A dangerous tech policy narrative emerges: Decreasing choice to increase freedom

Have you ever read a blog or a proposal by a policy advocate and thought it was satire, only to later learn that the person was serious? I bet this is an increasingly common experience for those of you reading Internet proposals coming from the FCC, Bernie Sanders, and some academics advocating for tech regulation.

The legacy of Barlow’s cyberspace declaration of independence

The day after President Bill Clinton signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act into law, the act was harshly rebuked by a classic rant emanating from the plush confines of Davos, the policy playground of the modern nobility. John Perry Barlow, the Grateful Dead lyricist who cofounded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), penned his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” because he was incensed by Title V of the act, also known as the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
President Barack Obama listens to remarks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington February 8, 2016. REUTERS

Leading from behind on cybersecurity

Nearly two years after the OPM data breach occurred (in March 2014), and nearly a year after it was first noticed by the Federal government (in April 2015), the Obama Administration has now come forward with a cybersecurity plan. While it is nice that the Administration has acknowledged the problem, its proposed solutions fall far short of what’s needed.
A Peking citizen stands passively in front of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace on June 5, 1989. The photo was taken during the crushing of the Tiananmen Square uprising. REUTERS

US copyright limitations will not let communist dictators erase history

At Motherboard, Sarah Jeong has published an analysis of US and international copyright law titled “If China Ever Uses Copyright to Censor Tank Man, It Will Be America’s Fault.” It claims that the US, by including rough analogs of its section 512 online-service provider (OSP) “safe harbors” in nearly two decades of Free Trade Agreements such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), has empowered communist dictators to use copyright laws to erase history on a global scale. Her claims are wrong, and policymakers should ignore them.