Tech at Night

Barack Obama’s FBI director, James Comey, was previously featured in this space for his declaration that he’s troubled, that Americans would be able to take proactive measures to encrypt their own data, in ways the FBI couldn’t read at will.

He tried to intimidate and bully Apple and Google into avoiding adding effective cryptography to iOS and Android. This is important because it’s only effective cryptography that would allow private citizens and corporations to protect themselves from spying by foreign governments and government-backed hackers.

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Tech at Night: Weekend Update

On December 13, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

They say that after a fire in the US Embassy in Moscow during the Cold War, the Soviets loaded the whole building with bugs and the whole place was insecure after that. In that spirit, it makes a lot of sense that Google is getting out of Russia. It’s just not safe.

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Tech at Night

“Conservatism” as we know it is primarily an Anglo-American tradition. Not all countries have something like it, and Germany definitely does not. Their major ‘right’ coalition (the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union parties) are Christian centrists. The believe in a powerful state, but one that should show compassion and respect for Christian values. They are most definitely not a small government movement.

So it’s telling that even German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come out against Net Neutrality, and for the right reasons.

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Tech at Night

Time and again we see calls for government to take the wheel. In fact in “It can’t happen here,” the fairy tale of a fascist takeover of America, their version of the swastika was a ship’s wheel, representing government’s control over economy and society.

Every time there’s a call for regulation, ask what they want control of, and why.

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Tech at Night

It’s Thanksgiving so I’m going to go quickly tonight. Happy Thanksgiving.

It is worth noting that the European Union is currently starting to get more aggressive about trying to regulate other countries, and businesses in other countries.

We all know Barack Obama won’t lift a finger, but we should be mindful for Congressional action, at the very least.

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Tech at Night: The Future is Subsidized Data

On October 28, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

As much as the extreme left wants you to fear anything other than a socialist Internet, Obamacare-style where your only choices are government dictated, the future is in innovation like subsidized data.

The fact is, government will always make this stuff worse if we try to “fix” it.

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Tech at Night

Sometimes the government cheers the idea that your data is being protected from the bad guys. Other times, the government grumbles and complains.

It turns out they’re fine with your data being at risk, as long as it means government can get to it whenever it wants. Funny, that.

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Tech at Night

According to the government, if they think you’re breaking the law, they have the authority to break into your servers. Given the possibility of errors, combined with the tendency of third parties to gather data which could help, this puts private citizens online in a tricky spot.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not sympathetic to the Silk Road scum, and I’m inclined to look the other way when an anarchist gets stomped by the state.

However, Google is right that it’s government’s fault that there’s a new push for encryption online.

Even if you support NSA’s role online, a government that is not transparent while actively searching people’s data, is a good reason to keep your data encrypted. Governments make mistakes, and data gets leaked. Just look at Bradley Manning’s case, or Edward Snowden’s.

Should our data be at the mercy of anarchists, traitors, and opportunists? No, we have the right to secure our data. And government has no business telling us they need special access. Democrats have wanted that since the Clinton era, with the Clipper program of so-called Escrowed Encryption (where you can encrypt your data, but government can always decrypt it), but it’s never had any popular support. Rightfully not.


If Belkin can’t even keep routers running, why would anyone trust the Internet of Things?

There’s no such thing as a ‘light’ or ‘forbearance’ version of Title II Reclassification, which would cause the Internet to be regulated by the FCC like the phone system. 1930s regulation for 2010s technology.

Net Neutrality violations are a myth, finds the European Commission, after spending a year trying to gin up justification for government control of the Internet.

Tech at Night

I think many people know that Google has been developing technology to be able to detect known child pornography images. You see, child pornographers tend to ‘trade’ photos around, so the same photos end up being possessed by many of them. Therefore, there is value in creating software that can create ‘hashes’ or a unique mathematical fingerprint, of known images captured from previous criminals. Google has been working on this.

Well, it turns out they’re using it to make sure nobody’s using their resources to break the law by distributing child pornography using their servers.

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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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