What politician will claim, “I destroyed the Internet?”

I admit I haven’t thought through the implications of the FCC’s recent orders about the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, but I’m pretty damn sure that our leaders haven’t thought it through.

The idea is to create the biggest unfunded mandate in history by forcing all Internet service providers to retool their systems to make it easier for the feds to monitor communications. The cost to universities alone is said to be at least $7B. I don’t know what this does to municipal and home grown mesh network systems. I suppose that the intent is to make it too expensive for anyone but a TelCo to operate anything other than restrictive high-level services. The prophetic David Reed laid out the the issues five years ago, saying it much better than I can.

To this I would add an uneasiness as to what steps a person must now apply, or is allowed to apply, to protect “intellectual property.” We are required to take practical precautions to keep our freedom of privacy else we loose it. If we wreck the Internet in a rush to destroy any practical means of protecting privacy, then who in the end will be allowed to actually claim the priviledge of privacy? Only those large institutions who can afford to run their own government-approved private networks?

where are they now?

Any conclusions from the following?

* Since 9/11, the portion of DARPA’s computer science budget going to universities has dropped drastically from $214M to $123M. (Pretty paltry, in my biased opinion.)

* Universities (at least the one’s I’m familiar with) are typically prohibited from doing classified research on campus.

* The total DARPA computer science budget over the same period has actually increased slightly, from $546M to $583M.

* DARPA’s Total Information Awareness project, initially unclassified, has officially been ended by Congress.

* The last year in which Ashcroft had requested unclassified funding for TIA was 2004. He had asked for something north of $100M.

Say, what is Ashcroft doing since going back into “private” life? What is Poindexter up to?

Inventing the Future: iPods

Duke and other schools are giving iPods to students. This site explains that they are looking for innovative ways to introduce technology in education. Poems and lit. to go. School fight songs. Info on the frosh dorms. I think that’s great. Why be so focused on visual information? It’s interesting to me that cell phone surfing seems to be done on phones outfitted with tiny visual screens and abuses of keyboards. Why not aural displays and voice interfaces? (Although I’m not too keen on the image of zombie students walking around in their own little isolation enforced by earplugs piping in the university’s message.)

Duke doesn’t mention anything about file sharing, but I wonder how much of their IT push is also meant to get them off the hook that some universities have been placed on in order to try to force them to be responsible for the file-sharing actions of their students.