Tech at Night: FBI, Facebook, FTC, Free Speech, Apple

Tech at Night

Good evening (it’s still Monday night for those of us in the west at least). Let’s start off tonight by remembering when Barack Obama and the democrats complained about so-called domestic spying under the Bush administration? Well, a team of organizations went after the FBI for watching possibly terrorist Islamic organizations. The FBI responded by saying they don’t need to already believe an organization is breaking the law in order to begin preliminary spying on that organization.


Now I’ll be blunt: I think this IPS news service is bunk. But it makes me laugh to remember that using modern technology to gather information about terrorists was supposedly a horrible thing when George Bush did it, but now that Barack Obama is using actual live, in-person spies you have to go to radical fringe groups to find out it’s even happening and see the progressive outrage.

Wouldn’t it be easier, safer, and more respectful of our rights just to tap the phones of foreign terrorists, than to send people into houses of worship on false pretenses?

Moving on to more actions that would be screamed out as a gross disrespect of the Bill of Rights if Bush did it, but since Obama’s doing it you don’t hear a word from the left: the FTC wants to control speech online. According to Reason, we have to hope that the FTC will show forbearance and not use the power it’s claiming to its fullest extent. Hmm, where have we heard that before?

In a great disappointment to some, iOS jailbreaks have been newly affirmed to be legal under the DMCA, but the leading iOS jailbreak developers are choosing not to break version 4.0.2, essentially allowing Apple’s new fixes to win out, and give Apple the control over the platform the firm seeks. Just another case of having the right to do something, but without the something being the right thing to do.


One last item tonight: Facebook’s already been under a great deal of pressure and criticism for failing to respect the community, but the firm is yet deciding to go after an organization of teachers to shut it down, siccing a team of corporate lawyers after them, rather than find some benevolent way to fix it while looking like the good guys. Apparently Facebook thinks they can do what they want with your data and that they need to own the word book despite its long history in the English language. I can’t conceive of how this is the right move when Google is surely going to make another run at promoting Google Buzz when possible.


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