Tech at Night

Look, 11,000 pages of regulations have been added under Barack Obama. Consider that the Federal Register only needed 71,000 pages total in 1975. These regulations are being added without transparency, as well.

This is too much, and he wants to grow government further with an executive order on Cybersecurity, which is rightly opposed by a group of Senators in the Wall Street Journal. Enough is enough.

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Tech at Night

I hope nobody’s surprised that the Obama administration is stonewalling Darrell Issa from Trans-Pacific Partnership oversight. Because the President would love to get a power grab out of this, I’m thinking.

In other House news, the Republican Study Committee is going Tech. Which is good; the less we have to rely on Democrats for good policy outcomes, the better. So I wish luck to Marsha Blackburn, Steve Scalise, and their staffs, in getting this Tech and Telecom Working Group together.

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Tech at Night

You want more proof that every single private industry privacy debate in DC is completely wrong headed? MSIE 10’s do not track default is unpopular. People don’t care. They value cheap/free stuff and convenience over privacy protection.

Other countries are looking to tax American businesses online. Does Barack Obama have the guts to fight for us? Or will he bow once again?

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Tech at Night

Gotta love it when Tech at Night is declared because Comcast, despite telling me they’d auto-bill my card, choose not to do the auto-bill and instead just shuts off my Internet out of the blue. Lovely. So anyway, I’m unfortunately now low on time to create lengthy narratives, so we’ll do what we can.

So, Steve Scalise, a rising tech star in the House, is at it again. HR 3310 passed I believe through suspension, and now it’s up to the Senate to move on the bill. It’s a simple, but effective concept: Take 8 separate reports the FCC is currently making, and turn it into one report. Efficiency and transparency rolled into one.

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Tech at Night

So, Cybersecurity. I’ve spent so much time talking about why the Lieberman-Collins Cybersecurity bill in the Senate is terrible, and anti-PROTECT IP champion Ron Wyden has taken up the opposition as well, but there is need for some enhanced ability of government to coordinate against and to attack Internet security threats.

Here’s a Reddit post that should scare people about the kinds of ongoing criminal enterprises that are out there, online, worldwide. Here’s the kind of research that demonstrates the need of the good guys to be open and to collaborate. Think about what happens when (not if) the technology that goes into these cash cow botnets (some run by Anonymous) instead goes into spying (some done by Wikileaks) and into terrorism (some done by Anonymous).

Cybersecurity is, on some level, easy to understand as an issue. We know there are people online who break into computers. Retransmission Consent is a tricker issue, as it’s regulatory inside baseball between local broadcasters and local cable providers. Two heavily regulated industries battle it out over a fine point of policy. It’s hard for a conservative to grapple with it, sometimes.

But I’m going to disagree with with this post by Gordon Smith and call television broadcasters the new manufacturers of buggy whips. Right now they’re still important for some people, to be sure, in the same way that some people will use a land line phone instead of wireless Internet to stay connected.

But younger people are moving away from it. “Broadcast-only” is a misleading term. I’m in that category, but not because I watch broadcast television. I watch pay TV. It’s just called Hulu, not cable.

Further, I doubt that broadcasters really are the best source of information anymore most of the time. People are using the Internet more and more without having a cord in the home to bring it in. iPhones, Android phones, and yes even Windows phones, are collectively taking over the phone market. In so doing they also take over the information market at home.

This is why it’s wrong to maintain the current retransmission consent rules, and why it’s wrong to try to block spectrum incentive auctions to encourage the shifting of spectrum from broadcasters to wireless Internet providers. Even if we thought it was legitimate for government to try to prop up broadcasters instead of opening the market, it’s pointless to have government stand athwart what the people actually want to spend their money on, yelling stop. We’ll just get run over, and hinder innovation in the progress.

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Tech at Night

In case you missed it, Friday’s Tech at night featured Q&A with Rep. Steve Scalise. Don’t miss is now.

Team Soros, assemble! Remember when it was “wrong” for AT&T to get spectrum by buying T-Mobile? Remember when I said it should be allowed because the Obama administration and the radicals were making it too hard to get spectrum any other way? Vindication, baby: The left unites to fight Verizon buying spectrum another way. Before the excuse was to prevent industry consolidation. Well, Verizon is buying from cable companies, not wireless phone providers.

Note that Verizon has strongly refuted their claims, including the dangerous, crypto-socialist idea that the FCC should be allowed to dictate to Verizon and Comcast an alternate transaction. Such as one to benefit T-Mobile.

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Tech at Night

So, LightSquared. It’s a funny turn this whole thing has taken. Way back at the start, when I was excited for LightSquared’s potential as a 4G competitor, I was told that they were the next Solyndra. Then, when the Obama administration and LightSquared both reacted badly to requests for oversight, I was convinced. Now, though, defenders on the right are cropping up again for LightSquared. I’ll say this: transparency in the FCC is worth fighting for, but a solution that leads LightSquared build a terrestrial 4G network is also worth finding.

See if you can spot the problem: As AT&T warns that FCC meddling is raising prices, the FCC is off expanding wireless subsidies.

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Tech at Night

So, the Internet died this week or something. CISPA was amended much, as I gather mostly tightening up some alleged privacy concerns. Then it passed the House. I don’t know if it’ll become law, but it’s a good idea. The comparisons with SOPA are deceptive.

Speaker Boehner cut to the heart of the matter, pointing out that President Obama’s CISPA veto threat was rooted in his desire to control the Internet. The White House was stung enough to reply, but it’s true: CISPA opposition is a ruse to fool feeble minded leftys into thinking Republicans are the threat, rather than the Democrat Cybersecurity bill in the Senate, pushed by Joe Lieberman. It’s Lieberman-Collins that’s the threat to liberty online.

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Tech at Night

CISPA is still a harmless bill devoid of new mandates of power grabs, but I’m actually short of new things to say about it this week. Lieberman-Collins is the real threat. Watch the other hand.

Let’s start with some spectrum instead. Verizon is under fire for trying to buy spectrum from Comcast and other cable companies, even as it tries to sell other spectrum. Note though that observers are saying T-Mobile, recently held up as a competitor who must be propped up by government action, stands to benefit in the marketplace by Verizon’s actions. Sprint, however, is put under pressure to to continued mismanagement and lack of funds to invest in its network.

Why would Verizon buy and sell its spectrum is all over the place, and consolidation allows for less demanding hardware requirements for its phones, which benefits Verizon’s customers. That’s good thinking, and that kind of market innovation should be rewarded, not regulated out of existence.

Look: it’s well and good to try to find a treasure trove of unused spectrum as Mark Warner wants, but hope is not a substitute for making more efficient use of what we already know about.

Though while Warner is optimistic, the NAB is insane. I mean, seriously? Did they miss where Verizon is also buying spectrum, so that it’ll have a net gain? Or that Verizon needs to look to the future, unlike various American broadcasters, who are doing the same old thing, and gradually losing out to new technologies? Jealous much of the Internet, NAB?

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Tech at Night

I’m seeing some real panicked shouting online about CISPA, a new bill that some are calling “the new SOPA.” It’s absurd. The bill may not be perfect. It could have flaws. But the argument being hammered against CISPA again and again is that it may be used against copyright infringers who abuse networks. So? The only reason to oppose that is if you wish to destroy copyright property rights entirely, as the radicals do.

I warned about this way back during the SOPA debate. I predicted that the left side of the anti-SOPA coalition would try to hijack the movement into a general one against copyright, as the anarchists over there tend to do, and the shrieking over CISPA is proving me right. CISPA is not a bundle of mandates. It is an avenue to information sharing. Note that everything in CISPA is “totally voluntary,” per The Hill.

If someone and disprove that, and point to one or more mandates in CISPA, I’d like to know. Until then, the burden of proof is on the radicals to prove they’re not really out to protect Anontards and copyright infringers.

For now, it’s looking like CISPA is a solid response to The plans by the President and Democrats to expand government online, by regulating the Internet. Double regulating in fact, as every ‘critical’ industry is already regulated. So this whole “critical infrastructure” thing is more pretext than anything

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