Tech at Night

Tonight, we start with a longer note that requires some setup, so bear with me as I break from the usual format for a moment.


The FCC’s attempt to reclassify broadband as if it were a telephone service had already encountered opposition from a strong, bipartisan majority of Congress – not to mention usually Democratic allies like the AFL-CIO, CWA, IBEW, LULAC, MMTC, NAACP, Urban League and Sierra Club.

It is increasingly becoming a question of whether the FCC really wants to pick a Title II fight in the Courts, another with Democratic coalition members and yet another with Congress. That kind of path has the potential to be lose-lose-lose for the FCC and for Democrats.

But another story that emerged last week may be the most interesting fight of all.

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Tech at Night: Apple, WiMAX, RIM

On August 2, 2010, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Good evening. It’s going to be short tonight, because I don’t actually have anything new to say about G—– or F— P—- tonight, as against freedom as they both are.

But I will say this about Net Neutrality: competition from new technology is the way out of any problems we have with the ISP monopolies and duopolies that state and local regulators cram down our throats. It’s not theoretical, either: Sprint is deploying 4G WiMAX service over more and more of the country.

Technology, not Net Neutrality regulation, is what we need.

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Tech at Night: Google, Apple, RIM, Al Franken

On July 27, 2010, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Good evening. Sure, it’s technically morning, but when I went to post tonight I realized I had nothing queued up to write about, so I had to make a crash run through my news feeds before I could get started.

But get started we shall tonight with Apple and the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is apparently entrusted with setting rules for what forms of reverse engineering are allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a landmark bill which included (over)broad restrictions on software. In short, the DMCA pretty much bans reverse engineering or circumvention of software or hardware that enforces copyright. Exceptions are given though, and the Library of Congress has announced some more exceptions.

One of them is a doozy: Both major forms of Apple iPhone “jailbreaking” are now expressly legal in this country. It is allowed to circumvent Apple’s restrictions to install legitimate software otherwise inaccessible through the App Store. It is also allowed to buy a used iPhone and circumvent the AT&T carrier restriction in it.

In practice this might not mean much, as jailbreaking activity was already strong due to clear legality in other countries from the start. That fact forced Apple to fight jailbreaking technologically, rather than legally. But now the full might of American engineering may be brought to bear on iPhone jailbreaking, and Apple might have a tougher time going forward.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.