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Tech at Night: Henry Waxman, Net Neutrality, California, New York, 4chan, Privacy

Tech at Night

Apologies for missing the last two Tech at Nights. But unlike the paid staff of the well-funded Free Press, every word I’ve ever written here on technical issues has been on my own time, for free, because I care about the issues. And when work overwhelms me, as it did last week as a huge deadline approached, something had to give. And what gave was what I had to do at night when I just wanted to sleep.

So we start tonight with an update on the Waxman Net Neutrality bill. I wrote of it before in support of it, and proved prophetic as Henry Waxman used Republican opposition to justify radical, illegal FCC action on the issue.

It’s not too late, though. We can still build momentum to stop the FCC’s end run around the Congress, the Courts, and the Constitution. We need to talk up the Waxman bill because it is more limited than any other major proposal we’ve dealt with during this debate, because it would strictly, expressly forbid the FCC from doing the disastrous Title II reclassification which would give the FCC broad powers, and it’s just possible that the Congress taking the baton on this would encourage the FCC to back down until the process runs its course.

Politics matters, and there’s going to be a lame duck session. We can judo the Democrats on this, and use their bill in a bipartisan way to get the Congress behind a clear majority of the nation against massive Internet regulation. But we have to step up to the plate, ignore the Waxman name, and use the decent language of his proposal to make it happen. It’s time to put country first.

Especially when it gives even Barack Obama an out from a divisive issue, even as it gives America an out from regulation potentially more devastating to our economy than Obamacare, if it chokes off the Internet, one of our high growth, high potential areas.

And remember, the FCC is under pressure. It has all the power, but it is also under enormous political pressure. If the United States Congress makes bipartisan efforts against it, that will matter. Constitutional power still matters in this country, and no amount of political or rhetorical nudging will matter against it.

Moving on, The Obama administration is increasing regulation of electronic money transfers, rather than decreasing it as the libertarians who supported him expected. Huh. The statist is making government bigger. Whodathunkit? Oh wait. We did. We even said so. But people had to “make history” because Bush. And because racism. And now we all pay the price.

Be careful of what you do online with your name attached to it. People without their name attached to their works may expose you if you’re buying things online that you don’t want people to know about. It’s a crime, and anonymous vandals like the ones who have invaded 4chan infuriate me. But know they are out there. Walk in well-lit places. Use disposable credit cards. Be careful.

Carol Berkman, a judge in New York City, has presided over a case that convicted a man of “Identity Fraud” because he sock puppeted their names online. Saturday Night Live had better watch out, and put up disclaimers that THIS IS NOT JOE BIDEN, because mocking well known academics in their field is not allowed in Berkman’s court.

And to finish up tonight, California is also dumb unfortunately, not just New York. Our economy is in the toilet, we’re bleeding jobs to Texas and to plain old closings of businesses, but the state legislature is looking to increase tax collection. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

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