Taxation without representation

Just what school children need:  more internet!  President Obama has a new signature program in the works.  “ConnectEd” will provide high-speed internet access to schools, with its multi-billion dollar cost funded by new fees on cell phones.  And the beauty of it, according to the administration, is that it can all be done–including the funding–apart from Congress.  All it will take is approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wouldn’t this constitute taxation without representation? [Read more...]

The NSA and the end of the “world wide” web

According to British journalist John Naughton, the consequences of the NSA surveillance scheme, as revealed by Edward Snowden, go far beyond questions of terrorism, espionage, or individual privacy.  They impact the nature and governance of the internet and spell the end of the “world-wide” part of the “world-wide web.” [Read more...]

Is the internet worth it?

Economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson argues that the internet is not worth it.  Yes, it’s nice to get e-mail, watch YouTube, and have access to all this information.  But, he maintains, the internet has made our infrastructure more fragile and our dependence on the internet opens us up to new levels of crime, sabotage, privacy violations, and social problems. [Read more...]

The Surveillance State is also Bugging the Internet

As we posted about last week, the federal government has been secretly monitoring millions of phone calls.  Now it has been learned that the feds are also  secretly monitoring massive amounts of internet activity by tapping into servers of internet companies. [Read more...]

The next step in internet TV

As a follow-up to our ZeroTV discussion, I present to your information about Aereo, a website that will stream live television broadcasts that it picks up over the free airwaves.  Broadcasters and Cable moguls alike are trying to stop this venture in the courts, but so far to no avail.

I have questions for both sides of the controversy:  (1) How are broadcasters harmed if a website shows their over-the-air programming as opposed to that programming being shown on a television set? (2)  What is the advantage of watching live broadcasts on a computer screen as opposed to watching it over a television screen?  (3) Television stations are howling that their content is being “stolen.”  But how can it be stolen if the stations are giving it away for free? (4)  Why would viewers pay $10 per month for Aereo when they can get the same programming on a bigger screen for free?  [Read more...]

From spam to bacn

I have learned a new word, though I’m quite familiar with the reality.  From  BBC News – Why your inbox fills with bacn instead of spam:

Bacn is becoming what spam once was – the nuisance that fills up your inbox and makes it hard to pick out the important messages you have to read and which require a reply.

Bacn is all those reminders, newsletters, notifications, limited offers, alerts and other ephemera sent by websites, e-tailers and other services you have used ever since you made your first mouse clicks on the web. [Read more...]


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