There May Be Hope For Internet Freedom – Court Rules Against FCC

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 06-04-2010

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Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals actually stood up for the free market and property rights. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.

The DC circuit Court of Appeals gave the Obama administration a big dash of cold water on the limits of its authority to impose rules on communications networks today. In essence, the court recognized Comcast’s property rights to determine its own terms of service for Internet use, and the implications could affect Barack Obama’s plans to mandate broadband expansion as well:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable company. It had challenged the FCC’s authority to impose so-called “net neutrality” obligations on broadband providers. …

The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.

via Hot Air » Blog Archive » Breaking: Appeals court rejects FCC authority for Net Neutrality.

Net neutrality is a governmental trojan horse to take control of the internet. This is a win for the good guys. For those of you who may have missed my blog on why net neutrality is a bad idea, you can read it here.

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Say Goodbye To Internet Freedom

Posted by Jason | Posted in Technology | Posted on 05-03-2010

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More and more government seems to be moving in on the freedom we have on the internet. Obama is pushing net neutraliy as a way to protect us from the evils of the companies who have already brought us ever increasing broadband and services. The FTC has begun cracking down on bloggers saying they have to disclose their relationships before blogging about a product. Police want warrantless access to your online data.

Now, the government is going to claim they need to protect us from internet attacks which have been around since the beginning of the internet. Oh no worries though, Microsoft, a company who’s having problems keeping up in the online arena, is backing the government.

A top Microsoft executive on Tuesday suggested a broad Internet tax to help defray the costs associated with computer security breaches and vast Internet attacks, according to reports. Speaking at a security conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney pitched the Web usage fee as one way to subsidize efforts to combat emerging cyber threats — a costly venture, he said, but one that had vast community benefits.”You could say it’s a public safety issue and do it with general taxation,” Charney noted.

via Microsoft exec pitches Internet usage tax to pay for cybersecurity – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

Ok, I’ve always stuck up for Microsoft as far as monopoly claims go, but now I see why everyone hates them. Here is a company, who’s founder has more wealth than many countries, and they are saying the public should have more money stolen from them to “defray the costs associated with computer security breaches”, which are probably made possible by the crappy software they write. Maybe we’d all be better off if we got Apples.

The public should not have to defray the cost for corporate America. Businesses should consider security as cost of business, which they have up until now. The customer ultimately pays, but they are the ones benefitting from security measures. If my bank puts in security software and hires security professionals, am I not the one benefiting? Why should the guy down the street defray my bank’s cost to which he is not a customer?

So what happens once the government taxes the internet and internet security becomes a public good? Well, what happens with everything the government gets involved it. It basically turns to garbage (keeping it clean here). Innovation is stifled. Costs skyrocket.

It is not hard to see what’s coming. The writing is on the wall. Governments absolutely hate freedom. If they see people having too much freedom, they must get worried that the people are consipring against their power. So they do whatever they can to insert themselves into this freedomfest to make sure the people don’t realize that “Hey, this freedom thing works without the government. What if the rest of our lives were like this? ”

But, as I said, the writing is on the wall.

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How long until your computer is monitored by the government?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care, Technology | Posted on 03-01-2010

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Many blogs had a year in review type of posting on New Year’s Day.  LewRockwell.com had one with this Glenn Beck video where he discusses the how auto dealers’ computers became federal property when they logged into the cash for clunkers computer system.

While I remember this story, it got me to thinking. Many people assume this is no big deal. This is just car dealers. It doesn’t effect them. Well, that is very short sighted. Number one, even if it went no further than the dealer’s computers, how do you know the government isn’t gather information on you via the dealer. After all, you probably filled out a loan application. Did your earnings on your application match what was reported to the IRS? Any way, that is a fairly minor issue compared to what could happen.

As you know, many computers are infected daily because most users don’t pay attention to what they are clicking on. Some window on the internet pops up, and the user clicks yes, no, close, etc. When they do that, their computer becomes infected with spyware. This sounds very similar to what the federal government did to the auto dealers. So, how would they do this to regular people? Well, we’ve all heard about the new market place where we can all shop and compare insurance plans that meet federal standards. Is it that far fetched to think, when you login to this “insurance marketplace” that the government couldn’t have a similar warning? Do you think most citizens would even pay attention?

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The Green Revolution And It’s False Boom

Posted by Jason | Posted in Global Warming, Government | Posted on 15-12-2009

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I keep hearing politicians and pundits saying the US has to be at the forefront of the green revolution. This is the new internet revolution they say, and it will create tons of jobs in the future. That got me thinking about whether this is the case.

To start, what is economic growth, and why does it benefit society? Real economic growth is increased production of society as a whole (unfortunately our GDP focuses on spending). Increased production means that there are more goods and services for the society to consume and to trade with other nations. That is increased wealth.

Now, the internet revolution and the technology revolution drove up productivity, which means you can produce more with less. That is a pretty simple idea, and it’s easy to see how it increased wealth for us as a nation. Also, being the leader in these revolutions helped us get a head start. With these revolutions, even if  you weren’t the leader, you still benefited immensely from them.

So, the question is how is the Green Revolution like the technology/internet revolution? Does it increase productivity? It is hard to see how. Having energy produced by the sun instead of coal doesn’t increase productivity. If it was cheaper, maybe you could say the savings would be reinvested, and that would eventually lead to increased productivity. Unfortunately, it isn’t cheaper, which is why it hasn’t taken place freely, and it requires government force and subsidies.

Think about it like this. Let’s say as a nation, you have $100 in wealth. You need electricity for luxury and commerce.  Now, say it costs $10/kwh when power is produced by coal (I know nothing about electricity, so please don’t laugh). You would be able to get 10kwhs for you $100. Now, let’s say with green energy it costs $20/kwh. I don’t know the ratio, but I know it’s more expensive. With green energy, you can only get 5kwhs for society’s $100. Now, how does that make your society richer? Why are we all racing to be the leaders of the revolution that makes you less wealthy?

If green technology makes you less wealthy, how do you benefit as a society from the “Green Revolution”? The only way I can think of is you are the leader, and you steal the wealth of other nations in a zero sum game. Other countries buy the technology from your country, which would give you that income from that export. Meanwhile, that nation pays out the money for the technology, and then pays out for the increased cost of the power. This sounds like a huge wealth transfer.

As you can see, there is nothing revolutionary with the “Green Revolution”. It is no where close to the internet revolution and the technology revolutions. Those revolutions didn’t need government force to come into existence. They came to be because they drove up productivity, drove down costs, and increased our standard of living. They actually increased our wealth. The green revolution is the exact opposite. It requires government force, increases cost, and decreases our standard of living. Keep this in mind the next time you hear our politicians talking about the US needing to be at the forefront of this revolution. No worth while revolution requires government forcing it upon you.

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Capitalism – Microsoft, Google and Rekall

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Technology | Posted on 03-12-2009

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Can someone ask Microsoft and Google to get into the health care game? This is what happens when capitalistic competition is unimpeded by government. You get more and more for better prices, even free!

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. is releasing an updated version of its mapping service with street-level views and new “apps” that tack on tweets, traffic and other location-specific data.

The new version of Bing Maps, released Wednesday in a “beta” test mode, offers slicker technology so users can zoom in more smoothly from the high-up graphical map to the close-up views showing actual streets from a pedestrian or driver’s viewpoint.

With this version of Bing Maps, Microsoft matches Google Inc. in sending cars with cameras down streets to capture images of every block. Microsoft is offering that in 56 U.S. cities for now, while Google has hit all 50 states and expanded the feature overseas.

Microsoft also used lasers to scan the buildings and constructed a three-dimensional map of those cities.

That makes it possible to add on collections of images built with Microsoft’s Photosynth tool, which stitches and layers together multiple photos of the same location to build a virtual model.

For the user, that means not only being able to stand in front of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, but also being able to “walk” inside to see photos of the art tourists have uploaded.

Clicking a small button at the bottom of the screen pulls up a library of Map apps. Each of the 15 or so apps currently available overlays some type of data on top of the map. One scatters pinpoints for local shops, restaurants and other businesses; another gives a view of recent Twitter messages. There’s another that calls up images of roadside sculptures created by an outside site, VirtualGlobeTrotting.com.

Microsoft said eventually more apps from outside developers will be available.

Bing Maps uses Silverlight, Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Inc.’s Flash, so a small plug-in available for most Mac and PC browsers is required.

via Bing Maps Redesign Challenges Google With 3D Photos, Real-Time Tweets.

While these maps sound extremely cool, they highlight the fundamental fact about competition. It breeds innovation and a better standard of living. Imagine if government took over the internet. I know. I know. They are working on it with net neutrality. Besides that, the internet would not be growing by leaps and bounds like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc have helped it grow. With Microsoft and Google going at it, it shouldn’t be long until we can stop by Rekall for a virtual vacation.

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More about the government’s take over of the internet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 19-11-2009

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You can pretty much say goodbye to the days of ever increasing advances with the internet. Everyday there are more and more articles about government involvement. Eventually the debate will switch from should they be involved, to which policy is best. Once that happens, you are back to the “head or gut” question.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission began to lay the groundwork for a bigger federal role in the broadband business Wednesday, outlining the hurdles the U.S. needs to overcome to improve the availability of high-speed Internet access.

The FCC identified a number of issues the government should address, including the high cost of laying new broadband lines in rural areas, a lack of airwaves for wireless Web access and ill-informed consumers.

“This focus on broadband is a reflection of a recognition that the U.S. is lagging behind,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday at the agency’s monthly meeting.

The FCC is drafting a National Broadband Plan, which will lay out ways the government can improve broadband service in the U.S. The plan is scheduled to come out in February, and it’s uncertain how many of its suggestions will ultimately be adopted. Already, some big cable and telecommunications companies are concerned the agency wants to impose rules that could undermine their business strategies and profitability.

via Bigger U.S. Role in Broadband Is Likely – WSJ.com.

Why is this such a big damn issue? No one in the public is demanding it. The government is going to tell us why we are lacking broadband?

Notice one issue they claim is the cost of laying new line in rural areas. So the rest of us who live in more populated areas have to pay for someone’s internet who decides to live out in the boonies. That’s just great. More of the majority paying for the minority. Besides, satellite already delivers this, but this is the problem when the government looks at a “problem”. It’s not that they don’t have the ability to get internet, it’s that they don’t have it by means of cables under the ground. You always get a misidentification of the problem (in this case there is no problem) when you have central planning. Satellite used to be fast only on download, and it was still dialup for the upload. Now you have it fast in both directions. This is what is called innovation. But you can’t have that. We all need it by wire.

Next is the lack of airwares for wireless. In this case, just as all cases where the government controls something, you have scarcity created by the government. If the airwaves were owned or handled by the private sector, they would be used for their best use. If people were demanding more airwaves for wireless, then it would happen. Instead politics is entering into it (PBS is not happy about it).

Next, the government falls back to it’s default position. The people are just too stupid to know what’s good for them. The people are too dumb to realize they don’t need 100mbs broadband to every house like Japan has. Who cares if Japan has 100mbs to every house. Are they better off than us overall because of it? Are we harmed by only having 20mbs, when we decide that is all we need at the cost that it’s delivered at? My 93 year old grandma shouldn’t have her phone bill raised when she doesn’t even know what the internet is.

We are told we are lagging behind. This is just like the “keep up with the Jones” mentality of the consumer. It’s not that we truly need 100mbs broad band. It’s that someone else has it. It’s not fair. Didn’t we learn our lesson over the past decade with this mentality? Again, I say, why do we think things are so different at a governmental level than they are on a personal level. If keeping up with the Jones is bad personally, it is bad governmentally.

The government is creating an illusion of lack of supply. If there was more demand and not enough supply, prices of broadband would be increasing. As we all know, broadband is constantly decreasing in prices. Thanks to the free market and technological innovation, supply is increasing faster than demand. When that happens, prices go down, as they have. So, why are we even looking at this? We’ve already established we have more supply than demand. Who is benefiting from this? Could it be some of the big businesses that bought and paid for your politicians? Could it be Big Brother? It sure in the hell isn’t you. You aren’t even demanding it.

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The Right to Healthcare, Welfare, and Broadband

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 18-11-2009

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The Government is responding to who about the supposed lack of broadband? I don’t think I have heard one complaint from anyone about lack of internet access, but supposedly there is a serious injustice going on out there. Luckily for us Captain Government is here to fix it.

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators are considering whether the government should take greater control of the Internet and ask consumers to pay higher phone charges in order to provide all Americans with cheaper access to broadband Internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission Wednesday will lay out the case for expanding broadband Internet service, outlining current obstacles to making it widely available. The agency is considering whether to force Internet providers to share their networks with rivals and raise fees charged on consumer phone bills to pay for the broader access.

The proposals, which have sparked criticism from telecommunications and cable companies, represent a reversal from the Bush Administration, when regulators cut back on government control of Internet and telephone service.The new commission, controlled by Democrats, is considering whether more government control is needed to ensure competition and more affordable Internet service.

via Feds Mull Rules, Fees to Spur Net Access – WSJ.com

I’m pretty sure the free market has done a great job expanding broadband access without government intervention. Not that long ago, I remember having dial up. Then I got cable with 400k download speeds. Then cable gave 1mb, then 2mb, then 6mb, and now Verizon has jumped in, and you can get 20mb for $60/month. Are you telling me competition isn’t working?

Also, because of competition, you have different levels of service to fit your budget. You can get DSL from Verizon for $15 month. Granted, the speed is slower than other plans, but it’s still light years ahead of dialup and fits the needs of many consumers.

So government is going to increase competition by forcing people to pay more for phone service. Does this sound like competition, or does it sound like a tax? Many people don’t even have regular phones anymore. That’s the beauty of the internet. You can ditch your old phone for a free or extremely cheap phone service. So, how is the government going to make those who use something like Skype for their phone pay increased phone rates? Are they going to force you to have a phone service like they are going to force you to have health insurance?

Democrats say that they want more affordable internet service. Are you serious? There are even free dialup services out there now. What they want is everyone to have the same exact service despite what consumers decide they need. This does not help competition, and it sure doesn’t incentivize providers to innovate and consumers to make wise decisions. This will be the beginning of the end for the internet revolution.

Well, one must ask why is the government pushing this if there doesn’t even seem to be a problem? Could it have something to do with controlling you? Maybe the smart grid? The smart grid is just one entry way for the government to step into your house. There will be more. Once everyone has broadband, it will be easy to put new monitoring and control measures in place. Think the government isn’t already spying on your internet usage?

We used to believe in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We gave up the right to life with abortion. Conscription also says you don’t have a right to your life. While we don’t have it now, there have been talks of it, whether it be a draft or mandatory “National Service”. We gave up the pursuit of happiness, because it’s not fair that your are achieving happiness while someone else isn’t. All along we’ve been giving up liberty.

We’ve replaced those rights, with the right to health care, welfare, education and now broadband. Americans better wake up. We have not cracked the code of building a righteous government, and history has shown how all societys progress from limited governments to tyranny. There is a reason civilizations never last, and we are about to find out why this one won’t either.

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Carly Fiorina wants more regulation of the internet

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 22-10-2009

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Republicans wonder why they are losing support? Carly Fiorina is a perfect example of why. Apparently, the freedom we have on the internet is just too much to bare.

Asked what she thought about regulation of the web, she said it was inevitable that there would be more regulation of it. Why, for instance, is there no protection of women and children on the Internet, when there is plenty in real life. She said this duality — where anything goes on the wild wild west of the Internet — would have to end.

via Web 2.0: Carly Fiorina talks potential Senate run, breast cancer battle, and government tech policy | VentureBeat.

I must have missed all the news stories of women being abused on the internet. Also, Carly talks like our non-internet laws don’t apply on the internet. Laws apply to life in general despite the medium used to break them. If someone commits fraud on the internet, breaks laws that we have to protect children from predators, or runs a website infringing on a woman’s rights, our current laws would be applied and convictions would be handed out.

We do not need the government wasting resources policing millions of pages on the internet. Are we going to have internet police monitoring my Facebook account to see if I said something abusive? Are we going to have twitter filters to target users who use derogatory statements? Even worse, are we going to be like China and filter all traffic coming in and out of the country so we can ensure that no citizen is reading something the government doesn’t want that is published by a foreign nation?

Just like other crimes, if someone commits a crime on the internet, the victim needs to press charges and prosecution will proceed. We do not need more government regulation, or in other words more freedom taken away.

Republican’s better decide whether they stand for freedom or not. If we want our freedoms taken away, we might as well just have vote Democrat.

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Net neutrality – Is it worth the loss of innovation and liberty?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Technology | Posted on 20-10-2009

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Thursday, unelected bureaucrats will be making a major decision on behalf of the American people that can have far reaching implications to our freedoms. Here is an article from My Way News with my commentary.

Oct 18, 12:57 PM (ET)

By JOELLE TESSLER

WASHINGTON (AP) – With Democrats in charge in Washington, supporters of so-called “net neutrality” rules seem poised to finally push through requirements that high-speed Internet providers give equal treatment to all data flowing over their networks.

These rules – at the heart of a five-year policy debate – are intended to guarantee that Internet users can go to any Web site and access any online service they want. Phone and cable companies, for instance, wouldn’t be able to block subscribers from using cheaper Internet calling services or accessing online video sites that compete with their core businesses.

The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Thursday on a proposal by the agency’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, to begin crafting regulations to prohibit broadband providers from favoring or discriminating against Internet traffic.

Broadband providers such as AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. argue that after pouring billions of dollars into their networks, they should be able to operate those networks as they see fit. That includes offering premium services over their lines to differentiate themselves from competitors and earn a healthy return on their investments.

Genachowski’s proposal has also encountered misgivings among Republicans on the FCC and in Congress, who fear network neutrality rules could discourage broadband providers from continuing to expand and upgrade their systems.

“The risk of regulation really inhibits investment,” said Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell. Noting the agency’s estimated price tag of up to $350 billion to bring broadband connections to all Americans, he added: “How do we pay for all that?”

via My Way News – Hurdles remain as FCC ponders Internet data rules.

To start, what gives the government the right to tell private companies, who invest their own money in building these broadband networks, that they have to provide unfettered access to all internet users whether customers or not. This is rediculous enough, but let’s show how the free market would do this without the loss of liberty?

First, in most places there are multiple internet providers. For example, where I live in Pittsburgh, I can get internet from Comcast via cable, Verizon via DSL, Verizon via FiOS, and other providers of DSL and satellite services. If for example Comcast decides to limit monthly download to say 250GB, which they did, then customers will decide whether it is worth it for them to abide by their rules or switch to Verizon.

We make these decisions all the time. For instance, last year I switched from Comcast to Verizon for my internet. Why did I do this? Because Comcast thought they could hold me hostage to purchase all their services or rape me on the remaining ones. Surely enough the free market delivered. I dumped Comcast, went to Verizon for my internet, Dish Network for my TV, and Phone Power for my phone. I cut my costs and got more service. What government doesn’t seem to understand, probably because they only know force, is that the free market cannot coerce you into doing anything.

“Well, the internet is interconnected, and if Comcast decides to restrict access to a service that if offered by a competitor,  they can hurt the competitor even if the end user isn’t a Comcast customer. For example, if Verizon’s customer’s traffic has to travel over Comcast’s network to get to its destination, then that customer can be harmed even though they aren’t a Comcast customer.”

Hmmm, let’s think this through. If the internet is interconnect, which it is, would it make sense financially for Comcast to start a war with another carrier? Also, the internet is interconnected, but it is not one link. Most carriers have a plethora of routes to use to get to the destination they are seeking. They also have protocols that decide which route to take based on things such as available bandwidth. With this technology, they would bypass Comcast. (Warning: I’m using Comcast as an example. They aren’t the target of this legislation that supposedly is going to help consumers.)

Also, in a free market, companies are incentivized to innovate and offer new services because of profits. If profits are cut because of government force, then it is without a doubt going to cut into innovation, which ultimately hurts everyone.

Providers don’t only provide one solution. If they are providing phone services to businesses and end users, they must be able to meet that service obligation. If they are required to ignore those needs in order to provide “net neutral” access to their broadband, then those services become worthless. Those services cannot sustain, because they would be unreliable. This would decrease their profits (which we already explained hurts innovation), and hurt the consumers of those phone services. Now you have less competition in the phone service arena.

Government always seems to want to address problems that do not exist. Where has this been a long term problem? Where has the consumer, who has no right to these services, been harmed by the monstrous internet providers? I think one could argue that the most unregulated part of our lives these days, the internet, is without a doubt the most innovative and quickly advancing parts of our lives. This isn’t happenstance. This is because the government isn’t dampening the motive of companies to make a profit, not yet that is. It would appear that the government can’t stand to see a sector of our economy flourishing without it.

If you want the internet to continue it’s phenomenal advancement and betterment of our lives, I’d suggest you let your representatives know that “net neutrality” is disaster. Let them know your vote could be swayed by their stance on this legislation, and that internet service providers have delivered as promised in regard to our communications needs. We can decide what providers to use and punish ourselves. We do not need them taking our liberty in order to do it, which we already know they can’t.

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