Or not? I think it would be nice if the Federal Confusion Commission seats were filled. Right now, it is a sort of (messy politics) two v. two with Adelstein & Copps v. Tate & Martin(et). Why this Administration doesn’t nominate a fifth member is beyond me. ("Who’s this guy writing about my Administration?" – "Mr. Vice President, it’s just some little columnist in the cable industry.") There are such significant issues at play in the media, telecommunications and content industries – not to mention the critical issue of privacy – that I simply cannot understand why ("Who does he think he is questioning what we do?" – "No one, sir, he’s just venting.") a fifth member isn’t at least submitted for consideration by the Senate. ("Ah, s——, did we forget to do that during the recess? Hey, is there some way we could just eliminate that requirement? It takes so d—- long!") As the technologies change – just look at all the coverage new ways to view, read, think that have been covered in CableFAX the past few days, not to mention the follow-ups you’ll find in CableWORLD and Communications Technology – the governmental requirements for snooping are getting more complicated … and more contentious. ("Hah, you were right to tap this guy, he’s just another bleeding liberal a———!") And, while I certainly cannot argue with the idea of protecting America – that means you and me, of course – from threats, I personally hate to see civil liberties eroded. ("How did we get onto this radical?" – "Sir, we try to vet any correspondence we see with ‘this Administration’ or the name of any significant, even fairly minor, governmental official that seems threatening. And, it came to our attention he’s been out of the country to South Africa, Kenya and Italy all within the past couple of months.") It’s a serious issue ("No kidding!") and I think a full Commission would be better able to work with telecommunications companies – including cable – about the right ways to monitor communications that might be threatening … without infringing on our "inalienable rights." Ever since the Civil War (or, that "War Between the States"), telecommunications companies ("Is that right?" – "Yes, sir, telegraph companies cooperated with both Secretary of War James Seddon and Simon Cameron.") have assisted the Federal Government ("So, what’s the complaint today?" – "Sir, it has to do with changing technologies … it isn’t as simple now.") in monitoring suspicious exchanges. But, today, it isn’t so simple. The World Wide Web has changed too many things. And, there are so many databases with once-private information, connecting them all seems a stretch ("Not to me!") These are serious issues for cable operating companies ("Why’s that? What’s he talking about?" – "Sir, cable companies account for most of the high speed internet users and they aren’t as accustomed to cooperating with us as the telephone companies. Secondly, the technologies are different and it isn’t quite as simple to do intercepts or monitoring of everyone all the time.") as the government will, if it hasn’t already, demand more access to what’s carried over wholly-owned, leased or borrowed lines. All cable companies, I am certain, will work hard to comply – within the law – with any legitimate requests from the government ("Darn right they will!") in order to aid in what is a truly critical need … stopping them before they do it again. ("So, this guy ain’t all bad?" – "Well, maybe not … he is a decorated veteran of the War you skipped, sir.")

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