FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tech at Night: The news catches up after Thanksgiving. $180k fine for participating in an attack.
Two reminders I usually make here. Use good passwords, and make sure not to run software you don’t trust. Keep your software updated. If you use it, consider switching away from the leading target online, Microsoft Windows. Government is trying to catch these guys, but you have to lock your own door at night.
Teenagers need to be monitored online. It’s for their protection against bad elements. Most parents would be disturbed to see their kids making videos like this, but without somebody watching, how would parents ever even know their kids were making video responses to requests by predators?
Firms like major patent accumulator Google want the Innovation Act to pass, and it will probably hit the House floor soon. However despite some apparent software patent provisions being removed, there are calls to delay it a year. I’m not sure what to think about all this, since I really don’t think litigation is problem. The awarding of bad patents is the problem, along with the ABA-friendly American Invents Act. Repeal that, control USPTO’s funding, and I think you go a long way toward fixing this problem.
Should Google Glass users be above the distracted driving laws everyone else has to obey?
Picking winners and losers watch: The UK is going to war on Amazon, even as New York’s sales tax law is untouched by the US Supreme Court, and the Congress continues to debate the terribly-named, overreaching Marketplace Fairness Act. The big box lobbyists went too far on this, once again. We have the means to let sales tax states work together on this stuff, without involving non-sales tax states like New Hampshire. We have ways to let high-tax states be high-tax states without dragging in low-tax states like Texas. This bill is not it.
More on legislation: rewriting the Communications Act sounds like a good idea, but it could get very messy, very fast. Comprehensive legislation all too often ends up loaded with payoffs. Be careful. I’m inclined to oppose this and instead fix the law one step at a time, the way Darrell Issa operates. The FCC needs reform, but legislative processes break down with big bills.
Retransmission consent hasn’t gone away. Then-senator Jim DeMint tried to fix this by opening up the market for cable companies and terrestrial broadcasters to negotiate, because current law is deliberately stacked in favor of broadcasters. DeMint’s partner in reform, Steve Scalise, is still in the House. We need to support market reforms for content distribution. Let cable companies go on the open market to decide what local broadcasters to buy from. It’s that simple, but entrenched businesses don’t want you to realize that.
Here’s your reminder that Aaron Swartz was guilty, and was caught red-handed on video.
Is Bitcoin a ponzi scheme? I’m not sure. But it strikes me as part scam, part criminal enterprise. Bitcoin transactions aren’t as failsafe as they want you to believe. An interesting development seems to be that even as we clamp down on US criminal rings using it, the Chinese are latching onto it, which will be interesting if the Chinese government makes a move against Bitcoin.
Speaking of China, People’s Liberation Army-controlled Huawei is giving up on planting spyware, er, I mean selling to the US market. At least directly. Keep an eye out for white-box Huawei stuff coming in through fronts.
Funny how they called us crazy when we said the Obamacare website would lead to scams, but leftists are accusing Republicans of creating a scam Obamacare website in California.
Going back to the UK, David Cameron may have no use for liberty anymore, but at least Parliament is going after Edward Snowden’s allies like former Glenn Greenwald employer The Guardian.
Anonymous thug gets fined $183,000 for participating in anarcho-terrorist online activity against Koch Industries. Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the fine. I love it when blackshirts get their lives messed up.