Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

More on the iPhone Hearings: Free the iPhone!

The so-called “iPhone Hearings”: yesterday were entertaining and it seems they may only be the first shot fired on the issue of separating devices from the network.

The folks at “”: have set up “Free the iPhone”: as a ‘save the internet’ (net neutrality) and ‘save net radio’ type movement. The idea is to strike while the iPhone publicity peaks and the current 700MHz auction planned by the FCC rolls around. Also, since the FCC, Google and some “members of Congress”: seem to be showing interest in the idea of separating the Network from the Devices (“Delaminate the bastards”: says Weinberger) this seems to be the appropriate time to be pushing for separating the layers.

Free the iPhone.

Also, the folks at “Public Knowledge”: have a set of videos from the _iPhone Hearings_ including Rep. Ed Markey comparing the iPhone lock-in with Hotel California (_check out, but they can never leave_), Professor Tim Wu pointing out the tech gap between US and Europe in the wireless space, the Verizon General Counsel claiming that there is no consumer demand for delamination, and finally “Jason Devitt”: on the issues for small innovators in the business.

A few more reads:
* Om Malik on “the meaning of competition in the US”:
* Susan Crawford on “balancing public interest, security and business pressure”:
* Google’s Public Policy blog on “open access to the wireless network”:
* “Jason Devitt”: on the implications of the new spectrum auction

On the “Sky Trust”

Maybe I just don’t understand the “Sky Trust”: proposed by Peter Barnes, but it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Here is the gist of the idea:

Under the Sky Trust plan, all companies that bring burnable carbon into the economy would be required to buy permits for the carbon content of their fuels. Each year the number of permits would be reduced.

Revenue generated from the sale of permits would be placed in a trust, managed by independent trustees. Earnings from the trust would be returned to U.S. residents as dividends and used for public investments that accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

I’m not sure giving Americans financial gain for pollution is the solution; I understand that taxing pollution is already being floated as an idea, but giving the average citizen a bigger check when pollution levels rise can’t possibly make him appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

Of course, the idea of Sky Trust is a bit more nuanced, especially with the caps on total permits given to polluters which are reduced every year. The issue, however, is that if people get used to getting a $500 check every New Year’s day and all of a sudden that starts drying up, won’t the people be demanding a little more pollution?

I may be underestimating the general populace and I may be misunderstanding Sky Trust- let me know, I’d love to see it work.