Every so often I pass along news about the Internet. Mostly US centric. This summer lots of things are stacking up that are mostly never mentioned in the mainstream media.
Stop Drama w/Dramamine
Facebook Guinea Pigs
This week news broke that Facebook experimented on 700,000 of their users without their knowledge. The idea was to see of ‘mood’ is contagious in the digital world. To do that they added either more positive news or negative news to the test subjects’ feed. So, you aren’t just seeing an unedited feed at FB. It can be manipulated.
Now why would they do that? – See: WSJ- Facebook Furor Erupts.
US citizens have been fighting an Internet Sales Tax for years. This summer Democrats and non-T.E.A. Party Republicans are looking to slide a law threw Congress to impose a tax on all Internet sales.
This effort has all the political trappings common to financially lucrative issues. Both sides are spinning issues. The bill name is the Marketplace Fairness Act. The idea is that not taxing Internet sales is unfair to brick and mortar stores (read as big business). The more accurate name would be National Internet Tax Mandate. Reference
Libertarians’ and Conservatives’ thinking follows the founding fathers in the idea that the Commerce Clause was intended to facilitate free trade by giving the federal government limited power to ensure state governments did not impose taxes and regulations on out-of-state business. Now there are those in Congress that want the Federal government to tax Internet Sales.
Will this tax affect your SL Market Place sales? I have no doubt that eventually it will.
The battle is between tax hungry governments and big business on one side and small business and private citizens on the other. This law has the possibility of imposing tax on services like Facebook, out market place, your eBay sales and purchases… This tax will reach you.
We can comfortably fight the law before it is passed or suffer while we fight to get it repealed. So call, write, or email your Congressional representatives. You can find them and their contact information here. Also see: FB Stop Internet Tax.
Search Cell Phones
The US Supreme Court has ruled it is illegal to search your cell phone without a warrant. A cop can still confiscate it when arresting an individual. But, to look inside it requires a warrant that states what they are looking for and to present probable cause. See: LA Times Supremes and Cell Phone. This is a good decision in my thinking.
Canada and Spam
Canada has decided to impose heavy fines on spammers. The law is said to be a mess. But, it does create the opportunity for heavy fines to be imposed. Thus the hope of average people is that in the confusion spammers won’t know what they can and cannot do without risking a fine and reduce the spam. See: Global News – Law Won’t Stop Spam.
This is a highly spun issue. Few people understand the scope or ramifications of a net neutrality law. A good presentation is given on the issue in a recent Leo LaPorte Tech Guy show. See: What can be done about the FCC’s new net neutrality rules?
It may not have occurred to you that this can have an impact on Second Life and the future new world. The idea here is content providers will have to pay ISP’s to provide you content. Since SL uses considerable bandwidth there will be economic incentive for ISP’s to charge for access to SL. They may bill Linden Lab but at some point we, the users, will have to pay that cost.
As things are now the Internet is way over regulated. There is no longer free market competition in providing Internet service. In most countries Internet service is government provided and this government controlled and censored.
Send your thoughts on Net Neutrality to: firstname.lastname@example.org.