How CISPA is both BETTER and WORSE than SOPA

CISPA supporters say that the bill has nothing to do with seeking out people who pirate movies and music, and shouldn’t be looked at as the next SOPA. Although I think the true goals of the CISPA Cybersecurity bill are more innocently motivated, and the overall efforts of the bill should even be applauded, the problem isn’t what the bill contains. CISPA wants to allow business to share information about hackings and cyberthreats with government agencies – to more quickly identify and respond to cyberattacks. Imagine a network of information sharing, where large scale business, the likes of Google, Sony, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL (you know them now as Engadget, Joystiq, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, et al…) all actually worked together to protect your privacy. All of that is fine. It’s what CISPA leaves out that frightens me the most. Specifically, CISPA leaves out any language that clearly identifies what it should be used for. One could, quite easily, argue that ‘criminal activities’ and ‘hacking’ can simply be defined as file sharing, and thus your information goes to the government and they can have you arrested. You could be strong-armed to stop using BitTorrent by your ISP (even if you argue that your use is not for illegal purposes), by them saying “quit it, or we’ll sick the feds on you.”

CISPA, like nearly every technology-related bill to date seen on Capitol Hill, has vague language that can be interpreted and bent in many, many ways. It does great things at its core, but could easily be twisted in to making something like MP3 swapping a near-felony, if the ambiguous phrasings of the bill were later left up to interpretation by a judge. We shouldn’t throw it out there and sort through it later; the bills proposed should have cleaner language and specific, targeted purposes. These are laws we’re enacting, after all.

And on over to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website and see how they break down CISPA for a better understanding of why it’s important that this bill not be enacted as it is right now.

And who are you?

As you may have noticed, I do a little self promotion from time to time. I think every blogger does, we have to. I find it most fascinating when I am practically BOOED away from one social network or another, as though I am just your average spammer.  Trust me, the eight cents I earned from AdSense didn’t make it “worth it.”

When I recently posted my own opinions on what Microsoft hopes to accomplish with Windows 8 to various sites, it got mixed reviews.  The websites that allowed simple down voting without reason interested me the most.  It’s almost as if people are asking questions like “and, who are you?” Or, “why should I care what you think?” Then again, it may have just been people habitually down voting anything with the word “Microsoft” in it.

Still, I pondered the “who am I” question. I suppose I don’t have a direct answer to that. I’m just someone like many of you who have been around computers and technology a long time. I don’t pretend to be a knowledgable source with any insider information… I just look at situations and technologies, then talk about them.

I invite comments on the blog, and even tried to make it easy using Disqus.  I just hope people take a little bit of time to learn about me, both personally and professionally, and give a little thought to some of the things I say.  If I’m not making any sense, then let’s talk about it in the comments!  I’m always interested in what people are thinking.

Blog delays, once again

Sorry for any missed posts this week. This has happened in the past when i’ve gotten lazy or busy. While i have been a little busier than normal, lately, there has also been a lot going on with my job. We had a fire in our office this week and it has been a total loss. We’ve been working from home a lot and it’s been a little hectic. I’ll post some pictures and video when I can, and appreciate everyone’s patience during this trying time.  Thank you.

Desktops, phones, apps, and the web

I have been listening to discussions among people (and having a few conversations myself) this week, regarding the openness of the web as we know it. This is all discussion generated since the advent of the “post-PC world” Apple has told us that we live in.

I am one of the big proponents of the web. The web should be able to do it all, and as HTML continues to evolve, I feel more and more confident that it will. Apps have the problem of creating a rift in your potential userbase. You have to develop for Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, and perhaps a few other platforms like BlackBerry. It is because of this very limitation that Windows Phone 7 gets left out of the mania of new game releases. WP7 has only one version of Angry Birds, hasn’t gotten Words with Friends or Draw Something, and generally lacks the constant torrent of new apps that the other major platforms get. If all of those games were available via the web, we wouldn’t have to worry about what platform you were coming from, you could visit the site, and play!

So far, that’s just the mobile space. i have recently decided to rip some of my favorite DVD movies to my own hard drive, and stick the hard copies away in an attic. although i may some day want true “HD” versions of those movies and TV shows, my mid range Xvid rips will make me quite happy. But what tablet was going to let me accomplish that task? And then, where will I store these tons of movies? On my 32GB memory chip? Doubtful. “In the cloud!” some people suggest. Unfortunately, only SkyDrive has any reasonable capacity, and storage on the internet isn’t as cheap and easy as it always seems.

Then come the bandwidth caps. The thing that keeps me on Sprint: unlimited bandwidth. While I rarely use over 2GB per month, I certainly have on more than one occasion. when you look to see where things are going, more and more app and web driven, you have to wonder how we are going to survive with smaller bandwidth caps! A global infrastructure is going to experience growing pains for a while, until we get all the links worked out. Faster speeds, higher caps… We cannot be handcuffed if we are expected or in most cases required to work online.

For me, the desktop PC is still my safe haven. Proven and capable hardware, ever increasing internet speeds, and (so far for me) bimonthly bandwidth caps! It won’t be this way forever, and who knows what the next big thing will be… But I’m excited more and more by every change that comes our way – I just continue to hope that it is something that is open to the web, and not locked away, just for iTunes users, or Android owners, etcetera. Whatever the next step in the web is, whatever the thing AFTER the web is, it has to be for everyone.