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

Have you heard about The Weather Channel trying to force Dish Network to buy its programming? Yes, they actually want the Obama administration to force that to happen. They claim it’s a public service, except ratings are falling and they don’t even do exclusively weather anymore. Guys, it’s 2014: People get the weather on the Internet and on their phones. Nobody needs to watch cable TV for weather anymore. We must not use government to subsidize this buggy whip manufacturer.

Bitcoin continues to be used for crime, and leading Bitcoin groups are clouded by scams, so it’s no wonder Joe Manchin wants to ban the whole thing.

I can’t really blame him. I can’t support it – we already have money laundering laws – but I understand it.

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Tech at Night

Why is Amazon winning? It’s not Sales Tax. It’s because Amazon is doing everything they can to combine their great selection with getting your purchases to you as fast as possible. That patent going around for predictive shipping is being reported so terribly. People keep focusing on getting something at your house you didn’t order. That’s not the real point of the patent. Figures 4A-4C of Patent No. 8,615,473 B2 demonstrate the real goal. They want to get items that are likely to be ordered into the networks of their package carriers, down to the local hub or first three digits of ZIP code, then slap on the address of a specific person who did order it, and get the item to the person insanely fast.

I know I’ve harped on this a lot, but it really is a shame that people in favor of sales tax changes have made this all about sticking it to Amazon, because there are legitimate tax reasons to favor taxing interstate purchases. Preserving sales tax revenue that used to be there means not having to raise or implement income taxes in order to get the same revenue per capita.

By the way, Healthcare.gov is horribly, horribly insecure.

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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Tech at Night

More Net Neutrality! With the oral arguments having happened, people are chewing on what happened. Some are confident the FCC will lose, which is unsurprising since they’ve lost on this before. Hence this title, Net Neutrality Returns – As Farce.

We need an FCC that will stop just trying to take power and instead will adapt to rapidly-changing technology in a smart and humble way. From what I’m hearing, Michael O’Rielly is a good choice for that, though of course I have no high hopes for Tom Wheeler.

Though apparently it’s not just FCC that’s terrible about this stuff. SEC writes regulations it can’t even follow itself, Darrell Issa points out.

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Tech at Night

Sorry for missing Tech at Night on Friday. After that near-miss with a cold, I decided to start the weekend a little early that night. But we’re back. So with five days of news to catch up on, let’s see what we have here.

Here’s a reminder of why Net Neutrality was a terrible idea. Making people pay for what they use creates opportunities for innovation. If ESPN wants to negotiate bulk rates for wireless data, let them!

And yet that John McCain would add more regulations. We need less micromanagement of cable, not more.

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Tech at Night

So the House did not pass the amendment to CISPA that they probably should have passed, but the House did act to find a compromise that would ensure our needs are met, while addressing the privacy issues some have.

While the above-linked criticisms are legitimate, it is the case that not that all privacy criticisms of CISPA are legitimate. “Privacy” has become the vague catch-all for left-libertarian positions that “for the children” has become for progressives. All too often there’s no actual meat to the criticisms. Heck, half the people complaining about privacy would tell you that CISPA is the new SOPA, when the two bills are entirely unrelated. It’s baseless scaremongering designed to defeat Republican efforts and clear the field for Jay Rockefeller and Barack Obama to act.

I do plan to say more very soon on CISPA, explaining why we should pass the bill. Watch RedState.

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Tech at Night

Is it still a likely coincidence when all these stories at once come out pushing this topic of spending money to give schoolkids access to the dangerous, adult Internet? Or is somebody funding this drive?

Manning confessies to being a spy and a traitor. I wish we could just force choke him.

Bad news: New Zealand is arming manatees. Seriously though, if Kim Dotcom wants to fight his prosecution, he should turn himself in, instead of continuing his crimes in New Zealand.

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Tech at Night

Slow month so far. Last Tech at Night was quick, and so will this one be a short trip through my browser windows.

The anti-SOPA coalition could return, because it’s the one weird time that the left wing also seems to have an anti-regulatory element to it. Legislators are right to fear it.

I like this: Darrell Issa investigating FTC and how its Google investigation leaked just so much to the public. Whose agenda was served there?

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Tech at Night

Hey La-Mulanites! I’m Neil, and let’s play Tech at Night.

Anyway. Yeah, I took a break, as you may have noticed. It turns out between Christmas, New Year’s and the Fiscal Cliff, not much happened for me to cover, anyway! So let’s get started.

Two legislative notes: the outmoded video privacy law passed, while the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act is dead in the water. I always said its best chance was President Romney and a Republican Senate, but now that’s not happening. Poor Amazon, bargaining with states on the assumption this would happen.

And in case you forgot, a Cybersecurity executive order would be a bad thing, per Marsha Blackburn and Steve Scalise.

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