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Tech at Night: Lieberman-Collins is dangerously wrong, Republican Governors backing Sales Tax compact, new Internet policy alliances forming

Tech at Night

Right now the top issues are both getting lots of attention in the Senate. One is the cybersecurity bill. It’s been difficult for me to find out much about what’s going on with it, and it turns out there’s a reason. Sources familiar with the situation indicate to me that Harry Reid has been negotiating with Republicans in bad faith. Even Republicans who love to negotiate with Democrats, and are well known for producing major pieces of legislation with Democrats, are being stonewalled.

Lieberman-Collins is even worse than I thought, too.

Even with the changes, which Harry Reid and co. negotiated with ACLU and ‘privacy’ groups (not Senate Republicans, not industry, not even tech experts out there), it’s actually a detriment to security. DoD is hindered in its efforts to work with industry for security, despite having great resources to bring to the table like NSA and DARPA. DHS is put in charge, so the bill essentially brings TSA to the Internet.

Guys like Ron Johnson proved you can work with a range of groups – privacy, tech, and industry – to refine bills like SECURE IT. Harry Reid has chosen not to, and is instead ramming this bill through without Committee markup, and he may even disallow Republicans to to get a chance to amend the bill at all. A bill that creates an incentive to regulate the Internet, placing a reporting burden on the executive branch only if it chooses not to regulate. And on top of that it gives a big reward to John Edwards types, creating huge opportunities to trial lawyers to start suing deep pockets when foreign attackers strike innocent businesses.

Lieberman-Collins, backed by Harry Reid and Barack Obama, reduces information sharing while increasing government mandate. Heritage opposes it, security experts criticize it, and John McCain opposes Reid’s rush to action. Instead of working with Republicans, he’s making this a partisan political issue as he rushes the vote.

Every Republican must vote against cloture on this. I don’t expect Susan Collins to do so, as she’s become an active tool of Barack Obama and Harry Reid on this, but everyone else ought to join with the range of Senators from Lisa Murkowski to McCain to Johnson, and step up to defeat a bill that threatens rather than shores up our Internet security.

A Senate committee is taking up the so badly named Marketplace Fairness Act. I know, the fairness thing is garbage. The big box retailers pushing the bill have chosen such whiny, horrible rhetoric and arguments to support this bill. But there are good reasons to support it which is why joining those looking for a fix on this are Republican Governors Nikki Haley (SC), Chris Christie (NJ), Mitch Daniels (IN), Butch Otter (ID), Paul LePage (ME), Bill Haslam (TN), Brian Sanodval (NV), Robert Bentley (AL), Terry Branstad (IA), Bob McDonnell (VA), Nathan Deal (GA), Rick Snyder (MI), and Tom Corbett (PA).

Seems to me all we’re missing are Rick Scott (FL) and Bobby Jindal (LA) to have all the big Tea Party heroes behind this. That tells me there are reasonable alternatives here, such as trying to get every state to move from taxing based on the buyer’s location to taxing based on the seller’s location, and then creating a compact based on that. But it also tells me it’s reasonable to see MFA as a path to avoiding new and higher taxes in the states that depend on sales tax.

I love your work Darrell Issa, but if Public Knowledge and EFF are joining with you, then you’re doing something wrong for the cause of liberty online.

However I do agree that Issa needs more support from the right, which is why I’m hoping that Republican Study Committee efforts by Steve Scalise and Marsha Blackburn will be fruitful. I’m doing what I can to help from outside, but a decent small government, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution base inside Republican circles in the Capitol would also help. I don’t want guys like Issa to have to work with Dems to do good things.

Another group besides Issa’s Internet Defense League I’m uncertain about is the Internet Association, a new lobbying alliance including eBay, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. I fully expect this association to go along with self-serving regulatory expansions when it suits them, unfortunately.

Reason #1 to support Jim DeMint/Steve Scalise video reforms: the Retransmission Consent scheme is not a free market, period. That’s why you see John Kerry largely defending the current system apart from a desire to force cable companies to say yes, which is the only way to avoid channel ‘blackouts’. Kerry would take us even further from a functioning market.

ITU’s WCIT is not a transparent international gathering. Barack Obama meanwhile does nothing. Not surprising given his administration’s active efforts to keep the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations also secret.

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