Category Archives: Technology

CEI Podcast for January 16, 2014: FCC Loses Net Neutrality Court Case

hal 9000
Have a listen here.

The D.C. Circuit Court decided against the FCC in the case Verizon v. FCC, striking down key provisions of the agency’s proposed net neutrality regulations. Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia argues that while the case looks like a victory on the surface, it still gives the FCC plenty of authority to enact similar rules.


CEI Podcast for August 29, 2013: Consequences of Net Neutrality

net neutrality
Have a listen here.

In 2010, the FCC issued regulations to implement net neutrality. The resulting legal challenge is about to hit the D.C. Circuit Court. Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews explains why net neutrality policies would hamper innovation and reduce competition in high-tech infrastructure.

CEI Podcast for April 18, 2013: CISPA Is the Wrong Approach to Cybersecurity

A burglar opening a safe that is a computer screen
Have a listen here.

Today, the House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2013 (CISPA). Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia opposes the bill because it would nullify existing contracts and eliminate the rule of law in certain areas.

CEI Podcast for April 4, 2013: Reining in the CFAA

Have a listen here.

Congress is mulling an update to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1984. Under the CFAA, it is currently a federal crime to enter an incorrect age on your Facebook profile or an incorrect weight on a dating website profile. Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia suggests that the CFAA should be reined in, instead of expanded, as a draft currently circulating around Capitol Hill proposes.

Making the FCC More Transparent

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If there’s one thing the regulatory state could use more of, it’s transparency. In today’s Washington Times​, I shine a little light on the FCC:

In Beltway terms, the Federal Communications Commission’s $350 million budget request for 2013 is practically a rounding error. Yet it costs the American people a lot more than that. In fact, it is the third-most-expensive federal agency, but thanks to a lack of transparency, very few people are aware of that fact. That’s because the FCC’s regulations impose compliance costs of $142 billion per year — more than 400 times its budget. Only the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services cost American taxpayers more.

To put that in context, consider that the cost of FCC regulations is in the same ballpark as the entire 2011 national gross domestic products of Vietnam ($123 billion) and Hungary ($140 billion). The $77 billion cost of the FCC’s wireless spectrum regulations alone is bigger than Ecuador’s entire $66 billion economy.

Read the whole thing here. See also CEI’s recent Regulatory Report Cards on the FCC and the EPA.

CEI Podcast for November 1, 2012: Is Google’s Search Dominance Permanent?

Have a listen here.

Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia argues that Google’s current dominance as an Internet search engine service is a fragile thing. Creative destruction is everywhere, and its onset cannot be predicted. As soon as something better comes out, consumers will flock to it in droves. Calls for antitrust enforcement should not be answered.

The Economics of Spam

Timothy Taylor summarizes a fascinating new paper on the cat-and-mouse game between e-mail spammers and service providers:

For example, when many people label a message as “spam,” then it helps the anti-spam software to look for those words or URLs repeated in other messages, so that those messages can be filtered out. But then spammer responded with creative misspellings (like “VIagrA”) to trick the anti-spam filter, and used many different URLs that would all take the unwary to the same sales page.

In addition, the spammers use software to mark messages as “not spam,” thus trying to offset those who label them as spam. Rao and Reiley write: “In four months of 2009 Yahoo! Mail data, our Yahoo! colleagues found that (suspiciously) 63 percent of all “not spam” votes were cast by users who never cast a single “spam” vote.”

Talyor also kindly links a free download of the paper, published in the Journal of Economic Pespectives, which he edits.