More on the Comcast-Netflix Deal


The Sad State of American Broadband

  • The Internet is F*cked (but we can fix it)Nilay Patel at The Verge:

    “[T]he entire problem, expressed in four simple ideas: the internet is a utility, there is zero meaningful competition to provide that utility to Americans, all internet providers should be treated equally, and the FCC is doing a miserably ineffective job. The United States should lead the world in broadband deployment and speeds: we should have the lowest prices, the best service, and the most competition. We should have the freest speech and the loudest voices, the best debate and the soundest policy. We are home to the most innovative technology companies in the world, and we should have the broadband networks to match.”

  • You Won’t Have Broadband Competition Without RegulationFelix Salmon at Reuters:

    “[W]e already have perfectly adequate pipes running into our homes, capable of delivering enough broadband for nearly everybody’s purposes. Creating a massive parallel national network of new pipes (or pCells, or whatever) is, frankly, a waste of money. The economics of wholesale bandwidth are little-understood, but they’re also incredibly effective, and have created a system whereby the amount of bandwidth in the US is more than enough to meet the needs of all its inhabitants. What’s more, as demand increases, the supply of bandwidth quite naturally increases to meet it. What we don’t need is anybody spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build out a brand-new nationwide broadband network. What we do need, on the other hand, is the ability of different companies to provide broadband services to America’s households. And here’s where the real problem lies: the cable companies own the cable pipes, and the regulators refuse to force them to allow anybody else to provide services over those pipes. This is called local loop unbundling, it’s the main reason for low broadband prices in Europe, and of course it’s vehemently opposed by the cable companies.”

  • America’s 10-Year Experiment in Broadband Investment Has FailedBrendan Greeley at Bloomberg:

  • Why Super-Fast Internet Is Coming Super Slowly; The FCC Could Change this Overnight by Focusing on What’s Best for the Economy, Not Just for Those it Regulates.Andy Kessler at The Wall Street Journal



Cyber Law, Tech and Policy

General Interest

  • Why People Work For Rewards They’ll Never Get to Enjoy – a/k/a Why Do Rich People Work So Much?Nicholas Hune-Brown at Hazlitt:

    “The researchers call this behaviour ‘mindless accumulation’—the tendency for people to forgo leisure to work towards rewards they’ll never be able to use. They argue that it’s a distinctly modern problem. For much of human history, earning rates were low and people needed to work as much as possible just to survive. The idea that you could ‘overearn’ simply wasn’t realistic. If you’re one of today’s highly paid office workers, however, earning comes comparatively easily, yet the drive to hoard as much as possible remains.”

  • Moving South and West? Metropolitan America in 2042Wendell Cox at


Today’s Must Read on the NSA

“The NSA has become too big and too powerful. What was supposed to be a single agency with a dual mission — protecting the security of U.S. communications and eavesdropping on the communications of our enemies — has become unbalanced in the post-Cold War, all-terrorism-all-the-time era . . . . The result is an agency that prioritizes intelligence gathering over security, and that’s increasingly putting us all at risk. It’s time we thought about breaking up the National Security Agency.” Bruce Schneier at CNN.Opinion with practical suggestions for reform.


Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Criticizes NSA Program

“Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End.” New York Times

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s “Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court” (pdf; 238 pages). Also separate statements of Board members Elisebeth Collins Cook (pdf; 6 pages) and Rachel Brand (pdf; 8 pages)

Some additional background:

Liberty and Security in a Changing World – December 12, 2013 Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies” (pdf; 308 pages)

Supplemental Chapter on NSA from Professor James Grimmelmann’s “Internet Law: Cases and Problems” (downloadable pdf; 37 pages) offered on freemium basis.


The First Anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s Death

“[T]he law seems really interesting to me. It’s a system of rules, like computers are and you can hack it by finding the implications of those rules. Go to a judge, show your hack, and the judge has the power to change the world based on your conclusions.”Aaron Swartz


Google Prevails in Google Books Dispute

Opinion of U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin ruling in favor of Google over the Authors’ Guild in the long-running Google Books dispute: pdf

“Google Books ruled legal in massive win for fair use; Scans that show snippets are legal—they don’t replace the full book.” ARS Technica.

“Why Google’s Fair Use Victory In Google Books Suit Is A Big Deal–And Why It Isn’t.” Professor Eric Goldman in Forbes.