The upside of big tech is Russia vs Telegram, but the downside is Cloudflare vs SESTA

Yesterday, I wrote about the way that tech-sector concentration was making it nearly impossible for Russia to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram: because Telegram can serve its traffic through giant cloud providers like Amazon, Russia can only block Telegram by blocking everyone else who uses Amazon. Read the rest

The Peltzman model: a way to understand the kind of regulation Facebook might face from Congress

Sam Peltzman proposed a model of regulation where the profitability of firms is in tension with their customers' desire for low prices and politicians' desire to get votes. Read the rest

Between Trump, Ajit Pai and a GOP Congress, there's never been a better time for a terrible Sprint/T-Mobile merger

One of the factors that makes the Net Neutrality fight so urgent is how little competition there is in the telcoms sector; it -- like the whole modern economy is dominated by a few giant, top-heavy firms that are gobbling one another at speed. Read the rest

Big Telco hates "regulation," but they love their billions in government handouts

When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco's major talking point is that "government regulation" has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation's telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare. Read the rest

EU fines Qualcomm over $1 billion for anti-competitive iPhone deal

The US -- allegedly a bastion of the "free market" -- has one of the world's lowest levels of economic competition, thanks to the triumph of the Chicago School economists, who used shitty math to convince Ronald Reagan and his successors that the only time a monopoly is a problem is when it raises prices. Read the rest

Web developers publish open letter taking Google to task for locking up with web with AMP

I have often thought that you can divide up the risks of the big internet platforms by plotting a 2X2 grid; on one axis is "wants to spy on everything you do" and on the other is "wants to control everything you do" -- Apple scores low on the first axis (they don't much want to spy on you), and high on the second (they want to control you in intimate and pervasive ways); Google is the reverse (wants to spy on you, but is so capable of following you wherever you go that it doesn't need to control you to do it), while Facebook gets top marks on both (they spy on everything you do and they want to control you from start to finish). Read the rest

You absolutely must secure your home router and you probably can't

Lucian Constantin's Motherboard guide to protecting your home router is full of excellent, nearly impossible-to-follow advice that you should follow, but probably won't. Read the rest

2018: the year that America's ISPs hiked their prices

Comcast, Fox and Frontier have all announced across-the-board price hikes that affect modems, streaming services, and internet service itself. Read the rest

100 million Americans live in areas where every single ISP has admitted to violating net neutrality

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- a former Verizon exec -- says that we can count on ISPs to voluntarily refrain from abusing their natural monopolies to degrade service to their customers in order to maximize their profits. Read the rest

Comcast spams social media with Net Neutrality promises, hopes you won't notice that they used to promise a LOT more

Back in 2014, Comcast was desperately trying to stop the FCC from bringing meaningful Net Neutrality regulation to the web, and they laid out a suite of promises about their future conduct, with or without the rules, including a promise not to introduce internet slow lanes that publishers who wouldn't pay bribes would be stuck in, while their spendier competitors would be able to reach Comcast subscribers faster. Read the rest

Why we should cheer the DoJ's lawsuit to block the AT&T/Time-Warner merger

Susan Crawford, one of America's leading scholars of monopolism, competition and the tech industry, has an outstanding article in Wired laying out the principled case for killing the AT&T/Time-Warner merger, which the Trump DoJ has just filed a lawsuit to block. Read the rest

Impressive competitive knife skills chopfest

Christopher Berry won the Overall prize at the 2017 Middle Tennessee Bladesports Competition with this impressive sequence of knife slices. Read the rest

Beloved local restauranteur can't sell coffee or tea because Starbucks strongarmed the landlord

The Arepa Lady started as a food-cart in Jackson Heights, Queens, owned by Maria Cano, whose son and daughter-in-law have continued the family business, moving into permanent digs, with seating for 30. Read the rest

Trump's FCC redefines "effective competition" to include having only one ISP in your county

US businesses really get screwed by their ISPs: 73% of the US only has one business ISP; 24% of the remainder has only two ISPs, and only 3% of the US has 3 or more ISPs that will sell them internet access. Read the rest

The W3C has overruled members' objections and will publish its DRM for videos

It's been nearly four months since the W3C held the most controversial vote in its decades-long history of standards-setting: a vote where accessibility groups, security experts, browser startups, public interest groups, human rights groups, archivists, research institutions and other worthies went up against trillions of dollars' worth of corporate muscle: the world's largest electronics, web, and content companies in a battle for the soul of the open web. Read the rest

Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism

Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust." Read the rest

Verizon bought Yahoo, so Flickr and Tumblr users with AT&T email addresses are being cut off

Verizon's using its purchase of Yahoo for more than undermining the fight for net neutrality: it's also using its new acquisitions to make anti-competitive moves against its telcoms rivals, deploying the users of Flickr and Tumblr as hostages. Read the rest

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