Net Neutrality Rhetoric, Reality

First, I love The Oatmeal. Matt Inman’s comic regularly speaks my mind on all manner of life’s little complaints (and solutions). Sadly, when he tried to explain net neutrality, I think he missed the mark. By a lot.

Then the President decided he’d offer some free advice to the FCC on how that agency should proceed with regulating the internet. Same problem.

So I sat down with Berin Szoka of Techfreedom to try to separate the aspirations of activists from the realities of how markets and the internet actually function and what kind of regulatory regime will serve consumers best.

Upskirting Privacy

Here’s Mike Rogers – the chair of the House Intelligence Committee – explaining to a respected law professor about how privacy works.

Here’s a rough transcription of the relevant portion:

Rogers: I would argue the fact that we haven’t had any complaints come forward with any specificity arguing that their privacy has been violated, clearly indicates, in ten years, clearly indicates that something must be doing right. Somebody must be doing something exactly right.

Vladeck: But who would be complaining?

Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.

Vladeck: I disagree with that. If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a noise whether you’re there to see it or not.

Rogers: Well that’s a new interesting standard in the law. We’re going to have this conversation… but we’re going to have wine, because that’s going to get a lot more interesting…

Now for something substantially related:

A federal air marshal was arrested Thursday morning at Nashville International Airport after being caught taking multiple upskirt pictures of female passengers boarding a plane, police said.

A witness spotted 28-year-old Adam Bartsch, who was on duty, taking pictures with his cell phone underneath women’s dresses, police said. The witness grabbed Bartsch’s phone and notified a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, a police report said.

Airport police removed Bartsch from the flight and took him into custody.

According to the police report, Bartsch said he snapped 10 to 12 inappropriate pictures, something he said he had done before. He was charged with disorderly conduct and held on $10,000 bail.

The Transportation Security Administration said it is assisting authorities with the investigation.

“TSA does not tolerate criminal behavior. The agency immediately removed this individual from his current duties and is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment.”

Why shouldn’t this guy be able to use the same defense? The women who were photographed weren’t complaining. How can we say that their privacy had been violated? Your honor, this air marshal’s only crime was that he was caught.