FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tech at Night: The Grand Return. FCC, FAA, FEC, Bitcoin, and More.
It’s been a week, hasn’t it? It turns out the night I last did Tech, I pushed it way too hard, and my illness stuck with me another week. But we’re better now.
For what it’s worth, Steny Hoyer doesn’t see the Trans-Pacific Partnership passing anytime soon. I’m all for free trade, but TPP seems to be going far beyond trade, and becoming a grab bag of special interest provisions, and so I’m fine with giving it a lot of scrutiny.
As I’ve said before, the key to fixing patents is to remove the incentive the USPTO has to give out too many. So I’m glad the House rejected Democrat plans to reinforce USPTO getting funding that way. We must not let the office keep the fees it collects anymore.
Another issue with patents is the “Covered Business Method program” expansion, where the government is giving extra scrutiny to business method patents in the financial sector and expanding that program to other industries. I’m wary of going to war on select patents but not others, as it gives me a whiff of winners and losers, but Vint Cerf thinks privacy may be an ‘anomaly’. Hmm. While he’s clearly right that people’s own behavior shows they don’t care about privacy (I’ve said that many times myself in this space), it’s incredibly self-serving for a Google person to be saying that. I think in the context of a Google evangelist talking to the FTC, we have to keep that in mind.
Bitcoin round up: It may seem harmless, or even good, that large sums of money are traveling around, as it turns out in support of Bitcoin transfer businesses, completely out of the control of government. But when Bitcoin is oh-so-often tied to theft or treason or hijacking people’s computers into Botnets, it’s easy to see there’s a lack of law and order in the Bitcoin community. Small government is great, anarchy is not. So I’m not crying about FEC rejecting Bitcoin injections into US politics, and I’m disappointed to see a Republican senator reaching out to Bitcoin anarchists.
It’s time we ended all the regulations on phones on planes, not just some. Europe already did, and their planes aren’t crashing, guys. It’s all security theater at this point.
Gambling: I’m fine with repealing the Wire Act and getting the federal government out of subsidizing major sports leagues by banning gambling in those sports. What I’m not fine with is creating a whole new regulatory apparatus to subsidize online gambling. So when gambling lobbyists say they’re pro-regulation, I take them at their word, and oppose them. This is why both the American Gambling Association and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) are neither friendly to conservatives nor libertarians, no matter what they or Joe Barton say.
Guys: the UK spying on us was pretty much revealed years ago when the ECHELON program was the hot thing to hate, in the way PRISM is the buzzword of the moment today. The Snowden-ites are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to remain relevant at this point.
Speaking of Snowden, remember that he succeeded because government was bad at security. Government doesn’t even manage to meet industry best practices. And remember that these people wanted to regulate the whole Internet through the Internet Kill Switch bill and the Cybersecurity Act, both brought forward by Senate Democrats.
Pandora may have given up on rigging the rules for Internet radio for now but unrigging the rules for terrestrial radio still makes sense. The Free Market Royalty Act is a good idea. Mel Watt wants to get government out of the business of price fixing music, subsidizing big radio companies.
The FCC is admitting Net Neutrality never was a problem, since they’re not even tracking complaints.
Imagine the outrage if a Republican called for video game censorship because he was offended.