Tech at Night: Big online terrorism roundup, Ridiculous FCC stalling, Patent trolling

Tech at Night

Hello everyone! I hope people have plants to get out to Charleston this weekend for the third annual Gathering. I will be there, which is why there will be no Tech at Night on Friday.


Having also missed Monday due to Gathering preparations, I have much to cover tonight. I’ll start with a wrap up of everyone’s favorite online terrorist group, Anonymous. I don’t use that term lightly, terrorist. But any group that conspires to put law enforcement lives on the line to push an “activist” agenda is a terrorist group.

Again we find Anonymous’s own insecurity as Syria slammed AnonPlus. That of course does not bode well for Anonymous’s protecting itself from further legal action. Which is not good for when they announce plans to hit Facebook. FrogMarch!

Meanwhile, McAfee says the US Government isn’t all that great at defense online against state actors, so it’s no wonder Mary Bono Mack would like McAfee to elaborate to the House.

Canada and the UK had best watch out, too. “Teampoison,” another terror group has sprung up, this one allying itself with UK rioters. It has made threats against RIM should that company assist UK law enforcement. Many rioters seem to have used Blackberries to coordinate their attacks on the innocent.

The story of the week also seems to be that the FCC only knows how to stall. FCC is stalling on LightSquared, directly hindering wireless competition in America, and is stalling on AT&T’s acquisition of spectrum, thus proving why AT&T must acquire T-Mobile to get the spectrum it needs to compete with Verizon.


Seton Motley also reminds us that the FCC isn’t above lying to get its way, either. So don’t forget this stalling the next time they complain that it’s the market, not themselves, that’s failing.

Verizon is copying AT&T to go after unauthorized tethering. Tethering is the practice of using your phone to give your computer, or anything else, Internet access. It’s a quick way to burn lots of bandwidth, which is why both Verizon and AT&T charge for official services. But getting around that is easy, which is why both firms are now watching for and acting on evidence of people doing so. Turnabout’s fair play, and if you’re going to be clever, expect them to be clever back. The things some people will do to avoid paying for the bandwidth they use…

Free State Foundation proposes a moratorium on discriminatory wireless-only taxes. Sign me up. In fact, make it permanent.

Apple continues to fight patent troll Lodsys. Lodsys is a firm that produces nothing, exploits flaws in the patent process to patent the obvious, and then makes predatory lawsuits to make its profit. Apple is fighting back, as Lodsys is targeting App Store developers. Google talks the talk of being anti-software patent, but it’s Apple that does the heavy lifting against a bad patent.


And now we close the night, and this Gathering week, with a link to Beyond Clause 8’s take on patent trolling. Instead of discussing Lodsys, though, Eric Pender looks at a broader issue I’ve been talking about for a while. I claim that patent cross-licensing is the new interlocking directorate, which was the way corporations bonded together to create competition-limiting trusts before the Sherman Act. Pender suggests the DoJ will look at patents with anti-trust in mind.

I just hope they don’t overstep their legal bounds. We may need legislation to limit patent trusts.


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