Tech at Night: We have a right to lock our data, even if it inconveniences government

A long running theme of Tech at Night is that people don’t care about privacy, and we know this by their actions. That’s why the NSA critics are all wrong. Abolishing the NSA would leave everyone still vulnerable to spying, and just eliminate the agency that exists to counter the other guys.

It’s up to us to protect our own privacy. Therefore, government actions contrary to that, are actually things to be opposed.

They try to seduce you with talk of NSA bans or regulation of privacy breaches, making you think that government is the solution to our problem. They’re just seeking to protect us.

Then they intimidate innovators to protect revenue streams, and express fears that technology will be too good at protecting our privacy. They call that a ‘zone of lawlessness.’

I get it. Anarchists are the quickest to adopt this technology, and they’re horrible people. But consider this: they think it’s possible for you to have too much privacy. They believe the ability to get ‘evidence’ about you is paramount over you protecting your own privacy. That, my friends, is a guilty until proven innocent mindset, and we can’t empower these people to regulate anything.

No Net Neutrality. No data privacy breach regulations. Certainly no cryptography regulation or escrowed encryption. Voluntary data sharing is as far as I’ll go. I’m no anarchist, we need a government. But when they’re admitting privacy is a good, we can’t let them turn around and say the state’s needs are paramount over our rights.

After all, the fourth amendment could have said that we have a right to be secure in our possessions “except when a government agent believes it is evidence.” We have a right to lock our doors, and we have a right to lock our data.

NSA isn’t the problem. Lock your data and they can’t read it. That’s why they’re worried! But if they take away our right to lock our data, then all is lost.


Though mind the fraudsters and the phonies trying to prey on anarchists and nuts.

I respect those who worry that patent reform will threaten property rights. However, I don’t agree with some of their points. Business models are indeed a problem when bad patents plus a trial lawyer-friendly court system create business models that punish innovators and line the pockets of determined lawyers.

Patent trolls exist. We need to put USPTO on a fixed budget, instead of letting them collect more and more fees to grow the fiefdom, at the expense of giving out only sound patents that are non-obvious to experts in the field. Currently, every patent they give makes them more money they can spend in their budget. We can fix that, and overnight begin the process of reforming the system, protecting real patents for real innovators (we should certainly not ban software patents, for example), while not giving out trash patents open to abuse.

Denial of service attacks are a crime. Bravo on FCC for not sanctioning it in the case of hotels who want to DoS people running their own private WiFi connections. If you or I did that, it’s a crime. They shouldn’t be allowed to have an exception just because their business model is obsolete due to disruptive innovation.

FTC’s plans against throttled ‘unlimited’ data are tricky ground. I believe they’re a great market innovation to give people what they want, no limit or surprise bill, while also ensuring people are paying for what they use, and giving both the funding and incentive to invest in network infrastructure. I don’t like deception, but throttling to EDGE speeds is not in itself deceptive.

The Wireless industry is having a fight over patent licensing. Note that patent holders don’t have to submit to cross-licensing schemes and standards bodies. They do this because it benefits them. This is a negotiation, and both sides have a right to press for their desires. I see no bad guys here. And I fully support the right of a patent holder not to submit to say, royalty free licensing standards, if that’s what IEEE is threatening to move toward. I’ll be honest, I try to keep up with this stuff but sometimes the specific parameters of the debate are hard to catch, when the war goes into the press.