Tech at Night: Weekend Update

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

I’m not going to say I’m tired of writing about Title II Reclassification, the scheme promoted by the extreme left to place the Internet under 1930s-era regulation, since the courts have slapped down twice previous Net Neutrality attempts.

But I’m running out of ways to say the power grab, now backed by the President, is a terrible idea that attempts to dig deeper down the hole we’re in of a failed big government regulatory scheme.

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Tech at Night

Image credit to Mike Wendy at Media Freedom.

When Ted Cruz called Net Neutrality the Obamacare of the Internet, the left squawked, but it’s true. Net Neutrality, including via the Title II Reclassification power grab, is all promises, but will predictably have bad results for all of us.

Its so bad even the Reverend Jesse Jackson dislikes it because it will hurt poor minorities.

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Tech at Night

I’ve suggested that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may not like the intimidation tactics of the extreme Net Neutrality left, going to harass him at his home. As a result, he may yet ignore the President’s recent suggestion to pick winners and losers with Title II Reclassification Net Neutrality.

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Tech at Night

Back in June I warned about the latest plan by the Net Neutrality extremists. They’re playing a shill game where one side promotes one illegal idea, the Open Internet order already thrown out by the Courts, and the other side promotes something even more extreme, a total hijacking of the Internet through a procedure called Title II Reclassification.

Monday, Barack Obama endorsed that extremist procedure, which would redefine the Internet as a phone service, and regulate the entire Internet under 1930s-era big government control.

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Tech at Night

If we look around the world, we see the enemies of freedom on the march, taking steps to control, to coordinate, to lie, and to destroy.

The problem comes when our own government gets into the act, and starts down the path of what all those other countries are doing.

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Tech at Night

So the Obama administration for a while has been talking about failing to renew its Commerce Department contract with ICANN, the organization that runs IANA and the fundamentals of the Internet. This would create a power vacuum online, one that would gladly be filled by America’s rivals.

And all the tough talk to the contrary won’t change that.

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Tech at Night

Imagine a safe, one used to store important papers, extreme valuables, or even guns. When we put our things into a safe, to keep things secure against a determined thief. It’s very important they aren’t able to get in and take these things, so we ensure our safes are very difficult to open without authorization. The idea that we’d have a secret back door that could be exploited to gain unauthorized access, perhaps by the manufacturer, bypassing our control of the lock, would be unthinkable.

Yet, this is exactly what Obama’s FBI head, James Comey, is asking for when it comes to the safes protecting our online data. It’s madness.

I have long been a defender of NSA (one of our nation’s leading data intelligence and counterintelligence groups), of FISA (the spy courts), of ECPA as written (the law that allows ISPs to give access to their email servers), and of the overall role of government in monitoring online activities to further legitimate law enforcement and national security objectives. However, one big reason I’ve taken this position is that few of these surveillance techniques work against effective encryption techniques.

Basically, most of this “government spying” is rendered completely ineffective by the use of free, modern, commodity encryption tools and techniques widely available today. Anyone who wanted a great deal of privacy would be able to chose to take it, however, most Americans do not value their privacy, and are willing to sell it for cash and convenience.

However the fact that most Americans give away their data does not mean that we should all be mandated to do so. Even if we mistrust the crank Internet encryption communities out there, groups like Tor which are magnets for criminals and terrorists, the fact is we have a right to close the drapes, we have a right to lock our doors, and we have a right to encrypt our data.

Encryption is a lot like a gun. In fact, export law used to treat it as a munition. It’s a powerful tool that, put in the hands of honest people, is protective and good. In the hands of crooks and terrorists, it’s a tool for evil. The fact that the bad guys will encrypt their data is no more a reason for encryption restrictions, than the fact that bad guys get guns, is a reason for gun control.

The bad guys are going to grab GNU Privacy Guard or something, and encrypt their data, whether the good guys do so or not. FBI needs to lay off trying to intimidate private citizens from protecting themselves.


Yahoo joins Google and Facebook in kowtowing to the extreme fringe left against ALEC. That’s fine. Remember that, folks, the next time they push for Net Neutrality, or open borders, or any of the other astroturf campaigns the extremist left fringe of tech have been trying to foist upon us.

The Obama FCC is using prison phone bills as a pretext to fight federalism.

California already mandates kill switches in phones. What happens when cars are next?

Security is as much about people as it is about code. Note that FBI and DHS are warning the public about this, when government itself gets bitten in cases like Bradley Manning’s and Edward Snowden’s. Government is ing no position to regulate on cybersecurity. It’s not competent enough to do so.

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I’ve taken some criticism for saying over and over again in this space, that kids don’t belong on the Internet (unsupervised and uncontrolled really), and that classrooms should not have Internet access introduced. The basic problem is that unfettered Internet access brings bullies and predators to kids. It also means pornography will just keep popping up, and there’s no way to fix that with these uncontrolled environments. It’s just not worth the risks.

Have you quit using Mozilla Firefox yet? It’s time to switch, yet again, as Mozilla has taken an extremist political position for no real reason except that the project has been completely hijacked by radical ideologues. Not only are they for zombie Net Neutrality, they’re claiming the Obama FCC isn’t going far enough. Lunacy.

Look, it doesn’t really matter what browser you use: MS Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Chromium, Google Chrome Opera, or w3m. Just switch to anything that doesn’t fund this left-wing outlet.

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Tech at Night: Net Neutrality, Bitcoin, and the Courts

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

So I spent my Tech time tonight writing about Net Neutrality. I suggest reading that. It’s still a bad idea, because it’s founded on premises that aren’t true, and doesn’t address the real issues.

Meanwhile industry’s fighting it out over Net Neutrality 3.0: the return of the revenge. Who are Obama’s picked winners and losers, and are they winning or losing enough? Do they think they can bet more?

Speaking of picking winners and losers, we’ll have to see what comes out of Senate patent negotiations. Last time the Senate worked on this there was a good Republican bill and a bad Democrat bill.

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Tech at Night

Edward Snowden is in full propaganda mode for Vladimir Putin, basically becoming Putin’s puppet. I’m sure he’s enjoying his award nominations while his patron state terrorizes women.

Barack Obama showed weakness when he even floated the possibility that America would turn our control of ICANN over to other countries. Down in Brazil they’re all over that idea (the anarchists are claiming they want a non-governmental control, but look, in a world with Russia and China, and even the EU countries like Germany having ‘national champions’, that’s not happening). India’s game, too. Republicans, and heck it’d help if Democrats did it to, must signal that the next President will not let this happen.

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