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

Here we go again. The last couple of times, they wanted to use “statistical sampling” to replace the Constitutionally-mandated direct enumeration in the Census. Now they want to use online polls to do the Census.

Let’s be clear: The Obama FCC is terrible, and generally threatens innovation, but I absolutely oppose efforts to do a comprehensive Communications Act bill. It’s nothing against Fred Upton and Greg Walden on this, as they’ve generally been pretty good on these matters. But any huge bill like this is going to get set up by every lobbyist in DC, and it will invariably grow a grab bag of special interest giveaways. A comprehensive Communications Act would become a ‘we have to pass it to find out what’s in it’ moment. Don’t do it. Pass one reform at a time. Find incremental reforms.

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Tech at Night

It’s funny how Democrats talked back in 2008 about openness and transparency, but they continue to obstruct Greg Walden’s FCC reform on those two principles. Doubly funny that now they oppose lawsuits, when they generally favor lawsuits when it’s NGOs suing EPA to push a greater left-wing agenda.

Remember, the same government that wants to regulate the Internet and in fact all innovation can’t even handle faxes properly.

So beware when the unreformed FCC is stalling on auctioning spectrum, despite Congressional orders to do it. I suspect the plan is to rig the auctions to favor some firms over others.

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Tech at Night

Russia is reacting to Snowden’s leaks. One wonders what he’s telling them.

Here we go again. Having failed to pass the preferred bill of Joe Lieberman’s and Jay Rockefeller’s last time, Senate leaders are trying again on a cybersecurity bill. Any bill Senate Democrat leaders support is suspect, given their history of the Internet Kill Switch.

There’s room for legislation, but by default I oppose their plans to expand the scope of government online.

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Tech at Night

While it’s true that cybersecurity can be cover for bad proposals, it is true that foreign organized criminal and state-backed attacks are hitting American government and business interests online every day. They’re even stealing large sums of money on a regular basis. This is why we need to address the issue in a serious way. If these attacks were going on at sea, it would be an act of war. Because it’s online, nothing happens? Come on.

Amending CISPA in order to try to get it to pass might be a good idea. If anarchists and other left-libs don’t like it, then it may yet be a good bill after the changes.

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Tech at Night

The anti-copyright crusaders are going to try to use this latest DMCA horror story as a reason to eliminate DMCA. I disagree. Of all the DMCA uses that go on in this country, most of them fly under the radar. How many are correct? Probably most. Will mistakes happen? Yup. Are copyright holders overzealous? Yup. Is this reason not to strengthen the system? Yup. But it’s not reason to repeal it. It’s a tradeoff and a compromise.

Of course, the real motive of the typical Slashdot left-anarchist DMCA critics is to open the Internet to mass copyright infringement on free services like WordPress.com, Youtube, and others. These are the same people who think abusers should be able to go onto MIT’s network and abuse MIT’s JSTOR access to commit mass, premeditated copyright infringement, and then blame MIT, JSTOR, and the government for the crime.

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Tech at Night

They told me that if I voted for Mitt Romney, that corporations with ties to the President would offshore billions of dollars to avoid paying taxes! Did Obama and Schmidt even feel guilty as Obama said one thing, while working with Google who was doing the opposite?

Because remember: as I’ve been saying all along, The global Internet regulations the ITU is threatening are in the spirit of the Obama- and Schmidt-backed Internet regulations we’ve seen the last four years!

And let’s be clear: the Obama administration isn’t done regulating now that the second term is coming.

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Tech at Night

Top story: the FCC is moving forward with spectrum auctions, providing incentives for television stations to auction off their spectrum for wireless Internet use. We could see the auctions completed by the end of 2014.

Everyone admits there’s a spectrum crunch, and on the right and left of the FCC they say it’s a difficult question of how to transfer spectrum to alleviate it. Greg Walden is right though that this is good “if implemented well.” Bruce Mehlman of iia calls it “a terrific start” and that’s also true.

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Tech at Night

John McCain. Lisa Murkowski. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Saxby Chambliss. Richard Burr. Dan Coats.

No, I’m not listing the centrist wing of the Senate Republicans. I’m listing some of the co-sponsors of SECURE IT, the bill that Senate Republicans have been forced to bring forth because the extremist Cybersecurity bill by Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins just couldn’t be bargained with. That’s right, John McCain of McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, and McCain-Lieberman couldn’t find a way to negotiate a compromise on this.

It’s the right bill to pass. It’s since gotten oversight champion Chuck Grassley and TEA Party favorite Ron Johnson on board, among others. It addresses the key security problems we face without giving the proven-incompetent feds any new powers over the Internet. Here’s KBH on the bill.

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Tech at Night

FCC reform advances in the House. Greg Walden’s FCC Process Reform Act is a needed bill, so I’m glad that it went from committee to the floor, and took minimal modification in passing. I like that it got an extra poke at FCC being more closed on FOIA requests than even CIA.

Locking in the reforms is important, and CTIA is right in saying we need a “more transparent, predictable regulatory process.”

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