Video: Top 10 Reasons Why Utility Regulation Is Bad for Broadband, by Scott Cleland

The end game for many a progressive shouting for Net Neutrality is for the FCC (and state Commissions) to regulate broadband like a public utility. NetCompetition’s Scott Cleland provides this excellent top-ten list of reasons why that’s not such a great idea (seen here also in this Daily Caller piece, and in the 1-minute video below).

The Top 10 List

#1:          A problem pretending to be a solution 

#2:          A trillion-dollar bait-and-switch 

#3:          All pain no gain

#4:          Slow Internet to Government speed

#5:          Government-run Internet 

#6:          Most obsolete regulation for most modern sector 

#7:          No good deed goes unpunished 

#8:          Zero pricing is unsustainable

#9:          Only the fringe left wants it

#10:        FCC overruling Congress


Media Freedom


We are asking our Freedom Of Speech readers to email us your thoughts on this weeks question of the week:

Is the New Albany Police Department Corrupt?

Let’s hear what you folks think.

Turkish top court rules blocking of YouTube unconstitutional

Boltcutter and chain

Turkey’s Top Court Rules YouTube Ban is Unconstitutional – WSJ

Long after the blocking of Twitter was ruled unconstitutional, they have similarly ruled that blocking YouTube over the last two months was similarly unconstitutional. The formal ruling and orders to remove the blocking should be forthcoming soon.

This decision by the country’s top court bolsters rulings by lower courts which have been ignored by the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.

All this censorship is an attempt to suppress criticism of the government generally and Erdogan and his allies specifically.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

What you never create can’t leak

Shhh finger to lips man

The latest leaked messages to blow up in someone’s face are some emails from Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat. These were incredibly sexist emails sent while he was in college at Stanford organizing fraternity parties.

These emails are like racist rants, homophobic tweets, and pictures of your “junk”. They are all trouble waiting to happen, and there is always a risk that they will crop up and bite you when you least expect it. If you have ever shared any potentially damaging messages, documents, photos, or whatever then you are at risk if anyone in possession of them is angry, board, or in search of attention.

Even if it only ever lives on your computer, you are vulnerable to hackers breaking in and stealing it, or to someone getting your old poorly erased second hand computer.

This falls in to the “if it exists it will leak” rant that I seem to be having to repeat a lot lately. The first rule of privacy is: think before you write (or talk, or take a picture, or do something stupid). Always assume that anything will leak, will be kept, will be recorded, will be shared. Even when you are “young and stupid” try to keep a thought for how that thing would be seen in ten years when you are in a very different position. Of course, ideally you are not sexist, racist, homophobic, or stupid in the first place.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog

Bouquets for the Fiji media from a ‘new wave’ politician

Professor Biman Prasad … sound credentials – for democracy and a free media.
Photo: Republika Magazine

FIJI ‘new wave” political hopeful Biman Prasad, a University of the South Pacific academic and economist with some sound democratic credentials, had positive messages for the beleaguered media last weekend.

In a speech to a working group of the rejuvenated National Federation Party, he
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency

Regulatory Goodfellas Imposing Net Neutrality

Government extortion is a great way to get policy goals achieved, seemingly exclaims Wall Street Journal’s Ryan Knutson in his article “A Back Route to FCC Goals” today.

In the piece, he writes:

A spate of telecom and media mergers is complicating the Federal Communications Commission’s already controversial agenda. But it might also offer a solution…

…Merger review could in theory give the FCC a way around a divisive and risky policy debate. In negotiating approval of deals, the commission gets the opportunity to extract concessions that could advance its policy goals—like net neutrality.

These “voluntary,” back room deals are a favorite of progressives and industry players. The agreements get larded with unrelated giveaways and treats to sate the big government agendas of hoodwinking policymakers, as well as improve the balance sheets of those seeking competitive advantage, being unbothered by the inconvenient process of due process and other checks and balances imposed by Congress.

“You got two-thirds of the industry in front of you potentially by the end of the summer, which is enormously tempting to try to create an industry structure around that,” gushes edge industry lobbyist, Harold Feld, in the article.

Tempting? This regulatory short circuit remains one of the FCC’s most oft-employed tools.  If the Agency (and others like it) could exert some self-control, then “tempting” would mean something.  It cannot, though.

It is especially offensive in the Net Neutrality context.  If, as the writer strongly suggests, the FCC is demanding such Net Neutrality agreements from the merging parties which it regulates, the Commission will have succeeded in imposing a policy on the majority of the industry that has twice been struck down by a Federal Court, has never been voted for by Congress, and simply isn’t based on any real harm to consumers.

“Who cares,” chuckle the regulatory Goodfellas at the FCC.  “Dat’s just da’ tribute dose companies gotta’ pay to play, ‘cuz dis ain’t no charity racket we runnin’ here.”

It’s a racket, alright.

“Solutions” based on this essentially lawless behavior undermine our self-governance. If the policies aren’t good enough to withstand the light of an open process, they shouldn’t be allowed to go forward through a dark alley, Cosa Nostra heist either.

Media Freedom

New York Times: Irish Regulator Finds Himself at Heart of Privacy Debate

The New York Times profiles Billy Hawkes, Ireland’s data protection commissioner, and discusses how he is a big part of the international privacy debate: When Mr. Hawkes took over in 2005 as Ireland’s data protection commissioner, he said, it was a relatively quiet job focused on local issues. But in the years since, Ireland has become […]
Privacy Lives

Microsoft successfully challenges national security letter against enterprise customer

Tape on mouth

Microsoft challenged an FBI National Security Letter, and won | ZDNet

Recently unsealed documents show that Microsoft was able to beat back a National Security Letter (NSL) from the FBI.

NSL are like subpoenas but go through a different, and secret, process that bypasses the courts. NSL also include a gag order forbidding the recipient from revealing the existence of the letter to anyone.

Microsoft fought the NSL in question because it violated their policy of notifying all enterprise customers when they receive any “legal order related to data”. The FBI withdrew it without any rulings on the legality or appropriateness of the NSL.

This may indicate a move towards some limitations of the gag order attached to NSLs, which would be very valuable for transparency in the whole process.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Privacy Blog


“We’re a little surprised this route was taken,”  said Shane Gibson Corporate Council for the City of New Albany. “It looks like, after reviewing these real quickly, that a lot of this was work-related issues and the normal process is to file a grievance with the union and have that process taken, and that wasn’t done here.”

First, of all Mr. Gibson has selective memory. He was present in the room in 2010 with Union President and Officer Schook, who is he bull shitting?

Is this what we pay billable hours for?

Our final thoughts:

Where is City Attorney Stan Robinson? Why are we paying him a big fat salary if he doesn’t work.

And, where did Gibson get his new title “Corporate Council?”

More lies by the Gahan administration.

Russia: To block Twitter, or not to block Twitter

Russia Map with Twitter Bird

Russia seems to have a conflicted relationship with Twitter and Internet censorship in general.

While trying to portray themselves as open and democratic, they clearly have a real problem with the radical openness of social media like Twitter.

Maxim Ksenzov, deputy head of Roscomnadzor (Russia’s censorship agency), said Twitter is a “global instrument for promoting political information” and that they could block Twitter or Facebook in minutes.

Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev responded on his Facebook account, saying that state officials “sometimes need to turn on their brains” rather than “announcing in interviews the shutdown of social networks.” Which is not quite the same as saying that they would not do so.

The primary desire in Russia is for Twitter and all other social networks to open offices in Russia. That would smooth communications, but also provide leverage to push for censorship or access to data as needed.

The Privacy Blog