Tech at Night

It’s good to see some legitimate efforts to try to convince conservatives on interstate sales taxes, but I have to disagree on this point: the limitation on interstate commerce regulation is not ‘picking winners and losers’. It was an intentional restriction put into the Constitution to ensure the free flow of commerce, and today it allows the states to compete while keeping an open economy.

I think the ideal answer, that they really ought to try for next Congress, is an opt-in system that will let non-sales tax states offer retailers a safe haven, while sales tax states can opt-in to national taxation, in exchange for getting revenue from other states in that national taxation. Federalism: It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.

That said, the campaign to get this law passed is going all out for the lame duck. I hope they’re reading this. I don’t dislike sales taxes. IF we had a 100% sure way to nuke the income tax into glass, permanently, I’d back a national sales tax in place of all other taxation. But the states have come to rely on it, it’s a great antidote to the too progressive income tax we have today.

The Congress can act to let the states collect these taxes in a Constitutional way, without trampling the non-tax states, and deflecting arguments from guys like Ted Cruz. But the next Congress will need a more federalist bill, to pass by the new Republican control


We sold off some government spectrum licenses. Faster, please.

We continue to see the Tor network used as a hub for crime, and nothing done about it by the Tor network management.

But at least trends like this Tor trend will be easier to spot if cybersecurity data sharing happens.

Patrick Leahy is making a show of being anti-NSA when Harry Reid and Barack Obama show no interest. So it’s all for show, and perhaps a run for President?

It really is interesting that after years of Reid’s leadership, Democrats are making a show of pretending to lead in the lame duck when they’ve had the Senate for years.

Let’s be clear: Europe’s “right to be forgotten” is censorship, and not a good idea. Google and others should put blank spots in to mark censored content, like they did in Rhodesia before the censors banned that, too, as it humiliated the censors.

The conservative backlash to patent troll regulation is real, and the push is strong. I like this point of view coming out. We need patent troll legislation to happen in a way that doesn’t threaten legitimate patents. We don’t want an overly broad, anarchist ‘reform’ to happen.

I like patents. I want patents to protect innovators. I don’t want dumb patents imposed by the same government that gave us Healthcare.gov, perverting the system into one that pays trial lawyers at the expense of innovators. We can find a compromise here.

We don’t need more government. We don’t need Net Neutrality. American Internet access is good and we shouldn’t mess with that.

Tech at Night

Harry Reid is going to put a bait and switch on the agenda in the lame duck session. This is important to watch, because it’s a substantial power grab that appeals big government, tax-and-spend Democrats, as well as squishy, cronyist Republicans. That’s exactly the kind of sour grapes coalition that could pass a bad sales tax bill after the November elections.

Watch your wallet.

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Tech at Night

Sprint is doing what I said Sprint would do all along. Remember when AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile? Sprint funded a campaign by radical leftists to claim the #2 firm and the #4 firm coming together would be unbearably detrimental to competition, and would hinder American wireless.

Sprint’s new Japanese owners want T-Mobile, they want the #3 firm and the #4 firm to merge together into one, still reducing top-tier competition by one firm, according to the beancounting they used to do. T-Mobile claims it’s inevitable, but Sprint is playing an unfortunate game. They’re using all the left-wing, ridiculous talking points about Internet access in America to push their case.

The problem with that, never mind that Japan’s population density is nothing like America’s, and therefore no comparison is Apples-to-Apples. But as Jon Henke points out, now that Sprint laid out the case against a similar merger, they’re probably going to have to enter into an FCC-empowering agreement in order to get this deal done. That harms Sprint, and that harms America.

Tech at Night

So the anti-American hate rally SXSW (in crony Democrat-run Austin) is on, though apparently some patriots haven’t gotten the message and keep going anyway. Edward Snowden stands in Russia ruled by authoritarian Vladimir Putin, and as Putin’s tanks roll into Ukraine followed by cyberwar against all who speak out against it, Snowden claims the NSA is the one attacking the Internet. I see he’s bucking for the job as the new RT America host.

And then they also let fugitive rapist (and co-conspirator with convicted spy Bradley Manning) Julian Assange speak, from his spot in the embassy of Ecuador, a country ruled for years by a leftist President and a regime conducting routine human rights violations. He made no apology for his rape, and promises more propaganda against America.

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Tech at Night

ACU and other normally small-government types have bafflingly come out against the satellite TV bill STELA, and Steve Scalise’s efforts to enact Retransmission Consent reform, a cable idea first proposed jointly with Jim DeMint. This is wrong, and this is a strange supporting of laws that pick winners and losers.

You see, back in the 70s when Cable TV started to take off, broadcasters and socialists alike freaked out. Broadcasters because they were faced with competition for eyeballs where they previously had a monopoly, and socialists because it offended that someone might actually pay for TV. So they teamed up to rig the system, passing laws and regulations that prevented an open market for many broadcasts, instead creating territorial monopolies for broadcasters. These regulations have let the broadcasters get fat and happy (see also Aereo).

Pass retransmission consent reform. Supporters say without reform we “simulate” a free market, and to reform would harm “content producers.” This turns the truth on its head. Broadcasters are overpaid, underworked middlemen with government-manufactured monopolies. They produce nothing but just happen to hold a government license to spectrum. Make ‘em compete. And certainly never make satellite providers buy from a propagandist like The Weather Channel.

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Tech at Night

Two reminders I usually make here. Use good passwords, and make sure not to run software you don’t trust. Keep your software updated. If you use it, consider switching away from the leading target online, Microsoft Windows. Government is trying to catch these guys, but you have to lock your own door at night.

Teenagers need to be monitored online. It’s for their protection against bad elements. Most parents would be disturbed to see their kids making videos like this, but without somebody watching, how would parents ever even know their kids were making video responses to requests by predators?

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Tech at Night

Think the FAA is so great for making a slight loosening of its ridiculous regulations on phones on planes? Think again: The Euros are making us look bad by getting way ahead of us, and allowing full use of LTE at any time.

Anonymous is trying to go to war with America. Cells must start coming out denouncing this behavior I believe, or be considered anti-American and a threat to liberty until proven otherwise. Can we please go back to barring anarchists from the country, and expelling those we find?

Then again, the dope fiends among them are giving us plenty of reason to arrest them as it is through gangs like Silk Road, so… maybe that’s redundant.

I know it’s likely that the courts will toss out Net Neutrality again, but it still makes me smile to read predictions like that.

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Tech at Night

Why on Earth would we need Do Not Track legislation when many forms of tracking would be hard to define, but also when Tracker #1 is as popular as ever? This is yet another example where privacy is being treated as a morality issue, where legislators are scolding the public.

I mean look. Microsoft talked about making Do Not Track the default setting, but the public didn’t care. Only advertisers did.

It’s kind of hard to have a rational debate about Net Neutrality when the radical left keeps lying, and lying, and lying. They have to demonize Verizon because they don’t have the facts or the law on their side.

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Tech at Night

Update on ECPA reform: Last time I commented that it was problematic to give such strong protections to terrorist emails on American corporate-run servers. Well, it turns out ECPA reform backers are listening, and have pointed out to me that FISA will work just fine in those cases. Fair point. I still don’t think the law makes sense, but at least it’s not too terribly harmful.

This tutorial to “NSA-proof your email” is all wrong. All wrong. You NSA-proof your email by using end-to-end encryption, not by using transport level encryption. Hosing your own email is a great idea, mind you (it makes the ECPA-related issues moot), but NSA can still spy on you all they want if you follow that webpage’s instructions.

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Tech at Night

I’m on antihistamines and hoping I’m not getting too sick, so this is going to be less… focused than it usually will be. Hang on.

Let’s recap the CISPA situation. Anonymous is proving why we need it (though BGR is delusional for thinking Anonymous was “attacking North Korea” when it hacked Twitter accounts, though BGR does sometimes go gaga for radical propaganda). China is, too. But the administration is opposing CISPA on “privacy” grounds. Hold that thought.

The Obama administration is not opposing and may back government mandates for “wiretapping” Internet communications – that is, government-mandated backdoors into encrypted communications. What was that about privacy, again?

At least Republicans are still serious on the matter, looking at the large scale of thefts and spying going on. Make no mistake: this is aimed at China. In theory it would affect Iran, but we already embargo them, so this affects China.

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