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Tech at Night: FCC, Net Neutrality, Amazon Tax Hypocrisy

Tech at Night

I know nobody wants to talk about Net Neutrality right now when unions are the issue giving everyone warm feelings right now, but there were important hearings held Wednesday. Greg Walden’s House subcommittee held hearings on HJ Res 37, which disapproves of Net Neutrality to invoke the Congressional Review act and overrule the FCC’s power grab.

On top of that, the FCC responded to the demands from Fred Upton, Lee Terry, and Walden to give an economic justification for Net Neutrality. The response was unsatisfactory, and the Republicans concluded, in a statement that in fact called Net Neutrality a “power-grab”: “The truth is imposing these rules will cause more harm than good by stifling innovation, investments and jobs.” They’re right, too, notwithstanding Nancy Pelosi’s ignorant bleating.

But on to the hearings. Digital Society has some gory details, but I’ll highlight one notable exchange between Marsha Blackburn and Free Press’s Derek Turner. I don’t have a transcript handy, but Blackburn pressed Turner on his organization’s funding. He says the funding sources will be disclosed, and I look forward to hearing what comes of that. Turner claimed that no corporations fund Free Press, so if a corporation like Working Assets, owners of CREDO Mobile, has been giving them money, then he lied. Which is interesting, because Working Assets claims credit for funneling $45,520 to Free Press in 2007 and another donation in 2009.

Meanwhile the FCC continues to stall, failing even to put the Net Neutrality details in the federal registry, a step required for the FCC to enforce the rules which are supposedly so urgent. This is possibly something shady but also possibly just incompetence, which makes it laughable either way that Julius Genachowski would be considered for the job of Commerce Secretary. Heck of a job, Julius.

The FCC’s stalling may not matter though, as the Net Neutrality repeal resolution passed the subcommittee by a 15-8 vote. Does that look like a huge margin? It was a party-line vote. Elections have consequences.

Now I promised some hypocrisy, and here it is: Target is backing California’s proposed (and unconstitutional) Internet sales tax on out of state firms aimed at firms like Amazon, while not collecting sales tax itself from residents of states it’s not in. The same also applies to Bloomingdale’s.

Keep in mind this tax would only cover less than 1% of the state’s budget deficit, even assuming the most optimistic projections. So why are we ignoring the Constitution again? Oh right, because the unions control the CA Democrats and would never allow meaningful spending cuts.

I can’t wait until Anonymous finds out that handcuffs hurt. Please save the prison rape jokes though; I miss having a President that took it as the serious problem that it is. Even if 4chan does, and I’m not making this up, have an entire subforum devoted to drawings of sex with young boys, including forcible rape. They give it the bland name of “/y/”.

And to wrap up the night, Rumor has it that Sprint may buy out T-Mobile, which is amusing it means a real 4G provider would buy the fake 4G provider. I don’t honestly know if the two combined could compete with Verizon or AT&T, though, when the two aren’t even using the same technology to begin with. Sprint uses CDMA and WiMax, while T-Mobile uses GSM and HSPA+.

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