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

Imagine you have a neighbor, let’s call him Chet Glix. He comes over and offers a deal to you: When he’s out of town, you water his plants, feed his pet, mow his lawn, and get his mail. When you’re out of town, he’ll do the same for you. Sound fair? Not quite. He travels once a week, you travel once everyfew months. Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of unbalanced “peering” deal Netflix wants to force ISPs to make under the name of “Net Neutrality.” And that’s why we should reject Netflix calling fairness and paying for what you use a “tax”

What if we called Netflix’s fees an unfair tax and demanded they give us free movie peering in the name of Movie Neturality?

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Tech at Night

Sometimes the cronys win, sometimes the cronys lose. They’re reportedly winning on STELA, the bill that scared entrenched, well-connected TV broadcasters because it as going to make them compete for cable dollars in a way that they never have had to in 70s-era winners-and-losers regulations. It’s still likely a good bill, but just not the pro-market bill it could have been.

The good news is the cronys are reportedly losing in Colorado, as entrenched taxi services are feeling the threat from new, innovative competitors. Let the customers decide, not government.

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Tech at Night: FCC overreach begins to get noticed.

On February 21, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

I’ve been talking about FCC overreach in this space for a long time, but now the Obama FCC is trying so hard to go so far, everyone’s noticing now. Yes, the FCC’s plan to attack free speech got so much unkind attention that it’s been pulled, for now. Don’t count on it being gone forever, though.

Because they still haven’t given up on Net Neutrality. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly points out that Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plans are wrong and an overreach, however just as importantly, Commissioner Ajit Pai calls it “Groundhog Day” because this will make at least the third attempt to grab this power.

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Tech at Night

Sometimes you just know somebody needs primaried. Wednesday I learned of a member of Congress who’s clearly only in the House because daddy was in the House before him, and he’s using the influence he has out a personal sense of entitlement. That’s clearly why Bill Shuster wants to ban phones on planes, despite both the OBama FCC and FAA thinking it’s a good idea to let the market decide this. Shuster was first elected in 2001. He needs a refresher on what happened in 2001, that would make us consider why passengers on planes may want that option, and why we should let Mister Market figure it out, instead of a blanket ban.

Look we get it, he’s big important man and he flies on planes often, and so he wants to order the airlines to do what he wants, because that’s what he thinks the perk of being the son of a Congressman is. But that’s why we need to defeat his bill, and defeat him in the primary.

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Tech at Night: Bitcoin zealots freak out.

On February 8, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

5 hour power outage Friday. Threw my whole day off, as you might imagine. I don’t even know whose fault it was: my apartment building’s or Dominion Power’s.

Apple cut Bitcoin from the App Store.. Bitcoiners are responding like a combination of spoiled children and offended followers of a religion. Wait until they find out that Russia is banning bitcoin and Florida is going after Bitcoin money laundering.

Bitcoin and crime go hand in hand. Mt. Gox is now preparing to rip off its users once and for all, it seems. Mt. Gox is the Magic: the Gathering Online eXchange, a site originally founded to trade collectible game cards, but now trades Bitcoins. Also, organized drug dealers are looking at Bitcoin.

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Tech at Night

Barack Obama admitted what we’ve been saying all along: Net Neutrality was an attempt to regulate the Internet. Told you so.

More FCC: Data use continues to go up, and it probably makes sense to remove barriers to investment on expanding our wireless capacity in this country. We still need spectrum, but the build out matters after that spectrum is acquired, as well.

Of course, instead of being sensible the radicals just want to spend more money stupidly.

All this is perfectly good reason to want to gut the FCC by reforming the Communications Act, but again, I just don’t trust the current legislative process to succeed at this in one big bill. When was the last time we had one big bill that worked well? Not in many years. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’m not optimistic.

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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

It’s happening: the feds have arrested Bitcoin Foundation vice-chairman Charlie Shrem for money laundering. The key point seems to be that his service BitInstant was tied to Silk Road.

Good news: Microsoft and Google won and are getting some declassifications of aggregate data on FISA demands for data. Aggregate data from large providers won’t help the bad guys, but it will inform the voters, and that’s all that matters here.

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Tech at Night

FCC lost in court. Net Neutrality goes down again as the Open Internet order gets gutted. Some are worried about the future possibilities of the decision giving FCC too much flexibility in interpreting its own scope, particularly with respect to Title II Reclassification (see my post for an explanation of that term).

I expect that they’d want to try Title II Reclassification no matter how the court tossed Net Neutrality though. Which is why we need to start talking the idea down and tell them to stop and rethink things.

All you need to know about why Net Neutrality is bad though, is the Ronald Reagan line: Net Neutrality supporters are from the government, and hey are here to help.

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