November 2, 2011In a recent Washington Times op-ed, Mark Hyman of the Sinclair Broadcast Group makes some compelling arguments calling for a spectrum inventory. His suggestion that the NTIA and FCC fulfill their mandate from President Bush in 2003 to increase spectrum efficiencies is on point and laudable. It’s certainly true that plenty of spectrum currently sitting in government hands could be put to better use, and thus a part of the problem is spectrum management. But that’s about all Hyman gets right.
His assertion that the “looming spectrum crisis” is a ruse manufactured by FCC Chairman Genachowski and parroted by major cell phone companies is completely erroneous. Hyman points to “the only independent study” on this subject to support this claim, one conducted by Citigroup. That...
October 25, 2011Wired welcomed a new author to its Science Blogs on Monday afternoon -- Kristian von Bengtson, an aerospace engineer and co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals. His three year-old group is working on ways of achieving suborbital spaceflights with rockets. As its website indicates, the effort is supported entirely by private donations, sponsors, and the work of part-time specialists.
von Bengtson’s discusses in his inaugural piece what makes their effort unique in today’s environment:
This is not a business, nor is it an attempt to race against being the first doing private space travel in Europe. It is truly a project pushing the limits of a small group of...
October 18, 2011Much of the cybersecurity focus this year has been on Congress’s efforts to mandate data breach notifications and security standards. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is entering the fray. On Friday, The Washington Post reported that the agency issued a guidance document instructing publicly traded companies on the procedures they must follow relating to cybersecurity issues.
The SEC makes clear that these obligations are preexististing, and that the guidelines merely clarify the requirements...
October 12, 2011This morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing on the President Obama’s infrastructure bank proposal. In September, the president announced this solution as part of his plan to get America’s economy back on track.
Though not an entirely novel concept, the idea is that by funding massive projects to improve our national highways, water systems and energy infrastructure, jobs will be created and the economy will rebound. This $10 billion project would be overseen by a new bureaucratic entity, the American Infrastructure Financing Authority (AIFA).
Defenders of the proposal claim the bank is necessary to put Americans back to work. The president, in calling for...
September 16, 2011Yesterday the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade held a hearing addressing the economic consequences of the European Union’s internet privacy regulations. The hearing is part of a comprehensive review of the online privacy aimed at encouraging discussion about how to best satisfy consumer privacy concerns while maintaining a robust and innovative digital ecosystem.
Among the issues raised was the concern that the US’s less restrictive framework for online privacy puts American companies at a disadvantage in the form of aggressive enforcement by EU member states. Also discussed was the question of whether there is a demonstrable harm to consumers from behavioral advertising, which utilizes browsing data...
September 12, 2011Last week the House Appropriations Committee released its draft bill for funding of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. Of particular note is the appropriation for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). As Marcia Smith observes, the $13 million set forth by the Committee is half of what agency director George Nield requested back in May: ...
August 31, 2011More news from the frontlines in the battle over school choice, as thousands of Indianans have taken advantage of the Hoosier state’s Choice Scholarship Program. Public school teachers and administrators are naturally panicked over this development, going so far as to contact parents and persuade them to keep their children enrolled.
The program is welcome news for many parents concerned about the education their children are currently receiving in public schools.
Yet opposition to the program is strong, and the Indiana teachers’ unions are working to thwart the program. They claim it...
August 19, 2011In response to Jacob Heilbrunn's August 12 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled, "Berlin Wall: A blessing in disguise," I submitted the following letter to the editor, which was published on Tuesday:
I am appalled by Heilbrunn's characterization of the Berlin Wall as a "blessing in disguise." I wonder if the estimated 169 (and very likely many more) East Germans killed while trying to flee their prison of a country would agree.
July 27, 2011This morning the House Judiciary Committee began markup on H.R. 1981, the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011,” which would among other things force all commercial Internet providers who charge fees for web access to store data on the customer Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for an entire year. The Competitive Enterprise Institute, TechFreedom, and Americans for Tax Reform’s Digital Liberty joined together in raising grave concerns about the legislation in a letter which can be viewed here.
Child exploitation is a heinous crime and should be punished severely. Allocating more resources to law enforcement to pursue such criminals and evaluating the effectiveness of current data sharing procedures is a logical first step. Instead, H.R. 1981 will impose a collection regime that...
July 1, 2011Back in April of this year Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley issued emergency regulations prohibiting Internet gambling at “cyber cafés” and “phone card businesses,” claiming the regulations were needed to “protect consumers.” Now, despite complaints from businesses targeted by these regulations, Coakley has instituted a permanent ban on the operation of the establishments, in particular “where a gambling purpose predominates over the bona fide sale of bona fide goods or services.” Interestingly this ban comes at a time when...