Category: Internet Policy

Unicorn Startups: The Rules Don’t Apply to Us

By , May 9, 2016

Excellent article about a “unicorn” startup: “Zenefits Was the Perfect Startup. Then It Self-DisruptedWhat happened when an HR firm had some epic HR problems” ( in Bloomberg, by Claire Suddath and Eric Newcomer.

Like some other “unicorns” in recent years, Zenefits decided that the rules didn’t apply to its company: in this case, state-by-state licensing requirements when selling insurance, and the training and compliance requirements for such sales. Read more »

Free Peering vs. Paid IP Transit: A Quick Explanation

By , April 1, 2016

A prospective customer asked one of our agents,

Why can’t I just connect to the internet using free peering? …  I see that Hurricane Electric peers on [a particular Internet Exchange Point] and it is ‘Open BGP,’ meaning they take all peers…  Theoretically that implies we can get to the internet via that path… right?  Something seems wrong here… right?”

Correct: something is wrong with this theory.

Peering is for traffic directed to another peer’s own network and that peer’s paid customers.   Read more »

The Filter Bubble

By , May 24, 2014

My low expectations for Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You (2011) were met and exceeded.  Although the discussion was somewhat repetitive, it was generally entertaining and engaging.

The author clearly explains the danger posed by the combination of our desire for personalization, plus advertisers’ desire for precision targeting.

 “You live in an equilibrium between your own desires and what the market will bear.” (p.215)

That danger is the risk that we will lose “serendipity,” Read more »

Damages From the Illinois “Advertising-Nexus” law

By , March 11, 2011

Illinois enacted an “Advertising-Nexus” tax law yesterday, triggering some serious negative consequences — while collecting no additional sales taxes. Here’s a quick summary of the law’s impact:

Read more »

Sales Tax Fairness, Advertising-Nexus Laws, and Common Sense

By , March 6, 2011

One of the “Advertising Nexus” tax bills (pending in the California legislature) is scheduled for hearing tomorrow (Monday) in Sacramento.  Yesterday, I found this editorial on the American Booksellers’ web site,  and was annoyed enough to write this reply: Read more »

Are Bloggers Journalists? (Apple v. Gizmodo)

By , May 6, 2010

Everyone seems to be criticizing the search of a blogger’s home-office by a law-enforcement task force, following the blogger’s report (at about an iPhone prototype, which he said he’d purchased from someone who found it in a bar.

While I’d love to join the chorus criticizing both Apple and law enforcement, I simply don’t have enough information to make a reasonable decision about the conduct of various parties. Read more »

Law & Justice: Two New Developments

By , August 19, 2009

Two news reports today pertain to “Law and Justice,” and I think both demonstrate fundamentally absurd views of law and justice. Read more » (Cass Sunstein)

By , January 21, 2002

I apologize that this particular “Perspective” is long and complex, but I could find no other way to write it. I hope you’ll be patient enough to read this one through. Read more »

I Was Wrong (About this email virus)

By , December 11, 1999

(December 11, 1999) Oops.  I was wrong.

For years, I have received emails from friends and strangers alike, urgently warning me about email viruses that could be triggered simply by reading an email message. Read more »

What’s Wrong With The Communications Decency Act?

By , February 9, 1996

UPDATE June 12, 1996: The “Communications Decency Act” has been declared unconstitutional after a lengthy hearing and review. Read more »

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