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Tech at Night: Broadcasters are some of the worst rent seekers in DC. USPS picking winners and losers.

Tech at Night

The longer you look at regulatory policy in this country, the more you run into special interests looking out for their own personal payoffs. But seriously, I feel like terrestrial broadcasters are the worst of all when it comes to acting entitled. Waah waah we’re big fat socialists and we don’t want to have to pay the people who made the stuff we’re broadcasting. Meanwhile, Waah waah we want to restrict competition amongst ourselves to retransmit our broadcasts on cable.

Virtually every company, every industry I write about in this space goes around lobbying in DC for some advantage. But nobody gets so many special protections and is so rabid in protecting them at any cost, as terrestrial broadcasters. At some point, small government folks are going to have to smash this racket.

Wow, so even as Republicans keep trying to push Democrats for tort reform in patents, the courts themselves just did some of their own, loosening the standard for loser-pays. And this was even a unanimous court in one case, and only dissented on by Justice Scalia in the other, too.

Here are some links to finish off the night:

The old computers designed to run our nuclear systems are more reliable than your Windows desktop trash, kiddies. Though it’s kind of laughable that the sites I’m linking to here are suggesting security through obscurity helps in this case.

When the word “might” is used in a headline, it probably isn’t straight news coverage, especially about the NSA. Man, so this is what it was like in the 60s-80s, when Russian funding created a stream of anti-American propaganda even in our press.

T-Mobile buys spectrum from Verizon. You want competition? Get more spectrum out there. Stop the government hoarding.

So it turns out Edward Snowden isn’t ready to plead guilty to everything. Is he going to claim that some of what he’s said isn’t true, and wasn’t actually secrets given out illegally?

Bitcoin and crime: Silk Road founder claiming Bitcoin isn’t money, but the prosecutors are looking to defeat this dodge. Remember when Silk Road defenders thought they were unstoppable? They weren’t. So now these guys think they’re invincible, too, but there’s a problem with this thinking: somewhere, at some time, if you’re selling a tangible good, you have to ship it from someplace, to someplace. Heh.

So Mastercard is starting to look into the policy issues around Bitcoin. This is important for them because Bitcoin could drive unregulated, seller-friendly, low-cost payment systems, where MasterCard participates in buyer-friendly, highly-regulated, high-cost (to their benefit) networks.

Netflix makes another bandwith deal, this time with Verizon. I welcome this. If well known firms like Netflix are investing in this stuff, then they’ll have an interest in making sure ISPs are actually following through and getting their customers bits at high speed. Free for alls give no incentives to invest. This is great news. Netflix, by putting up cash to transmit their own data, may end up becoming a key Internet watchdog, thanks to the power of markets. Note that socialist-style Internet regulation would prevent this kind of market-driven approach to improving Internet speeds for us.

Money, not regulation is what we need.

USPS kills innovation in the cast of Outbox, a digitized mail service. Turns out USPS bureaucrats like to pick winners and losers, and the American people are the losers: “You mentioned making the service better for our customers; but the American citizens aren’t our customers—about 400 junk mailers are our customers. Your service hurts our ability to serve those customers.”

Google stops scanning some customers’ emails in Gmail. Just the customers who are students in schools, and only because Microsoft is giving them competition.

Republicans are the drivers of transparency. If you want accountable government, vote Republican. No, I don’t care if you’re angry about amnesty. No, I don’t care if you’re angry about Obamacare. Vote Republican. There are two choices, and it’s when Republicans have power that we move at all in the right direction. Democrats will only act on this stuff when we embarrass them into doing it.

A reporter in league with anarchists is going to jail. Good. As they used to say on NRO about other matters: Faster, please.

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