Oh Yeah, Everyone Can See This

Funny moment in the NewsGator board meeting yesterday when @karlgco had the sudden realization that everyone could see the 3 way tweet chat between her, @bfeld and myself.

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I think there is something in here about how we have become desensitized to the notion of public email. What’s also interesting is how I have collapsed down the things I really want to be private about and impose much more security toward them as a result.

Google Gamed Auction to Open Spectrum

I wasn’t going to blog today but then I saw this.

Google Inc. manipulated a U.S. government spectrum auction by bidding just enough to trigger rules that will open a nationwide set of airwaves to any device and then walking away, Republican lawmakers said.

[From Bloomberg.com: News]

I had to read the article 3 times… these 3 members of Congress are criticizing the FCC over the C-block auction, claiming that Google manipulated the auction by bidding just high enough to trigger the open access requirements.

I wonder if their smoking gun is the press release Google put out last July with the letter CEO Schmidt sent to FCC Chairman Martin where they specifically said they would bid $4.6 billion for the spectrum rights, just high enough to trigger the proposed open access rights.

Taxation Without Representation

Pro-tax politicians want to change this by allowing California to force Amazon to collect and submit sales taxes–and they may have found an ally in a U.S. Congress that’s controlled by Democrats.

[From Tax-free Internet shopping days could be numbered | Tech news blog - CNET News.com]

States complain that they are entitled to sales tax receipts from online retailers operating across state borders, e.g. Amazon, but under what authority? The Constitution is clear that only the Federal government has the authority to regulate interstate commerce and despite many attempts over the years, a national sales tax has never been passed into law.

The Feds should stay out of it because the only thing that will happen if Congress requires online retailers to comply with the rococo like sales tax laws in all 50 states (actually not all 50 states have sales tax) is that we will see increased costs that are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices in addition to the taxes collected from consumers.

This is bad for business and bad for consumers. States say that physical retailers are at a disadvantage to online retailers but never quite detail why that is so. Perhaps an answer would be found in efforts by states to reduce the regulatory burden on in-state retailers thereby creating the conditions under which they are more competitive to online retailers. This would not only be good for businesses but also consumers.

The Amazon Affiliates program is a legitimate issue to consider with regard to state sales taxes but we don’t need a new law to figure this out, a state AG could simply take Amazon to court today and come to a decision.

More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Retail, Amazon.com at Wikinvest

Bill of Responsibilities

Notice how they tack on the “AND Responsibilities” to the straightforward concept of a bill of rights. How much you want to bet that at some point the responsibilities include “verifying your (ISP) customers have rights to the content they are distributing”? At any rate, I suppose it’s a good thing that networks and ISPs work together, I just don’t know why “content owners” have to be part of this.

Comcast Corp., under federal investigation for interfering with the traffic of its Internet subscribers, said Tuesday it wants to develop a “Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for file sharing.

[From Comcast wants 'bill of rights' for file-sharers and ISPs - Boston.com]