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Tech at Night: Why NSA probably didn’t know about Heartbleed. Music royalty issues.

Tech at Night

If you want an explanation of the ‘Heartbleed’ bug in the news, Francis Cianfrocca gives a good explanation in Coffee and Markets. But more important is his point about NSA. He always speaks carefully about that organization, but in his roundabout way he made an excellent point: NSA has a dual mandate. NSA’s job is both to break into enemy communications, and to protect our communications. The Heartbleed bug is so devastating that if they knew about it, they’d have to work to protect us from it, before someone else could use it against us. That’s how bad it is. There’s no way they knew about it a year.

If you don’t like that businesses hire lobbyists, shrink government and quit picking winners and losers so they don’t have to.

It’ll be interesting to see if Senate Democrats can pass a Patent Troll bill with tort reform in it. I still say the root issue is that we grant too many bad patents, and that USPTO is given incentive to award too many bad patents, but tort reform isn’t bad.

Even when anarchists fight anarchists, I want FBI to investigate so we can simply roll them all up and put them in jail, before honest people are hurt.

This local editorial in Idaho reminds us of a key thing about sales tax reform: All the Congress has to do is ratify an existing Sales Tax patent, and states can opt-in to an interstate sales tax scheme. When they tried for more, they overreached, and it failed. It would be smarter to let states choose not to opt in, so states like New Hampshire aren’t radicalized against it.

Should companies like Sirius get to broadcast copyrighted music from before 1972 for free, while you or I don’t get that luxury? That’s picking winners and losers. Look: I’m all for copyright being set at a reasonable length like 50 years, but let’s not do this selectively. That’s not fair to anyone.

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