Apple's CEO: tech regulation is "inevitable"

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that the free market "is not working" and as a result, regulation of the tech sector is "inevitable." Read the rest

The market failed rural kids: poor rural broadband has created a "homework gap"

America's commitment to market-based broadband -- fueled by telcom millions pumped into campaigns against public broadband provision -- has left rural Americans without access to the broadband they need to fully participate in twenty-first century life, with students among the hardest-hit victims of broadband deprivation. Read the rest

Britons! Tell the UK government that the compulsory porn-viewing logs need compulsory privacy standards

The British government has decreed that adult sites must collect age-verification data on everyone who looks at material rated for 18-and-over viewing; this amounts to a database of the porn-viewing habits of every adult in the UK. Read the rest

The FDA is finally doing something about the medical device security dumpster-fire

Medical device security very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad. 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

Epipen: Mylan and Pfizer let people die while jacking up prices on defective devices, says FDA

The FDA's Sept 6 warning letter to Epipen manufacturer Meridian (a division of Pfizer) condemns the company for knowingly shipping out defective products that led to the death of the customers who paid hyper-inflated prices for the devices, which Meridian manufactured for notorious pharma profiteers Mylan. Read the rest

FCC will fix America's shitty internet by declaring fast internet access unimportant to Americans

America's internet is sucks and the law obliges the FCC to "take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market," but dingo-babysitter Ajit Pai (a former telcoms lobbyist that Donald Trump put in charge of the FCC) has a counterproposal: just declare fast internet unimportant to Americans, and hope that they'll put up with slow mobile broadband instead of blazing-fast wired connections. Read the rest

How the GOP's simplified Border Adjustment Tax will be instantly riddled with loopholes

The GOP is advocating for a "Border Adjustment Tax," which is something like a complicated Value Added Tax that is meant to encourage companies to on-shore or re-shore their manufacturing, without raising prices for Americans (because the US dollar is supposed to rise by up to 25% (!) as a result), while removing the complexity that allows companies to dodge tax by finding loopholes. Read the rest

Bank fraud and Dieselgate: how do we design regulations that are harder to cheat?

Tim Harford points out that Dieselgate -- when VW designed cars that tried to guess when they were undergoing emissions test and dial back their pollution -- wasn't the first time an industry designed its products to cheat when regulators were looking; the big banks did the same thing to beat the "stress tests" that finance regulators used to check whether they would collapse during economic downturns (the banks "made very specific, narrow bets designed to pay off gloriously in specific stress-test scenarios" so that they looked like they'd do better than they actually would). Read the rest

Canada's telcoms regulator declares internet an "essential service"

After decades of allowing anti-competitive mergers in the TV, radio, phone and internet sectors, Canada's telcoms regulator, the CRTC, has taken an important step to address the underperformance of Canada's monopolistic, bumbling phone companies and cable operators, declaring internet access to be an "essential service" and thus something that operators must offer in all territories in which they operate. Read the rest

A deep dive into kratom, the herb that helps with opioid withdrawal

Kratom (previously) is a widely used herb that has been very effective in treating opioid withdrawal and other chronic, hard-to-treat conditions -- it also became very controversial this year because the DEA decided, without evidence, to class it as a dangerous drug, and then changed its mind (unprecedented!) after a mass-scale petition that included interventions from members of Congress. Read the rest

Superstar academic economists charge $1000+/hr to defend disastrous corporate megamergers

In 1977 Richard Posner (then a prof at the University of Chicago's notorious ultra-libertarian school; now a federal judge) teamed up with an economist and law student to form Lexecon, which has since grown to a firm worth more than $130,000,000, whose major business is to serve as intellectual guns-for-hire who will produce plausible-seeming economic models defending giant corporate mergers against anti-trust regulators. Read the rest

The FCC helped create the Stingray problem, now it needs to fix it

An outstanding post on the EFF's Deeplinks blog by my colleague Ernesto Falcon explains the negligent chain of events that led us into the Stingray disaster, where whole cities are being blanketed in continuous location surveillance, without warrants, public consultation, or due process, thanks to the prevalence of "IMSI catchers" ("Stingrays," "Dirtboxes," "cell-site simulators," etc) that spy indiscriminately on anyone carrying a cellular phone -- something the FCC had a duty to prevent. Read the rest

If DRM is so great, why won't anyone warn you when you're buying it?

Last month, I filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Electronic Frontier Foundation, 22 of EFF's supporters, and a diverse coalition of rightsholders, public interest groups, and retailers, documenting the ways that ordinary Americans come to harm when they buy products without realizing that these goods have been encumbered with DRM, and asking the FTC to investigate fair labeling for products that come with sneaky technological shackles. Read the rest

Monopoly power and the decline of small business: big business vs democracy, growth & equality

In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012: 72,000 small US manufacturers shut down; as did 108,000 local retailers and 13,000 community banks (fully half of America's complement of small banks!). The number of US startups has dropped by 50% since 1970. These statistics are not the result of the changing times: they're due to massive, monopolistic corporations stacking the deck against small competitors through unfair and corrupt practices, to the detriment of American growth, equality and democracy. Read the rest

How a pharma company made billions off mass murder by faking the science on Oxycontin

When Purdue Pharma's patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they'd lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale. Read the rest

Resilience over rigidity: how to solve tomorrow's computer problems today

My new Locus Magazine column, Wicked Problems: Resilience Through Sensing, proposes a solution the urgent problem we have today of people doing bad stuff with computers. Where once "bad stuff with computers" meant "hacking your server," now it could potentially mean "blocking air-traffic control transmissions" or "programming your self-driving car to kill you." Read the rest

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