Tech at Night: This is why we need the NSA

On September 7, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

We need the NSA. I know the new hotness is following after Rand Paul’s inane blathering, and finding reasons to complain about the NSA. But rather than old and busted, the NSA is actually an important thing to have and to defend.

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Tech at Night

We missed Tech on Monday because of Memorial Day, but I was sick anyway so it wasn’t happening. Still getting over my cold though, so this tech is about 2 hours late.

Here’s your periodic reminder that kids and teenagers shouldn’t be online unsupervised. Adult sexual predators are actively hunting them to take advantage of them.

Keeping data Internet-accessible is inherently dangerous to your privacy. Internet security is spotty but still users don’t actually quit services that gather their data, as their outrage is always short lived. People want convenience and innovation so I reject calls for bigger government to try to use FTC to enforce a privacy few actually want.

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Tech at Night

So the House ended up passing the (originally anti-NSA, pro-Russian-and-Chinese) “USA Freedom Act”. But fortunately the radicals are mad about it because of the compromises needed to win enough votes to pass it. This is a rare case where I hope the Senate follows its usual pattern and refuses to pass a House bill.

Write it down, though: I agree with Senators Rockefeller, McCain, and Coburn. We need to go after foreign attacks on American companies, and inform the private sector about probable threats. So I support the Deter Cyber Theft Act, as far as I can tell. Naturally China responds to this by playing off of the Edward Snowden propaganda, but we must not be deterred ourselves.

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Tech at Night

So even as Democrats try to distract from critical oversight issues by making angry noises about AT&T and DirecTV, Republicans aren’t taking the bait and instead are applying proper oversight to the FCC. Because you see, while the radicals make false anti-”fast lane” arguments for their Title II Reclassification alternative, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Zombie Net Neutrality is still a power grab. It’s a power grab that the Democrat-run press is colluding to allow, buddy-buddy with pro-Net Neutrality corporate lobbyists such as Google’s.

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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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Tech at Night

The Obama administration’s argument for handing the Internet over to the UN is bonkers. Literally they’re saying that the answer to them complaining that we’re in control, is to hand the Internet over, and hope they behave. Republicans are right to try to prevent this.

Protip: running programs to check somebody else’s computers for critical security holes, without asking permission first, is most definitely a crime. By the way, anyone trying to tell you that NSA has been using the known OpenSSL “Heartbleed” bug for a long time had better be careful, since the bug has only existed for so long. Of course, who seriously trusts ‘anonymous sources’ in this day and age? Those are what they use to hit Republicans, so why should we trust them now?

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Tech at Night

I talk about anarchists often in this space, but I mean it. These people are a threat. Here’s one cell making threats and demanding $3 billion from Google in blackmail.

And that’s why it’s so incredibly insane that the US Government keeps playing blame the victim with these guys, as in the Wyndham case. It’s going to be up to the Congress to reel in the FTC on this.

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Tech at Night

At this point, anyone claiming Edward Snowden is anything but a spy against America is being willfully blind. Snowden now attacking alleged US operations against Communist China, an act that there is no legitimate pro-American interest in. It makes us just have to wonder what else he gave them as he gives them information and propaganda material now.

It’s kinda funny how Democrats screech like harpies about a “clean” bill for STELA, trying to block meaningful retransmission consent reform, but they’re trying to tack the IMF onto unrelated bills in the Senate.

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Tech at Night

How do we know that the NSA stuff is being driven by anti-Americanism? So much outrage about NSA and American allies, but so little about Russia, China, and American rivals. Heck, I’m not even seeing a peep about a Chicom firm Lenovo buying Google Motorola.

Now here’s a major reform idea I could get behind: merging FCC and FTC. By removing one entity, we reduce the added burden on business when two different regulators come after them for the same stuff. Getting rid of DoJ’s antitrust division would help, too. Because now even SEC is grabbing new tech powers.

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Tech at Night

The argument for the ECPA (email warrant law) reform in a nutshell: because a lot of people store important data on other people’s servers, we need to tighten warrant laws for that data. I don’t buy the necessity, especially with FISA also under attack. If terrorists have data on Google’s servers, I want Google to be able to hand over that data. But this idea is popular and I expect it to pass eventually.

I called it: China cut Bitcoin’s access to the Chinese banking system, just as the US cut online gambling access to the US banking system (and like the US did after the freezing of Mt. Gox’s Dwolla account. Result: Bitcoin prices are tumbling, even if firms like Bank of America can’t assume it’s going to go away.

I wish it would though, since Bitcoin continues to be a magnet for crime.

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