I haven’t posted in a while, and this will be the last for the foreseeable future. At its foundation, Third Pipe was focused on the promise of alternatives to the telco/cable chokehold on internet access. We evolved to report on issues of an open Internet, personal privacy, security and intellectual property.The shocking loss freedom as it relates to all of these topics have made reporting on new developments so consistently negative, that it’s time to take me and my partners a break . The archive and news feeds will remain online. New work here on a regular basis could resume in a more positive environment.
It’s worth noting that in the not too distant past, there were a plethora of Internet providers competing to provide service. The Internet began as a free and open frontier that was sufficiently self regulated. Hacks served to improve security. Existing laws regarding property both physical and intellectual worked surprisingly well when our so called protectors elected to apply them.
Over the last few years, government “internet regulation” has given itself the authority to peer into our lives in ways never imagined even by the most cynical of futurists. Under the guise of security, protecting American jobs and even the shameful claim of protecting children, the over reach continues. The new police state need not rely on nosy neighbors to keep the masses in line. The police state has been upgraded to a surveillance state. This has happened by stealth as major new outlets are only too happy to report an endless stream of distractions instead of informing us.
We have seen the access duopoly continue to evolve towards a new, less competitive duopoly, with cable controlling fixed line access and the telcos controlling wireless. We will like see telcos continue to abandon more of their fixed line customers, freeing the cable guys to do what they will with us. Wireless remains marginally competitive, but AT&T and Verizon are on a campaign to lock up all available spectrum. None of this could have happened without direct involvement of the government. To be clear, American internet access is not a product of free enterprise. It has become at best crony enterprise headed towards fascist enterprise.
Fascist enterprise has also overtaken intellectual property. While the Internet promised to set information free, those who profited from the control of intellectual property have sought and taken control of much of that freedom. The formerly common practice of loaning a book or recording to a friend has become criminalized and the common practice of moving media you have paid for from one device to another could get you in trouble. Even creatives who seek to give away their work are under threat. Government hates the free flow of information even more that the media oligarchs. The internet has made it much easier to expose disinformation and a plethora of other dirty deeds that have flowed freely from Washington without question in the past.
There is hope. The change we hoped for at the last election cycle has proven to be yet another grand ruse. A new cycle is upon us. Establishment pols are being challenged in party primaries at an unprecidented rate. To be clear. the establishment in both political parties is the problem. Their talking points are carefully constructed to distract us from our loss of freedom. We still have a vote, and the real point of change is in the primaries. Voting in a primary is the quickest way to unseat the establishment. Waiting to vote for establishment candidates in the general election will only perpetuate the existing way of doing business.
There is still hope in creating alternative access. Wifi could evolve to provide competing wireless service and municipalities can grant open access to or make use of existing right of ways for fixed service. Getting involved is the price to pay for this freedom.
Even if you prefer using commercial software and hardware products, supporting open source with time and cash will insure that the marketplace remains competitive. The same goes for creative works. You don’t have to boycott the blockbuster movie, music or written work to make an impact as long as you also support independent artists. In fact you could find it rewarding to do a little creating yourself. If we are all content creators, regulating the flow of ideas and information will be impossible for even the most intrusive government.
If and when the outlook becomes more positive, I’ll be back.
I’m guessing the mostly clueless board at HP took an up tick in its stock price following a Meg Whitman CEO trial balloon as an endorsement to make it official. I have no doubt Whitman will make a sincere effort. Unfortunately she is the worst fit for CEO that the board has appointed so far.
The judge’s anger at Stone burns clearly throughout his order, especially when he sums up the entire situation:
To summarize the staggering chutzpah involved in this case: Stone asked the Court to authorize sending subpoenas to the ISPs. The Court said “not yet.” Stone sent the subpoenas anyway. The Court appointed the Ad Litems [EFF and Public Citizen] to argue whether Stone could send the subpoenas. Stone argued that the Court should allow him to – even though he had already done so – and eventually dismissed the case ostensibly because the Court was taking too long to make a decision. All the while, Stone was receiving identifying information and communicating with some Does, likely about settlement. The Court rarely has encountered a more textbook example of conduct deserving of sanctions.
Judge Godbey fined Stone $10,000, which he hopes will be enough to “deter similar misconduct and adequately reflects the gravity of the circumstances.” In addition, Stone has to pay the attorney fees for EFF and Public Citizen, and must tell the court if he has settled with anyone in the Mick Haig case, and if so, for how much.
Do I hate lawyers? It depends. I know a few, and they are upstanding people. But the fact is, a lawyer whether licensed in the State or not has not leg for ignorance of the law for a defense. He/she spent 3-4 years learning the law. But when I hear that a lawyer either games the system or outright ignores it as this case indicates, the lawyer in question should be immediately disbarred. He can then go prove he is worthy of being brought back into the fold. Harsh? Yes. But I have seen two lawyers from my home town destroy the fiscal trusts of respected members of the community. There is no excuse.
Am I dreaming? Sure, lawyers protect their own. I applaud the judge in this instance legally wringing the guys neck. He should have made the fine $1m.
“These people f—ed me over,” Yahoo’s just-deposed-CEO Carol Bartz told Fortune’s Patricia Sellers.
According to Bartz, Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock fired her by reading a statement prepared by a lawyer over the telephone. “Roy, I think that’s a script,” Bartz said. “Why don’t you have the balls to tell me yourself?”
Bartz places the blame for Yahoo’s troubles squarely on Bostock and the board, arguing that their insecurity created expectations that couldn’t be fulfilled: “They want revenue growth, even though they were told that we would not have revenue growth until 2012.”
“The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country,” Bartz added. “Now they’re trying to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are.”
What launches this inherent brand of open disclosure from the boardroom set? Well in Bartz’s case it was because they fired her over the phone! Cry me a river.
I have news for Bartz, Corps have been doing phone in reductions in force for over a decade or more. The fact that this technique has finally reached the `C` set should not come as a surprise. Fact my question to Bartz would be — how many have YOU done this to who are your immediate staff?
Welcome to the cube farm baby!
Most of use expect a product to function as stated. It’s called truth in advertising. The feds must be exempt. What the call patent reform is anything but.
Nearly all of the Senate has voted for Leahy-Smith. a law that further tilts the balance of power to multinational corporations and legal trolls. The bill gives advantage to the first to file over the original inventor. This frees those with deep pockets to patent prior art and stolen ideas at will. It also insures that patent trolling will be elevated to a whole new level of stifling innovation and killing jobs. Since the President has already endorsed the bill, he’s sure to sign it into law.
President Obama has called the bill crucial to economic growth. That comes as no surprise since he’s a lawyer. So are the majority of Senators. I’m afraid the only growth will come to the legal profession. No society can survive when it’s growth industry is filing lawsuits.
Freedom loving American geeks have been advocating for the open, unlicensed use of White space frequencies for the last 4 -5 years. Open frequencies will enable entrepreneurs to rapidly deploy wireless broadband where incumbents won’t. It could also foster a little more competition in a market where Americans pay the highest prices in the world for mediocre service.
Meanwhile back in Washington, the FCC and Congress have been preoccupied with cooking up a scheme to auction off that last wireless frontier to one of the corporate oligarchs that already control most of the public airwaves. The wireless cartel fears having to compete in an open market, and pols are giddy over the idea of another money pot they can use for pet projects. In other words, very little would change.
Ironically in the land of Big Brother, where that average urban citizen is always in view of the government CCTV network, wireless freedom will prevail according to Ofcom’s White Spaces proposal:
(unlicensed white spaces) ………are predicted to boost economic activity as well as improving broadband coverage. Ofcom wants the UK to lead Europe in this “spectrum recycling”, and says it will make the spectrum “licence exempt”, so it can be used freely, according to a release which presents the results of a consultation which began last November. (Eweek)
Kudos to Ofcom for acting in the best interest of UK’s entire population rather than a few elites. Isn’t it ironic that the government we fought a war to get away from now values wireless freedom more than the one we replaced it with.