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  • Jul 13th, 2015 @ 11:08am

    Begging the question...

    Even if RIAA were correct (which it is not), stronger copyright requires stronger rule of law, not the other way around. Improving governance of the Middle East and Africa has nothing to do with copyright.

    I'd also say that having professionally advised the government of Qatar on IP, the whole concept of intellectual property is foreign if not outrightly imperialistic. Culturally, copyright is nonsensical to the Middle East where the first Arabic language printing press did not show up until the 19th C. Moreover, sharing is much closer to regional cultural norms than IP.

  • Jul 3rd, 2015 @ 8:34am

    Shooting Chicago in the Foot

    This action is all the more puzzling because Chicago has made significant investments in creating a local Internet incubator economy. Its high density, higher education population, corporate headquarters, and new Goose Island high tech zone are a good start but this tax is demanding eggs from the golden gosling.

  • Jun 30th, 2015 @ 8:13am

    The NSA is *gasp* telling the truth

    From all the evidence and history, the NSA does not engage in economic espionage. However, this needs unpacking. In many countries including France, economic intelligence is passed from the government to the private sector for the specific purpose of giving domestic industry an advantage. Known examples of US economic espionage entail the discovery of wrongdoing including bribery and foreign economic espionage. The US government has used this knowledge to counter such activity by threatening to bring legal action or simply make these revelations pubic. There is no evidence that I am aware of where US intelligence services provide intelligence to the private sector for their illegal advantage.

  • Jun 17th, 2015 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    I sit corrected. Thanks Mike for clarifying. Innovation certainly has an important role and one that can upend regulation. I would suggest that innovators definitely maintain strong contacts within the groups that fight the policy battles so as to avoid innovating permissionlessly only to find that permission was required after the fact.

  • Jun 16th, 2015 @ 11:03am

    (untitled comment)

    Innovation is great but it rarely triumphs over the path dependency created by regulation. Only in cases where technologies and services are seemingly outside the domain of regulation does innovation have sure footing. The Internet is a case in point. It ran largely unregulated for a long time and off the radar. Once it was clear that it was not a fad, regulators slowly began applying existing law to it. Drones and 3D printing are more current examples.

    There is a window of opportunity for innovation between the proof of concept and the proof of power when innovation is ascendant. Once that window closes, innovation must compete with regulation and it is not a fair competition. Innovation might be nimble but regulation has the relentless tenacity, longevity, and resources of bureaucracy. Within that window of opportunity, new technologies must define and demarcate power so that once that window closes, they can assert themselves (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon).

  • Jun 10th, 2015 @ 8:23am

    (untitled comment)

    This has been the government's default solution since the dawn of the Information Security Era beginning with the Ford Administration's reaction to Soviet interception of microwave communication.

  • May 22nd, 2015 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed. Except as this whole discussion demonstrates, there is no dearth of people and organizations interested in telling and showing people in walled gardens that they are in walled gardens. There's little danger of Ignorance's long term triumph.

  • May 22nd, 2015 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re:

    No it is not. For people who have never had Internet access before, it is a godsend. It grows the number of users globally. As those users become familiar with the limitations of internet.org, they'll look for other solutions and unfettered access. It's certainly suboptimal (free unfettered access) but I don't see anyone offering that. Until that mythical white knight appears, I'll welcome whatever resources are offered.

  • May 22nd, 2015 @ 9:08am

    (untitled comment)

    Talk about #Firstworldproblems.

    Where to start?

    -Facebook is a business and internet.org is a product.
    -Some access _is_ better than no access. The online discussions necessarily only include the voices and opinions of those people with access.
    -This is an example of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Would free access for everyone be optimal? Yes. Is anyone offering that? No. Is someone offering a limited form of it? Yes.
    -It's not altruism. It is about accessing big new markets and customers. That said, no one else is reaching out to these people on this scale. In the process users will determine what they want. Once users have experience of internet.org, it will likely lead to an experience of a less filtered Internet. How many people still have AOL accounts?
    -Criticisms regarding privacy, security, and censorship are quaint. In all of these countries, the government already undermines these goals more than Internet.org.

    Again #firstworldproblems

  • May 15th, 2015 @ 7:23am

    (untitled comment)

    I side with FB on this one and think Mozilla is wrong on this. It shouldn't create a binary choice but it does. No one else is providing access to the developing world on this scale and some access is better than no access. We shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, FB is a company and it's goal is to create customers. Period. They've just trying to do both.

  • Apr 9th, 2015 @ 11:34am

    Re: Or perhaps:

    Disagree. In a complex world, Occam's Razor is increasingly dull. The simplest answer is not the most likely.

  • Apr 9th, 2015 @ 10:49am

    The wrong measure of effectiveness

    pervasive surveillance advocates and critics often argue over actual instances of terrorism stopped in terms of cases. This is unhelpful. The effectiveness of surveillance is in increasing the coordination and communication costs of complex organizations. It is no coincidence that we haven't seen a 9/11 style plot. Coordination the actions of multiple groups, international travel, money transfers, and timing require a lot of communication. Knowledge that you are potentially under such surveillance means that terrorists either devote more resources to security, or choose lesser attacks. This is a different kind of cost benefit analysis but one with which the DoD is well acquainted.

  • Apr 3rd, 2015 @ 10:57am

    Economist Advanatge

    I have to disagree with many of the commenters here. The Economist is selling a valuable product but are not ignoring the Internet at all. They simply have a different strategy.

    "So we sell the antidote to information overload — we sell a finite, finishable, very tightly curated bundle of content." -Tom Standage

    Absolutely. The Economist is under no illusion that people won't go elsewhere.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the magazine, it does not publish under author names, it is organized into a series of well defined sections with well researched, well sourced, cogent writing. It does have a point of view but takes pains to present other points of view.

    It takes a solid 3 hours (for me) of focused reading to get through a weekly edition. It's dense.

    As a curated news source, I'm quite happy with it and have subscribed for many years. One big reason is that it inspires me to look outside many of the news sources I generally go to online. While half of the stories in a regional section "Asia" or "The Americas" might have hit my news feed, the other half probably have not but that makes them no less news worthy. It's not a dead end, but rather a road map pointing out sights I might have missed.

    The Economist's practice of avoiding links is good. While linking can be helpful in terms of convenience (speed), searching for information yourself is thinking critically.

    Reading it weekly is a useful exercise in thinking globally.

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 3:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's worth noting that if the telcos had not received immunity, their liability would likely have bankrupted them all. Every captured record might be judged as an "instance."

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Here's the thing ...

    I agree that the Snowden revelations have changed the calculus. However, it remains to be seen how much the status quo has changed. There is a long history of pro-privacy services going bankrupt.

    I disagree with the developing world/disenfranchised classes argument. Mobile banking (such as M-Pesa) is light years ahead in Africa and spreading into Asia. Moreover cultural privacy norms are different making the privacy advantage of cryptocurrency questionable. Cryptocurrency's best bet is to make itself (and its UI) look and feel just like any other currency rather than different for broad user adoption. Ideally, users should know that they are using cryptocurrency, but it shouldn't feel any different than using a credit card or e-payment.

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 11:30am

    Re: Here's the thing ...

    Good luck bitcoin.

    Currency/money is about trust. That's why we still have people who think gold is special. It's intrinsic (industrial) value has little to do with its market price.

    The bitcoin technology is fantastic and works, it still needs adopters while competing with traditional currency systems. National currencies are implicitly/explicitly backed by states or groups of states. Bitcoin is still an innovator's technology. Most people don't particularly see great value in impossible to trace transactions. On the other hand, lots of state foes do. The rhetoric is predictable.

    Bitcoin will get better. The question is whether people beyond innovators and early adopters who place a high value on privacy are enough to drive adoption. Privacy has yet to be a successful baseline selling point.

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 10:49am


    Congress took that out of his hands when they indemnified the telcos...

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 10:48am


    Sorry, wrong link:


  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 10:45am

    History: AT&T and Federal Government

    The ties between AT&T and the intelligence community predate Mark Klein. In a modern sense, they begin with telecommunications security policy from the Ford Administration

  • Mar 11th, 2015 @ 9:52am

    Ignoring the Real Competition

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I think this is less about innovation and more about monopoly. Bitcoin at its heart challenges currency and banks are the powerful gatekeepers of capital. Financial institutions have no interest in decentralized financial power and will lobby furiously to protect their position. This is not unlike the battle between uber and traditional taxi services except the stakes are much higher. Beyond the banks are governments which at some point will feel threatened by the potential loss of control over macroeconomic policy posed by bitcoin.

    I look forward to meeting you at Copia.

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