Competition scholar Tim Wu (previously) is one of the most cogent, accessible voices in the antitrust debate; his recent book on the subject is a must-read; this week, he debated George Mason University scholar Tyler Cowen, proprietor of Marginal Revolution and one of the leading voices for the expansion of unfettered, unregulated capitalism -- he's the face of the notorious Mercatus Center, where rich donors choose the faculty and out pop arguments against universal health care and Net Neutrality.
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Competition scholar Tim Wu (previously) is one of the most cogent, accessible voices in the antitrust debate; his recent book on the subject is a must-read; this week, he debated George Mason University scholar Tyler Cowen, proprietor of Marginal Revolution and one of the leading voices for the expansion of unfettered, unregulated capitalism -- he's the face of the notorious Mercatus Center, where rich donors choose the faculty and out pop arguments against universal health care and Net Neutrality. Read the rest
Banned from the Cloudy Nights telescope forums, IT consultant David Goodyear angrily posted its address on a skeevy hacking site with a request it get nailed. It was down for more than a week thanks to the resulting DDOS. The FBI knocked on his door. They made a show of being friendly and amused by the whole thing, and because middle-aged IT consultants think they're smarter than anyone else, Goodyear admitted everything while giving the officers a tour of his telescope collection. Now he's in jail for two years.
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A jury found Goodyear responsible for one count of “intentional damage to a protected computer.” A judge sentenced him to a $2,500 fine, $27,352 in restitution, and 26 months in prison.
[Cloudy Nights' Michael] Bieler had assumed the case was closed until the FBI arrested Goodyear a year later and summoned Bieler to court. He was shocked when he learned about the length of the sentence. He never wanted Goodyear to be imprisoned at all, let alone for two years. “Honestly, I think it’s extreme, what happened,” he says. “We actually asked in our letter [to the court] that he not get prison time. We just wanted him to stop attacking our website.”
The 34-year-old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which tech policy expert Tim Wu has called “the worst law in technology,” is controversial for many reasons. One of the most common is its harsh sentencing rules.
Writing in the New York Times, Tim Wu (previously) describes the state of American politics after decades of manipulation dirty tricks and voter suppression, where policies with extremely high levels of public approval like higher taxes on the super-rich (75%), paid maternity leave (67%), net neutrality (83%), parallel importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada (71%) and empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices (92%) are nevertheless considered politically impossible. Read the rest
An appeals court in the Federal Circuit is hearing arguments today from plaintiffs who say that Donald Trump's FCC Chairman -- and former telcoms exec -- Ajit Pai violated federal law when he overturned Net Neutrality without considering millions of public comments and expert opinions on the proposal. Read the rest
Tim Wu (previously) is best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality" but the way he got there was through antitrust and competition scholarship: in his latest book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, Wu takes a sprightly-yet-maddening tour through the history of competition policy in the USA, which has its origins in curbing the near-limitless power of the robber barons in the name of creating a pluralistic, open society where anyone could participate, only to have this vision perverted by extremists from the Chicago School, who sold (with the help of wealthy backers) a wholly fictional version of what Congress intended with its antitrust rules. According to Chicago's version of things, the only thing antitrust should concern itself with is the highly technical and speculative question of "consumer harm" (in the form of higher prices) and not competition itself. Read the rest
Tim Wu (previously) is a legal scholar best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality" -- his next book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age (previously) challenges the accepted wisdom about today's digital monopolists, which is that they grew so big because of some underlying truth about online business ("first-mover advantage," "network effects," "globalism," etc). Instead, Wu argues that the reason we got digital monopolies is that we stopped enforcing anti-monopoly rules against digital companies (and then against all kinds of companies). Read the rest
Competition scholar Tim Wu has described how industries over time become more concentrated and less competitive, as executives move sideways from one giant company to another, creating a web of backchannels that lets the companies unite to pursue their industry-wide goals rather than competing with each other to deliver better service at better prices to their customers. Read the rest
Competition scholar and cyberlawyer Tim Wu (previously) is best known for coining the term "Net Neutrality," but his work ranges over all sorts of issues related to technology, competition, monopoly and innovation; in his forthcoming book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, he makes the case for breaking up the tech giants, starting with Facebook -- because the problem with Big Tech isn't "tech," it's "big." Read the rest
The Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia have filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, asking it to reinstate the Network Neutrality rules killed by Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Read the rest
If Trump FCC chairman Ajit Pai had confined his attack on Net Neutrality to merely rolling back the 2015 Title II rules, he might have gotten away with it; but like the Republican plan to kill Obamacare, the Republican plan to rob the middle class to enrich billionaires, and, well, every other Republican plan in this administration, Pai's plan is so grotesque, so overreaching, so nakedly corrupt that it is likely to collapse under its own weight. Read the rest
Yesterday's smashing Net Neutrality campaign showed that people have finally woken up to the risks of the highly concentrated telcoms sector using its commercial muscle to decide what kinds of services can flourish in the online world -- but Big Internet doesn't confine its efforts to control the future to playing around with packets. Read the rest
Tim Wu, the Colombia University law professor and anti-trust/competition expert who coined the term "Net Neutrality," has published an open letter to Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Read the rest
Yesterday, Congress voted to bar the FCC from ever making a rule that limits how your ISP can spy on you and sell your data, without your permission. Read the rest
In The Competition Initiative and Hidden Fees, the White House's National Economic Council documents the widespread use of deceptive "service charges" that businesses levy, allowing them to advertise prices that are wildly divergent from what you'll actually pay -- think of the $30, unavoidable "resort fees" added to a hotel bill; the $25 "processing fees" added to concert tickets, the random fees added to telecom bills, etc, all adding up to billions transferred away from American shoppers to big business. Read the rest
Tim Wu's book The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (review) was one of the best books I read in 2016; on Rick Kleffel's Narrative Species podcast, Wu discusses the book (MP3) covering depth that he couldn't fit between the covers. Read the rest