consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"If we are going to be connected we need to be protected."

Three items, related by the notion of broadband speed growth being a benefit, for which artificial impediments are disfavored.

First, Ars Technica, headlined, "Obama calls for end to 19 state laws that harm community broadband -- President joins FCC in tackling laws that protect ISPs from competition." This quote:

President Obama today called for an end to state laws that restrict the rights of cities and towns to build their own broadband networks.

In a report titled, "Community-based broadband solutions: The benefits of competition and choice for community development and highspeed Internet access," the White House said it wants to "end laws that harm broadband service competition."

"Laws in 19 states—some specifically written by special interests trying to stifle new competitors—have held back broadband access and, with it, economic opportunity," the report said. "Today President Obama is announcing a new effort to support local choice in broadband, formally opposing measures that limit the range of options to available to communities to spur expanded local broadband infrastructure, including ownership of networks. As a first step, the Administration is filing a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to join this effort by addressing barriers inhibiting local communities from responding to the broadband needs of their citizens."

The FCC is already examining these state laws, and considering whether it can invalidate them by using its authority to promote competition in local telecommunications markets by removing barriers that impede infrastructure investment. Community broadband providers in Tennessee and North Carolina recently petitioned the FCC to preempt state laws that prevent them from expanding.

[links in original] Interesting related links in item sidebar posting are: "ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states," this link; and "Verizon investors say net neutrality opposition could harm its reputation - Verizon's statements on net neutrality called 'inconsistent and contradictory.' " this link.

Second and third, of the three-item reference at the start of this post, these two items on the whitehouse.gov website, here and here, respectively titled, "These New Actions by the President Could Make Your Internet Faster," and "The President Announces New Actions to Protect Americans' Privacy and Identity."

The second of these whitehouse.gov items is the source of the Jesse Jackson like headline to this post. (In a way it reads like a sergeant's script starter to enlisted military personal who are about to go on leave in a foreign town.)

This excerpt:

In today's world, we're exchanging more and more sensitive information online -- we're managing our bank accounts, paying bills, handling medical records, and even controlling our homes from our smartphones. But as the President made clear today, the ability to do all of this online poses additional risks:

Major companies get hacked; America’s personal information, including financial information, gets stolen. And the problem is growing, and it costs us billions of dollars. In one survey, 9 out of 10 Americans say they feel like they’ve lost control of their personal information. In recent breaches, more than 100 million Americans have had their personal data compromised, like credit card information. When these cyber criminals start racking up charges on your card, it can destroy your credit rating. It can turn your life upside down. It may take you months to get your finances back in order.

"This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families, and we've got to stop it," President Obama said. "If we're going to be connected, then we need to be protected."

There follows a four-point presentation of policy change proposal; then two links with more detail are given before a concluding flag-link reminder of the upcoming State of the Union speech.

_______________UPDATE______________
Andy at Residual Forces, this post, rightly questions Obama policy on cyber security (as separate from cyber privacy - the government wanting the "security" powers, despite privacy implications). It does seem the Obama privacy proposal has that gap - private parties, other governments should honor privacy but what of our government?

Andy mentions Constitutional amendments, but omits mention of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against federal government unreasonable search and seizure as applicable to his argument, an error of omission but not a fatal flaw.

And the Fourteenth Amendment makes Bill of Rights protections applicable as limitations on state and local governmental action, so that all levels of government must act subject to Bill of Rights protections.

That said, the operative text in Andy's post worth noting is:

Don’t Worry, Only The Government Will Be Able To Use The Internet To Steal Your Private Data If Obama & The Federal Government Has Its Way. Of course they will never use that against you. Trust them.

The proposal would shield companies from liability if they share information about cyber threats with the Department of Homeland Security, which has been setting up special units for threat analysis and sharing.

If its illegal for someone to gather date online, why should the Federal Government be allowed to?

Never mind that we still don’t fully understand what actually happened in recent high profile ‘hack attacks”. Was it online terror or disgruntled employees and whistleblowers?

But hey, why figure out the facts before we surrender our rights and privacy for the greater good of Government and bureaucrats?

Do you know how many jobs politicians can say they created if they get to create a whole new Bureau to investigate cyber crimes, scour through data looking for unpaid online sales tax – er I mean online threats, and…. well you get the picture. Let your mind run wild about all the dangers of having an all knowing Government who gets to spy on your private conversations, use that information against you, and gather it in a way that no one else can.

Its a tyranny. Imagine if organizing politically against a ruling government that resembled more of an occupying force would some day become illegal.

[formatting including italics is from the original, omission of links too]

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