This year's "We Love The 90's" is drawing closer. I might not go this year either.
The tree fascinates all.
"In fact, it could take weeks before the final rules are published, the official said. That’s because the two Republican commissioners, Ajit Pai and Mike O’Rielly—who oppose net neutrality of any sort—have refused to submit basic edits on the order. The FCC will not release the text of the order until edits from the offices of all five commissioners are incorporated, including dissenting opinions. This could take a few weeks, depending how long the GOP commissioners refuse to provide edits on the new rules."Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Reilly voiced their opposition to the new Title II-based rules by not only voting against them, but by trying to bore meeting attendees to death. Pai, a former Verizon regulatory lawyer, offered a mammoth speech in which he ironically lamented "special interests" and claimed repeatedly to only be opposing net neutrality out of a concern for consumer wallets. O'Reilly tried to top Pai with an even longer, duller speech that continually insisted the FCC was trying to conduct a secret, regulatory takeover of the Internet. A visibly emotional Wheeler was having none of it:
"This proposal has been described by one opponent as, quote, a secret plan to regulate the Internet. Nonsense. This is no more a plan to regulate the Internet than the First Amendment is a plan to regulate free speech. They both stand for the same concepts: openness, expression, and an absence of gate keepers telling people what they can do, where they can go, and what they can think."While the net neutrality rules are incredibly important, the FCC's decision on municipal broadband may actually wind up being more meaningful over the long run. As we've noted for years, neutrality violations are really just a symptom of a lack of competition. Around twenty states now have laws in place -- usually based entirely on ISP/ALEC model legislation -- that prohibit towns and cities from improving their own broadband infrastructure -- even in instances where nobody else will. In some cases these rules even go so far as to prohibit towns and cities from striking public/private partnerships to improve broadband service.
"You can’t say you’re for broadband and then turn around and endorse limits on who can offer it. You can’t say, ‘I want to follow the explicit instructions of Congress to remove barriers to infrastructure investment,' but endorse barriers on infrastructure investment. You can’t say you’re for competition but deny local elected officials the right to offer competitive choices."Needless to say, this is likely only a new chapter in the debate over both issues, the precise wording of the neutrality wording will be debated for months if not years, and you can expect ISP legal action on both fronts aimed at protecting the uncompetitive status quo. It also probably goes without saying that opponents of net neutrality and those who like it when AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are allowed to write protectionist telecom law aren't taking the day's events very well. One of the best freakouts of the day belonged to Hal Singer, author of that misleading study we've previously debunked claiming that you'd face $15 billion in new taxes under Title II:
Days are getting brighter, but dem evenins...
Rolling them eyes pretty hard.
As you read it, you realize that Rogers keeps thinking that if he says "legal framework" enough times, he can pretend he's not really talking about undermining encryption entirely. Well known cybersecurity guy Bruce Schneier pushed back, pointing out that:
Alex Stamos (AS): “Thank you, Admiral. My name is Alex Stamos, I’m the CISO for Yahoo!. … So it sounds like you agree with Director Comey that we should be building defects into the encryption in our products so that the US government can decrypt…
Mike Rogers (MR): That would be your characterization. [laughing]
AS: No, I think Bruce Schneier and Ed Felton and all of the best public cryptographers in the world would agree that you can’t really build backdoors in crypto. That it’s like drilling a hole in the windshield.
MR: I’ve got a lot of world-class cryptographers at the National Security Agency.
AS: I’ve talked to some of those folks and some of them agree too, but…
MR: Oh, we agree that we don’t accept each others’ premise. [laughing]
AS: We’ll agree to disagree on that. So, if we’re going to build defects/backdoors or golden master keys for the US government, do you believe we should do so — we have about 1.3 billion users around the world — should we do for the Chinese government, the Russian government, the Saudi Arabian government, the Israeli government, the French government? Which of those countries should we give backdoors to?
MR: So, I’m not gonna… I mean, the way you framed the question isn’t designed to elicit a response.
AS: Well, do you believe we should build backdoors for other countries?
MR: My position is — hey look, I think that we’re lying that this isn’t technically feasible. Now, it needs to be done within a framework. I’m the first to acknowledge that. You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding, so, what are we going to access and what are we not going to access? That shouldn’t be for us. I just believe that this is achievable. We’ll have to work our way through it. And I’m the first to acknowledge there are international implications. I think we can work our way through this.
AS: So you do believe then, that we should build those for other countries if they pass laws?
MR: I think we can work our way through this.
AS: I’m sure the Chinese and Russians are going to have the same opinion.
MR: I said I think we can work through this.
AS: Okay, nice to meet you. Thanks.
MR: Thank you for asking the question. I mean, there are going to be some areas where we’re going to have different perspectives. That doesn’t bother me at all. One of the reasons why, quite frankly, I believe in doing things like this is that when I do that, I say, “Look, there are no restrictions on questions. You can ask me anything.” Because we have got to be willing as a nation to have a dialogue. This simplistic characterization of one-side-is-good and one-side-is-bad is a terrible place for us to be as a nation. We have got to come to grips with some really hard, fundamental questions. I’m watching risk and threat do this, while trust has done that. No matter what your view on the issue is, or issues, my only counter would be that that’s a terrible place for us to be as a country. We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to change that.
[Moderator Jim Sciutto]: For the less technologically knowledgeable, which would describe only me in this room today, just so we’re clear: You’re saying it’s your position that in encryption programs, there should be a backdoor to allow, within a legal framework approved by the Congress or some civilian body, the ability to go in a backdoor?
MR: So “backdoor” is not the context I would use. When I hear the phrase “backdoor,” I think, “well, this is kind of shady. Why would you want to go in the backdoor? It would be very public.” Again, my view is: We can create a legal framework for how we do this. It isn’t something we have to hide, per se. You don’t want us unilaterally making that decision, but I think we can do this.
It’s not the legal framework that’s hard, it’s the technical framework. That’s why it’s all or nothing.No matter what anyone said, however, Rogers appears to keep going back to the "legal framework" well, over and over again, as if that magic phrase would change magical thinking into reality:
“If these are the paths that criminals, foreign actors, terrorist are going to use to communicate, how do we access that?” he asked, citing the need for a “formalized process” to break through encrypted technology.Yes, but that's very different, even as anyone looking to rip apart important privacy and free speech tools loves to shout "child porn," the examples are not even remotely comparable. And no one's looking to backdoor everything just to get at people passing around child porn. But the larger point stands. Rogers seems to think that there is a magic bullet/golden key that will magically only let the good guys through if only the tech industry is willing to work with him on this.
Rogers pointed toward cooperation between tech companies and law enforcement to combat child pornography. “We have shown in other areas that through both technology, a legal framework, and social compact that we have been able to take on tough issues. I think we can do the same thing here.”
“You don’t want the FBI and you don’t want the NSA unilaterally deciding what” is permissible, Mr. Rogers said.Except that presumes that if only the surveillance community and the tech industry got together they could come up with such a safe system, and as everyone else is telling him, that's impossible. And for a guy who is supposed to be running an agency that understand cryptography better than anyone else, that's really troubling:
My first time in Seattle.
Did not know that.
Beyond highlighting Apple's apparent pettiness (and lack of ability to allow users to customize things for themselves), it also highlights how very minor design decisions do matter in a fairly big way. I recognize that some people like to get into tech fanboy wars: iPhone v. Android, Mac v. Windows v. Linux, Playstation v. Xbox, etc. That's going to happen, even if it mostly seems like a waste of time. But, really, using subtle design choices to highlight and further such fights seems to show such a childish attitude to competition. Good competitors focus on making their own products better, not demeaning the competition. It's when they run out of good ideas that the focus shifts to attacking the competition. Apple has done so many things right with the iPhone in pushing the barriers of innovation, it would be better if they just focused on making the overall customer experience better, rather than trying to offer subtle digs at non-iPhone users.
Apple must know by now that the people of the blue bubbles make fun of the people of the green. And I guess if I worked at Apple I’d be pretty psyched with this reaction. After all, what is a more powerful brand amplifier than social pressure? If people who converse in green bubbles start to feel relatively poor, or socially inferior, because they chose to use a less-expensive pocket supercomputer than those made by Apple, that could lead to iPhone sales. Ugly green bubbles = $$$$$ and promotions.
But I think the ugly green bubbles are the result of a mean-spirited, passive-aggressive product decision, marketed in a mean-spirited way. Certainly it’s not a crisis in capitalism. This is not to say that Google is good and Apple is bad; they’re both enormous structures that have so much power that they can manufacture their own realities (except for Google Glass, then not so much).
The bubbles are a subtle, little, silly thing but they are experienced by millions of people. That amplifies that product descision into a unsubtle, large, serious-yet-still silly thing. The people who are tweeting about green bubbles are following Apple’s lead. It’s not unprecedented; Apple has done stuff like this before, like giving Windows machines on its network a “Blue Screen of Death” icon. But people spend so much time texting that it adds up.
The seminal ’90s grunge affiliates Babes In Toyland played their first show in 13 years last night at a small venue called Pappy & Harriet’s in Palm Springs. The band played for 50 minutes in the tiny bar, which has a maximum capacity of 224 people. Check out Andrea Swensson’s review of the show over at The Current, and watch Babes In Toyland rip through their setlist in order below.
Well hello there
We learned way the hell back in September that Faith No More, the restless and reunited metal greats, were at work on a new album, their first since 1997′s Album Of The Year. On Black Friday last year, they even came out with a new song, a total monster named “Motherfucker.” And now it’s all official: The new FNM album is called Sol Invictus, and it’s out 5/19 on Reclamation/Ipecac. The band recorded it in Oakland, and bassist Billy Gould produced. We don’t yet know what songs will be on the album, but this information alone is enough to get excited.
[Photo by Dustin Rabin]
The lunacy continues.
As its plan to completely shatter the support it received recently by attacking the very same concept of free speech its enemies declared war upon with terrorist attacks on a parody magazine not so many weeks back, the French government's ability to be laughable and simultaneously dangerous never ceases to amaze. What at once looked to be rather punctuated attacks on opinions and social media, and even cable news (which I consider a common enemy but for vastly different reasons) has now since devolved into the kind of massive overreaction against a third-party target that is, dare I say, quite American in nature. Apparently no longer content with the plan to police the ever-dangerous internet themselves, the French government has suddenly and, it must be conceded, shockingly announced that it now has veto power over the internet, requiring ISPs to censor sites at its whim. And, because cynicism is practically the secret sauce in these kinds of things, they've laced their claims of "combating terrorism" via censorship powers with a dash of "preventing child pornography" to boot.
A new decree that went into effect today allows the French government to block websites accused of promoting terrorism and publishing child pornography, without seeking a court order. Under the new rules, published last week by France's Ministry of the Interior, internet service providers (ISPs) must take down offending websites within 24 hours of receiving a government order. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the decree is critical to combating terrorism, but civil rights groups say it gives the government dangerously broad powers to suppress free speech.Now, anyone reading this site already knows why anointing a government with these kinds of powers, whether by the excuse of child pornography or via the far more mangled conflation of speech and terrorism, is inherently problematic. We should simply be able to trot out examples of governments declaring non-offending sites as falling under these kinds of headings and rest our case. When we see France spiral into this kind of out of control fear-based tailspin, however (particularly after having gone through it ourselves to such a degree that we're still trying to dig ourselves out of it), we should find it conscripting us to fight against a stupid history that is attempting to repeat itself.
The decree implements two provisions from two laws — an anti-child pornography law passed in 2011 and an anti-terror law passed late last year. A department of the French national police will be responsible for identifying the sites to be blocked, with the suspected terror-related sites subject to review by an anti-terrorism branch. An administrator from the CNIL, France's independent data protection organization, will be charged with overseeing the process. Once a site is blocked, its page will be replaced with an explanation of why the government took it down. In the case of child pornography pages, the text will also include a recommendation to seek medical help.
Supporters of the measure say it's critical to preventing future attacks, pointing to the growing number of young French nationals who have joined jihadist movements in Iraq and Syria, as well as aggressive online propaganda campaigns from terrorist groups like ISIS.Just try to implement that mode of logic in any arena that doesn't involve the internet and see how far it gets you. You'll be laughed out of the conversation if you were to say, for instance, "A large percent of those committing terrorist acts within Europe attended a mosque before doing so. We do not combat terrorism if we do not regulate mosques." It misses the point entirely, of course, because it punishes what is largely the innocent while doing very little toactually combat terrorism. We might also find that terrorists largely wear silk, or listen to a certain type of music, or are part of any number of subsets of culture that we wouldn't dream of censoring, regulating, or placing under the watchful eye of a French government that has appeared all too happy to blame everyone for the failures of both their own security apparatus and civilization as a whole. But with the internet? That we'll censor, because the ruling class is still of an age that might find it scary enough to allow it to happen.
"Today, 90 percent of those who swing toward terrorist activities within the European Union do so after visiting the internet," Cazneuves told reporters last week, after presenting the decree to French ministers. "We do not combat terrorism if we do not take measures to regulate the internet."
"In light of the recent arrests that have followed the Charlie Hebdo attacks — many of which are clearly overboard — I would say that France's government needs to seriously think about whether this law will stop terrorists, or merely chill speech," Jillian York, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said in an email to The Verge.A small ruling class exerting control over the rights of the many in favor of its own power? Where have I heard this story before?
Others question the effectiveness of the measure. Felix Tréguer, of the French online rights group La Quadrature du Net, says the decree risks "over-blocking perfectly legal content," adding that the domain name system (DNS) blocking that it calls for can be easily circumvented. "The measure only gives the illusion that the State is acting for our safety," Tréguer said in a statement published today, "while going one step further in undermining fundamental rights online."
Internet discussions, as they are done.