28 December 2003

Think about what could happen if your broadband provider could discriminate

Federal Communications Commission commissioner writer says FCC forces are pushing to clamp down on the "open access" that the present day internet offers.
A new battle is brewing at the Federal Communications Commission. It's about the future of the Internet. Entrenched interests are threatening open consumer access to the Net and stifling innovation and competition in the process.

The Internet was designed to defeat government or business control and to thwart discrimination against users, ideas or technologies. Intelligence and control were consciously placed at the ends of a non-discriminatory network. Anyone could access the Internet, with any kind of computer, for any type of application, and read or say pretty much what they wanted.

This Internet may be dying. At the behest of powerful interests, the FCC is buying into a warped vision that open networks should be replaced by closed networks and that the FCC should excuse broadband providers from longstanding non-discrimination requirements.

Proponents of eliminating non-discrimination rules claim that allowing dominant broadband providers to build walls around the Internet is just ``deregulating'' and ``letting the market reign supreme,'' deploying the rhetoric of Libertarianism to serve decidedly parochial interests. The truth is that these corporations -- so fond of railing against government picking winners and users -- are now asking the FCC to do precisely that.

2 December 2003

I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year

Were those the words of the committee chairman to reelect President Bush?

No. They were uttered by Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, whose touch-screen voting machines are in increasingly widespread use across the United States. Yes, the head of a firm whose voting machines tabulate American voters selections. The individual that's supposed to be the "head referee" of vote tallying hardware also serves as a leading fund raiser for W. Bush. Incredible.

Last month, Diebold got a bit miffed and started going after web hosters who published internal Diebold memos or even the links to the memos under the DMCA. Memos revealing shoddy electronic voting machine security.

Bev Harris, of has a compiled a compendium on the chicanery in electronic voting as it has been implemented to date. In fact, there's a complete online book available detailing the damage. Very troubling is the text contained within those chapters....

1 December 2003

No one should be able to own facts about other people

Conservative columnist Phyllis Schlafly pens an alarming article on the recently introduced Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act bill in Congress.
Giving new powers to the federal courts to police the use and exchange of information collected in databases would have a negative effect on our already shaky economy. Creating federally mandated ownership over data is not the way to go if we still believe in free enterprise.

Nor is H.R. 3261 the way to go if we believe that the federal government should exercise only enumerated powers. The Constitution does not authorize Congress to create any property rights beyond those specified in the Copyright Clause.

The American Library Association is also opposed to this legislation.