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

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

So I took Christmas off, but don’t forget: even as Democrats play blame the Victim, you should get your debit card or credit card replaced if you used it at Target recently. The attackers got your PIN even.

The traitor Edward Snowden very interestingly says he won, which seems to mean he thinks it’s himself against we the people. He’s sure not on the side of liberty, when he’s on the side of the child pornography den Tor. And yet, He’s still desperately trying to feel his Russian paymasters. Not even loyal to them.

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Tech at Night

More Net Neutrality! With the oral arguments having happened, people are chewing on what happened. Some are confident the FCC will lose, which is unsurprising since they’ve lost on this before. Hence this title, Net Neutrality Returns – As Farce.

We need an FCC that will stop just trying to take power and instead will adapt to rapidly-changing technology in a smart and humble way. From what I’m hearing, Michael O’Rielly is a good choice for that, though of course I have no high hopes for Tom Wheeler.

Though apparently it’s not just FCC that’s terrible about this stuff. SEC writes regulations it can’t even follow itself, Darrell Issa points out.

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Tech at Night: NSA roundup. Germany shoots the messenger.

On August 31, 2013, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Never waste a good crisis. Some Eurocrats are looking to use the NSA fearmongering as an excuse to lock down the Internet, and the Obama administration is fighting back because closing off that form of free trade in ideas would hurt everyone, not just themselves. Of course it’s still suspect to believe just anything Edward Snowden has alleged, given reports that he’s a liar.

So even as Microsoft and Google reasonably sue to be able to release non-specific, aggregated data on secret court requests for data, NSA may release its own stats on its programs. This should not be seen as good enough, since FISA covers more than just the NSA.

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Tech at Night

Remember “Don’t be evil?” Even as Twitter plans to honor Do Not Track, even on MS Internet Explorer, Google apparently won’t. I mean, I don’t think I buy that Google is a criminal organization, but Google is also violating European privacy law still. Sure, Eurocrats are showing open bias against Americans, but selling information about you is their business.

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Tech at Night

Seen on RedState this week: 10 questions for Obama’s nominee to chair FCC. It doesn’t sound like his answers are all great, which is in keeping with this adminstration’s inability to follow through with good spectrum policy.

In video games, this Microsoft announcement means both more and less than it’s made out to be. Yes, they are backing off on some of the mandatory online stuff, and removing whole features (like trading digital games) in order to respond to Sony. But they’re not promising no DRM, and in fact they just promised no selling of digital copies. However what they did do is 1-up Sony, who has left used game restrictions to publishers.

No, no, no, do not pass the Lofgren bill. Using or hijacking other people’s computing resources without permission to use them for your purposes, that should be a crime. If I accidentally leave my car unlocked, and you come swipe it, we don’t say “Oh well, you should have been more careful,” and let you off without penalty.

Aaron Swartz wanted to be the martyr. He made himself one. He only faced years in prison because he chose it. Instead of pleading guilty, he wanted a big, showy trial. Changing the law because of that person is just ridiculous and anti-property rights.

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Tech at Night

China is ‘demanding’ information about what the NSA is up to, wink wink. Because they’re totally, 100%, absolutely not in cahoots with Snowden or anything, of course not.

I hope these SWATters are found and get prison time.

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Tech at Night

So, there’s a lot of hype about the Playstation 4 right now. It’s premature to get too hyped up about it though, for a few reasons:

First, Sony (RIAA and MPAA member) has a much worse track record than Microsoft does about skinning the sheep when it comes to the customers. Note that even as one hand Monday was waving the used games bloody shirt, the other hand was announcing mandatory Playstation Plus. Sony did a masterful job Monday playing to the press and the social media, but you know who else did that? Barack Obama, and we know how much of the hype he lived up to.

Second, I’m old enough to remember when Sony fanboys were outraged about Xbox 360′s paid Live account requirements, and how Playstation 3 was allegedly better because you got the full feature set built-in with a free PSN account. Well, sometime along the way, PS3 got the same paid account bonuses Xbox 360 had. Funny that. So what happens if Sony changes their mind again, this time about used games, a year or two down the line?

Third, this is a five year war. Let’s say nothing changes from now. What happens if Microsoft wins the exclusives war because of the used games feature? EA didn’t cancel online passes out of the goodness of their hearts, folks.

Fourth, I’m also old enough to remember how I was told the last generation was supposed to be a war between Microsoft and Sony, when Nintendo’s innovation won the day. Well, now Sony and Microsoft are all about motion controls, while Nintendo’s shipping a tablet and possibly going online with Pokemon. Too early to declare winners or losers. Again, this is a five year war.

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Tech at Night

CISPA is still the top issue right now. The new version is getting broad support in industry, it appears. Again: the attacks America faces against our government and industry would be acts of war if done on the high seas, but are continuing consequence-free just because they’re online. Francis Cianfrocca points out what is needed: a framework for sharing information about threats. Not massive regulations, which won’t help. Not blaming the victim, which will make the bad guys laugh.

In Internet Sales Tax Compact news, Mike Enzi is feeling the heat to defend his bill to his constituents, and is making reasonable arguments for it. “If we don’t collect that revenue, they’ll have to find a new source.” Ding. “This is a states’ rights bill and it would require the states to act before anything could happen.” Ding. But we shall see if it can pass the House. I do wonder if the terrible “fairness” rhetoric from the big box retailers has poisoned the well.

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