FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tech at Night: Google hates your privacy, and EU regulators hate American firms? Is Bitcoin propped up by child pornography and drugs?
So Edward Snowden is getting charged with spying. Note that this development in itself is not an affirmation of any particular element of what he ‘leaked.’ Parts may be true, parts many not be. For all we know, he’s a spy for things he didn’t leak but instead took with him to the People’s Republic of China to take refuge in that communist country which attacks American interests daily.
Speaking of attacking American interests, it looks like the privacy religion is heating up in Europe, as a coordinated assault on Google is happening in the European Union. Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and the UK have openly coordinated attacks on the company and are hitting the American firm with 6 hits, combined with possible action from the European Union itself.
I find this action interesting. It’s clear to me that if tomorrow, Google began blockading all European users from its services, it is the European people, not Google, who would suffer more. Google would lose profits, but the European would lose services they depend upon. Google, from Eric Schmidt on down, has a flagrant disregard for the privacy of its customers or anyone else, but people use Google’s stuff anyway, in mass quantities. This is yet another case of government trying to shut down what the people wish to allow, combined of course with a healthy does of anti-American bigotry.
On that free market privacy point, just watch: Facebook wants to buy your data with free wifi. That’s a market offer for your privacy. If people take it, why should government intervene?
I was asked Thursday if conservatives should support the Zoe Lofgren cybersecurity bill. My answer? Not at all. Right now, if you log into somebody’s stuff without permission, or otherwise break into somebody’s server on the internet, that can be prosecuted. Also, if I give you permission according to fixed terms of service, and you go beyond that (as Aaron Swartz did), you can be prosecuted. Lofgren wants to make it legal to go use other people’s stuff in any way you want, without fear of criminal penalties.
More bad news for Anarchists, meaning good news for civilized human beings: Pirate Bay cofounder is going to prison, Bitcoin, the currency supported by criminal activity, is suddenly looking a lot like all those online poker sites that shut down and ran off with people’s money, as Mt. Gox announces a ‘temporary hiatus’ on withdrawing money. That’s usually a sign that money was, ahem, misplaced.
But seriously, the NRO piece makes a great point. The great Bitcoin ponzi scheme is run in theory on one hand by a cabal of central banking coders, and on the other hand run in practice by exchanges like Mt. Gox (the Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange) and illegal botnet operators. But it may actually have some market value at present due to the illegal goods and services available. As long as there are child pornographers buying and selling with Bitcoin, there will be demand for the currency.
Is the FAA going to finally admit reality on phones on planes? Right now, if all it took to bring down a plane was a large number of phones left on, Al Qaeda could do that already. The rules would not stop them. They could just leave the phones on, stick ‘em in a carry on, and take down the plane.