech.

However some say Tor is also used by US government interests to furthers its global communications. That’s why Russia wants to break it. People are claiming the reason is that Russia wants to crack down on free speech in Russia, but come on. United Russia is popular. Vladimir Putin and his allies are in no danger of getting voted out of office as long as the fossil fuel revenue keeps coming, and Barack Obama’s ineptitude is ensuring that. Because what are they going to do, vote Communist? Putin offers all the National Greatness the Commies promise, only without the, you know, Communism.

So it’s important to note that NSA may be running out of reasons to get Snowden back. Every leak he and Glenn Greenwald make, the less valuable he is to get back. Every month that passes, the more out of date his data is. Eventually there’s no reason to offer him a deal, and the less likely Snowden is to be able to leave Russia without serving many years of hard time.

So ask your self this: Just what is Edward Snowden up to, to curry favor with the Russians to extend his asylum another year?


Odd, why would China try to steal Iron Dome when the left keeps saying it doesn’t work?

Look, if the Dodgers want to alienate their fans, that’s their business. Keep government out.

For the last couple of years, FTC has been taking aggressive steps to try to punish private sector companies who get broken into. Well, it turns out, there is no mandate for government itself to be secure in its websites! The House only just now passed such a bill! Government is not competent to regulate the Internet or cybersecurity. Period.

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Tech at Night

There’s this crazy idea going around these days that free access to the Internet is a human right. This idea is behind a few different movements going around today. One of them is Net Neutrality, an idea with a name so misleading that the metaphors used to explain it are constantly shifting.

But another idea kicking around is state-run Internet at a local level. This is no better than any other form of Communism, where the state runs the means of production, and must be rejected.

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Tech at Night: The LOCAL TV Act needs retooling

On July 24, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Well here’s an interesting development. Deb Fischer is no Ted Cruz but Heritage Action does have her slightly above average for a Republican Senator. So it caught my eye to see that she’s working with Cory Booker on the LOCAL TV Act, which would direct the FCC to study how it divides up the country into “Designated Market Areas” (DMAs) to see how some areas might be poorly served by that.

Then I saw the intent, and I think it needs some work.

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Tech at Night: Government is bad at Internet

On July 22, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Make sure to send me ideas on topics to take apart, folks. I’ve hit a number of important topics, but I don’t always know what needs explaining. I’d like to think I’m a little better than this than the anti-Israel bigots at Vox, so feel free to leave comment suggesting topics to go over.

But tonight I’ll post a simple reminder: Government is bad at Internet, and should leave well enough alone.

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Tech at Night

Time and again I’m seeing analyses from the left about broadband competition in America, that show a complete lack of awareness about how wired broadband actually works in America.

Not all markets are created equal, and you have to understand how those markets work if you’re going to try to sound intelligent about the effects of mergers on competition.

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Tech at Night

Democrats used to be sound on Internet issues. They joined in on a number of bills in the old days that helped the Internet grow to be the huge economic driver that it is today. One of those was the Internet tax moratorium, preventing a pile of taxes from being placed on Internet access.

Now Democrats are standing aside to let a big middle-class tax hike come on Internet access.

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Tech at Night: The Return. Go home, John McCain.

On July 15, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Between the Independence Day weekend, and being sick most of last week, I missed quite a few Tech at Night installments. so many in fact that I just ran out of time putting together Friday’s. So now I have 36 links in my queue sitting in front of me, so I’ll make tonight’s ‘main essay’ simple and to the point.

Arizona needs to start doing something about John McCain, because his love affair with regulation is just going way too far.

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Tech at Night

I admit, when I see too much libertarian cheering about something, I look for the catch. So I had to take a closer look when I saw people disagree with aligned with people I sometimes agree with and sometimes disagree with, all cheering the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California, which asserted that in a police stop, a warrant is required by police to search the data on the phone.

I have to say I agree with Justice Alito’s concurrence, more than I do with the opinion of the court by the Chief Justice. He points out that searching arrested persons predates the fourth amendment, was not altered by the fourth amendment, and is all about gathering evidence, not securing cops. So the court was right, but for the wrong reason.

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Tech at Night

So the Aereo case went to the Supreme Court, and it’s official: Aereo lost, and may be killed as the result of government. Naturally I agree with the three justice minority of Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito, and Clarence Thomas. Clarence Thomas is the kind of guy that, if he rules against what I thought was right, I’ll doublecheck to see if I was wrong. And he voted with Scalia.

Turns out there’s some real gold in the dissent, too. Justice Scalia could write Tech at Night.

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Tech at Night: A second look at Edward Snowden?

On June 23, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So before considering the new garbage coming from Эдвард Сноуден and his accomplices the Glenns Greenwald, let’s recap how far we’ve come with this pair.

The NSA has demonstrated that Snowden never did go through official channels with his alleged evidence of problems, and we certainly know he never did attempt to use legal means to alert the President or the Congress that there were issues at the NSA that needed investigation.

Instead, he ran to China, taking sensitive information with him and putting it at risk of being taken by America’s adversary, then he went to Russia and did the same thing. Then he conspired with serial sock puppeteer and extremist blowhard the Glenns Greenwald to dribble out information, most of it totally unrelated to any allegations of Constitutional or legal violations.

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