Tech at Night: Here they go again with the Census. Do not do a comprehensive Communications Act.

Tech at Night

Here we go again. The last couple of times, they wanted to use “statistical sampling” to replace the Constitutionally-mandated direct enumeration in the Census. Now they want to use online polls to do the Census.


Let’s be clear: The Obama FCC is terrible, and generally threatens innovation, but I absolutely oppose efforts to do a comprehensive Communications Act bill. It’s nothing against Fred Upton and Greg Walden on this, as they’ve generally been pretty good on these matters. But any huge bill like this is going to get set up by every lobbyist in DC, and it will invariably grow a grab bag of special interest giveaways. A comprehensive Communications Act would become a ‘we have to pass it to find out what’s in it’ moment. Don’t do it. Pass one reform at a time. Find incremental reforms.

Bitcoin and crime watch: Bitcoin advocates broke into Yahoo users’ computers to mine for Bitcoins. Bitcoin mining is largely the domain of a few big organizations, which then accept cycles from stolen computers. two are large enough possibly to break the whole system if they got larger. If one attacker controls 51% of the network, and one got over 40% recently, Bitcoin gets broken. Of course, it continues to get harder to convert Bitcoins to and from real money.

I’ll say this: Aaron Swartz was as guilty as sin and belonged in prison. He was, sadly for his friends and family, an unrepentant felon. That said, if Republicans want to investigate a prosecutor I guess I can live with that.


The EU may the NSA to be illegal. Come and take it, Euroweenies. Come and take it.

Aereo is going to the Supreme Court, in a case that I believe is as important as the VCR Timeshifting case. Innovation, not preferential treatment for big broadcasters, should prevail. Aereo is not copyright infringement anymore than VHS was.

Some say Google isn’t doing enough about child pornography. Consumer Watchdog isn’t exactly a reliable source (notice how they had a campaign against Bill Frist but silence about Harry Reid and the Democrats). I’m not sure it’s reasonable to say Google should monitor all content on their whole network personally. Heck, if they did, Consumer Watchdog would come out and call it a privacy violation.


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