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Tech at Night: Republicans fight for transparency, FCC taking bipartisan criticism, Securing the Internet

Tech at Night

Previously on Tech at Night I linked to a story that suggested there was a split between Darrell Issa and Chuck Grassley on FCC transparency. It turns out the story I relied on, had it wrong. Oversight wasn’t grading transparency itself; the committee was grading the management of FOIA requests, and FCC did relatively well by having established processes for dealing with FOIA. and tracking the requests in a systematic way.

The Oversight committee was not saying that the FCC is open. Because, in fact as pointed out by Mario Diaz-Balart, FCC rejects more FOIA requests than CIA, amazingly enough. That’s a serious transparency problem.

Speaking of transparency, Eric Cantor is soliciting citizen co-sponsorship of the DATA Act which would try to get more data about government out into the open, where the public can apply oversight.

The sides are being drawn in the Verizon-Comcast spectrum deal. Guess what? A similar gang of radicals is finding new excuses to justify the same old story of using government to block progress and prevent the most efficient allocation of spectrum.

Art Brodsky of Soros-funded Public Knowledge can’t even see his own biases, as he claims a lack of government action will create a ‘cartel.’ There’s a problem with that thinking, which is that a cartel can only be effective if there’s a shortage of supply. Why is there a shortage of supply? Because government is keeping spectrum from being reallocated to new, more popular uses by more effective license holders.

The way we end this spectrum crunch is to transfer spectrum from those using it inefficiently, to those who would make better us of it. In other words, let people sell spectrum. Let Comcast sell its spectrum. Quit creating new “task forces” and other obstacles to getting us the spectrum we need. Simply get out of the way.

Don’t take orders from the President’s union donors in the name of some nebulous blank check of a ‘public interest’ standard. Price signals in the marketplace will do a better job of ensuring efficient spectrum use, for the maximum benefit of the public, better than any bureaucrat on a power trip.

It’s a wonder They aren’t blocking Dish Network the way they blocked LightSquared. Though they’re starting a lengthy review process, so it could take forever and become and effective regulatory blockade yet.

With even Democrats complaining about new FCC power grabs, it’s a good thing that Republicans want to slow down the FCC’s power hungry regulatory scheming.

The debate on Cybersecurity bills continues to simmer. New revelations of government security incompetence ought to remind people that the government isn’t even competent to take dictatorial powers over private sector Internet operations, as called for by Joe Lieberman, Susan Collins, and Jay Rockefeller. Remember: the allegedly-removed Internet Kill Switch was only the most egregious power grab in the Lieberman-Collins bill.

And John McCain is fighting back, which is great. Because I agree with General Keith Alexander who says that information sharing with the private sector is what is needed. We can do that without regulation. We need to. Pass SECURE IT, pushed by McCain and others in the Senate, and by Marsha Blackburn and Mary Bono Mack in the House.

Besides, with DHS nosing in, just how many cabinet-level departments do we want regulating the Internet? Should it get as bad as the mess export controls have become?

Remember SOPA, and its House sponsor Lamar Smith? Richard Morgan, software developer who understands the Internet, is not his only primary challenger this time. Former Graham County, Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack is also in the race.

Regulating video games! Yeah, that’s just what we need. Empowering Obama regulators even more! Come on guys. Seriously?

Paul LePage is the latest governor to back the interstate compact to do Internet sales tax collections. It makes sense for states to opt into this program. It’s a way in particular for Republican governors to raise revenue without raising taxes, which just makes life easier and avoids difficult battles. Some would argue it saves political capital for other battles, which could be a reason to back the compact.

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