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

I’m back, having gotten myself and my worldly possessions from southern California to northern Virginia. I also have a backlog of items that I’m never going to cover completely tonight, so some issues are going to wait until Monday. So please, check back Monday. There are things I’d love to cover tonight, but I simply lack the time.

Let’s start with Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) joining up to press Google to do something about the advertising of human trafficking services. Some people are going to have a knee-jerk reaction to this, call it a for-the-children threat to censor. But it’s not. The “child pornography” card gets pulled for all sorts of power grabs, but this isn’t about pictures on the Internet, either of real or made-up people. This is about the actual kidnapping and enslaving of people, including children. That is legitimate cause for action.

And note that Blackburn is would be perfectly happy for Google to do something about it, setting an industry standard, and end the need for government action of any kind. That’s commendable. Because you know what? Industry can act to emulate the effects of legislation and do so more effectively than government ever will.

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Tech at Night

It was a long fight. I can’t tell you how many times I kept saying that SOPA and PROTECT IP were in trouble. But they’re getting shelved now. Sure, there’s whining about it. And the President still is too cowardly to lead.

Now it’s time to move on to the next step, though, and find a sensible way to attack the foreign infringers, who essentially are free riders on the American copyright system, taking advantage of the scarcity imposed by copyright without themselves respecting the rules that create that scarcity.

You can tell who’s trying to make this into a fight against copyright though, by the way Megaupload is being made out as a victim. When Megaupload in fact was a company that was making big bucks as a place you could stash files for broad distribution without regard for copyright, and they’re rightfully being shut down.

So it’s not surprising that the terror group Anonymous is defending them and attacking the United States of America in the process. This is an anti-American lawless band of thugs that needs to be be made to pay. And they always do get caught. We just have to wonder whether there will be a backlash against an open Internet thanks to that anarchist scum.

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Smith and Reid give in, setting aside SOPA and PROTECT IP

On January 20, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens

According to Darrell Issa, SOPA is officially postponed by House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith. Issa broke the news on Twitter, which only underscores how important it is that we protect the Internet from capricious censorship, as was the risk under a SOPA-like regime.

On the Senate side, Harry Reid has canceled the vote on PROTECT IP, killing momentum for the proposal in both houses of Congress.

Smith’s and Reid’s decisions come on the heels of disgraced former Senator and current MPAA head Chris Dodd calling for cross-industry discussions on property protection. It may have been the death blow for PROTECT IP and SOPA’s biggest industry supporter to start talking compromise, when in the past the Dodd MPAA had taken a hard line against any deviation from the bills.

In other SOPA news, Marsha Blackburn also announced a change of heart on SOPA. I agree with Blackburn’s new position: scrap SOPA and start with something new. Issa’s and Ron Wyden’s OPEN Act is also worthy of consideration.

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Tech at Night: SOPA day wrap-up, and the next fight: taxes

On January 18, 2012, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So, Erick Erickson decided to make a big push against SOPA today, again bringing out the primary threat card. I also had a post on SOPA and PROTECT IP today.

We were heard. On the House side, Speaker John Boehner echoed Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and said the committee needs to find consensus before the bill can get a vote. And again, conservatives like Darrell Issa, Justin Amash, and Jason Chaffetz aren’t going to lie down and quit. So as long as Boehner and Cantor are true to their words, SOPA is dead in the House this Congress.

On the Senate side, of the 16 Republicans co-sponsoring PROTECT IP, I’ve received word of six of them changing their minds. Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, and Marco Rubio are dropping their support. Moe was keeping track, but I think Ayotte flipped after the posted.

The threat of electoral consequences is all a politician will listen to. Democrats know that the online left won’t lift a finger, so Democrats are still backing SOPA and PROTECT IP, much to Markos Moulitsas’s disappointment. We stood on principle, while Daily Kos just whined. We got results, he got blown off.

Erick even tried to make this a bipartisan thing, where both sides would primary the SOPA and PROTECT IP supporters, but he got crickets.

Lamar Smith remains primary target number one though, as he does his best impression of the Saddam Hussein Ministry of Propaganda. The Allies are not in Iraq! SOPA is still in control of the country! It’s all lies! Also, Lamar Smith is himself an E-PARASITE. Will he resign and report to prison?

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Tech at Night

Some bills become unstoppable in the Congress. They pile up cosponsors, get leadership support, and cruise on through to easy passage. Not SOPA, or its original Senate version, PROTECT IP. They’re in trouble. While the left is fighting these bills with blackouts and protesting, our message is simpler: If you back SOPA or PROTECT IP, we will primary you. That matters.

One guy who has clearly heard us, and is responding to our complaints by urging a slowdown on PROTECT IP, is Orrin Hatch. He’s a potential primary target and he knows it, so he’s listening. It’s refreshing, and certainly puts Hatch over many in Congress on this issue.

Yeah, Free Press and the radicals are hypocrites on this, but SOPA really is a bad bill. Lamar Smith is even talking about removing some of the worst provisions, that’s how bad it is. Patrick Leahy is also talking about bending on PROTECT IP. We’re making progress. Keep it up.

Industry is paying attention, the threat of a vote looms. Erick Erickson made it clear he’d even oppose Marsha Blackburn if she helped pass SOPA. This is serious and we need to be loud and committed to action.

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Tech at Night

Top story tonight is of course the major win by the triple alliance of George Soros and his front groups like Public Knowledge, Sprint Nextel, and the Obama administration’s dual agency of the FCC and the DoJ. Yes, AT&T has given up on acquiring T-Mobile. I believe they will now have to pay a sizable fee to T-Mobile as compensation.

This is bad news for those who respect property rights and for those who favor competition in the market, as Mike Wendy notes at Media Freedom. AT&T will be short of spectrum, as TechFreedom notes, a key reason competition will be reduced. It’s not just AT&T users hurt; anyone who now would not be interested in switching to AT&T due to inferior 4G LTE rollout now suffers from less leverage in the marketplace. That can only result in sustained high prices for 4G Internet service.

When this news broke I was so mad I could burst. But hours have passed and now I’m just disappointed.

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We must defeat SOPA: Tech at Night Special

On December 15, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Ordinarily I use Tech at Night to cover a variety of topics that come my way, and I have them in my queue for tonight. But with over 30 items to consider and integrate, most of them on SOPA, I’m shelving the rest for Friday, and discussing just one topic tonight: We must defeat SOPA in the House. It is entirely unacceptable, and I believe worthy of primary challenges, for any Republican to back this bill. I’m going to make a list, and I’m going to make noise about this. I hope you do, too.

SOPA is the Stopping Online Piracy Act, the House’s counterpart to the Senate PROTECT IP act. SOPA contains a grab bag of provisions intended to stop copyright, trademark, and patent infringements abroad, but Title I of the bill is intolerable, fails to achieve its goals, and creates a massive power grab online for this man by applying unaccountable censorship and regulation to Americans on the Internet.

That’s right. Eric Holder has been dreaming of censoring the Internet since 1999, and House Republicans are thinking of giving him that power. At the time, the crisis that was the excuse for this censorship attempt was the murder plot at Columbine High School in Colorado. Now the excuse is that kiddies online are downloading Scary Movie 3, and buying fake hand bags. Give me a break.

Copyrights, trademarks, and patents matter. If we have a way to protect them from foreign attacks without overstepping our bounds, we should consider doing it. SOPA is not that way to do it. Watch any Republican who dares vote for this garbage, voting to put Hollywood over us, to give Eric Holder the power to bend over backward for Barack Obama’s Hollywood donors over the interests of everyone with a job created thanks to the Internet.

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Tech at Night

There’s a new story developing. I’ve touched on it now and then, but the pieces are coming together. The FCC temporarily blocked the AT&T/Qualcomm deal to let AT&T buy spectrum using the excuse that they wanted to evaluate it together with the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. Well, the latter deal has been withdrawn from the FCC, so now what’s the hold up?

It turns out that the Obama FCC under Julius Genachowski is looking to change the rules of the game. Genachowski wants to make it harder to for firms to pick up the spectrum they need to serve an ever-growing demand for wireless Internet. He and the FCC are calling it a change to the “spectrum screen.”

Why the timing? Well, it turns out that Democrat commissioner Michael Copps, despite being an ardent supporter of the radical George Soros-driven Media Reform agenda, has spoken out against changing the rules midstream. but it may not matter, as he’s quitting, and his replacement is going through the confirmation process right now in the Senate. Though that replacement may be delayed as Chuck Grassley fights for transparency in the FCC, there are no other obstacles to confirmation foreseen.

So while Copps has made a due process argument against what Genachowski is doing, Genachowski may be counting on Copps’s departure to prevent that from being an issue. With him gone, the Chairman will apparently be free to do what he wants, declaring what the rules will be anytime he wants, picking one set of rules for one company, and another set of rules for another, with nothing to stop him.

Chuck Grassley is fighting for transparency with respect to the FCC and LightSquared. The House Energy and Commerce committee is looking into FCC’s Spectrum Screen treatment. Even FCC Democrats are having to speak up. The FCC is completely out of control, and it’s taking all we’ve got in the Congress just to try to keep up, and to force the Obama administration to submit to oversight and respect the rule of law.

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