Tech at Night: ECPA may yet be worth a look. Robert McDowell to leave FCC. Resist comprehensive copyright reform.

Tech at Night

Well, just last time I mentioned I had so little to talk about. I guess everything was lying in wait for tonight.

Top story appears to be the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. I’ve been skeptical since Leaky Leahy has been pushing it, and he’s pushed many a bad tech idea in the Senate. But Mike Lee is also backing it, as is apparently Jim Sensenbrenner. So it’s worth considering. It may actually be that Leahy isn’t trying to expand the state or weaken the nation here.


Also, Robert McDowell is leaving the FCC. It’s up to Ajit Pai to get stuff done, now.

I’m going to try to power through this queue quickly, but there are some important things going on here, I’ll cover it all as best I can.

Europe is not the model to follow, folks. We do Internet better than they do, and that especially includes wireless. And their plans to regulate even more, not less, won’t help innovation. America leads for a reason.

Open source scares people for the same reason free speech and the right to keep and bear arms scare people: An empowered public is harder to control.

Yeah, Google isn’t always open but you’ve got to get your ducks in a row before you make a technical accusation. Not that in the case of the Glass project it takes much technical know-how to know that the technology could cause problems.

I’m not sure I agree with tacking the interstate Sales Tax compact onto the budget, but it’s apparently happening. It’s a good concept though, and here’s why: the alternative is to rewrite every state sales tax to be seller-owes, and that isn’t happening because of the prisoners dilemma aspect to it. States have incentives to let other states shift, then go Rick Perry and bring sellers in state away from those new seller-owes states. So until we can move every state at once, the sales tax compact is the way to go.


I said it before, and I say it again: beware comprehensive copyright reform. The law mostly makes sense. It can be reformed piecemeal, with scrutiny to every change. There are those who want to expand the scope of government in the process of a copyright reform. We must resist that. When you have to admit that the laws you’re promoting to strengthen are confusing and honest people risk breaking the law, now’s not the time to strengthen anything.


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