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

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

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

Heh, the Playstation 4 is pro-used games and cheaper, right? Not so fast. The PS4 simply didn’t include the Eye and will let publishers restrict used games after all. Told you EA didn’t stop online passes because they were suddenly fine with used games.

Kids don’t belong on the Internet, because predators are out there. Even if your kid is high school aged, Be careful!

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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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Tech at Night

So the left is mad that the President’s new pick for Commerce isn’t totally in the pocket of the unions, and they’re mad the new pick for FCC, Tom Wheeler, isn’t a radical socialist like Bernie Sanders. I’m not all that optimistic about either pick though. The President is choosing bundlers for personal loyalty, which means radicalism on his terms, but still radicalism.

This is amazing though, and this is something the radicals will never tell you: more Americans lack access to public water than to broadband Internet. Twice as many, in fact. Government is a failure, compared with private competition.

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Tech at Night

Sorry for the lack of Tech on Friday. I was sick and doing my best to sleep it off. I’m at about 95% now, so let’s catch up.

How do I know privacy regulation and legislation are bad ideas? Nobody actually cares. Sure, they talk like they care, but until people start taking proactive steps and act like they’re taking it seriously, I know it’s just talk. Just like how everyone says they hate Congress, but love their own representation.

So yeah, if you’re moaning about Google on your Blogger site, and emailing to your friends about it from your Gmail account, and using Google Maps to get directions to your privacy rally… I don’t take you seriously.

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Tech at Night

Hey La-Mulanites! I’m Neil, and let’s play Tech at Night.

Anyway. Yeah, I took a break, as you may have noticed. It turns out between Christmas, New Year’s and the Fiscal Cliff, not much happened for me to cover, anyway! So let’s get started.

Two legislative notes: the outmoded video privacy law passed, while the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act is dead in the water. I always said its best chance was President Romney and a Republican Senate, but now that’s not happening. Poor Amazon, bargaining with states on the assumption this would happen.

And in case you forgot, a Cybersecurity executive order would be a bad thing, per Marsha Blackburn and Steve Scalise.

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Tech at Night

Governors Robert Bentley, Mitch Daniels, Dennis Daugaard, Bill Haslam, Paul LePage, Rick Snyder, and Tom Corbett are part of push for the Marketplace Fairness act. I’ve come across a July letter to John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, and Nancy Pelosi. I find it odd they’d do so now, unless they think they have no chance under a potential Republican Congress. Could that be the case? I wonder.

And yes, those are all Republican governors, some of whom were part of the 2010 landslide. It’s only Republicans I’m seeing back MFA, not Democrats. Democrats are fine with just passing new taxes or raising old ones. They aren’t as hard up to maximize collections of old taxes as Republicans are.

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