Tech at Night

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

That’s what the Constitution says on patents (and copyrights, but we’re not going there tonight). However today the situation involving patents is messy, and takes some effort to sort through. I’ll do my best here to give the rundown of the challenges we face today, and what we should do about them.

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Tech at Night

I know, I’m late again. Turns out after being sick my body’s just been exhausted recovering. We’ll be better off next week.

Ajit Pai came to RedState on Friday to tell us about the Zapple Doctrine was being used by the FCC to stifle freedom of speech, specifically to try to hinder Scott Walker. The Zapple Doctrine is now dead, but we need to check the FCC to keep it from returning.

Broadcasters also want to check the FCC but they’re going to the courts, the same way ISPs had to over Net Neutrality.

And House Republicans are hard at work to shut Net Neutrality down again, after the courts already had to slap it down twice before.

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Tech at Night

We missed Tech on Monday because of Memorial Day, but I was sick anyway so it wasn’t happening. Still getting over my cold though, so this tech is about 2 hours late.

Here’s your periodic reminder that kids and teenagers shouldn’t be online unsupervised. Adult sexual predators are actively hunting them to take advantage of them.

Keeping data Internet-accessible is inherently dangerous to your privacy. Internet security is spotty but still users don’t actually quit services that gather their data, as their outrage is always short lived. People want convenience and innovation so I reject calls for bigger government to try to use FTC to enforce a privacy few actually want.

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Tech at Night

Is he still going on about Net Neutrality? Yup, the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) was just the beginning of this dance. They don’t seem to understand that it’s a bad idea that’s run its course. I mean, even the radicals as they stretch to come up with excuses to do it, can’t even get their stories straight. They whine about fast lanes, they whine about Comcast giving “free” bandwidth to Comcast video users, but they also call for Internet to be regulated under Title II of the Communications Act, which would allow the fast lanes they claim to hate.

We need to deregulate, as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Newt Gingrich intended with the Telecommunications Act. Tom Wheeler and the FCC need to be told this, and we ought to pass legislation to enforce it. Every time we pass one new regulation picking a winner and a loser, we create two paid lobbyists in DC: one from the winner to protect what he got, and one from the loser to get something else to make up for it. That’s why Netflix is screaming, because they want to be a winner and that’s also why Marsha Blackburn is calling them free riders. No more winners and losers. Deregulate now.

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Tech at Night

So the European Union has invented a “right to be forgotten”, that is forcing Google to censor its results. Given the history of Nazi war criminals trying desperately to be forgotten, this is an odd thing for the EU to be doing.

While they are opt-out, a rare thing when it comes to government, UK government censorship of the Internet exists, and nobody’s doing a thing about it at this point.

but the big story this week was the FCC meeting. It was pretty terrible, over all. A lot more on that after the jump.

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Tech at Night

The longer you look at regulatory policy in this country, the more you run into special interests looking out for their own personal payoffs. But seriously, I feel like terrestrial broadcasters are the worst of all when it comes to acting entitled. Waah waah we’re big fat socialists and we don’t want to have to pay the people who made the stuff we’re broadcasting. Meanwhile, Waah waah we want to restrict competition amongst ourselves to retransmit our broadcasts on cable.

Virtually every company, every industry I write about in this space goes around lobbying in DC for some advantage. But nobody gets so many special protections and is so rabid in protecting them at any cost, as terrestrial broadcasters. At some point, small government folks are going to have to smash this racket.

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Tech at Night: Net Neutrality, Bitcoin, and the Courts

On April 29, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So I spent my Tech time tonight writing about Net Neutrality. I suggest reading that. It’s still a bad idea, because it’s founded on premises that aren’t true, and doesn’t address the real issues.

Meanwhile industry’s fighting it out over Net Neutrality 3.0: the return of the revenge. Who are Obama’s picked winners and losers, and are they winning or losing enough? Do they think they can bet more?

Speaking of picking winners and losers, we’ll have to see what comes out of Senate patent negotiations. Last time the Senate worked on this there was a good Republican bill and a bad Democrat bill.

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Tech at Night

If you want an explanation of the ‘Heartbleed’ bug in the news, Francis Cianfrocca gives a good explanation in Coffee and Markets. But more important is his point about NSA. He always speaks carefully about that organization, but in his roundabout way he made an excellent point: NSA has a dual mandate. NSA’s job is both to break into enemy communications, and to protect our communications. The Heartbleed bug is so devastating that if they knew about it, they’d have to work to protect us from it, before someone else could use it against us. That’s how bad it is. There’s no way they knew about it a year.

If you don’t like that businesses hire lobbyists, shrink government and quit picking winners and losers so they don’t have to.

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Tech at Night: A message to Mike Lee about Comcast.

On April 9, 2014, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Mike Lee, we’re your friends here at RedState. We backed you in the primary, and we’re sure to back you going forward. But please, lay off on his Comcast/Time Warner deal. The arguments you’re making, at least as portrayed by The Hill, are the same arguments that were used falsely to fool conservatives into backing the Net Neutrality power grab. Now they’re being used to trick us into backing an antitrust power grab.

First off, even if Net Neutrality wasn’t fixing an imaginary threat, the kind of discrimination you’re talking about is already banned by consent decree from the Comcast – NBC Universal deal. So your fears are doubly unfounded. But don’t take my word for it. Let the market work. Markets are how all of us speak, and we know better than government.

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Tech at Night

I talk about anarchists often in this space, but I mean it. These people are a threat. Here’s one cell making threats and demanding $3 billion from Google in blackmail.

And that’s why it’s so incredibly insane that the US Government keeps playing blame the victim with these guys, as in the Wyndham case. It’s going to be up to the Congress to reel in the FTC on this.

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