April 25, 2008Last week a scad of stories from Reuters to News.com covered the growing push for a "Do Not Track" registry similar to the "Do Not Call" list that serves to protect US households from mid-dinner sales calls. While I understand the concerns expressed by folks like Marc Rotenberg of EPIC and Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, who were both cited by Anne Broache in the News.com piece from last week, I think that asking the government to hold a master list of IPs and consumer names is a bad idea, or at least one that won't do much to really protect consumers.
First, tracking people online is a bit different from calling folks in their homes. Telemarketing, while highly...
April 23, 2008Just as pink was the new black and The Backstreet Boys were the new New Kids on the Block, the FCC is now turning "Localism" into the new Fairness Doctrine.
The Fairness Doctrine mandated that controversial issues of public importance be presented in a manner deemed by the FCC to be honest, equitable, and balanced. Though Localism isn't concerned with political speech, both sets of rules interfere with the editorial process, both control and compel speech, and neither passes Constitutional muster.
The FCC has reasons to believe that Localism is a concern, but those reasons lack the weightiness and depth of well-conducted policy research needed for rule making. Commisioner Copps has stated that:
We have witnessed the number of statehouse and city hall reporters declining decade after decade,...
April 17, 2008The FCC is continuing its desperate search for a reason to exist. This year it's decided to assert its relevance by reengaging an issue that it had ignored since 2004. The "Localism" debate has reemerged and one of the most troubling aspects of this debate is the focus on the supposed lack of ownership of broadcast television and radio stations by women and minorities. While the goal of increasing diversity in the sphere of broadcast media is a noble one, the data being used to justify new rules is specious.
Many have attempted to validate their concerns over ownership diversity by referencing a March 2008 GAO study which focuses on media ownership. However, this report admits freely that FCC data is...
April 2, 2008This week's C:\Spin (#197), CEI's tech policy newsletter, casts net neutrality in the appropriate light. Calling out proponents of neutrality for what they are--political predators--my colleague Wayne Crews lays bare the misconceptions and wrong-headed thinking that make up the neutrality debate:
“You know who owns your pipes? Your customers. You have no right to set up a tollbooth.”
- Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), September 17, 2007
Sen. Dorgan's statement refers to the broadband infrastructure built up by the telcos and their rivals. It lays the “net neutrality” issue bare: if you're an infrastructure owner or Internet service provider, government people like him shall dictate your relationships with the world at...
March 6, 2008I want to thank my fellow Tech Liberation Front contributor Tim Lee for pointing out that Open Market RSS feeds should feature full articles, not mere teasers. I've made the change today so you can now enjoy OpenMarket.org posts in your RSS reader in their entirety!
March 4, 2008Gary Gygax, the father of role-playing games, died today at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. As a fellow Wisconite and lover of video games--the modern forum for Gary's roll-playing games--I have to say this is a sad day.
Wired has a post on his passing and for those of you who don't know much about gaming and the contribution that Gygax made to the field, it's worth reading the Wikipedia entry on his life.
Gygax with Stephen Hawking and Lieutenant Ohura on an episode of Futurama.
Though his passing isn't a policy issue, Gygax was one of the founders of early gaming culture which has been carried through to the PC and console...
March 4, 2008Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass) has introduced legislation aimed at ridding the cell phone world of the much criticized practicies of phone subsidies, long-term contracts, and termination fees. In the name of contract "consistency" Markey's bill mandates that cell companies offer alternative plans that contain no subsidy for the handset and plans that offer month-to-month service.
The bill contains a long section of "findings," which are intended to point out what, from Rep. Markey's perspective, are the illogical practices of cell phone providers. However, if you look at the issue of termination fees, you'll find that Rep. Markey's bill ignores the role of competition in decreasing costs to consumers and fails to take into...
February 12, 2008The fight for Yahoo! continues as Microsoft stated yesterday that:
Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal
This statement was issued in response to Saturday's rejection by Yahoo's board of the $41 billion dollar offer that Microsoft proposed to the board of Yahoo! This new "all necessary steps" language from Microsoft has been perceived by many to mean the Microsoft will go "hostile" in its pursuit of Yahoo! Of course, hostile in this case isn't all that hostile. Or at least share holders sure shouldn't think so. Yahoo's board has said...
February 11, 2008If you're interested in the marriage that might have been and could still be between Microsoft and Yahoo, check out my appearance on C-SPAN's weekly show The Communicators, which is unfortunately only available in our favorite format, Real Media.
Though Mr. Ballmer's proposal was rejected the first time, he's not one to give up easily and he'll likely barrow even more than the few billion he thought he'd need to increase the size of the dowry. Though he may want to pause, at least for a moment, as the Wall Street Journal...
January 25, 2008Thanks to Google, I am now addicted to the game Rock Band. I don't own the game, but I do alternate between playing the demo at BestBuy in Pentagon City and playing the demo at the Gamestop across the street in the mall.
How can I prove that Google caused this addiction? Here I am playing Rock Band with Jillian Bandes of Roll Call in Google's game room.
Jill's fake drum performance far exceeded my abilities at the fake guitar. Soon after this photo was taken a tech from Google's New York offices schooled us on how to rock Rock Band and scored a 97% on a much more difficult setting. Thanks to Adam Kovacevich at Google for featuring my silly performance on...