PK Action Alert To Save the Future of Unlicensed Spectrum

Despite the obvious reliance on unlicensed spectrum by Americans every day in the form of everything from wifi to baby monitors to RFID, the current mania for spectrum auction revenues combined with lobbying from companies opposed to the TV white space has put the future of unlicensed spectrum at risk. This is particularly true under the discussion draft circulated by House Republicans last week. That draft would require that before the FCC could allocate any new spectrum for unlicensed use, it would first have to have an auction that would allow companies to buy the spectrum for exclusive use. Only if everyone collectively outbid AT&T or Verizon for unlicensed would the spectrum go to unlicensed use. As Stacy Higginbotham at GigaOm notes, this would have devastating impact on the future of unlicensed and the innovation that comes out of the unlicensed bands.

As if that were not enough, the proposed bill literally allows companies to buy their way out of FCC consumer protection regulation.

We are trying to stop this before it’s too late.  Public Knowledge has created an Action Alert asking anyone who cares about protecting unlicensed, or opposed to letting companies literally buy their own rules, then help us this Friday (tomorrow) by telling your member of Congress not to sell off our digital future or let companies buy their way out of public interest obligations. Sign up for the PK mobile Action Alert and you will get a text message tomorrow letting you directly contact your member of Congress so you can tell them why this bill is a really, really bad idea.

I reprint the PK Action Alert below.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Also posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Life In The Sausage Factory, Media Ownership, Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

My Travel Schedule For The Next Two Weeks

I haven’t had a lot of time to post a lot lately, which actually bums me out a great deal. It’s been an insane time here in telecom land, for all that we seem to be running in place. Eventually, I will get to blog about things like the Comments we filed in the FCC’s Third Way Proceeding, and the 40–gajillion things going on in spectrum (NONE of which are the White Spaces Proceeding. Damn! When is unlicensed gonna actually see a little love?) Meantime, however, I am doing a bunch of travel an speaking appearances in the next two weeks, and would love to see anyone whose schedule coincides with mine.

On Monday, I am flying out to Sacramento for two-days at the Summer Committee Meetings of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.  I will be speaking on a panel about the National Broadband Plan at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20 The next morning, I’m going head-to-head with Ray Gifford of PFF about the virtues (or lack thereof) of the FCC’s “Third Way” Proceeding. While summer in Sacramento with a hotel full of regulators and policy wonks is probably not most people’s idea of a fun time, I hope that those who do come and who read this blog will look me up and say “hi,” as well as show up to cheer me on at the panels (or cheer Ray on, if you you are so inclined).

After NARUC, I am proceeding on to Netroots Nation, where I will be preaching the Progressive Telecom gospel (and why other progressives should care when there are sooooo many other issues demanding attention.) I’m not on any panels, but I am definitely planning to attend the one on Protecting Rights In The Digital Realm on Thursday, July 22, at 10:30 a.m.  A bunch of folks are also organizing an informal social event around Net Neutrality and Title II, details as soon as I have them.

Again, I’d love to hear from anyone who reads this blog who will be there. I’ll be there from Wed. night to Friday morning, so hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

Finally, July 29 I will be going to SuperNova — Kevin Werbach’s amazing conference on future trends. I’ll be speaking with Rick Whitt and Rebecca Arbogast on “The Broadband Challenge,” at 1 p.m. July 29. That one is in Philly, so at least it does not require changes of time zone.

I expect to be tweeting these events (assuming my phone holds out). You can follow me on Twitter at haroldfeld. Or on Facebook . Hopefully, I will also be able to get some decent substantive postings here, on the PK Policy Blog, on HuffPo, and on TMCNet (for someone with no time to blog, I have a lot of places I’m not blogging).

Stay tuned . . . .

Also posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Comments closed

O.K., Now You Can Call Some Bush Supporters Facists

By which I mean in the literal and technical sense of adhering to the philosophy of facism, rather than simply as a pejorative. Glenn Greenwald writes this piece critiquing an Op Ed in the Wall St. J. by Harvey Mansfield. Greenwald chooses to focus his analysis and ire on Mansfield. In doing so, he misses the far greater danger — the reemergence of the philosophy of facism as a political force in the United States.

My analysis below . . .

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Also posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Outsourcing Big Brother

I gave this speech last July at the ACLU Biennial Conference in New Orleans. At the time, the news that major telcos and search engine companies were cooperating with the government by providing all kinds of personal infomration had not yet hit the press. I was just applying logic.

It seems useful to me to publish here as a reminder that the recent headlines are not an aberration or the work of a few evil or gready or misguided men. It is the inevitable result of a system that concentrates power and information in the hands of a few large coorprations with every interest keep those in government happy.

We don’t ask chain saws to distinguish between human beings and trees. They are inanimate tools. If you turn it on, it cuts through things. If you want to make it safer, you need to put on safety locks and other devices, or someone is likely to cut his or her own leg off by accident some day.

Similarly, it is ridiculous to depend on corporations to defend private information. They are designed to maximize revenue for shareholders. This does not make them good or bad, greedy or virtuous. It makes the corporation a tool. If we, as citizens of democracies, care about our civil liberties, then we need to install some safeties.

Stay tuned . . .

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Also posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", Censorship Public and Private, General, How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Is Science Just Science?

Shannon Brownlee, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation has penned an interesting and in depth article about how conflicts of interest warp medical research, available here.

What’s noteworthy here, IMO, is not just the basic message that conflicts of interest can influence researchers or publishers or institutions and that, therefore, as in any other field of human endevor where this issue arises, we might want to have some systems in place that at least disclose the conflicts or, better, try to minimize them. Rather, what’s noteworthy is the belief prevalent among scientists and others that somehow science escapes this universal truth because its, well, science.

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Also posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | Comments closed
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